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could we, would we and should we?

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2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
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i had a thought about some of the streams with natural reproduction of trout. the numbers of wild fish are not significant enough to produce a class a wild trout fishery. could we improve the stream in the most pristine of areas? how?

would we create deep pools or more holding water?
would we use more in stream habitat?
what would we do to create a flourishing fish population?
what would we do to creat more food for the fish?
also should we?
these trout have been here and survived for hundreds of thousands years. but....if we did the wild trout populations in pa could and would be unmatched. i belive if we had a brook trout fishery like the state had in the late 1800's and early 1900's we would be a mecca for trout fishing.

but what we have is also great. hate to see it ruined.

Posted on: 2006/12/1 15:35
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Re: could we, would we and should we?

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From Greensburg, PA
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I'll have what he's having...

Posted on: 2006/12/1 16:50


Re: could we, would we and should we?

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geez...try to make a discussion about boosting wild trout populations and i get accused of being a drug addict! nice tom.

i just wondered if anyone had any thoughts about boosting up some of our lesser known waters. the pfbc talks about how brook trout are threatened but we all work on discuss fixingmore well known streams.ex... falling spring branch or valley creek. what about the other streams? do they need work?

Posted on: 2006/12/1 17:22
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Re: could we, would we and should we?
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I would certainly agree that we should attempt improvements on our wild trout waters. As always though - the devil is in the details. Do we manage for brookies? Do we put man made improvements in or let nature run its course? I'm inclined to believe that man made improvements are good most of the time. In particular, I would like to see some form of structural isolation of brook trout headwaters - and not just the upper headwaters but perhaps further down into areas more likely dominated by stocked fish or wild browns. Some similar efforts are being made in the Smokies to protect brookies through barriers. Some of these are natural waterfalls but some are, I think, man made or natural barriers that are modified to be impassable to fish downstream. Of course Big Spring always becomes part of this discussion. Critics would argue that the fish barrier never kept out browns and rainbows anyway and that's why it was removed. Many fishermen (myself included) enjoyed fishing for the many big browns and 'bows in the "ditch." However, I still believe that with occassional electroshocking "maintainence" the browns/'bows could have been kept out for the most part and the brookies given some leg room. As it is now with the improved water quality, both brooks and 'bows seem to be showing signs of recovery but I fear without the barrier the 'bows will eventually overtake the bt. If it were entirely up to me I'd put the barrier back, deepen the water with some structural improvements and add some more cover. Below the barrier I'd do the same for the browns/rainbows. I would also like to see more lime dosing of streams with acidity problems as I think this is showing some promising results. This could really improve some of the lesser known waters (or competely unknown) that you refer to. Another policy change I would like is to see more surveys of stocked water. I know (as I'm sure you do) waters that are stocked that are almost certainly Class A and that should see an abatement of stocking. Of course we would all love to see more and better trout waters. How to get there - and what manifestations of "more and better" we would want to see - is a matter of personal philosophy. It also is expensive and demanding of time and physical effort. My hat's off to the many dedicated TU members, club members etc, who take the time to volunteer and/or raise money to support these projects.

Posted on: 2006/12/2 9:00


Re: could we, would we and should we?
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2006/9/11 8:26
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Fishidiot,

I’m interested in hearing about the success of the “lime dosing” of streams you mentioned. How is it done? Where is it being done? How successful has it been? Is it cost effective?

It is easy to see the myriad of visible problems with many streams, and yet, the unseen reason for the disappearance of wild trout in many parts of the State is the high acidity of the water because of acid rain. Planting trees, stabilizing the stream bank, creating fish friendly structure, and controlling runoff does no good if the ph is below the tolerance range of trout. PA has some of the most acidic rain on the planet, due in large part to the burning of fossil fuels in power plants upwind. Areas of the State not blessed with limestone buffers suffer immensely. There are streams in northeast PA that even stocked trout swim to parts unknown to get away from the acidic water. If lime dosing is a viable option, perhaps some wild trout streams can be reclaimed or improved.

Thanks in advance for the info.

Posted on: 2006/12/2 10:52


Re: could we, would we and should we?

