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Re: Bushkill Creek (Northampton Co.) Fish Population

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2012/3/22 8:26
From Couldn't Care Less
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If I'm reading the charts FI linked correctly, in 20 years this creek has approx 90% less population it once had per square mile???

That is very sad

Posted on: 2012/11/10 7:46
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Re: Bushkill Creek (Northampton Co.) Fish Population
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Joined:
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
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Stagger,
Technically yes, but the picture is bigger and more complex.

There are different ways to interpret the graphs. The graphs suggest estimated fish per mile and are broken out by size ranges. This means that, based on how many fish were found in certain sections, those numbers were then extrapolated into estimations of how many fish existed in a mile of river length (not square miles). The use of population per mile is a common way that trout densities are compared from one stream to the next. Generally speaking, here in PA for typical sized creeks and rivers (Little Lehigh would be a good example) a trout population of 1000+ wild trout per mile is considered to be a very good wild population. The state, however, uses biomass to assess whether a stream meets Class A standard. Anyway, when looking at charts like this, it's best to look at long term averages since wild trout populations vary from one year to the next. In this case, the Bushkill certainly had very high numbers and biomass of trout in the 1990s compared to the last decade and when you compare these years the situation looks very bad. On the other hand, when you compare the current numbers/biomass to the long term averages over the last three decades, the numbers (while still bad) are not that far below these long term averages.
Like any statistics, you can interpret them in different ways. The picture isn't good for the Bushkill... but it wouldn't be accurate to say the stream has lost 90% of its fish.

Posted on: 2012/11/10 8:56


Re: Bushkill Creek (Northampton Co.) Fish Population

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2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
Posts: 7609
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Also when a survey is performed, PFBC repeats the sections they've performed the surveys in the past, so even though the sections may have populations that are way down, and the calculations my show overall decline, because of habitat changes due to floods and other habitat events, the number may not really have changed as much as it appears. They typically shock a 300 meter section, then come back the following day and shock it again, then go back to the office and run the numbers.

I'm not saying that the Bush Kill isn't down, it most certainly is, but it may not be as down as the numbers say it is. Also, even though the trend is down, the years that PFBC didn't survey may have been very good years. However, again last year couldn't have been good, there were a series of floods and I suspect that the floods were key in the very down year. But YOY and fish smaller than 7 inches were very high, so if a survey is performed next year we are likely to see the numbers up again.

These numbers could also be a result of the pump problem of a few years ago that caused a large fish kill.

Posted on: 2012/11/10 11:16
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Re: Bushkill Creek (Northampton Co.) Fish Population

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2006/9/11 11:30
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I've been fishing the Bushkill since the 1960s and I think it has been a death of a thousand cuts - mostly due to development and the surge in the cement industry (which is slowing down with the economy). The drought/flood yo-yo of the last few years isn't helping either. The good old days weren't perfect and I think the stream improved in some ways with conservation efforts up until about 2000. All the fine sediment coming down Shoeneck Ck with pumping the quarries hurt the weeds and continuing sedimentation from all the developments isn't helping either. Above the Binney&Smith dam the pool used to be full of weeds - which supported tons of scuds and small mayflies and zillions of trout. Trico hatches used to be epic. Not any more. All the Lehigh Valley limestoners (except the dead Saucon in the zinc mining days) used to be carpeted with weeds, which some young people may not realize. The hole where the Bushkill met the Delaware was a "secret" lunker brown hole - now it is filled with loose sediment and only a mere shadow of what it was.

Fertilizer got better, and now worse. In the old dairy farming days you could smell the fertilizer in the water after a big spring rain. Environmental awareness, economic issues with farming, and loss of farms seemed to lower the fertilizer load. But developments with the quest for the perfect lawn has brought us more than back. Farmers could never afford to fertilize 4 or 5 times a year like some lawn services do.

The lowering water table has been an issue for a while. Remember the sinkholes that weakened the Rte 33 and Newlins Mill Rd bridges.

Hate to see the Bushkill go downhill.

Posted on: 2012/11/12 10:46


Re: Bushkill Creek (Northampton Co.) Fish Population

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2011/1/18 18:44
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Well said Jeff.
Your observations appear to be very reasonable.

Posted on: 2012/11/12 16:06


Re: Bushkill Creek (Northampton Co.) Fish Population

Joined:
2006/9/21 0:02
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 4269
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I had the pleasure of fishing a few trico hatches on this stream about 10 years ago. Was very impressed with the hatch, and the fish that it had then. It seemed like a real gem then
Sorry to hear the bad news about it

Posted on: 2012/11/12 17:38


Re: Bushkill Creek (Northampton Co.) Fish Population

Joined:
2009/6/9 21:16
From Long Island
Posts: 223
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That big hole above the dam is now filled with nothing but suckers. Saw that while scouting access to the dam. Such a shame fished that stream a few years ago in the summer and the trico hatch was very good. Another stream biting the dust.

Posted on: 2012/11/14 21:27
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