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Hammer Ck, Section 02 (above Rt 322 in SGL, camp)

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Regarding questions on this stocked stream section, no biomass estimate has ever been run on this stream, primarily because 1) the minimum standard of 30 wild trout per 300 meters was not met (mid-2000's) or 2) the survey purpose was solely to document stocked trout residency (March, 2012). The 2012 residency survey did reveal, however, a much better wild ST population than had been seen in the past, but still only about 30-35 sublegal trout and 5-6 legal trout in about 330 meters of electrofishing at each of two sites. It is unclear whether this was a seasonal improvement (stream had previously not been sampled in early spring) or a permanent improvement. It is also possible that the shift to 100 percent RT stocking produced the desired result....expansion of the wild ST population. Dam removal may have also benefited the lower end of the section. The numbers of wild trout were pleasing to see but, given the stream's approx 8 meter avg width, the population biomass would not have been high. Furthermore, the stream section has very limited habitat for stocked or wild trout in the summer due to low flow, limited depth on average, and poor substrate. These limiting factors would exist regardless of whether the stream section was stocked or not.

Posted on: 2013/5/25 14:49


Re: Hammer Ck, Section 02 (above Rt 322 in SGL, camp)
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Quote:

Mike wrote:
It is also possible that the shift to 100 percent RT stocking produced the desired result....expansion of the wild ST population.


Interesting - thanks for the update Mike.
I'm curious, is it common PFBC management practice to utilize rainbows in an effort to increase wild brook trout biomass as appears to be the case here (I'm assuming "ST" in this context is brook trout not "salmo trutta")? Has this been found to be efficacious in past studies and is there evidence that stocking of brooks and/or browns tends to suppress wild brookies?

Posted on: 2013/5/25 17:37


Re: Hammer Ck, Section 02 (above Rt 322 in SGL, camp)

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I started it a number of years ago on Codorus Ck in what was then the stocked trout section around Menges Mills, below the former DH Area. There may be other AFM's trying it now; I am not certain. In the Codorus case it was done in combination with eliminating one of two inseason stockings and was done to enhance the Class D or C wild brown trout population. The brown trout population increased to a very substantial Class A biomass. Previous work on the section above prior to it being designated as a DH Area and subsequent studies of that section's positive wild BT response to the DH regs despite VERY intensive stocking of the DH area at that time (BT went from Class D to A) encouraged Tom Greene and me to believe that reducing angling pressure by stocking RT would potentially have beneficial effects in the section below the DH area. RT are relatively quickly harvested and, therefore, long-term pressure is reduced. So, the theory behind stocking RT over wild trout populations when stocking is occurring anyway is that the RT will provide a quick fishery (easily harvested in cold water), anglers will perceive the reduced density of stocked trout, and then will move on to other waters. Whether it works on other waters or with wild brook trout remains to be seen. I have tried it on York County's Leibs Ck (wild BT), but have not evaluated the results yet. I have also tried it on Schuylkill Co's Cold Run (wild ST). The ST population appeared at first to improve to Class A, but then returned to its standard Class B biomass. So the jury is still out.

One thing that Codorus did show was that you can stock the heck out of a stream section with adult trout, maintain a high density of stocked trout through conservative regulations, and still see a very minimal wild trout population that is present in the section grow to Class A proportions and beyond if the habitat is suitable. In this specific case a strong argument could be made that harvest associated with trout stocking under general regulations had been limiting the development of the wild brown trout population, but when harvest was nearly eliminated (or greatly reduced) under DH regs, the wild brown trout population increased substantially despite the heavy stocking that many anglers and some biologists tend to believe will by itself substantially depress a wild trout population. It is important to note that prior to becoming a DH area, the section was very heavily pressured; it was not your run-of-the-mill angling pressure seen on most stocked trout streams AND it was during an era when C&R fishing on regular stocked trout waters was nearly unheard of (perhaps 10 percent of the anglers practiced it).

Posted on: 2013/5/25 21:10

Edited by Mike on 2013/5/25 21:27:20


Re: Hammer Ck, Section 02 (above Rt 322 in SGL, camp)

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I fish Hammer year round. I can tell you that pressure is ALREADY next to nothing. I saw 2 guys spin fishing tonight where the old dam used to be. Compare that to a month ago when 10 guys were lined up in that section.

Habitat is the issue w/ this stream. I think all us Lancaster boys recognize that. Getting people w/ the ability to help the stream to actually care about it has been the issue. Sal and others have talked about the frustration in that area before on this board. The hatches are great, the water is fishable year 'round thanks to the spring influence, the brookies are certainly doing very well, but as you pointed out, the stream is wide and there is very little structure, especially for the several hundred yards above 322. Structure does get better again back through the boyscout property and above, especially as you get into Lebanon Co., but it could certainly benefit from a little TLC.

I wonder too, and Sal said this to me a few weeks ago when fishing, if the floods a few years ago washed a lot of the brookies down into Hammer from the tribs. The one thing I did not see this fall were a lot of redds in Hammer creek itself. The tributaries were a different story.

Posted on: 2013/5/25 21:33


Re: Hammer Ck, Section 02 (above Rt 322 in SGL, camp)

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Rant warning! Hammer could be a pretty good stream, it's limestone from the headwaters on down. All it needs is for a TU chapter that is now involved in stocking various streams in Lancaster County to actually do something on a wild trout stream to improve it.

Posted on: 2013/5/29 21:08
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Re: Hammer Ck, Section 02 (above Rt 322 in SGL, camp)

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Mike - Did you turn up any wild BT in your 2012 survey? I and others have caught obviously wild BT in that stretch.

Posted on: 2013/5/29 21:23


Re: Hammer Ck, Section 02 (above Rt 322 in SGL, camp)

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Chaz,
The Chapter has been doing habitat work on other wild trout streams for years.
Mike

Posted on: 2013/5/29 22:04


Re: Hammer Ck, Section 02 (above Rt 322 in SGL, camp)

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Really, I've been to a couple of their meetings and all they ralked about was stocking. I would not call Lititz Run or Donegal Creek wild trout streams. But if you say so, I'll take your word for it.

Posted on: 2013/6/1 15:55
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There is always time to do more to protect wild trout.


Re: Hammer Ck, Section 02 (above Rt 322 in SGL, camp)

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I was not thinking about Lititz Run. It is not a wild trout stream. Donegal is....barely. They have other projects on Climbers, which has wild ST above their project site, and Conowingo Ck, which has wild BT within their project site.

Posted on: 2013/6/2 11:57


Re: Hammer Ck, Section 02 (above Rt 322 in SGL, camp)

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Conowingo is probably their best effort. From what I hear, the project strech is amazing. It's a small stretch, but great work there.They did some "restoration" on Segloch I believe, on posted land. They very strongly neglect the wild trout streams in the northern part of the county though. Hammer is one of a kind for Lanc. Native brookies, wild browns, great hatches, fishable year 'round...but it also happens to be the county's most popular ATW . Not sure it would go over well to do restoration and put special regs on the stream. I'm sure that stream sells a lot of FL in the county and heck. If the banks keep widening from errosion, then the biomass of wild fish to surface water ratio can be kept down, keeping the stream out of class A status and keeping it on the stocking list.

Posted on: 2013/6/2 23:00






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