Heritage Brook Trout

silverfox

silverfox

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A short video on NYS DEC's heritage brook trout program. I'm not a fan of "strains" and not a fan of splitting hairs on the importance of one population over another. That's getting awfully close to speciation.

I will say that I was in a presentation last year where the geneticist showed the uniqueness of some of these isolated pond strains in NY. One, in particular, appears to have developed the ability to cope with extremely warm water temps. I was on the phone last night with a geneticist from NY and he said they temped the pond in the upper 70s last year. They've apparently found somewhere around 15 unique populations in the ADK area. I know some of the ST in ME ponds seem to be withstanding some really warm temps too.

So the push in NY is to further protect these unique populations that appear to have adapted better than other populations to warming trends. I'm not sure I like where that's headed, but at least there's a serious effort to look at them closely. If nothing else, they're gathering a lot of data on their populations.

 
wildtrout2

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Thanks for sharing that video. Very interesting! The numbers and size of those trout are surprising. Nice to see that kind of effort being put in.
 
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troutbert

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I once saw a native brook trout and wild brown in a pool together in a stream that was 79F.

I think tolerance of much warmer temperatures than most people think is characteristic of brook trout generally, not just of one special strain.
 
silverfox

silverfox

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I once saw a native brook trout and wild brown in a pool together in a stream that was 79F.

I think tolerance of much warmer temperatures than most people think is characteristic of brook trout generally, not just of one special strain.
I've personally caught them from "ponds" (lakes to us southerners) with surface temps in the mid 70's.

There's some good research on thermal tolerance in a lab environment. With BT present, ST wouldn't visit the food sites (they just stayed in the thermal refuge), but when they removed the BT, the ST would leave the thermal refuge and forage and then return to the thermal refuge.

The most interesting part of that to me is that the aggression between other ST and BT was similar, but there was something about the BT presence that they didn't like. That's in a lab environment though, I'm sure there's a lot of variability in interaction in the wild. I also think they used hatchery ST and BT. Wild fish might behave completely differently. Especially if they've been living together for some time.

They can tolerate much higher temps than we give them credit for, for short periods of time anyway.
 
Fish Sticks

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I once saw a native brook trout and wild brown in a pool together in a stream that was 79F.

I think tolerance of much warmer temperatures than most people think is characteristic of brook trout generally, not just of one special strain.
Yea and a lot of people confuse stream temperatures with the temperatures the fish actually experience. I have heard fisheries managers and lay people alike declare a stream is too warm for native brook trout because they temped it in the mid to high 70’s. People often overlook fine scale temperature from springs/ground water upwellings. The differences in temperatures can be dramatic at extremely tiny scales. Thee fish have been using these thermal refuges for a long long time. It’s just as silver fox mentioned in Than Hitt’s study it did show they cannot use as effectively when brown trout present but there are in the wild studies that also show brown trout displace brook trout from ideal habitat/thermal refuge as well so there is likely many populations in PA that could be with standing higher temps than they do currently without brown trout hampering use of thermal refuge.
 
Fish Sticks

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Thanks for sharing that video. Very interesting! The numbers and size of those trout are surprising. Nice to see that kind of effort being put in.
Yea from the conservation hatchery/ 4 special brook trout management areas in WV, to the savage special brook trout management sub watershed in MD with C and R and no brown trout stocking, to NJ implementing C and R, VA mandating harvest of browns in Shenandoah, and NY doing chemical removal and delving into conservation genetics, to TN doing chemical removal of invasive rainbows on Lynn camp prong, to NC trialing and very successfully piloting genetic rescue it’s starting to feel like something is drastically wrong here in PA and I am questioning why we can’t do a single one of the above things all the other states have done above? It takes effort to be this much of an outlier.
 
silverfox

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Yea from the conservation hatchery/ 4 special brook trout management areas in WV, to the savage special brook trout management sub watershed in MD with C and R and no brown trout stocking, to NJ implementing C and R, VA mandating harvest of browns in Shenandoah, and NY doing chemical removal and delving into conservation genetics, to TN doing chemical removal of invasive rainbows on Lynn camp prong, to NC trialing and very successfully piloting genetic rescue it’s starting to feel like something is drastically wrong here in PA and I am questioning why we can’t do a single one of the above things all the other states have done above? It takes effort to be this much of an outlier.
We're the last state in the east to implement a stocking permit (authorization). MD created the USR project in the early 2000s. Then used that as evidence for a statewide reg change, which took 6 months from first discussions to law with overwhelming angler support. Even if we started something today, it would probably be 2040 before anything significant is changed. We're way behind the 8-ball.
 
Fish Sticks

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We're the last state in the east to implement a stocking permit (authorization). MD created the USR project in the early 2000s. Then used that as evidence for a statewide reg change, which took 6 months from first discussions to law with overwhelming angler support. Even if we started something today, it would probably be 2040 before anything significant is changed. We're way behind the 8-ball.
Pa fish and boat is a derelict non participatory regional partner in the range wide effort to conserve native brook trout.

