Register now on PaFlyFish.com! Login
HOME FORUM BLOG PHOTOS LINKS


Sponsors

Browsing this Thread:   1 Anonymous Users



(1) 2 »


State adopts plan to eliminate stocking over wild fish.

Joined:
2007/4/25 10:02
Posts: 5842
Offline
This is from today's Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Try not to fall out of your chair as this will certainly ruffle some feathers for some time. Looks like we are heading in the right direction.


"The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will tackle the future of trout stockings and other issues when it meets June 17 in State College to begin planning how it will execute its new "resource-first agenda."

Adopted at the agency's recent quarterly meeting, the new mission -- not yet a formal plan -- will rely more emphatically on fisheries biology to shape recreational opportunities. It could mean fewer or no hatchery stockings on streams that have wild trout.

"This is not an effort to eliminate hatcheries and stockings," said Fish and Boat Commission board member Bill Worobec of Williamsport. "But we need to better understand whether we should be stocking over wild fish."

Worobec helped to engineer the policy shift.

"It mandates that we approach the resource from a scientific rather than a social perspective," he said. "Without the science, it's difficult to make good environmental and, for that matter, social decisions. That requires the agency to collect considerably more data on our fisheries, evaluate the data over time and use it as coldly and objectively as possible."

What that means for wild trout streams may put the commission in a quandary.

"The issue we're wrestling with is how to define what a wild trout fishery is," said the agency's fisheries management chief Dave Miko. "At what point do we decide that a wild trout fishery doesn't have enough wild biomass to provide recreational angling? If you find one wild fingerling in a stream, does that constitute a wild trout fishery, compared to a Class A stream where there are hundreds of wild fish and we do not stock?"

Current policy doesn't allow for stockings on Class A Wild Trout streams. Whether and where that rule could be expanded will take research, Miko said. "If stocking over a wild trout population is determined to be detrimental, we'll take a close look at removing it from the stocking list."

Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited president Ken Undercoffer has pushed for a more conservation-oriented agency for years and said he was "stunned and delighted" when the commission board voted unanimously to make fisheries protection paramount.

"The agency is saying if they have a choice not to harm a wild trout population in any way, they'll go for the resource, not the recreation," said Undercoffer, who will attend the June 17 meeting as part of a trout study group periodically consulted by the commission. "There are few streams in Pennsylvania that don't have naturally reproducing trout somewhere in the system."

That will make "resource first" a tough sell among many anglers who want to see more, not fewer, stocked streams, he said.

"Wait until people call their state reps and create an uproar. It'll be [like the] deer wars," said Undercoffer.

He was referring to the Pennsylvania Game Commission's deer management plan that increased bag limits on the theory that fewer deer would help regenerate habitat in over-browsed forests. The plan triggered the wrath of many hunters, a lawsuit by Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania and an impending audit of the plan by the state legislature.

"The Fish Commission's going to have to go out and try to sell their agenda, the way the Game Commission did with [former agency biologist] Gary Alt's deer management plan," said Undercoffer. "We'll go with them, although it will probably take a generation. I think the young people get it. It's the old fogies my age that just won't change."

Fayette County tackle shop owner Scott Gates said a plan to reduce stockings would cause license sales, and his business, to plummet.

"All these mountain streams have native fish in them," he said. "Not stocking [on streams with wild trout] would raise more [problems] than the doe-killing thing did. The commission would open a can of worms it can't handle."

Although the Fish and Boat Commission's resource-first agenda is not limited to trout, Miko says that is the species the agency will tackle first, revising both the stocking program and fishing regulations over a period of five years.

"You may see some experimentation, where we're allowing bait [fishing], say, on 'artificials-only' waters, or lures-only where there had always been bait."

Where and how many trout are planted is seen as a pivotal issue. More than 850,000 anglers bought licenses in 2007, and 70 percent of them also bought trout stamps, providing the agency with the bulk of its revenue. Despite occasional rumblings about a merger with other state agencies or developing alternate sources of income, the Fish and Boat Commission continues to operate on a user-pay system. Even the federal funds the agency receives are based on the number of licenses sold. Some of that revenue pays to operate the state's 12 working fish culture stations, eight of which are dedicated to trout.

And trout-rearing has become more expensive. Aside from infrastructure maintenance, the commission is now paying almost four times as much to fuel stocking trucks, forcing it to scrutinize whether it is getting the most bang for its buck.

