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Re: A tale of two streams...

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Regarding your scenario.

Is the PFBC actually asserting what you say they are asserting in regard to that sort of situation?

I don't think they are.

The PFBC often proudly talks about their success on streams like Saucon Creek, Spring Creek, Penns Creek, Little Juniata, Fishing Creek, Slate Run, Cedar Run, etc.

These streams were previously stocked and had state-wide harvest regs. The PFBC made changes to reduce harvest, and the populations responded.

They are proud of these successes, as they should be.

In the case of brook trout, I don't think many PFBC people would deny that stocking over brook trout hurts brookie populations. The evidence from electrofishing is completely overwhelming on this. The cropping is severe and the data shows it indisputably.

They have taken many brookie streams off the stocking list for this reason. And tried to take a lot more off, but got beaten back by local sportsmens groups that went to their local legislators, and those legislators said essentially: stock our streams or else we'll get rid of you, and maybe your agency as well.



Posted on: 2013/9/9 9:00


Re: A tale of two streams...

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TB: "In the case of brook trout, I don't think many PFBC people would deny that stocking over brook trout hurts brookie populations. The evidence from electrofishing is completely overwhelming on this. The cropping is severe and the data shows it indisputably."

actually the research says that stocking typically does not hurt wild trout populations, see below page 8:

"Rarely has any study shown negative impacts to wild trout at the population level due to catchable stocking."

https://collaboration.idfg.idaho.gov/F ... er2010%20Wild%20Trout.pdf

moreover, where stocking effects on wild trout populations are seen, they probably result from increased fishing pressure attracted after stocking, not from clueless, short lived stockies themselves (see above article). page 8 "we believe that increased angler effort is the most common cause of decline in wild trout abundance associated with hatchery stocking, when such a decline occurs."

btw, would stockies cause cropping?: if anything wouldn't the stockies take out the smaller wild fish, not the bigger ones?

So if anything affects PA brookie populations after stocking, it is probably the added fishermen more than the added fish. PA has a great amount of unstocked wild brookie water - literally hundreds of streams - so I can live with the impact of stockie fishermen on some of them.






Posted on: 2013/9/9 9:24

Edited by k-bob on 2013/9/9 9:40:11


Re: A tale of two streams...

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I agree that the main effect from stocking is increased harvest, rather than from competition. I've said that all along.

But that effect is what actually occurs, and what suppresses the trout population.

On many streams hatchery trout are stocked over wild trout and the limit is 5 fish per day. The stocking attracts large numbers of harvest oriented anglers, who harvest the wild trout as well as the stockies.

Which greatly suppresses the trout population. The PFBC knows this.

Which is why on many streams they have changed that situation, from about 1980 up til today. And often talk about their successes in this regard.

In many cases they have achieved excellent increases in trout populations by doing so.



Posted on: 2013/9/9 9:42


Re: A tale of two streams...

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the literature doesn't suggest that the main effect from stocking is through harvest, it suggests the only effect of stocking is through harvest. article linked above.

my casual guess-estimate is that at least for NE PA, of all of about 10% of wild brook trout streams are stocked. that includes every little jump-across stream of course. glass much more than half full :)

Posted on: 2013/9/9 9:53

Edited by k-bob on 2013/9/9 10:13:19


Re: A tale of two streams...

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Quote:

k-bob wrote:
the literature doesn't suggest that the main effect from stocking is through harvest, it suggests the only effect of stocking is through harvest. article linked above.



Whether the harm is done via harvest or competition or some combination of the two, what is most relevant is that the harm is done.

In PA, where trout are stocked over wild trout, the regs on the vast majority of these are the general regs, i.e. 5 fish per day, 7 inch minimum. So, yes, the great majority of the harm is coming from harvest, not competition. The stockies are quickly removed.

In the far fewer cases where hatchery trout are stocked over wild trout, and special regs prevent the harvest of the stockies, does competition have an effect?

You'll have to talk to Mike about that. He says yes, in regard to Donegal Creek, at least.

