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Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???

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2006/9/11 13:05
From Lewistown
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With the recent topic, with a similar title, about browns spawning, I was wondering about rainbows. In my area of PA we are told that it is impossible for a few reasons: they die, they are caught and eaten, they swim away, they are screwwed up and the females create eggs in the fall instead of the spring,and the list goes on. However, this past spring, when fishing side by side with my good friend, he hooked into a small fish. When he landed it, it was a 7" bow with parr marks, and when he placed it back into the water it darted back to the riffle, without having to be revived. It also so happens that I chose not to get a picture; like a moron. We both think it was wild because of its appearence, the way it acted, and the fact that a vast majority of the bows stocked were 13". So for a 7" fish to survive in a raceway with 13" fish and then in the stream rased our eyebrows. Also, we both believe that if there is a will there is a way and the instint of survival is the greatest influence on life.
I know that bows in the Delaware water basin can reproduce, as well as in Penns and Spring. Also, steelheads sometimes find a way.
So what do you guys have to say?

Posted on: 2006/11/19 9:34


Re: Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???

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2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
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I will not say ever; but it is very rare for rainbows to establish a wild population in PA. The reasons are many, but I believe that water chemistry is probably the biggest reason. Freestone streams in PA. are naturally acidic and this probably plays an important role in the reason why we don't find more of these exotics as opposed to why we find brown trout everywhere.
However, and I've never had this explained to me, I believe that importing rainbows from NC present a threat to establish themselves and I can't believe that PFBC is so short sighted and has looked into this matter before importing these fish to stock in our streams.
I'm not opposed to stocking rainbows, but I AM opposed stocking willy nilly as PFBC has always done in the past without regard to the impacts on native populations of fish and other natives in our streams.
I believe the streams in PA. that do have wild rainbows have them because they came from habitats that more closely mimic the habitats in PA, and because they were or are closer to wild trout stocks from which they were taken.
I catch what I believe to be wild bows on occasion in the brookies streams I fish, as recently as 2 weeks ago. They are always a surprise, but also unwanted at least by me, because it means they are a threat to our native fish.
Someone recently asked what brown trout had to do with the topic of big wild brookies. I believe the reason we don't find big brookies in most of our trout streams is because browns compete with the brookies for the best lies and because brookies aren't as aggressive as browns in this regard browns out compete brookies for the best spots. That is why you'll often hear me say; wherever you catch a big brown you could be catching a big brookie. A big brookie has similar requirements as a big brown, cover and food. Where I do catch big brookies there are always found where there is abundant large prey.
As for Parr marks, they only indicate that a fish is not mature, except in Golden Trout where they keep parr marks their entire lives. I've observed many trout at the LL rearing station that have them, and they can hardly be called wild fish. As general rule brookies have parr marks for about 2 years or until the first spawn, browns until they reach 10 to 12 inches and rainbows until about 9 inches. In other words in wild fish the browns and bows have parr marks until they are between 2 and 3 years old while brookies have them until they are between 1 and 2 years old. In stocked trout they probably lose the parr marks earlier, but then I don't fish many stocked streams at least not enough to be sure of that.

Posted on: 2006/11/19 10:21


Re: Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???
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2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
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I am convinced that there is some natural reproduction of 'bows in PA but I think, where it happens, for some reason it never is successful enough to establish viable, fishable populations. Arguably, this is a good thing. Like many of you, from time to time, I catch tiny 'bows in waters that aren't stocked and where one would expect wild browns or brookies. Chaz is probably on to something about water chemistry - I'll leave that issue to those better informed than I. My home water of Falling Springs is, of course, one of the few viable rainbow fisheries. I would be curious to know why they spawn in this water - and with so much less success in similar habitats. There is evidence that they're spawning successfully in Big Spring and there have always been a few in Letort - I got one last year in Letort. One case in point I find interesting is Spruce Creek. The other day I fished the small George Harvey section and got quite a few 'bows, mostly in riffles, that were 3-6 inches. Back in the eighties I only got wild browns out of this section. Perhaps Bachman's research can shed some light on this but personally I only remember browns being there. Now there are a lot of 'bows - including some very large ones that I am sure are hand fed fish that have migrated in from nearby club water. Furthermore, they appear to be fall spawners. Last year I saw them on redds in November. My initial thought was that they were feeding on eggs from browns but the more I watched them the more they appeared to be the actual spawners. Since I don't fish to spawners, I left them alone but found this curious. My understanding is that some hatcheries have "modified" rainbows to be fall spawners so that their fry size is comparable to brooks and browns for stocking. Whatever the case, the fact that 'bows are normally late winter spawners may have something to do with their relative scarcity but with fall spawning strains getting out in to waterways, we may see more reproduction.

