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brook trout migration from tribs to larger streams.

Joined:
2008/5/11 9:50
From Lancaster
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Do brook trout move to larger/deeper water downstream during winter? I thought I read that they did but was surprised to find many in a headwater stream in february. This was my first trip ever during winter for brook trout. I didn't expect to catch any in such a small trib. was just getting out of house. May be just the larger fish move downstream?

Posted on: 2/19 16:20
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Re: brook trout migration from tribs to larger streams.
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Yes, some do move to bigger water, but not necessarily the largest of them.

Posted on: 2/19 16:28
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Re: brook trout migration from tribs to larger streams.
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Forage becomes scarce during winter and the ones that can maintain their territory probably don't move. And thems that can't do.
.

Posted on: 2/19 16:29
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Re: brook trout migration from tribs to larger streams.

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2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
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On the contrary studies I've seen show the largest are the majority of "movers"
9 " or greater being the greatest percentage of movers in the population.
I'm speaking strictly in migrating brook trout.

Some leave completely into other watersheds for better habitat and forage. They get fairly large.

Posted on: 2/19 16:34
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Re: brook trout migration from tribs to larger streams.

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ok, so a typical small headwater class a brookie stream will hold fish all year but a few will move to larger water in winter. Thanks for explaining.

Posted on: 2/19 16:46
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Re: brook trout migration from tribs to larger streams.
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Quote:

bushwacker wrote:
was surprised to find many in a headwater stream in february. This was my first trip ever during winter for brook trout. I didn't expect to catch any in such a small trib.


Don't be surprised.

The notion that ALL trout move out of riffles and shallow runs and into deep pools in winter is a myth. Many fish do migrate, both to pools and out to rivers, but many trout will continue to hold in the same places in winter - riffles and shallow runs - where you can expect to catch them at other times of the year.

Posted on: 2/19 18:11


Re: brook trout migration from tribs to larger streams.

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2006/9/11 19:52
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Sal has it right: Old angling literature describes how brook trout would move in and out of the main stems of big freestones like Kettle Creek, Loyalsock and Sinnemahoning with the seasons. Not all would make these movements, but apparently the larger brookies did. This allowed brook trout in the past to use the bigger downstream waters to winter over and provided an expanded food base. Those that spent their lives in small upstream waters seldom exceeded 10 inches. Those that moved grew much larger, frequently achieving 12 inches and occasionally as much as 20 inches. Modern studies are showing that these movements still occur to some extent.

Posted on: 2/20 16:20


Re: brook trout migration from tribs to larger streams.

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2016/1/9 14:43
From Meadville
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On small freestone streams wild trout hold in the exact same spots as they do any other time of year. I have never witnessed this "holed up" phenomenon that some anglers speak of.

As for trout migrating into bigger water during the cold months. I have seen this firsthand. I grew up in the Catskills and there was a small river close to our old house. It was about 50 yards wide, flat and pretty boring. During the summer months it was full of suckers with water temps much too high for trout. It had many small freestone mountain stream tributaries. These tributaries held Brook Trout. Starting around November the river would fill up with small Brook Trout and they would remain in it until about Mid May. They never grew very big. I don't recall ever catching one over 10 inches.

Posted on: 2/20 20:40
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Re: brook trout migration from tribs to larger streams.

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Short answer - yes. But it's highly variable within a given population how many will move, and some brook trout streams are too steep to allow them to move easily. Sometimes they'll stay in the larger water until June - basically until temps force them out.

I also know a couple tiny streams that are only used for spawning and are in no way large enough for adult brookies to stay long. Yet they'll have dozens of YoY.

Posted on: 2/21 8:35
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Re: brook trout migration from tribs to larger streams.

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2006/9/13 22:36
From Tioga co. formerly of bucks co.
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here in the cold frozen north yes they move to larger (deeper) water. hard to find a brookie here till may when they go back upstream

Posted on: 2/21 10:36
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Re: brook trout migration from tribs to larger streams.
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2006/9/11 8:26
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Quote:

sandfly wrote:
here in the cold frozen north yes they move to larger (deeper) water. hard to find a brookie here till may when they go back upstream


^ no doubt.

With the harsher winters in the north country, trout and brookies in particular are a lot more likely to move out of the smalle, shallower, headwaters in the mountains where the weather is most severe, and in many winters, anchor ice is common.

I have a cabin up-north on top of the mountain, and if you snowmobile up there in the winter, some of the streams that hold trout in the late spring or summer seem to disappear; they are completely covered with ice and snow. And even the second or third order streams at the lower elevations are locked up with ice and snow during a cold winter. Most of the trout are huddled up in the deeper water seeking safety.

Putting the north country and mountain streams aside; winter trout fishing is best in spring creeks and in southern parts of the state. In spring creeks, it's possible to fish find fish anywhere in the warmer open water.

But I've found in freestones, more trout are found in the deeper slower pools, where many anglers would not spend a lot of time fishing in the warmer weather and less in the riffs and runs. Trout in really cold water are not actively feeding for the most part, and are not residing the shallower, faster water willing to fight the currents and expose themselves to predators looking for food.

While I always fish all the water, spending more time winter fishing in slower deeper water will usually pay higher dividends.

Posted on: 2/22 7:48


Re: brook trout migration from tribs to larger streams.

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2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
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This was a subject at the Wild Trout Summit last fall. Though I would have though that it's always the biggest that move, the data they showed said that wasn't necessarily the case, I'd bet it's more about DNA. The move genes tell the trout to move and if that gene isn't firing or isn't there then they stay. It's not limited to brookies. Rainbows can be big movers, but some of their native streams that have both fish that move to the sea and fish that stay in the stream. The ones that stay never go to the ocean, the ones that move always do at some point.
A good example of brookies moving though, is the stream next to my camp. Every spring they stock couple thousand brookies and every year you can't find them in that creek, yet there are wild ones there. Where do they go? Down to Pine Creek. I don't know if they ever come back, but I've caught them down at the mouth of the stream that the stream next to the camp flows into. So not only do they move they move a couple of miles out of 1 stream and all the way to the mouth of another. A total of roughly 5 miles, and these aren't small streams.

Posted on: 2/26 14:53
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