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2006/9/9 20:09
From Harrisburg
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Dear afishinado,

Check out the Doc Fritchey Trout Unlimited website for their success story with a limestone diversion well on Rausch Creek which is a tributary of Stony Creek here in Dauphin County.

http://www.dftu.org/

In the summer of 2005 I was involved renting equipment to a contractor who was putting in a huge limestone diversion system at the mine portal source of Catawissa Creek on the Luzerne/Schuylkill county border. If you are unfamilar with Catawissa Creek it is one of the most beautiful streams in the State but unfortunately it's headwaters are horribly polluted by AMD. Cold clear and sterile water abounds, and hopefully this limestone system will mitigate the acid drainage and allow the stream to become a viable trout fishery.

Likewise it was recently announced that a similar limestone diversion system will be placed on Bear Creek which is a cold water tributary of Wiconisco Creek here in Dauphin county. It too flows full and clear with water draining from long abandoned underground coal mines. There is no shortage of water and again the ultimate goal is return the stream to being a trout fishery.

Both of the systems I mentioned in the second and third paragraphs are very much like the system on Rausch Creek only on a much larger scale. No doubt the hard work by the TU members and the demonstrated success of their project has made limestone treatment a valuable option in restoring acid mine drainage impacted waters.

Regards,
Tim Murphy

Posted on: 2006/12/2 11:37


Re: could we, would we and should we?

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There's a lot that could be done to improve wild trout populations. End stocking on top of wild trout. Low or no harvest regulations on all wild trout waters. 5 fish per day is not an effective limitation on harvest. There is very extensive stocking on top of native brook trout populations in PA, which is an outrage.

Many streams have habitat problems, particularly a lack of pools and cover, because of past alterations. Restoring streams to a more normal physical condition would allow streams to support wild trout populations at a higher level than they do now, and at a level closer to what they held originally.

A lot of people think that freestone streams just naturally hold a low population because of infertility and "flashy" stream flows. 40 kg/ha is considered Class A. Most freestoners are below that and many are far below that. But there are some freestoners that have 80 kg/ha and even over 100 kg/ha. Those streams have good physical habitat. That's the key.

Restoring physical conditions on streams wouldn't be easy or cheap.

Sal, are you a member of Trout Unlimited? Conserving and restoring streams and improving trout management isn't a wholly original idea. TU has been trying to work on these things for years.

Posted on: 2006/12/2 11:43


Re: could we, would we and should we?
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afish,
I posted a thread on this topic on the "old" site but it's worth revisiting. As Tim pointed out, probably the best example here in southcentral PA is Stoney Creek. I think there may still be some damage from Hurricane Ivan but DFTU may have already repaired this. My own personal experience with lime dosing involves a smaller stream that is being assisted by Cumberland Valley TU and Adams Co TU. In this particular case, the high acidity is likely a soil composition issue as there isn't AMD involved. For the last few years we have been hand shoveling lime sand into the headwaters - typically early in the year when acidity tends to spike. During the year we test ph and the results below the lime site are consistently higher (better). Rates fluctuate but I am convinced the data supports the conclusion that this liming is effective. Back in the 80's I almost never caught wild fish in this section but recently things have improved and I am getting wild brook trout, including a 9" early this year. I have not seen or caught any trout above the liming site yet. I am currently conducting a survey sample of macroinvertebrates both above and below the liming site to see if insects are returning. At this point the results look promising. The larger picture statewide is only just getting clearer. In areas with high degradation and AMD the process will likely take longer and be more expensive. More study is needed but I am optimistic. The main downside I think, is that the work is labor intensive and requires repeated treatments or structures that "filter" the water which are more expensive.

Posted on: 2006/12/2 12:34


Re: could we, would we and should we?

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2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
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I wasn't accusing you of being a drug addict...sorry if you took it that way. It was just a lot of questions and a lot of thinking all at once. Usually the kind of "deep" thinking I do more of when I've been "enlightened". Not by drugs but the drinkable kind. Those are all good questions...mnay that have been pondered, by many, for a long time. Actually I am waiting for Chaz to submit his disertation on the subjects you brought up. These questions are right up his alley. The give the simple answer...Of course we could, we should and why wouldn't we. Unfortunately some don't se things the same way, mostly because it doesn't serve their personal preference of what fishing is or want it to be. Don't let me discourage your positive attitude. My comment was just the first thing that popped into my mind.

Posted on: 2006/12/2 12:48


Re: could we, would we and should we?
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2006/9/13 12:42
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Good questions.

I think my spin on this is that water quality is the ultimate issue. It's way more important than habitat, etc.