Agency biologists recently concluded a three-year study of 270 stream sections across the state to determine whether trout move quickly from the areas where they are planted. It found that in 28 percent of streams, less than 40 percent of trout remained where anglers expected to catch them on opening day, and just a few streams retained half their fish. While Miko said the problem is greatest in the northeast and northcentral counties, Whiteley Creek fared poorly in the southwest.

The agency also has recently finished a phone survey of 1,400 anglers to determine their fishing preferences, which also could be factored into future stocking decisions.

"[Hatchery] trout are expensive, and they're going to die anyway," said Worobec. "We've got to put them where they can be enjoyed ... take them to the people, if you will. It may mean going into brand new waters, like a park in the center of a city somewhere that is easily accessed by children. There's some talk about focusing on lakes, where movement isn't an issue."

Undercoffer agrees that stocked trout have a place in the state, especially where water quality is marginal, but it shouldn't include streams where natives exist, he said. He cited Young Woman's Creek in Clinton County, once a Class A Wild Trout water the commission added to the stocking schedule two years ago under pressure from a local rod and gun club. The group had been planting trout on its own for years.

"Pennsylvania has been called the Montana of the East," said Undercoffer, "but that's only if we bother to create wild fisheries and protect them ... if we don't stock over them ... if we educate the public."

"Wild fish give us the opportunity to create more fishing experiences for people, but in a different format," said Worobec. "But we'll have to go to great lengths to educate the public."

All fisheries can provide leverage against pollution and sprawl, said commission environmental director John Arway.

"Whether it's a proposed mall on Deer Creek impacting stocked trout or logging at the headwaters of a native brook trout stream, we have to evaluate risks, emphasizing protecting the resource."

Arway also pointed out that resource-first applies to all of the species the commission manages, including those that anglers don't give much thought.

"Our decisions have to be driven by protecting animals," he said, "whether it's a rare fish, a rare mussel, a turtle, a stocked trout or a muskellunge."

First published on June 1, 2008 at 12:00 am

Posted on: 2008/6/1 13:24
_________________
I flyfish because I enjoy it.


Re: State adopts plan to eliminate stocking over wild fish.

Joined:
2006/11/2 8:50
Posts: 6179
Offline
Very interesting. I hope that people will see that the end result would be: MORE TROUT.

And therefore more fishing recreation. So it's NOT biology vs recreation, and it's a shame that the debate will be framed that way.

If they adopt the plan, the number of hatchery trout stock will be exactly the same. But the number of wild trout will increase. So the total number of trout in the state will be higher than it is presently. Creating more opportunities for fishermen to catch trout.

Posted on: 2008/6/1 18:48


Re: State adopts plan to eliminate stocking over wild fish.
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/13 12:42
From Altoona, PA
Posts: 2259
Offline
IMHO this is the key:
"The issue we're wrestling with is how to define what a wild trout fishery is," said the agency's fisheries management chief Dave Miko. "At what point do we decide that a wild trout fishery doesn't have enough wild biomass to provide recreational angling? If you find one wild fingerling in a stream, does that constitute a wild trout fishery, compared to a Class A stream where there are hundreds of wild fish and we do not stock?"

Where the line is drawn is going to define the whole program and it's success.

Another key issue is that given areas should still have some stocked streams available. The commission may stop stocking some streams, but if they stop stocking all or even most streams in an area (such as Centre or Potter county) folks could really react negatively.

Posted on: 2008/6/2 9:17
_________________
Padraic
Never challenge a cat to a staring contest


Re: State adopts plan to eliminate stocking over wild fish.

Joined:
2006/9/11 11:41
From bucks cty
Posts: 997
Offline
Quote:

Padraic wrote:
IMHO this is the key:
"The issue we're wrestling with is how to define what a wild trout fishery is," said the agency's fisheries management chief Dave Miko. "At what point do we decide that a wild trout fishery doesn't have enough wild biomass to provide recreational angling? If you find one wild fingerling in a stream, does that constitute a wild trout fishery, compared to a Class A stream where there are hundreds of wild fish and we do not stock?"

Where the line is drawn is going to define the whole program and it's success.

Another key issue is that given areas should still have some stocked streams available. The commission may stop stocking some streams, but if they stop stocking all or even most streams in an area (such as Centre or Potter county) folks could really react negatively.


Hopefully they go beyond just survey results and look at the stream's potential. Maybe there would be a higher quantity of wild fish if, for instance, acid mine drainage was addressed, or similar cause.

I'd like to see a survey of what percentage of Pa fisherman are targeting what species and how they fish, ie. fly, bait, by boat, etc. I'm guessing here but since the overall number of licensed anglers is steadily declining each year I wonder if the biggest drop isn't coming out of the weekend trout fishermen that are targeting stocked trout. My impression is that while fly fishermen numbers are declining they are still more dedicated than the week-enders. I am also guessing that bass angling has increased over the last 20 years. Thoughts?

