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Re: Too hot to handle
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As I noted there is only a short period of time when temps get near or just around 70 degrees. All the rest of the year the temperatures are conducive to trout survival and health. There are no real WW releases. They simply try to maintain sufficient flow in the Summer months to allow rafting without the need for portage in the shallow stretches.

The river is stocked both by the PFBC and private clubs more often than any other water in the area and likely as much or more than any other water in the state. The fishing is adequate all year 'round. I don't see anything that would increase angler usage other than advertisement.

Sometimes it doesn't make sense to grumble because a water might be made better when it is already good enough. Keeping active and engaged with all the concerned entities makes sense so they don't go backwards, but this can be done as well or better by continuing to let them know you appreciate what they are presently doing, rather than being perceived as ungrateful by constantly whining about how they could be doing more. As for regulation changes, I would support some additional tweaking there, though I am not sure it is necessary. YoughGuide certainly would have a better handle on that, though, so I defer to his opinion in that regard.

Frankly, that is my view regarding the Yough.

Posted on: 2009/9/24 11:38
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Re: Too hot to handle

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At 5PM this evening, the river was at 70.5 F a couple of miles below ramcat. Fishing was poor. Some bugs, but no risers. Lots of that green carpet-like weed in the flow.

Posted on: 2009/9/25 23:44


Re: Too hot to handle

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YRG

What's limiting the population of trout? You say creeling. But it sounds like there aren't a large population of trout in the river. Why is that? What are the limiting factors?

Quote:
As much as I'd like to see a better flow management plan and more gradual tapers when releasing or turning flows down, the issue of too many fish being taken from the limited population that exists seems, to me, to be the main one.

Posted on: 2009/9/26 12:47


Re: Too hot to handle

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I'm sure I get corrected but I hear differing viewpoints on this. The first thing I ever heard was there was too small a food supply to support large populations of trout. Fish it a few times and you;ll learn there is a good bug population. Not stellar but pretty good. The further the river gets from the dam, it seems to warm rapidly. The is some AMD but the volume of the river and the slow but sure lessening of that impact is beginning to be noticeable. I thin the river has a good population of fish. What I'm not sure I;m seeing any real big reproduction going on. They do the fingerling stockings and they seem to grow just fine. But I have to believe that many of these end up as food themselves. Clubs that stock it, fish just as heavily and harvest is the purpose with most of these clubs. I don't know what you could change that would improve the fishery in any manner worth risking what is already a good fishery. That's just my opinion.

Posted on: 2009/9/26 12:58


Re: Too hot to handle

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I wish it was only a couple of weeks each year. So far this year the temps have been near 70 degrees since late August. Check the records. It's usually a month or more. Jack and others are right, this issue is easily brushed off as a non issue. Most anglers don't perceive this as a problem.

But it's four weeks every year they go fishing without realizing they are putting trouts' lives in jeopardy every time they set the hook -- not that it would matter to many.

Four weeks when guide services aren't out on the water at a time when tens of thousands are visiting the Laurel Highlands for the foliage.

Four weeks of stress on a non-self-sustaining fish population, that is totally unnecessary.

I truly believe that with slight adjustments we can have our cake and eat it too -- USACE can release enough water for rafters to enjoy their sport, while enough cool water can be retained in the reservoir to last until cool weather sets in for the season.

The trick will be to convince people that things can and should be managed -- just tweaked a bit actually -- for the better.

Posted on: 2009/9/26 20:38
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Re: Too hot to handle

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The only thing I can really point my finger at with regard to trout populations is over fishing. I really can't think of a set of regs better suited to limiting the population of fish in the river.

The first thing I would say is that very few people actually pay attention to the trophy trout regs. I can't tell you how many people I see on the river each summer who've rented rafts or canoes and stuck a bunch of fish on a stringer. There is no one to police the river.

The other issue is that during the fall you get many of the river's larger fish moving upstream in search of gravel. Unfortunately, those fish move into water where the daily creel limit is three and you can guess how many people are letting those big fish go--very few if any. Add to that the number of fish that move into that warmer water over the winter and you get even more fish taken out.