Posted on: 2006/11/19 11:10


Re: Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???

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2006/9/23 0:52
From Lock Haven, PA
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I only know of one place that has some wild rainbows in it and they are very very few and far in between. I caught 2 or 3 over the years out of Fishing Creek in the section from Cedar Run to the Ax Factory Dam. The reason I know they were wild is becasue of the size of the bow. They were only between 4 and 6 inches. I noticed a small wild rainbow will have what looks to be a lot more green on them with very little of the silver look. That is the only location I ever came across that I would consider being a wild rainbow.

Posted on: 2006/11/19 13:07


Re: Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???

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2006/9/10 11:16
From Harrisburg PA
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Big Spring, Falling Spring and the Delaware all having reproducing rainbow populations. Spruce Creek does as well and I agree that they are progeny of the huge rainbows from the private waters. There are several other streams on which it is not uncommon to catch some small, parr-marked bows, to be followed up by a full-colored, wild adult.

Posted on: 2006/11/19 19:50
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Re: Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???

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The PFBC stocks rainbows all over the state, but very few streams have wild populations of rainbows. But there are some that do such as the Delaware River and Falling Spring Branch and a few others.

The explanation I've always heard was that the PFBC hatchery strain of rainbow is too domesticated, and so does not succeed in establishing wild populations.

And the populations in the Delaware and Falling Spring Branch are of a different, less domesticated strain of rainbow that was stocked long ago, and not stocked by the Fish Commission.

Rainbows are found in some small freestone streams in PA and other states, so the streams-are-too-infertile theory doesn't hold.
If wild strain rainbows were stocked all over PA, there would be wild rainbows all over PA, I think. There are plenty of rainbows in other eastern states.

The concern about the further proliferation of wild strain rainbows that Chaz mentioned is the following: In the Smoky Mountains, rainbow trout displace brook trout. They don't just compete with brookies, as browns do, but they totally eliminate the brook trout population.

Posted on: 2006/11/20 9:50


Re: Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???

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2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
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ain't it great, they planted brookies i the west and it all but destroyed the cutthroats ...they plated ranbows in the east and its destroying the brookies....they put browns in everywhere and they compete with the brookies and kill off the rainbows by carrying whirling disease...they plant lake trout in yellowstone and they are eating all the cutts...Now they have to plant atlantic salmon in western lakes to eat the brookies that have taken over and stunted...now that's good management.

Posted on: 2006/11/20 10:17


Re: Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???

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2006/9/11 13:05
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1 big viscous cycle. Why couldn't they have left everything alone?!?! I know I would like to catch 20" brookies on a regular basis. I have read stories and heard tales from older anglers on how you could catch 200 brookies in a day, they would all fight, and all be beautiful. I also talked with a gentleman, who has since passed, that would catch football sized brookies out of 12' streams every day. Too bad I missed out on that generation.

Posted on: 2006/11/20 11:10
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Re: Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???
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[quote]
troutbert wrote:

And the populations in the Delaware and Falling Spring Branch are of a different, less domesticated strain of rainbow that was stocked long ago, and not stocked by the Fish Commission.

Someone probably knows the story in more detail than I do but, many years ago, there was a train mishap along the Delaware River. Stocks of rainbow were on board, and the fish were dumped either intentionally or unintentionally into the Delaware. The fish and their offspring lived for years in the River, probably going up the feeder streams to spawn and to escape the warm water. When the cold bottom release dam was built, the Delaware began to support a thriving but small population of wild rainbows.

I agree that everything should be done to protect, preserve and enhance native brook trout everywhere they swim and have swum, but the wild rainbow in the Delaware are a resource that should be treasured as well. I’ve caught them by accident when I was a kid, while fishing for smallmouths, and later on I began pursuing them with a fly rod. Even smallmouths have nothing on them. They are some of the most ornery and acrobatic fish I have ever had the pleasure to tangle with. And that includes the rainbows I’ve caught out west. They don’t grow huge, IMHO, a true Delaware wild rainbows never quite grow to reach the 20” mark, but they are magnificent fighters and beautiful fish. Having to “sprint” downstream to follow them to retrieve my backing on the reel when hooked in the fast water they love, is one of my favorite things in fishing. To my knowledge, the Delaware historically has been a warm water river and wild trout have never inhabited the River.