Posted on: 2008/6/2 10:38


Re: State adopts plan to eliminate stocking over wild fish.

Joined:
2006/11/2 8:50
Posts: 6179
Offline
The NC areas around Lycoming, Potter, Tioga, Clinton, Cameron would still have lots of opportunity for stocked trout fishing in streams. Pine Creek, Loyalsock, Lycoming, First Fork Sinnemahoning, Kettle Creek, Driftwood Branch etc. Only the headwaters and tribs of those streams are wild trout water. Most of their mileage isn't wild trout water and probably will never be because there are just too many impacts in their watersheds.

And there is lake stocking, which is very popular with the license buying public. I went by Kettle Creek Lake one opening day and it was PACKED with people fishing from shore and in boats.

Posted on: 2008/6/2 10:57


Re: State adopts plan to eliminate stocking over wild fish.
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/9 9:29
From Monessen, PA
Posts: 22314
Offline
This is a very savy public relations move on the part of PFBC. They are signaling the stocked trout anglers that they may be seeing a decrease in stream sections being stocked and titillating the wild trout enthusiasts with the idea that they will be stocking less streams with wild trout populations. The truth seems to be that the policy hasn't changed drastically, as they have always considered the recreational value of a wild trout population when deciding where to stock: as Padraic urges, the devil will be in the details.

This said, it is encouraging that the line may be drawn a little more to the side of leaving good wild populations alone.

Posted on: 2008/6/2 11:59
_________________
Peace, Tony


Re: State adopts plan to eliminate stocking over wild fish.

Joined:
2007/5/10 14:53
From Carlisle
Posts: 632
Offline
You think people complain now about how they stock, just wait until this goes into play. I think the one good thing it will do for those people is concentrate the amount of trout stocked in the areas that will be stocked in higher numbers. However at the same time you'll be concentrating the crowds resulting in less people willing to fish the first day. I like the idea of focusing more on lakes for the guys that only fish a few times a year. A lake can hold a lot of people in a lot of different ways as well as hold a lot of these stocked trout well through the summer months. I'll be very interested in seeing how this plays out.

I've always thought Class B and up was a good population. I've fished a lot of class C's and I think about everyone of them could withstand being stocked to some degree. The majority of them have acidity problems anyway so the stream really can't hold many trout for very long.

Posted on: 2008/6/2 14:50


Re: State adopts plan to eliminate stocking over wild fish.

Joined:
2006/9/11 13:05
From Lewistown
Posts: 3614
Offline
Through out my few years fly fishing, this is my take. I would say that this plan/idea will not work for the entire state. Back where I am originally from, Lycoming County, it would work. Ues there are wild fish in almost every stream, but the ones they stock, the big ones that see the most anglers, there isn't a huge population and would continued to be stocked. Matter of fact, I'm guessing that nothing would be changed with what streams are stocking in Lycoming County -- at least not to cause a noticable change.

However, here in Mifflin County, every stream has the potential to be a class a stream (if it ins't already). But yet these streams are still stocked becuase of the clientel that the PFBC is appealing to.
If this plan went through, Mifflin County would be wiped off the stocking schedule, imo.

Posted on: 2008/6/3 8:01
_________________
><(Mkern{( ‘ >


Re: State adopts plan to eliminate stocking over wild fish.

Joined:
2007/4/25 10:02
Posts: 5842
Offline
This is classic.

Yesterday as I was sitting on a bench at Yellow Creek in Bedford and older gent sat down and we were shooting the breeze. He mentioned he was miffed the state stopped stocking a specific stretch of the creek. I was thinking to myself- GOOD.

This is a prime example where someone has the stocking mentality. Yellow has plenty of wild fish. If the entire stream was catch and release it would be sick with fish!

Seems to me the younger generation does'nt seem to have a problem with the lack of stocking.

Posted on: 2008/6/3 10:29
_________________
I flyfish because I enjoy it.


Ending Stocking Over Wild Trout

Joined:
2006/11/2 8:50
Posts: 6179
Offline
Quote:

acristickid wrote:
This is classic.

Yesterday as I was sitting on a bench at Yellow Creek in Bedford and older gent sat down and we were shooting the breeze. He mentioned he was miffed the state stopped stocking a specific stretch of the creek. I was thinking to myself- GOOD.

This is a prime example where someone has the stocking mentality. Yellow has plenty of wild fish. If the entire stream was catch and release it would be sick with fish!


