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Monocacy looking good

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New biologist report.


report

Posted on: 2009/2/9 23:46
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Re: Monocacy looking good

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yep - LOVE that stream. Grew up in Bethlehem, and have fished it off and on my whole life. Does really well given the development it runs through and the abuse it takes.

Posted on: 2009/2/10 0:02


Re: Monocacy looking good
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Nice stream, great to see it flourishing. Here’s one thing that sticks out to me though:

“The exceptional wild brown trout population within this section of stream continues to provide anglers with a high density of wild trout in the 7 to 13 inch size range. The consistently low number of trout > 14 inches encountered during the surveys suggests that the amount of habitat suitable for larger brown trout may be a limiting factor within this section of stream.”


While I agree the habitat may not be ideal for larger fish, is it not possible that the “limiting factor” for 14”+ trout is the "Trophy Trout" designation of the stream, with which all fish 14” and larger are allowed to be harvested? Since the amount of fish able to be harvested is so small anyway, what would be the downside of making the stream section C&R? I suppose we would find out for sure what the “limiting factor” is really is……..just saying.

Also a C&R designation would make enforcement easier. Anyone with a creel or a stringer on the stream would be a likely suspect for violating the regulations.

Posted on: 2009/2/10 7:12


Re: Monocacy looking good

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afish,

i was thinking that same thing also but i wanted to see if anyone else caught that. Goode luck trying to convince the PFBC that harvest is a limiting factor

Posted on: 2009/2/10 7:15
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Re: Monocacy looking good
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Ya Sal, I hear you. All we have to offer is anecdotal evidence, we aint biologists. But even using common sense, if there are say 100 or so 14”+ fish in a mile of stream, and 1 or 2 fish are harvested a week, would the number of larger fish be diminished? Ahh.....ya!

Further, I will add in some science. Removing the prime specimens can diminish the entire population of trout in both size and numbers. If the largest fish, the ones that first, have the propensity for growing large, second, are the hardiest and the most wary since they have beat the odds and lived the longest, all remained in the stream, they would naturally take the prime spawning habitat. Being the prime specimens in the stream and utilizing the best spawning habitat, the chances for survival of their offspring from egg to alevin to fry would increase, producing more fish. Further, the offspring of these superior fish would enhance the gene pool of the stream population, and help the overall trout population to grow larger in both size and number, by living longer, being more hardy, and having a propensity to grow larger.

It would be interesting to see the results.

Posted on: 2009/2/10 8:04


Re: Monocacy looking good

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Disclaimer - More anecdotal evidence:

I have fished the trophy section a fair amount...and being the lower section is directly next to "Worm dunker central" in a public park, I have seen loads of bait fisherman fishing there, violating all rules (even though signs are clearly posted). The bait fisherman are allowed to fish below the dam and many either intentionally or not simply wander up above the dam and continue fishing. Not to start another thread about the relative merits/evils of bait fishing. My point is - if these fisherman think its ok to fish with bait there, they probably also think its a "general regulation" area and are creeling more fish.

i would LOVE that section to become C&R FFO :) However, some days I'd just be happy if they enforeced the EXISTING regulations.


But yes, it does seem to be much more than a coincidence - that the numbers fall off so quickly at 14inches. But PFBC is just like any government entity - common sense doesn't often enter the picture.

Posted on: 2009/2/10 9:11


Re: Monocacy looking good
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Spring Creek has been C & R for many years. In 2000, it was surveyed and also showed a marked decline (later edit: should have said "drop-off") in trout over 14 inches. http://www.fish.state.pa.us/images/fi ... es/afm/2000/spring_ck.htm

It might be possible, and not coincidental to Trophy Trout Regulations, that trout over 14" in a small or medium-sized stream do not live long enough to get larger than 14 inches in great enough numbers, regardless of habitat.

While I don't doubt that harvest of trout over 14" can suppress the total population of those fish somewhat, I think once again the prejudice of some for regulations suited to your style of fishing may be clouding your consideration of the raw data.

Posted on: 2009/2/10 9:46
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Re: Monocacy looking good

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Jack - i don't doubt what you say is a possibility. That's why we all use disclaimers "anecdotal", "not biologists" etc. None of us professes to have the undeniable answer.

However, moving to C&R certainly can't hurt can it?

Posted on: 2009/2/10 9:52


Re: Monocacy looking good
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It can "hurt" any angler who desires to harvest trout. That said, by all means advocate C & R regulations on the stream, but that wasn't what was occuring here. Once again, what I perceive is that folks will misconstrue even objective data to suit their prejudices. On top of that, they are very quick to level veiled accusations against our Fish Commission as if there is a broad conspiracy to lie about the probable explanation for their findings. This type of rhetoric, or more properly "propaganda," serves no purpose and is counter-productive in my opinion.

Posted on: 2009/2/10 10:11
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Re: Monocacy looking good

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I can’t imagine that the taking of 14-inch and larger trout, even at a low creel limit of 2/day, doesn’t have an effect on the total number of larger trout in a population. And this would be especially true in a situation where there is limited large trout habitat to begin with. This ain’t quantum physics guys! Look at the numbers: 1992 - 3/mi., 1997 – 23/mi., 2008 – 16/mi. Average the three years and one gets 14 trout of 14 inches or over per mile. For crying out loud, taking only 7 more limits per year on average would wipe out the entire population of legal-sized trout.

I agree: people (even fisheries biologists) tend to interpret data to meet pre-conceived notions.

Posted on: 2009/2/10 14:58


Re: Monocacy looking good
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Two things you did not address, Ken:

(1) how easy is it to capture the 14"+ fish so as to "take a limit" even once in a year?

(2) why does Spring Creek-- arguably more fertile -- with no harvest, also show a marked drop-off in 14"+ trout?

And one new thing to consider if we make the assumption that a significant number of 14"+ fish are actually being harvested:

How does the removal of larger predators effect the growth rate and carrying capacity of the stream for all other species and year-class of fish?

Posted on: 2009/2/10 16:56
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Re: Monocacy looking good

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well actually its easy to catch any 14+ inch fish as long as they dont see you...so id say pretty good. as far as if they are there is another story.

Im not saying that the regs are the reason...im just curious to know ...as we assume that its the regs, does the PFBC assume its not the regs?

Posted on: 2009/2/10 17:38
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Re: Monocacy looking good
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Hmmm.....do I believe the state agency whose job duties, education and training involve drawing these conclusions or do I believe the best guesses of avid catch-and-release fly anglers on a message board. I'll check back in when I have decided which way I'm going to lean.

Posted on: 2009/2/10 17:51
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Re: Monocacy looking good

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Quote:

well actually its easy to catch any 14+ inch fish as long as they dont see you...so id say pretty good. as far as if they are there is another story.

Im not saying that the regs are the reason...im just curious to know ...as we assume that its the regs, does the PFBC assume its not the regs?



Only one way to really find out....put it into C&R ALO for 5 years and continue to monitor fish populations and size distribution.

I don't think one can make a conclusive decision either way. It may be habitat or lack there of, OR, it may be due to creeling.

No brainer....again!!

Posted on: 2009/2/10 18:04


Re: Monocacy looking good

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i didnt think it was hard to see it as a possibility either.

Quote:
The consistently low number of trout > 14 inches encountered during the surveys suggests that the amount of habitat suitable for larger brown trout may be a limiting factor within this section of stream


may be also means might be or could be.....none of which is definitive.

Posted on: 2009/2/10 18:59
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