At this point i have such little faith they will do anything on their own i’m left to wait for when state watch dogs finally realize the waste, fraud, and abuse thats occurring given theprioritizing their recreational hatchery program to such an extent while sensitive species suffer and the general public is led to assume it’s “resource first” during a worldwide mass extinction event. What a joke. The fish commission in this state can sit there with its head in the sand but as this Gap grows and other states separate themselves even further using similar/ less reaources, can’t wait to see the Auditor general or atorney general get involved. We saw regime change happen when they canned Arway because he wouldn’t stock a few districts that wouldnt support the fee increase, it can be done.
 
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JeffK

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A cool volunteer organization in NY is Trout Power https://www.troutpower.org/ They are anglers who slog to waters all over the Adirondacks to fin clip sample brook trout and do DNA testing. It really adds a lot of sampling ability to the state biologists and organizes a native brook trout constituency.

NJ stopped stocking brook trout a decade ago to protect the native heritage strains and brook trout are C&R across the state. The strains are important - each is adapted to its own watershed and other brook trout do not always replace the original strain successfully (although sometimes they do). I have started seeing more native brook trout in the Musconetcong, one of NJ's top fiver trout rivers so the protections can help.

I went to NC State in the 1970's and they were doing genetic sampling of brook trout back then, although the techniques were primitive and one needed to homgenize a whole trout to do testing. They were also looking at native strains of smallmouths as well since native smallmouth in different drainages were unique.
 
Fish Sticks

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A cool volunteer organization in NY is Trout Power https://www.troutpower.org/ They are anglers who slog to waters all over the Adirondacks to fin clip sample brook trout and do DNA testing. It really adds a lot of sampling ability to the state biologists and organizes a native brook trout constituency.

NJ stopped stocking brook trout a decade ago to protect the native heritage strains and brook trout are C&R across the state. The strains are important - each is adapted to its own watershed and other brook trout do not always replace the original strain successfully (although sometimes they do). I have started seeing more native brook trout in the Musconetcong, one of NJ's top fiver trout rivers so the protections can help.

I went to NC State in the 1970's and they were doing genetic sampling of brook trout back then, although the techniques were primitive and one needed to homgenize a whole trout to do testing. They were also looking at native strains of smallmouths as well since native smallmouth in different drainages were unique.
Yea I’m glad you have the knowledge of what is going on in neighboring states as far as what their doing for various fish from a conservation standpoint. I’m admittedly jealous your getting to experience it with a fishing rod too. It takes me 2+ hours in any direction to get to where native brook trout are managed for.

Your perspective is important because if you just spent a few decades at Pa fish and boat drinking the internal coolaid in a vaccum and didnt have that perspective, everything else that these other states are actually doing/ have done decades ago would just seem like a crazy pipe dream.
 
silverfox

silverfox

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A cool volunteer organization in NY is Trout Power https://www.troutpower.org/ They are anglers who slog to waters all over the Adirondacks to fin clip sample brook trout and do DNA testing. It really adds a lot of sampling ability to the state biologists and organizes a native brook trout constituency.

NJ stopped stocking brook trout a decade ago to protect the native heritage strains and brook trout are C&R across the state. The strains are important - each is adapted to its own watershed and other brook trout do not always replace the original strain successfully (although sometimes they do). I have started seeing more native brook trout in the Musconetcong, one of NJ's top fiver trout rivers so the protections can help.

I went to NC State in the 1970's and they were doing genetic sampling of brook trout back then, although the techniques were primitive and one needed to homgenize a whole trout to do testing. They were also looking at native strains of smallmouths as well since native smallmouth in different drainages were unique.
I talked to Chris on Thursday for about an hour and fished with one of the volunteers from NJ on Saturday up on a Penns trib.

It's funny, I saw a presentation last year by a post doc from Michigan U on some brook trout that appear to be uniquely suited for warming temperatures and then talking to Chris realized they were the ones who gathered all the fin clips for that research. I'd love to help more with field work. I might make the trout power June trip. Not sure yet if I can swing it.

The point about NJ ceasing brook trout stocking 10 years ago is exactly what bothers me about PA. We're finally doing that too, however, it will be 2025 or 2026 before we actually stop doing it. If you know it's wrong, why not just stop it?

Same with the stocking authorization. I listened to both the fisheries and hatcheries meeting and the business meeting, and there was an awful lot of prioritization on Dept of Ag and the aquaculture industry. That's important, but that shouldn't be the driving factor. So we've got a 2 year grace period now before its even fully implemented to give everyone time to get accustomed to the new process. It should be resource first. What's best for the resource should trump all else.

To be fair, there has been a lot of positive change in PA fairly recently. I think we're just so far behind though that even microscopic changes seem big and important. One thing I've learned is that PFBC's organizational structure is quite different than a lot of other states. ME IFW for example has "a commissioner". MD DNR is similar. A lot of states are.