If the plan is adopted, stocking would probably end in the special regs area on Yellow Creek. I think that would be good, because I think it would result in a higher trout population in the regs area. But how do you think the "regulars" on that stretch would react? Probably some would support it, and some not. Do you have any sense of what the breakdown would be?

Posted on: 2008/6/3 12:21


Re: Ending Stocking Over Wild Trout
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/9 9:29
From Monessen, PA
Posts: 22314
Offline
I would say they better talk to the landowners before they stop stocking on Yellow Creek because if that's what the landowners want and the PFBC won't stock it, Spring Ridge Club will. The fish will get bigger, but you won't be able to afford to fish over them.

Posted on: 2008/6/3 12:41
_________________
Peace, Tony


Re: State adopts plan to eliminate stocking over wild fish.

Joined:
2006/9/11 11:41
From bucks cty
Posts: 997
Offline
Quote:

acristickid wrote:
This is classic.

Yesterday as I was sitting on a bench at Yellow Creek in Bedford and older gent sat down and we were shooting the breeze. He mentioned he was miffed the state stopped stocking a specific stretch of the creek. I was thinking to myself- GOOD.

This is a prime example where someone has the stocking mentality. Yellow has plenty of wild fish. If the entire stream was catch and release it would be sick with fish!

Seems to me the younger generation does'nt seem to have a problem with the lack of stocking.


Had a similar experience the other day. I was trying out some "secret" flies on the Neshaminy targeting bass. The water temp was 72 degrees. Some old guy walks up and complains that there aren't any trout left and the state should do another round of stocking. I mentioned the water temp and that in another two weeks it probably would be too warm for trout. He went away mumbling about the good old days.

Posted on: 2008/6/3 12:43


Re: State adopts plan to eliminate stocking over wild fish.

Joined:
2006/9/11 11:41
From bucks cty
Posts: 997
Offline
Quote:

JackM wrote:
This is a very savy public relations move on the part of PFBC. They are signaling the stocked trout anglers that they may be seeing a decrease in stream sections being stocked and titillating the wild trout enthusiasts with the idea that they will be stocking less streams with wild trout populations. The truth seems to be that the policy hasn't changed drastically, as they have always considered the recreational value of a wild trout population when deciding where to stock: as Padraic urges, the devil will be in the details.

This said, it is encouraging that the line may be drawn a little more to the side of leaving good wild populations alone.


I had the opportunity to speak with one of the PFBC members at a recent Tu meeting. He indicated that the commission now had slightly more than 50% members who were wild trout advocates. The impression I got was as stated that there would be a leaning in favor of wild trout vs. stocking but there would need to be a larger shift in the commission makeup before any greater changes would occur.

Posted on: 2008/6/3 12:53


Re: State adopts plan to eliminate stocking over wild fish.

Joined:
2006/9/9 22:44
Posts: 723
Offline
It is up to the PFBC to educated the masses as to the why and why not something is being stocked. That is the least of my worries. It is their job.

Tabasco Joe - - you are referring to the Commissioners. Over the course of the last four years, the turnover with the Commissioners has brought in a fresh crop of resource minded advocate, and no doubt the recent 're-branding' of the PFBC and their resource first moto is a result of this, as well as this more wild-trout friendly management direction.

Bottom line, is if any angler out there, notices the PFBC not being resource first, the PFBC should be informed...since they would be going against their mission statement.

Posted on: 2008/6/3 16:42


Re: State adopts plan to eliminate stocking over wild fish.

Joined:
2007/4/25 10:02
Posts: 5842
Offline
Don't know the numbers behind this policy change. I would be willing to bet the cost of gasoline and the cost to maintain the hatcheries are playing a big part.

If you follow the money most of the time it leads to the answer.

Posted on: 2008/6/4 9:54
_________________
I flyfish because I enjoy it.



(1) 2 »



You can view topic.
You cannot start a new topic.
You cannot reply to posts.
You cannot edit your posts.
You cannot delete your posts.
You cannot add new polls.
You cannot vote in polls.
You cannot attach files to posts.
You cannot post without approval.

[Advanced Search]





Site Content
Login
Username:

Password:

Remember me



Lost Password?

Register now!
Stay Connected

twitterfeed.com facebook instagram RSS Feed

Sponsors
Polls
Do you keep a fishing journal?
Yes 52% (85)
No 47% (78)
_PL_TOTALVOTES
The poll closed at 2014/8/22 12:38
2 Comments





Copyright 2014 by PaFlyFish.com | Privacy Policy| Provided by Kile Media Group | Design by 7dana.com