Posted on: 2013/9/9 10:37


Re: A tale of two streams...

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tb: "the great majority of the harm is coming from harvest, not competition."

OK, stockies don't do that much harm to wild trout populations. Some wild brookies may be lost to fishermen pursuing stockies, cropping some legal fish... on the minority of PA brookie streams that see stocking and fishing pressure. This is more of an issue for the fishermen than the brookie as a species. And we can easily find unstocked brookie water (with for example a book :)). As I noted above, I'd make a simple guesstimate that in NE PA, 90% of all the brookie water incl tiny streams is not stocked. Glass > half full!

Posted on: 2013/9/9 15:10


Re: A tale of two streams...

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k-bob,

Not that it affects the outcome much. But I think the majority of the damage to brookies on stocked streams isn't harvest, but rather, incidental mortality, from harvest MINDED anglers. I've seen it a million times. You can fish bait without much harm to the fish. But it takes a little effort. I think most C&R type bait guys (there are quite a few of them) are pretty good. But the ones who are intending to harvest stockies (which I have no problem with) don't bother. When you get a bite, you can increase your hooking % greatly by letting the fish chew on it for a while and take it deep. Why not, you intend to kill the fish anyway. Then you start reeling, only to find it's a 5" little native. Even harvest minded anglers will typically try to release this fish, not that it does much good.

Heck, you can't get to the "good" fish in this hole till you get rid of these pesky aggressive natives!

An angler or two can indeed put a hurting on a section of stream this way. But the overall population does have a few things going for it. First, such streams are often stocked only in small areas, meaning the harvest fishermen are confined to a small area, limiting the damage. At some point in the near future some natives will indeed move back in and repopulate.

Also, I agree that 90% of them are unstocked anywhere along their lengths. Small sections of a small subset of streams are what's effected, but they can be affected fairly severely in the short term. Long-term damage is likely very lmited. But tell that to the guy who fishes through in late May or early June, and when he comes across the stocked area, the wild fish suddenly seem to dissapear. That does happen rather often. And of course, the logical conclusion for him is that the population was decimated by harvest, hence tighter restrictions on harvest will help. But the guy fishing that hole is likely to catch the natives FIRST, and kill them nomatter what his limit is. Perhaps if you lowered the limit, he'd reach it quicker and leave instead of going up and trying the next stocked hole up, but that's about as much as you can hope for.

Posted on: 2013/9/9 15:27


Re: A tale of two streams...

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pat right we are often talking about temporary damage to partial sections of the minority of brookie streams that are stocked and get a lot pressure... not statewide Charmaggedon :).

Posted on: 2013/9/9 15:34

Edited by k-bob on 2013/9/9 16:06:29


Re: A tale of two streams...

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Quote:
I guess they’re right………right?

Guess I'll balls up and say flat out no.
I've seen surveys manipulated. The PFBC guys may take care of our fish and waters, but you have to cross that with their need to sell licenses to keep their jobs.
They know they'll always get our license dollars. Its the truck chasing harvesters they're after. Its almost amazing how often we're told harvest has little to no effect, yet we consistently make different observations.
True story.

Posted on: 2013/9/10 8:02


Re: A tale of two streams...

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I always have believed habitat trumps regulations in importance for fish populations. However, there are more subtleties than we know and there are no absolutes.

I fish mostly open water in the summer and fall since the special regulations are more crowded and the fish there see a whole lot more flies. For example, the trico hatch is heavily fished at the Little Lehigh and the Saucon and the fish get conditioned to trico flies in a week or two; nearby streams with no special regs fish better longer. I have gone a year without seeing a fly angler at one of my favorite holes less than a mile from a popular special regs area which is always crowded.

But, the fishing is different. In open water you need to walk a little or fish hard to get spots like under trees, behind rocks etc. Often the nice pools near the parking pull-offs are barren of trout - especially the larger ones. I have been snorkeling a fair amount this summer and have seen very few good trout in the large, nice pools right by the road - pools where they should be.