Millions were spent on Big Spring before the hatchery was closed, and yet, there were very, very few fish outside the ditch. When the hatchery was closed, the trout spread out downstream and are beginning to reproduce. It'll be a while before the stream will be great, but it's on it's way. And it's the flushing of the stream that is doing the job, not the structures etc that were installed over the years when the hatchery was running.

Rather than building things in the stream (and remember any instream project you build is going to be temporary, and also will have some negative effects along with the good), projects to improve water quality should be pursued first. Planting native species along the banks will stabalize the banks. This will reduce silt. In addition, the leaf litter will provide the food that mayfly and caddis nymphs need. Maintaining dirt and gravel roads that parrallel streams will also reduce silt.

Instream projects are best suited (in my limited experience) to remediating the effects of other manmade structures. For instance, Muddy Creek TU put in some great streambank reinforcements opposite a railroad bridge. The supports for the bridge were wide enough for a tributary to flow between them at NORMAL flow. When the trib would rise with storm runoff the flow was focused like a fire hose at the opposite bank. The reinforcements deflect the flow, keeping the bank from washing out. It's a good project and good example of how these projects can be used.

The project water at Kettle Creek is a good example of how to restore a stream with instream structures. The structures restore, however, they do not create a trout stream.

IMHO there are good smallmout bass streams, there are Class C trout streams and that's OK. You can't turn every stream in PA into a Class A. You might be able to return a Class A to Class A where the problems that caused the population to drop are understood and addressable.

Posted on: 2006/12/3 9:03
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Re: could we, would we and should we?

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2006/9/11 13:05
From Lewistown
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I saw a fly fishing show on TV where a man in VA took a stream that ran through his property, which had minimal fish, and turned it into a thriving stream. All he did was replace rock and bolders that were removed to build fences and plant a couple of trees. He said that purchasing the rocks was the largest part, but it cost very little money (mountain stone is free in all our small streams). He used minimal lime, but instead focused on habitat and creating riffel and pockets. After all, the acidity of the stream would raise again after a few years of acid rain, especially in this area. I guess we could use only limestone.
On the TV show they were consistantly catching 12" wild fish on a stream literaly 2-3' across. Everyday I wish I lived on the banks of a stream that had some native reproduction so I could do the same thing to this stream and it would be my personal gem.

Posted on: 2006/12/3 22:59
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Re: could we, would we and should we?

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2006/9/9 17:18
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Quote:
Sal, are you a member of Trout Unlimited? Conserving and restoring streams and improving trout management isn't a wholly original idea. TU has been trying to work on these things for years.

lol yes iam! and a few other orginazations.

tom thanks. actually i was drinking some jameson!

thank you all for the serious replys. i also belive that wild trout populations could be improved through some work without destroying what we have. i know its expensive and i know that it takes time. but if we never start it will never happen.

unfortunatly, as tom said:
Quote:
Unfortunately some don't se things the same way, mostly because it doesn't serve their personal preference of what fishing is or want it to be.


but thats the point isnt it. its not about our fishing experince, its about the fish. when will we realize that and start saving the brook trout?

Posted on: 2006/12/4 7:40
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Re: could we, would we and should we?

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Re: "if we never start it will never happen."

It started a long time ago. TU was formed in 1959 and has been working on this stuff ever since. And there were people working on these things even long before TU was formed.

So, join in. We can always use more help. But be careful not to say things like "if we never start it will never happen."

That dismisses the efforts of those who have been working on these things for most of their lives.

Posted on: 2006/12/4 11:22


Re: could we, would we and should we?

Joined:
2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
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Quote:
Re: "if we never start it will never happen."
Quote:
It started a long time ago. TU was formed in 1959 and has been working on this stuff ever since. And there were people working on these things even long before TU was formed.


i think you need to read my posts more carefully. i am a member and i do join in. in fact i have 5 restoration projects going on right now.

the problem is none of the streams being worked on are at present wild trout streams. we have very few wild trout streams in this area of pa. they are in danger and i have brought this up countless times. tu has ignored my plea due to the overwhelming demand of "other" fisheries. so....now a few of us are trying to get things rolling on other projects.

dont think i dont know tu's history or the great work they have done. but we must not get complacent. some of our best and most valuable natural resources in amish land are endangered.

Posted on: 2006/12/4 11:35
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Re: could we, would we and should we?

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2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
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troutbert,
read the article in the post stocked vs wild in this forum. you tell me have the pfbc and other organizations been working on saving brook trout for a long time?

Posted on: 2006/12/4 11:52
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