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Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed

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I don't know for sure. But if there were anywhere I'd expect heritage strain brookies to exist intact, this would probably be it.

Not that it matters a whole awful lot to me. Elsewhere in the state, our brookies are likely a mix of different heritage strains (rather than the original heritage strain for that stream), with maybe a little stocky thrown in for good measure. I don't have less respect for them.

If you throw out the strain argument, you still have native vs. introduced. Even that doesn't hold a lot of sway for me.

It's a resource. Those who enjoy the resource are mostly fishermen. So long as what they want isn't ecologically damaging, it's fishermen's desires that hold sway with me, rather than some sense of preserving a certain strain. That said, if fishermen's wishes are native fish, or even heritage strain, well, that does hold sway.

Posted on: 2013/10/1 14:48


Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed

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I think it would be a good idea to try to create a brookie zone in the very upper end of the regs area.

Not the entire regs area, just a short segment of it. Maybe just the Ditch at first, since it already as a barrier. And a barrier is actually required for it to work.

The rainbows could be electrofished out of the Ditch and placed in the lower part of the regs area. They would probably have to electrofish once a year or maybe once every two years afterward. Or just whenever they notice that rainbow numbers are going high in the Ditch.

If this experiment works, then construct a barrier downstream a little ways, about the same length again as the Ditch.

At the same time as trying to establish a good brookie area in the upper end, start extending the wild trout zone downstream. Now that the water quality issue is resolved, there is no reason why the stream could not support wild trout, big fish and lots of them, the whole way to the mouth.

Maybe the regs below the current regs area could be something different, such as Spring Creek regs, i.e. C&R all tackle, so that that section is open to all, like Spring Creek.

Why not have a small section on a limestone stream managed specifically for brookies? The only reason I can see is cost of managing it. It would be somewhat labor intensive.

But from both a fishing and conservation perspective, it would be a good thing.

I think it's possible that the PFBC would be willing to try something like this, if there was enough public support. If there is not public support, they won't do it.

Posted on: 2013/10/1 14:52


Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed

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Well, as I've said here before...if you want it to be like the golden olden days of yore that none of us ever experienced, you're gonna have to dam the stream back up again and create a series of brookie ponds to recreate that fishery. And you could do this in the ditch since the breastworks still exist, then we'd be fishing from the paved road and where you stand now to fish the ditch you'd either be treading water or sitting in a float tube. This stream is nothing like what it used to be, and nothing like what it was when it first earned its reputation, those days are long, long gone.

The rainbows are there to stay in BigSpring, folks just need to realize this and accept it.

And regarding heritage strains, there is a study currently happening to determine this. Samples are being taken for comparision to what PFBC feels is a true example of heritage brookie for the watershed. It's my understanding that this was done previously many years ago, and they found only 60ish% purity of something or other, don't remember the exact details of quantifying this. But that was done 20-30 yrs ago and I would expect the true native population to be even more diluted now. It'll be interesting to see the results of the study, but don't expect it to influence any management decisions with regard to the fishery.

Whoever is banking the rainbows is a small, bitter and ignorant person. Hope they throw the book at 'em.

Posted on: 2013/10/1 16:12


Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed

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2008/3/20 16:37
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Emailed one person- no responce and then spoke with another. The PFBC and the restoration was about "stream habitat" not "brook trout" habitat. From who I spoke with I was told they want to now see what the stream wants to do and take it from there brookies/rainbows.

I don't thing I will get a reply back from the e-mail.
Mike

Posted on: 2013/10/1 16:39


Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed
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Quote:

The_Sasquatch wrote:
I highly doubt any of those brookies are related to the original native strains that were there. These are the descendents of hatchery fish, same as the wild bows, correct?