One stream I fish does have a large native brookie population and is stocked. It is a limestone influenced stream so is fairy alkaline, but not a full blown spring creek - unlike many brookie streams. The brookie population also shows wide swings with the population taking a drop in drought years. The brookies move out of the holes in the spring when stockies are plentiful and move to the shallow riffles. Maybe this helps them survive.

Posted on: 2013/9/10 9:47


Re: A tale of two streams...

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Question: How did the wild trout fare on Young Woman's Creek after stocking was re-instituted there?

I ask because YWC (right hand branch) was declared c/r upon the resumption of stocking.

Posted on: 2013/9/10 15:57


Re: A tale of two streams...

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Ok, as dwight notes, the majority of stocking's impact comes from harvest, not competition (see also study linked above). TB: "I agree that the main effect from stocking is increased harvest, rather than from competition. I've said that all along."

Shame that Arway of the pfbc was criticized for saying that stockies don't compete with wild trout, when that's what the research says. And TU, which claims to advocate for science based trout mgt., might stop misleading people about stockies competing with natives -- see their online Q&A on stocking policy (link below): "Both catchable sized and fingerling trout occupy habitat and consume food sources in competition with the native species." The research says what Arway and the study I linked in this thread said: stockies don't hurt wild trout pops through competition...

http://www.tu.org/sites/www.tu.org/fi ... ons_and_answers_final.pdf

What's a wild trout fisherman to do with the info that any stocking effect is probably more through harvest/hooking than competition? Look for places that see stocking but not much fishing pressure (Im not about to say). Wild trout fishing may great, because stockies don't really compete with wilds. Also, streams with 1/4 or 1/3 of their length stocked, and long sets of posted tribs, may fish just great if you wait after the opening day rush.

If you read historical things, almost every great PA wild trout stream I know was stocked in the past ... incl some very small ones. That alone should tell you that stocking doesn't really have long term impacts on wild trout.

YWC? Donegal? I don't know. Single streams have their issues, but they don't overturn the result from careful studies of multiple streams (good example and discussion in the study I linked earlier in the thread) that stockies don't really compete with wild trout.




Posted on: 2013/9/11 7:29

Edited by k-bob on 2013/9/11 7:44:31
Edited by k-bob on 2013/9/11 7:46:03
Edited by k-bob on 2013/9/11 8:27:40


Re: A tale of two streams...

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Again, I very much hesitate in making blanket assertions. Stockies don't compete with wilds? Perhaps true, most of the time. But somewhere you can bet there's a stream where they do. And somebody on this board has that stream in mind when this question comes up.

Posted on: 2013/9/11 8:44


Re: A tale of two streams...

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well research findings have their range and limits... I am sure that at some extreme volume of stocking you could cause competition with wilds. but that would be an unusual exception.

the more typical case is when part of a stream is stocked at some normal level, which won't introduce competition effects in a stream system.

Posted on: 2013/9/11 8:53


Re: A tale of two streams...

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I think it's more a case of similarity.

If a stream holds mostly 3-8" brookies, and you dump a some 12" stockie bows in. Well, the bows are going to have different food requirements. They're oversized for the stream. They're dumb, and gonna sit in that deep hole rather than take up natural feeding positions. They might even take off and leave. If they don't, they won't last more than a few months due to harvest and/or just not being fit for the stream. They effectively don't compete.

On the other hand, picture a stream where the wilds are frequently in the same size class as the stockies, and the stockies hold over very well, and take on wild characteristics. At some point, they learn to compete for holding lies. They have the same food requirements. Now they compete.

For instance, fingerling stocked streams. If the fingerlings survive long enough to compete with adult wilds, I think they would. In many cases, though, I think such places either lack many wild fish, hence WHY they are fingerling stocked. If the wild population is strong, and they're large, then throwing fingerlings in amounts to little more than feeding the adults!

Posted on: 2013/9/11 9:10



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