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Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments

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Regarding the Pa. wild trout steam creel survey report, a few comments are in order that would perhaps improve understanding and some implications of the study. These comments have been expressed in other threads, but often "lost" within those threads. Additionally, while angling mortality has been discussed in the past on this site, it was in general terms. The creel survey provided more clarity on the subject, as you will see below.

While I have seen critiques of the study written on boards by anglers, the most stinging criticisms that I remember were also completely inaccurate. First, sampling did occur on opening day and it is unclear to my why anyone who read the report would think that it had not. Second, a sub-sample of the major (most well known) streams, such as Penns, Spring, Fishing, and Little J did occur. Again, all that had to be done by readers was to scan the list of streams that were studied as part of the random sample of Pa.'s wild trout streams. That random sample was comprised of 200 wild trout stream sections.

The wild trout creel survey recorded harvest rates of 5 per km and 4 per km of brook trout from wide and narrow streams, respectively, and harvest rates of 3 and 0 brown trout per km on wide and narrow streams, respectively. Such low harvest rates are hardly a call for more conservative statewide regs.

The average annual total mortality reported by the PFBC at the trout summit was 60 to 65 percent depending upon whether or not one was speaking about freestone or limestone wild trout streams. Total mortality is comprised of two components: angling mortality and natural mortality. It is generally calculated for fish that are age 2 and older. although age 1 fish are sometimes included. Young-of-year fish are not included. The statewide wild trout creel survey revealed that the angling mortality component of the average annual total mortality was on average around 4 percent. Given the low angling mortality in general on a statewide basis in wild trout streams, is it any wonder why so few wild trout streams in Pa (except for the major limestoners and a very few freestoners) respond favorably to special regulations designed to increase the abundance and size distribution of the fish? One scientific paper cited in the wild trout creel survey report suggested that an angling mortality rate of 50% is needed to see a favorable response to special regs of the type mentioned above.

Posted on: 2007/3/17 22:51


Re: Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments
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If I understand the implications of this data, you are saying that in PA,

(1) limiting harvest on wild trout streams by regulations is unneccesary, and
(2) limiting harvest on wild trout streams by regulations is unhelpful.

Correct?

Posted on: 2007/3/18 8:01
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Re: Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments

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Another question I have been trying to explain:

How can fish being killed not result in a signifigant reduction in wild trout populations?

Posted on: 2007/3/18 8:39


Re: Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments

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I also wonder, that given the study findings, why have DHALO regs and FFO regulations, other than to cater to anglers who want a particular type of angling experience?

Posted on: 2007/3/18 8:49


Re: Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments

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I realize DHALO and FFO areas are largely stocked areas, sometimes over wild trout. Just curious on why this practice is done.

I think I know why, but want to hear it from someone else.....

Posted on: 2007/3/18 10:48


Re: Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments

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I've read all the posts on the subject and have yet to chime in.

I personally belive that a catch and release only reg should be put on all wild trout streams and stocking overtop of wild trout (as is the case in several streams, Asaph Run in Tioga being one example) should cease and dissist immediately. Yes, I know that the stockers will push the wild ones out, get caught or die off and the wild fish resurface. Why even put them trough the stress and take the chances on having someone, fishing the stream because it was stocked and end up takeing home one of the streams few legal sized wild fish decreasing the population by just one more?

We have very few wild trout streams left in South East PA because of bad farming, water runoff and overdevelopment and should do everything in our power to protect them. They (meaning the trout and stream as it pertains to water quality) are a valuable resource that is being decimated before our eyes.
One day we will wish we had done so when there is virtually no clean water left. I remember years ago hunting with my father and being able to drink directly from a mounatin stream. You take your chances if you do it today.
Everyone knows that trout (especially brook) need cold clean water and are the first fish to die off if a polutant is introuced.

The brook trout is PA's official fish. There will be no wild brook (or brown or rainbow for that matter) trout left in PA if we don't stop stocking over them, protect their waters from overdevlopment, creeling (mortality of the man-made kind), pollution, or any other man-made evils.

As far as the natural motrallity is concerned. Yes, all things must die eventalluy. Nature takes care of it's own. How many wild trout were in PA streams back in the 1700's, 1800's, 1900's when man was killing trout souly for creeling them for food.
What concerns me is the ways in which we kill them and the streams now. We don't need to creel wild trout for food. We need to protect them.
Sure there will be some mortallity from just the fishing experience after we release them. Some will die, some will not. But if all were released after catching them more would survive than if they were placed on a stringer afterwards.

