Oklahoma's winter trout areas open Thursday but Quartz Mountain will not be one of them.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will no longer be putting trout in the designated trout stream below Lake Altus-Lugert because of golden algae.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation manages five winter-only trout fisheries: Blue River, Lake Watonga, Robbers Cave, Lake Pawhuska and Lake Carl Etling.
Quartz Mountain had been the sixth but rainbow trout died there last spring as toxic blooms of golden algae killed the fish.
There have been several outbreaks of golden algae in waters in southwest Oklahoma.
The trout are too expensive to risk putting them in waters where it's likely they will die, said Gene Gilliland, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
“There is no way to predict where or when we will have those blooms that produce toxic events that kill fish,” Gilliland said. “Unfortunately, this may be a permanent situation.”
The winter areas receive regular stocking of hatchery-raised rainbow trout every two weeks until mid- or late March, with the exception of Lake Carl Etling, which gets trout twice a season, for the season opener and after Jan. 1.
This year, the Wildlife Department is buying trout from a Nebraska hatchery instead of Missouri. The Cedar Springs Trout Farm in Broadwater, Neb., won the recent bid to supply the state with trout.
The Nebraska hatchery also provides trout for Kansas. It already has stocked trout a couple of times in the Lower Mountain Fork River in southeastern Oklahoma.
Because the new trout supplier is traveling greater distances, state wildlife officials will not be posting the specific dates of the trout stockings on the Wildlife Department's website until the schedule becomes more certain.