Probably.
The hatchery bows are definitely of recent stocky genetics and this can be seen in their propensity to spawn in the fall. Whether the brookies are a "heritage" strain or otherwise unique is, of course, much more complicated. The claim is often made that the wild brook trout in BS were wiped out in the mid 20th century, but this is not the case (although they declined greatly). Wild brook trout have persisted in the upper ("ditch") section through the years. Stocked brook trout, both adult and fingerling, have been added to the stream over the decades too and this has likely diluted the genetics. I suspect, however, that some unique genetics may remain since the current wild brook trout in BS are winter spawners. This is highly unusual. I don't know anywhere else in PA where brook trout spawn in the Dec-Feb time frame. The fact that BS brookies spawn in winter has been documented for decades. This suggests to me that the current wild fish may have some unique characteristics and may be related to the ones present decades ago. There are tissue samples from decades old brookies from the Cumberland Valley watershed and - as Tomi pointed out - there is a current genetic study underway to compare current BS brooks with this genetic population. Results should be interesting. My guess will be that the results will show a mixed heritage. My personal view is that the genetic strain of brook trout is not an especially critical issue with respect to management decisions....however, I recognize the point that other folks feel that unique strains deserve special protections.

On a separate note - but related to the spawning season issue: I have not seen the level of rainbow spawning the last month as I expected to see, and that I've seen the last couple years. Brookies, on the other hand, were spawning heavily at the beginning of this year, the most I've ever seen. I don't claim this as even remotely scientific.....but it seems to me that the 2013 YOY class may possibly see better brookie reproduction and fewer bows. Time will tell. The stream was not surveyed this year, but will be in the future and population trends will continue to be monitored. I haven't been up at BS as much this year as I'd like - if you've been watching the spawning picture, I'd be curious to hear what you have seen with respect to spawning.

Posted on: 2013/10/1 17:12


Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed

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Quote:

tomitrout wrote:
Well, as I've said here before...if you want it to be like the golden olden days of yore that none of us ever experienced, you're gonna have to dam the stream back up again and create a series of brookie ponds to recreate that fishery. And you could do this in the ditch since the breastworks still exist, then we'd be fishing from the paved road and where you stand now to fish the ditch you'd either be treading water or sitting in a float tube. This stream is nothing like what it used to be, and nothing like what it was when it first earned its reputation, those days are long, long gone.



No change in the physical structure of the stream would be required to have a brookie section in the upper end.

Brookies do not require dammed sections. They were there before the dams.

They live in a great variety of physical environments, from ponds to very high gradient streams, and the full range in between. There is no physical limitation whatever to brookies living there.

Posted on: 2013/10/1 18:36


Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed

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Quote:

Fishidiot wrote:

My personal view is that the genetic strain of brook trout is not an especially critical issue with respect to management decisions....however, I recognize the point that other folks feel that unique strains deserve special protections.


I agree that the genetics of the brookies is not a particularly important issue. If they are brook trout and they can live and reproduce there, that's good.

But if there is some feeling that the genetics of those brookies aren't "good enough", then they could bring in some brook trout whose genetics are "good enough" from another stream.

Regarding these rainbows. Do you see spawning in the fall or in the spring, or both?

Posted on: 2013/10/1 18:45


Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed

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I didn't realize the heritage strain was even THAT strong. My point was going to be that if very little of the heritage strain remains, then why do we keep romanticizing the brookies in Big Spring when in reality, their origin is of little difference than the wild bows?

Posted on: 2013/10/1 19:11


Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed
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Quote:

troutbert wrote:
Do you see spawning in the fall or in the spring, or both?


In BS, I've only seen rainbows spawning in the fall. Keep in mind, however, rainbows have been stocked or escaped into BS at least since the 40s and concern over rainbow spawning has existed since the 50s so there could certainly be some spring spawners from these "older" fish. The bows in Falling Springs are typical, early spring spawners and there could certainly be some of these fish in BS. I haven't watched this particularly closely but, in my opinion, the early spring spawning in FS, and other wild rainbow streams, is very subtle and low key and not always very obvious.... so this may be occurring in BS too and folks just haven't noticed(?).
However, the current bows in the creek can be seen, certainly the last few years, spawning in late August/Sept and their spawning is very noticeable with large, very obvious redds. These fall spawners in the FFO are thought to probably be producing the very large year classes of bows that have popped up in recent years.

This year, however, I didn't see as much rainbow spawning. Perhaps they are shifting the times they spawn(?).

Posted on: 2013/10/1 20:04


Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed
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Quote:

The_Sasquatch wrote:
My point was going to be that if very little of the heritage strain remains, then why do we keep romanticizing the brookies in Big Spring when in reality, their origin is of little difference than the wild bows?


There's probably a good number of people who look at this the same way, regardless of the strain of brook trout currently present.