The only real water quality issues we have any more are the thermal ones in the fall. The Casselman, which was for a long time an amd issue, actually has a better ph than the river now. The hatches get better every year and there is a very abundant population of baitfish in the river as well. This is the only river I've fished where you actually see balls of bait much like you do in saltwater. The river maintains water temps suitable to sustain year-round populations of trout for over thirty miles. So there are few natural inhibitors, other than limited spawning gravel on the middle yough, to trout pops.

The cool thing is that if you look at areas of the river that receive very little to no fishing pressure, like the whitewater below Ohiopyle, the numbers of fish in general--both bass and trout--goes up.

Ultimately though, there are, as others have said, good populations of trout in the river. On a day with good conditions and decent anglers we can expect to put an average of thirty fish in the boat. Not bad, but it could certainly be better.

So what I would really like to see change are the regs. Even if the tailrace went no kill when other streams do would be a big improvement.

The water temps in the fall are a big issue because everyone keeps fishing the trout and that hurts populations as well. Greenghost is right on when he says that there is more than enough water to maintain trouty temps all season long while keeping everyone else happy. All they need to do is lay off on the winter draw down until lake surface temps cool a bit. There is more than enough water to allow them to do this while maintaining a weekend level of 1.8 in Ohiopyle, which is what rafters need to navigate the river safely.

Ultimately, all I can say is that we are going to see if we can get things changed for the better. We'll see how it goes.

Posted on: 2009/9/27 16:57


Re: Too hot to handle

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Quote:

YoughRiverGuide wrote:
The only thing I can really point my finger at with regard to trout populations is over fishing. I really can't think of a set of regs better suited to limiting the population of fish in the river.

The first thing I would say is that very few people actually pay attention to the trophy trout regs. I can't tell you how many people I see on the river each summer who've rented rafts or canoes and stuck a bunch of fish on a stringer. There is no one to police the river.



Ok I'm not going to even read the whole thing. Those are two separate points. Either the regs are wrong or they are being violated. I've never been a trophy regs fan just because of the measly size limit. Trophy should be a 20" Anything less is just a nice trout, especially on the Yough. I'll always support the "wee need more officers" cry. I'll shout it with you. But You can;t take the biggest river in the SW and lock it up with special regs. The masses will revolt and you'll lose it all.

Posted on: 2009/9/27 19:25


Re: Too hot to handle
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Paul, below is the Confluence guage. Unfortunately, the Ohiopyle guage only shows temperature data for the past couple weeks, but it does not reflect significant warming between the two points. Maybe I have bad data, but this doesn't support what you are saying (70 degrees F is equal 21.1C):

Attach file:



jpg  youghtemp.jpg (67.62 KB)
12_4ac09ed95f4c8.jpg 707X459 px

Posted on: 2009/9/28 7:32
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Re: Too hot to handle

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It appears this year, that the water release temps didn't exceed 68F until the beginning of Sept. I'm sure during more typical or hot/dry years, those temps are exceeded yearly in the year, maybe late August. But if I recall, its usually around Sept when all the coldwater is flushed out in that lake. Better water management will definitely help. You aren't talking a significant time period.

What concerns me, just looking at the gauge, is how the Corps is jerking the release levels around. Not sure how much fluctuation that causes in the actual river levels. Is that cause for conern too?

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/pa/nwis/uv? ... eriod=60&site_no=03077500

If its regs, then the PFBC needs to be brought on board, obviously. If the river that size is being hammered that hard, then there must be some "economical" justification to getting better releases to try to maintain a coldwater release. Steady and consistent releases are the key to producing good trout fishing on tailwaters, and the trout like it better too. The Corps will look to the PFBC in this case. You guys need to get a meeting with Shetterly and the Regional AFM.

YRG - you are on the water probably the most and witness what is going on. This needs to be conveyed to PFBC.

Posted on: 2009/9/28 10:36


Re: Too hot to handle

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My vote goes for AMD. There are plenty of seeps (if you could call them that- they are quite large) you can see from the bike path. For a tailwater that stays pretty cold I would call that river pretty infertile.

Posted on: 2009/9/28 10:59
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Re: Too hot to handle
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The dam's primary purpose is flood and flow control. The river and streams that feed the lake cover a rather large watershed. Releases are determine first and foremost by rainfall in the watershed. Water is often released in anticipation of flows from the Casselman as well, which is uncontrolled. When large amounts of water are expected to come down the Casselman, then the dam releases are cut back so the river below Confluence doesn't reach dangerous levels.

