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Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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That brookie stream was surveyed by the PFBC in Sept, 2012. The other streams that Sarce mentions were also surveyed.

Posted on: 2014/8/21 15:31


Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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Sarce, his friend Taylor and I scouted out this nice little local rivulet/brook. Water temps were low 60s and a couple of springs feeding in were a few degrees colder. Not a lot of habitation along the dirt road, and although the stream where we looked had enough drop to retain little silt, there were visible storm surge effects scouring the banks.

We identified several areas where some shoveling work could improve the braided channels and thereby let Mother Nature create some better holding areas. We saw very healthy dace and minnows, along with YOY brookies. There were some bigger ones, including this unusually stubby 7 incher, but the water was generally very skinny.

I'll get up with some of the knowledgable VFTU folks and see what the chapter might do. Thanks sarce for the tour, and thanks Taylor for the help. It was a very enjoyable afternoon, enlightening and inspiring and almost as much fun as ffishing.

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jpg  10620656_849351065077984_8055794414336742260_n Sawmill Run.jpg (38.99 KB)
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Posted on: 2014/8/24 8:11
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Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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way to go guys.

if you need a hand with the manual work. let me know.

Posted on: 2014/8/24 10:58
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Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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I have a lot of replies to catch up on here, was up in state college the past few days. First of all, thanks so much Les for coming out and sharing your knowledge with us. Regardless of what happens in the end, I appreciate the interest in helping out. And you're right, that was about as much fun as actually fishing...maybe more so as that place can be really frustrating!!

Les pointed out a few things that were somewhat comforting. The stream has more going for it than my OP might indicate, BUT there are still some major issues that should not be ignored. In the short term (next 2-3 yrs) what is need is the creation of two or three "permanent" pools with overhead cover to create a little more space for adult trout in the summer. In addition, many existing pools could be improved simply by adding some overhead cover. None of that requires any machinery and would replace what deep pool habitat has been lost. Longer term, the storm water runoff needs to be reduced (especially on one tributary) or else it's only a matter of time before the stream degrades too much to support the brookies.

What is bugging me, even after hearing what Les had to say, is that although some of the habitat still looks ideal, the number of adult trout is way lower than it used to be. There is a small concrete dam at the upper end of the stretch I have always fished and there used to always be 5-6 trout over 7" in the pool below and 2-3 in the pool above...now there are none in either (though I did catch a 10" below the dam in March of this year). Also the first 3 big pools downstream of the dam plunge pool used to have at least one or two 7-9" trout in each. The pools are still there, the adult trout are not and have not been for 3 years.

Edit: fyi In the pic I'm the guy holding the net, the other guy is my friend from PSU who is not from the area, but I was giving him a tour of several local streams that day and he offered to hang around to walk and talk with Les on this creek.

Posted on: 2014/8/25 12:36

Edited by sarce on 2014/8/25 12:58:17
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Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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Jeff (Alnitak), I agree that floods have played a major role. There was a big storm in June '06 that dumped nearly a foot of rain in a few hours...the trout and stream did not seem to be impacted too much by that. But since 2009 there have been large floods every year. The weather systems responsible range from pop-up thunderstorms to tropical storm remnants as you mentioned. This is why i am hesitant to place blame on the new development. I believe if we had two or three years without major floods, the population would recover, no problem. But I'd rather do something than just hope for good weather.

Posted on: 2014/8/25 12:50
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Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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Mike: thanks for the reply and good to know. I did not see any of those three on the list of proposed additions while others from that time period are included, so I guessed they had not been surveyed yet.

Posted on: 2014/8/25 12:54
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Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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Sarce, To me it sounds like there are multiple issues.

1. flooding and scouring issues,
2. The larger fish were fished out.

The dilemma is that more attention will help the one issue and hurt the other. Was the stream recently added to the reproduction list? It clearly has had more attention the last couple years.

The stream will only support so much biomass, and when the larger fish are removed from the best lies, the smaller ones (which are now the larger ones) move in.