Big Spring and brook trout, however, will always be synonymous. The classic FFing literature is replete with stories about the brook trout of BS and there has been a long tradition in the Cumberland Valley of trying to protect these brook trout in BS. Perhaps some of these stories have indeed been romanticized.......but they're part of the historical culture of PA FFing.

Posted on: 2013/10/1 20:10


Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed

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Time of the year in regards to spawning is not definitive on genetics. At least not genetics that have adapted or are generations deep in a stream. They will spawn when it gives the young the best chance for survival determined by many factors of the stream.
If even one native strain spawned with another strain in all likelyhood over time all the trout will share some genetic variation.
I agree with Squatch. Why glorify the brookie if they are no more than stockie genetics. Another example of tampering gone wrong. But like FirandFeather said the improvement is for the stream and which ever benfits brook or bow We'll see.
Personally, I love Brookies. But there are alot of great brookie streams. How many streams in Pa produce wild bows? I don't believe there are many. I wouldn't be disappointed either way. If the Brookies do well or the Bows. Either way Big Springs will remain a great stream capable of producing large trout. When is enough enough when it comes to our tampering with this stream.
I got an idea. Open the hatchery, plant some trees along the runway. Place the brookies and the bows in seperate pens.

Posted on: 2013/10/2 0:04
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I am of the opinion that there is NOT one single population of wild trout that exists in our great state worth intentionally degrading for the benefit of any fisherman or any amount of money no matter how small the population.


Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed

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Yeah FI. I mean, the history is there and I respect the history. I guess I just have a hard time seeing the bows as some kind of invasive species in BS if the heritage strain of the brookies isn't there anymore. There are a lot of people who treat those 'bows like one of the seven plagues. It's a unique fishery, brookie or bows. Mistakes may have been made in the past concerning management of the native species, but you can't go back and fix that now.

Posted on: 2013/10/2 0:17


Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed

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2013/9/6 11:40
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Just like the Letort, the originals were brook trout like evry other stream in pa just about, but you don't really see people wanting to remove the browns ? They've adapted better and was able to give us a wonderful fishery, however I can understand wanting to make it like " the good ol'days" but can we be certain that the brooks would boom w/out the bows? How many other streams in pa have wild bows and brooks that we can somewhat learn from? Has this been done before and it was successful? Well, to my knowledge I'm not to aware of to many streams that have both wild brook and rainbows, but hopefully this will be resolved in the future

Posted on: 2013/10/2 6:57
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Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed

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Quote:
Personally, I love Brookies. But there are alot of great brookie streams. How many streams in Pa produce wild bows?


Overall, a couple of dozen known wild bow streams statewide, and several thousand brookie streams.

That said, this is a decent sized classic limestoner. Brookies in this particular environment are rarer than bows in the same environment. IMO, the "uniqueness" argument favors brookies, not bows. Brookies in BS and brookies in "Headwater Freestone Run" just are not at all comparable. We may enjoy one type of experience over another, and that's up to us, but they AREN'T the same experience. Size, behavior, approach to fishing, etc. are all very different.

I'd think it would be cool to find they are heritage strain or mostly heritage strain. Also, the scientist in me finds that question interesting. But our knowledge of brook trout strains is poor enough that it's hard to justify management decisions on it. We don't discriminate between "strains" of a species, just a species.

That said, I don't really fish BS much, and defer to those who are more familiar, and affected than I am. If it's a case where the brookie population is about as strong as it can get, then to me there's no reason to exclude the bows.

Posted on: 2013/10/2 8:56


Re: Big Spring Rainbows being killed

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2006/12/29 10:00
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Quote:
The source of this possibly comes from PA Outdoor News. I could swear I read in the Q & A part that stated the PFBC was asking anglers to throw browns and bows on the bank to help the brookies, and then asked like 6 anglers their feelings on it. The question didnt read hypothetical at all and sure sounded like they were already advising it.


I checked and it does say the PFBC is in fact asking anglers to do this. I think it actually said to harvest them though.
So now I wonder. Is this a misprint?
Most likely but I dont know for sure and the timing of the bows getting thrown to the bank and this issue from mid sept. is pretty remarkable.

Posted on: 2013/10/2 10:28



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