The Yough is the biggest contributor to flows on the Monongahela River, which is likewise uncontrolled and drains a huge watershed in and of itself. Along with the Allegheny River, controlled at Kinzua, these waters all impact about a couple million in Metro Pittsburgh.

Bottom line, I don't envy the Corps in trying to manage flows, let alone that they have to try to please fisherman-- perspective, please!

Posted on: 2009/9/28 11:43
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Re: Too hot to handle

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Jack,
The chart shows readings near 19 or 20 C since late August, early September. So that's what... 68 degrees. That was my point. Temps get near 70 degrees longer than a couple of weeks. And the low temps at night continue to rise also. So hooked fished are less likely to recover as September goes on.

Funny you should raise the issue of flow control. I was just talking to a Fish Commission employee yesterday. He checked my license at Laurel Hill. We got talking about the Yough and when I suggested the flows were oriented more to rafting. He said actually flow and flood control were number one and, in his opinion, it is definitely not managed for the fishery at all. He thought it could be handled better.

But my whole contention is the weekends. There's less barge traffic, so it is definitely initiated for rafters. Is bumping up the cfs so much necessary?

Posted on: 2009/9/28 12:17
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Re: Too hot to handle

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Quote:

greenghost wrote:
Jack,
The chart shows readings near 19 or 20 C since late August, early September. So that's what... 68 degrees. That was my point. Temps get near 70 degrees longer than a couple of weeks. And the low temps at night continue to rise also.


As long as it not a constant. Dipping down at night makes it less relevant that it gets to 68 in the first place. The stretch of time this happened we had virtually NO rain to replenish what was released. It was wet up until then but long dry spell with have those effects.

I really think the concern for the fish populations in the Yough are overstated.

Posted on: 2009/9/28 12:31


Re: Too hot to handle

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Quote:
He said actually flow and flood control were number one and, in his opinion, it is definitely not managed for the fishery at all. He thought it could be handled better.


Bottom line...If you don't ask, you will never get what you want.

That said, its not rocket science on how to manage the releases. Flood control is #1 priority, but when, how much and in what manner the water is released makes the difference in the fishery. It can be done. Its not the Corps job to figure these things out. Typically, it comes down to anglers and the PFBC in this case. If you present this to the Corps, more likely than not, they will be very recpeptive to the idea. Then its just a matter of hashing things out.

As for temps, typically tailwaters (like spring creeks) have a constant release temp...there is very little fluctuation in water temps and they aren't affected by cooler night time air temps that typically reduce water temps. This is esp so for the first few miles of the river. Free flowing streams typically have a much wider fluctuation in water temps. So when the dam releases water in the 70-72 F range...it is like that 24/7. The trout don't get a break and trout are continuely stressed. Typically the tailwater trout fishery is limited by its water release temps. It only takes one time to limit the fishery and if it happens annually, it certainly doesnt help. If angling pressure is significant, esp during water temps greater than 68F, it may have a role in limiting the fish populations. Remember, the water never cools down to relieve the stress, then add angling stress to the mix.

Who knows...just food for thought.

Posted on: 2009/9/28 13:01


Re: Too hot to handle

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Once those temps are established, they cannot cool down until the reservoir does, which is the whole point. The trout in Yough are subject to those temps day and night for at least a month and usually longer with no break. Bottom line is it's bad for the fish.

As far as flood control goes, obviously that it the most important issue and ultimately is why the dam was built in the first place. But flood control is generally (though I realize not always) a spring issue and if you watch the amount of storage capacity saved for flood control in the reservoir (you can see it on the USACE site) it rarely if ever exceeds 1%. Even this June, with all the water we had, it never got over 2% of flood storage capacity used. In short, the storage capacity of the reservoir is hardly every utilized. The word on this is that they do this to keep water out of peoples' back yards on the lake.

For those of you who think I'm asking too much for myself, I only do float trips on the river, and limiting flows to save cold water for fall would mean lower summertime flows on the river which ultimately means that there are a lot more days when I can't run a dory on the river. A price I'm willing to pay for an improved fishery.

Lastly, I can't understand why, if all parties can be represented with this issue, any of you guys would be opposed to improving our best local fishery? Seems like a no brainer.

And LR, we are going to ask.

Posted on: 2009/9/29 12:28



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