If you don't think a small stream like that can't be negatively impacted by a single angler, you would be mistaken. Remove a limit or two and what do you have? I've done it myself to a similar stream in a similar setting 30 years ago.

Fortunately, this type of negative impact is short term impact. You can't catch them all and with less adults, more of the young will survive.

The flooding and scouring has a more long term impact, and it is probably good to bring to the attention of the local TU.


Posted on: 2014/8/27 8:23
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Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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FD,

The stream has been surveyed by PFBC but is not on the list yet, so that is not a reason. The pool below the dam does get fished by kids a lot, it's right next to the road. Aside from knowing that a few others fly fish there, I've seen no other evidence of fishing. I agree though that keeping a limit or two here would be damaging for a year. I don't know how easy it would be to catch that many though.

Posted on: 2014/8/27 9:59
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Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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Quote:

sarce wrote:
FD,

The stream has been surveyed by PFBC but is not on the list yet, so that is not a reason.


Yea, I saw that right after I hit submit. But it was only a question. My argument still stands.

What are the odds that you would even fish it if not for your dad reading about it in the paper?

The stream I mentioned? I never saw another angler there, either.

If the issue were only erosion and silt, you would still some adult fish, but less YOY.

So, you tell me another reason why only the adults would be gone and the dinks have taken their place.

Publicity is sometimes good, sometimes bad, and sometimes both.

Posted on: 2014/8/27 11:24
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Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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If not for my dad reading about it, I probably would never have fished this stream or the half dozen other brookie streams nearby and probably would not be obsessed with wild trout the way I am today.

Your point does indeed still stand. I just haven't seen evidence of that, except in one pool.

My theory on why the adults are missing from some pools: some overhead tree root cover has been ripped out by floods, and/or the pools have gotten just a few inches shallower. Still plenty deep for young fish but not enough for big fish (but I think the big fish would be there if the overhead cover was there, even without making the pools deeper).

Another thing I just noticed the other day...There's a pond close to the stream that appears to have a leaky embankment. There is now about a foot-wide stream of water seeping through and entering the stream just below the section of pools that are missing trout. The water coming from this seep is very warm. maybe trout swimming upstream sense the warm water and do not pass through to the pools above? But the young trout are still up there...Just thinking out loud.

Posted on: 2014/8/27 12:12
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Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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Here are some more pics I took a few days ago. Les, if you see this, this is what is upstream of where we stopped (that you cannot see from the road).

Pool A is where I found one 8 inch brookie hiding under the large rock indicated by the arrow. I was able to net this fish for a quick photo as it tried to escape by running up and then down the riffle above the pool. It has unusually dark coloration for the stream but notice how fat and healthy it appears. The trout that are still here are certainly eating well.

Pool A used to hold anywhere from 3-5 6"+ brookies in the summer. I only saw this one plus a few YOY. The area I circled in red has filled in, it used to be nearly waist deep in the center of the pool and this is where the adult trout would lie. IIRC the pool got shallower and held less trout in 2009 or 2010.

Above this pool is the section I labeled "wide channel". erosion from floods is pretty obvious here. The tree roots at left were not exposed until a few years ago.

Continuing upstream are the pics labelled "potential" followed by "shallow run". "potential" used to have a deep plunge pool over the log that you can see in the middle. This was one of the first pools to disappear, it washed out in the 2007-2009 time frame. Hard to say exactly as I did not take pictures back then.

This area looks promising to me and should hold a few nice trout in the next year or two. The pool forming at bottom right is currently occupied by the YOY trout shown. This little pool did not exist two years ago and is on its way to being deep enough to hold an adult trout.

Above the log, there is a lot of brush/remnants of a log jam piled up over the left side of the creek which is starting to scour out a pool that will have excellent cover if the debris stays in place. I could not turn up any trout, yoy or adult, but there could easily be one hidden in there.