Posted on: 2007/3/18 12:08
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Re: Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments

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Has this study been submitted to any of the fisheries journals? Has it been accepted and published by any of them?

Mike, does this study seem scientifically solid to you? Do you see any problems with the study at all?

Posted on: 2007/3/18 13:21


Re: Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments

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Mike

I have read the report about 5 times and each time something jumps out and grabs me....mostly negative that will not improve our wild trout fisheries. In addition, this report is only a "snapshot" into the what may or maynot be happening on PAs trout waters. I would find any scientific evidence being presented in this report to be taken as the "gospel", for various limitations. But it does give you insight and should be used in a manner to improve upon our states fisheries instead of just "writing them off" as it appears based on the conclusions and recommendations

Also, some of the things you stated are not reflected in the text.
esp about the "most well known streams" as discussed in the final bullet of the recommendations where it discusses the economic impact evaluation portion of the study. THere it says these streams were not included or was it just for the economic evaluation?? Confusing.

As for the opening day confusion, it was likely a result of the study being conducted 2 years prior to actually issuing the report. Personally, I looked at Last seasons opening day date and did not correlate the two. I assumed the PFBC would be able to have a report out quicker than 2 years.

Angling mortality: How did the PFBC actually take into account angling mortality? Visually or estimation based on interviews, electro shocking surveys?? Or other? Please elaborate more on this subject of actually how this was determined.

In addition, it appeared that the majority of anglers interviewed were using bait. Depending on bait preference and angling ability, hooking mortaility rates may be higher than presented. This is esp so for brook trout which are highly susceptible to hook mortality (another reason for protection - see below).

Harvest rates: Based on the information presented in the text, harvest rates on brook trout, to me, appear to potentially affect the size class and populations of brook trout in PA. Based on that, it appears that a statewide regulation to protect brook trout should be established. This would fall nicely into the brook trout enhancement program that is being conducted regionally.

I also find 60-65 % total mortality as being high. I would suspect this number to be lower given the "lack of use" on these wild trout streams as presented in the report.

Now comes the "absence of evidence is not evidence of abscense" that I have stated before. Just because you didnt find it, doesn mean its not happening. And given a 5 fish, 7 in limit - it does not take a lot of anglers to have an impact on wild trout streams, esp brook trout based on the numbers presented.

In addition, the size distribution for the fish harvested appears to be very low or small in size class. Figure 2 shows this information, but there is no discussion in the text that I could not find. This is disturbing to me!!!! I would think a goal of a fisheries agency is to try to improve on fish size class. How does the PFBC plan on improving on this? Or don't they?? Avg lenght for a harvested brook trout is 8.38 inches...MY GOD, that is appauling!!

The economic information presented is, IMO, hogwash. If one does not account for its most popular streams in PA (Spring, Penns, Upper D, etc), then the information presented is bascially worthless and why even bother presenting it??? 2ndly, it should be a goal for the PFBC to improve upon this. Is it?? and how does the PFBC plan on doing this?

Futhermore, to have any scientific minded agency's staff state that special regulations are not needed to protect wild trout, is obsurd. Then why have a PFBC...everything must be great in this state of PA that has more trout miles of water than any other state but can't even beat Arkansas for out of state license sales?? HUMM????

I have a lot more questions and points that I find disturbing, but my head is spinning.

Posted on: 2007/3/18 18:47


Re: Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments

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If we were debating climate change and not wild trout, the study would be dismissed because it has not been published in a peer reviewed journal and was paid for by the stocking industrial complex. Kind of like Exxon publishing its own climate change study.

Posted on: 2007/3/18 21:20
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Re: Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments

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Jack,

The statewide general trout creel and size limits clearly have an effect on law abiding anglers who would otherwise harvest fish that are smaller than 7 inches long or harvest more than 5 trout. That is what they are designed to do. At certain levels of fishing pressure and harvest, this impacts legal trout abundance.