We and those making the decisions with respect to the waterways and the environment have a lot to be ashamed of, but every once in a while, an accident can turn into a good thing. The ironic thing is that some of the best wild trout fishing the State is because of an accident or abuse. The Delaware accidental stocking and damming, Spring Creek pollution and the halting of stocking, deep mining cooling the water on the Lackawanna River, PCBs and the halting of stocking on Valley Creek. All the aforementioned streams and rivers have thriving wild trout populations. Go figure.

Posted on: 2006/11/20 11:58


Re: Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???

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Quote:

MKern wrote:
1 big viscous cycle. Why couldn't they have left everything alone?!?! I know I would like to catch 20" brookies on a regular basis. I have read stories and heard tales from older anglers on how you could catch 200 brookies in a day, they would all fight, and all be beautiful. I also talked with a gentleman, who has since passed, that would catch football sized brookies out of 12' streams every day. Too bad I missed out on that generation.


Did the old-timers you talked to actually say they caught 20-inch brookies? If so, did they have any more details, such as where they caught them, and during what time period this was?

Posted on: 2006/11/20 12:13


Re: Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???

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2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
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1 of those studies said that fall floods favor fish that spawn in the spring where as spring floods favor fish spawning in the fall. It would seem to me that our weather has pretty much limited rainbow reproduction.
However as I said it all goes out the window when you throw in the NC rainbow wild card. What if they are fall spawning fish?
The rainbows in Big Spring are fall spawners to an extent, though some do spawn in late winter. There is an expanding population of them there, which I'm very unhappy about. You can't restore a fishery if you keep the invasives.
Chaz

Posted on: 2006/11/20 17:52


Re: Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???

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The old man that used to catch huge fish every time, that has now passed, used to crawl up to holes in my region, on some of the mountian streams -- mainly Rock Run. Rock Run is now heavely stocked- I believe 4 time a year. It is a put-and-take stream. Its too bad because it cuts through the mountain and has 15' deep pools, huge waterfalls, and great scenery. Some natives can still be found, but it is rare. The stream that dumps in near the top is class A, but probably no 20'ers.

Posted on: 2006/11/21 15:42
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Re: Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???

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Quote:

MKern wrote:
The old man that used to catch huge fish every time, that has now passed, used to crawl up to holes in my region, on some of the mountian streams -- mainly Rock Run. Rock Run is now heavely stocked- I believe 4 time a year. It is a put-and-take stream. Its too bad because it cuts through the mountain and has 15' deep pools, huge waterfalls, and great scenery. Some natives can still be found, but it is rare. The stream that dumps in near the top is class A, but probably no 20'ers.


McKern,
It's great fun talking to old fishermen and you can really learn a lot. What was the biggest native brookie he mentioned ever catching?

About 5years ago I ran into an real old-timer up Lick Run, who was from the Lock Haven area. He must have been 85 years old, at least.

He was fly fishing, with a fly he called the Lick Run Special, which looked pretty close to a Light Cahill.

He said he used to fish that stream almost every day. He said the biggest trout he ever caught was 22 inches. A brown of course. He said the fishing isn't nearly as good now as the old days. I asked why he thought that was and he said there's too many people killing fish. But he had 3 in the creel and was looking for 2 more to make his limit! Old school, for sure. But fun to talk to.

Posted on: 2006/11/21 17:21


Re: Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???

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2006/9/14 10:34
From Southeast PA
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Quote:

troutbert wrote:
.....He said the fishing isn't nearly as good now as the old days. I asked why he thought that was and he said there's too many people killing fish. But he had 3 in the creel and was looking for 2 more to make his limit! Old school, for sure. But fun to talk to.

At the risk of stating the obvious, his problem is with the "too many people" part, not the "killing fish" part.

Posted on: 2006/11/22 9:20


Re: Stocked Rainbows Spawn Successfully???

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2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
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No the killing fish part is whats wrong. You could have 5 million anglers out there fishing and if none of them killed fish, there would be not only plenty of fish but plenty of big ones.

Posted on: 2006/11/22 16:48



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