Upstream from there is the shallow run. Last year the tailout of this had a "stickjam" which produced a 6" brookie for me. A flood earlier this year washed it out and now there is not much to keep trout there. I did not turn up any. I placed a small log on the right bank as an idea of a kind of structure that would help here. I was thinking bury 2/3 of it in the gravel and the rest would stick out into the stream below the waterline. Scour could create some more depth and the log itself would serve as overhead cover.

Next up is "pool B". There used to be a 6-8" diameter log across the head of the pool and laying along the length of the pool in the water. While the log was there, 4-6 brookies over 6" long occupied the hole. The log got blown out and deposited on a bank downstream in 2011 IIRC. Since then, the pool has held 0-2 brookies over 6". There are currently none, but there are about 8-10 YOY. I also have a photo of this pool from 2011 and the tree that is knocked over laying across the head of the pool was still standing in the 2011 pic.

"Pool C" is next upstream. This is where I saw my first native brook trout in chester county back in 2005. At the time, there were 5 brookies over 6" here. Around 2009 there would only be 1 or 2 here. I have not seen any adult brookies in this pool since 2011, only some monstrous creek chubs and a few YOY brookies. The only changes here have been the loss of some small roots that used to extend into the water and the buildup of silt on the right bank. The other thing to notice is the stream of water coming in from the left. That is warm pond water seeping through the pond embankment. That little seep did not exist prior to 2010 and at that time it was just a wet area slowly dripping water over the left bank into the pool.

Upstream of here is a channelized section between the road and the pond that usually never held adult trout. every now and then a small logjam would form somewhere and a trout would move in, but never for more than a year or so. ABove this is a big bend pool followed by the pools above and below the small concrete dam. None of those three pools currently hold adult trout.

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jpg  potential.JPG (142.70 KB)
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jpg  YOY.JPG (42.27 KB)
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jpg  shallow run.JPG (144.54 KB)
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jpg  pool B.JPG (138.16 KB)
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jpg  pool B close-up.JPG (145.44 KB)
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jpg  pool C.JPG (134.04 KB)
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jpg  creek chubs.JPG (53.98 KB)
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jpg  big YOY.JPG (29.45 KB)
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Posted on: 2014/8/27 13:24

Edited by sarce on 2014/8/27 13:56:07
Edited by sarce on 2014/8/27 13:58:09


Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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Who owns the floodplain land, and the surrounding land?

What is their present use of the land? And what do you think is likely to be the future ownership and usage of the land?

These questions haven't even been discussed. But they are the most important questions when it comes to stream conservation.

Posted on: 2014/8/27 13:57


Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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Housing developments own almost all of the floodplain and surrounding land. I expect it to remain that way for a long time. there is no room left to build more houses, the land is too steep.

The area with the pond used to be a Boy Scout camp. There are mountain biking trails through the woods that people continue to use. The road is used by local residents for walking dogs, jogging, biking, and riding ATVs and dirtbikes.

Posted on: 2014/8/27 14:02
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Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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Definitely looks like it had some flooding. It looks a little bit like the stream flowing through my property only it pretty much dries up in the summer. Not this summer of course. Other times it is a raging.

Studies showed that some of these little streams around me could hold trout, but they all have some silt issues from all of the farming and flow into slow moving carp water that I swear approaches flood stage on humid days. (slight exaggeration again).

Your stream could definitely use some stabilization. Then again, it could straighten itself out. Mother nature has done some of the best stream improvements projects that I have ever seen.

Good that no new development will be going on. The more recent construction likely added to the effect if they aren't handling the additional storm runoff properly ... what Chaz said earlier.


Posted on: 2014/8/27 14:21
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Re: Home Stream in Trouble

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In your photos, I don't see any large woody debris.

Why isn't there more of that? Is there something in the past and/or current stream/floodplain management that is preventing that?

In that type of stream the normal situation is that large woody debris is involved in much of the formation of pools and cover.



Posted on: 2014/8/27 15:06



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