Posted on: 2007/3/21 9:26


Re: Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments

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Lehigh Regular,

Economic info. from the most popular limestoners, such as Penns Creek, was included in the study. As I said previously, a number of these popular waters were included. Again, check the table of study waters. The reason why it is recommended that the most popular waters, such as Penns be looked at separately, is to document the economic contributions of these waters alone.

Wild brook trout 9 inches long and longer represent 1.5% of Pa.'s wild brook trout population. Why would you expect the average wild brook trout harvested to be much larger than 8 inches? The majority of brook trout harvest came from small streams less than 6 m. wide and brook trout in Pa. are largely, but not entirely, relegated to the upper segments and higher elevation segments of streams. Habitat for large fish is often limiting in these areas and in many streams a 9 inch fish is likely at the end of its natural life.

Finally, regarding random sampling and large sample sizes, both of which occurred in this study, the results represent the population as a whole. Like it or not, this represents what is happening in the vast majority of Pa.s' unstocked wild trout stream segments within the standard deviations and confidence intervals presented in the text.

Finally, in preparing for this study the PFBC sought and received the help of leaders in their respective fields. Bob Carline, for instance, listed as an author, is a highly respected fisheries researcher, past president of the American Fisheries Society, has probably published 100's of scientific journal articles, and is most highly respected among his peers. The sampling design was largely put together by Penn State researchers in fisheries, biometry, and economics. They are experts.

Posted on: 2007/3/21 9:55


Re: Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments
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Quote:

Mike wrote:

Wild brook trout 9 inches long and longer represent 1.5% of Pa.'s wild brook trout population. Why would you expect the average wild brook trout harvested to be much larger than 8 inches? The majority of brook trout harvest came from small streams less than 6 m. wide and brook trout in Pa. are largely, but not entirely, relegated to the upper segments and higher elevation segments of streams. Habitat for large fish is often limiting in these areas and in many streams a 9 inch fish is likely at the end of its natural life.


Well I must be dumb or something but if the size limit is 7" and you sample very few 9" fish after the creeling season...I think we may be onto something.

And if the 9" ST's are reaching the end of their natural lives, then harvest them at 9"

As far as I can see..you are supporting my argument.

Maurice

Posted on: 2007/3/21 10:05
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Re: Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments
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Quote:

Mike wrote:

Wild brook trout 9 inches long and longer represent 1.5% of Pa.'s wild brook trout population. Why would you expect the average wild brook trout harvested to be much larger than 8 inches? The majority of brook trout harvest came from small streams less than 6 m. wide and brook trout in Pa. are largely, but not entirely, relegated to the upper segments and higher elevation segments of streams. Habitat for large fish is often limiting in these areas and in many streams a 9 inch fish is likely at the end of its natural life.


Well I must be dumb or something but if the size limit is 7" and you sample very few 9" fish after the creeling season...I think we may be onto something.

And if the 9" ST's are reaching the end of their natural lives, then harvest them at 9"

As far as I can see..you are supporting my argument.

Its like a Gary Larsen cartoon...
I can see all you guys arround the conference table with white coats, round glasses, (of course skinny arms and large girthed) piles of scientific journals...studies, maps and charts around the room. And the guy with the F&BC jacket on says, never mind all that...how many can we kill?

Maurice

Posted on: 2007/3/21 10:09
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Re: Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments

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The wild brook trout enhancement program when evaluated should shed some light on the subject.

Posted on: 2007/3/21 10:22


Re: Pa. wild trout creel survey report and some comments

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If a 9 inch brook trout is so rare then how come some of the streams that are far less fertile then the nice NC PA mountain streams have lot's of 9 inch and larger brook trout? If it isn't related to harvest what is it? I'm talking about some streams that don't even have good popualtions of pollution tolerant midges some streams have no other fish in them. I'll tell you why, because they aren't being fished because they are orange and anglers who would otherwise be there killing brook trout, don't think they are safe to eat or don't think they are there.
If you survey a brook trout stream even 2 months after the season opens, are you really capturing what is happening to the larger fish by saying they just aren't there? Wouldn't that be a red flag, given that when the size limit was raised back in the later 80's the fish caught in surveys were found to be larger then previously caught? I think these are important questions that should be answered. I don't think that harvest should be dismissed so easily. honestly I'm not picking on you personally Mike, I'd think the PFBC in order to do the best job they can would want to know.

Posted on: 2007/3/21 16:47



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