We have staff (with structure), an ED, committees, then a board of commissioners that everything has to go through. It's a terrible system in my opinion. You could have issues that are glaringly obvious and it could take years to get a quorum through that structure.
 
Fish Sticks

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I talked to Chris on Thursday for about an hour and fished with one of the volunteers from NJ on Saturday up on a Penns trib.

It's funny, I saw a presentation last year by a post doc from Michigan U on some brook trout that appear to be uniquely suited for warming temperatures and then talking to Chris realized they were the ones who gathered all the fin clips for that research. I'd love to help more with field work. I might make the trout power June trip. Not sure yet if I can swing it.

The point about NJ ceasing brook trout stocking 10 years ago is exactly what bothers me about PA. We're finally doing that too, however, it will be 2025 or 2026 before we actually stop doing it. If you know it's wrong, why not just stop it?

Same with the stocking authorization. I listened to both the fisheries and hatcheries meeting and the business meeting, and there was an awful lot of prioritization on Dept of Ag and the aquaculture industry. That's important, but that shouldn't be the driving factor. So we've got a 2 year grace period now before its even fully implemented to give everyone time to get accustomed to the new process. It should be resource first. What's best for the resource should trump all else.

To be fair, there has been a lot of positive change in PA fairly recently. I think we're just so far behind though that even microscopic changes seem big and important. One thing I've learned is that PFBC's organizational structure is quite different than a lot of other states. ME IFW for example has "a commissioner". MD DNR is similar. A lot of states are.

We have staff (with structure), an ED, committees, then a board of commissioners that everything has to go through. It's a terrible system in my opinion. You could have issues that are glaringly obvious and it could take years to get a quorum through that structure.
The dept of Ag provides the fish but i honestly forget on this. Doesn’t PA fish and boat have to approve the waterway for the individual species a private individual wants to stock?
 
silverfox

silverfox

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The dept of Ag provides the fish but i honestly forget on this. Doesn’t PA fish and boat have to approve the waterway for the individual species a private individual wants to stock?
Private hatcheries are only regulated by dept of ag. So fish health testing, species, inspections etc. Water discharge is DEP. The only thing currently reviewed by PFBC would be special activity permits. In those cases, they review a private enterprise's request and dictate which species, how many, and how often they can stock a certain water if the special activity permit is approved.

By 2025, anyone stocking in PA (private entities, state, federal, etc.) will be required to get a stocking authorization where PFBC will review the app basically the same as they do for the special activities permits today.
 
wildtrout2

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By 2025, anyone stocking in PA (private entities, state, federal, etc.) will be required to get a stocking authorization where PFBC will review the app basically the same as they do for the special activities permits today.
That sounds like a step in the right direction.
 
silverfox

silverfox

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That sounds like a step in the right direction.
Absolutely. Not to put a negative spin on everything, but... It's a step that should've been taken 50 years ago.
 
Fish Sticks

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That sounds like a step in the right direction.
Yea i guess it will all depend if its a rubber stamp to do what people want or if they actually tell some people they can’t dump in over sensitive species. I’ll be very interested to see how much they reign in the wild wild west. Its pretty rough out there right now.

 
Fish Sticks

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That sounds like a step in the right direction.
We are like 3rd world country in regard to native fish conservation. West Virginia creates 4 brook trout only c and r management watersheds , pa will follow suit in 50 years. Its like receiving a shipment of nokia flip cellphones and T shirts that say congratulations Tampa bay bucks you are the 2003 superbowl champions in 2022.
 
silverfox

silverfox

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Yea i guess it will all depend if its a rubber stamp to do what people want or if they actually tell some people they can’t dump in over sensitive species. I’ll be very interested to see how much they reign in the wild wild west. Its pretty rough out there right now.

One good thing, even if it is "rubber-stamped", is that it gives others the opportunity to lean on those doing the stocking while proclaiming to be good stewards of the environment. That happened up in New England with a certain "conservation" organization that turned out to be dumping fish in a highly sensitive stream. At least there's a paper trail of who's doing what.
 
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troutbert

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The point about NJ ceasing brook trout stocking 10 years ago is exactly what bothers me about PA. We're finally doing that too, however, it will be 2025 or 2026 before we actually stop doing it. If you know it's wrong, why not just stop it?
Could you us more details about this? Is there a document available that explains all this?

Has PFBC agreed to ending all stocking over native brook trout populations by 2025 or 2026?

And will this include not just PFBC, but also the coop hatcheries? Will private parties not in the coop system also be prohibited from stocking over native brookies?

And how will they define what is a stream section with a native brook trout population? What will the cutoff level be?

If this is really true, it's very good news. And it will mean an enormous change in trout fisheries management in PA. The stream mileage where hatchery trout are being stocked over native brook trout populations is very large.

The political push back will be huge. I hope people will be ready to support the change.
 
Fish Sticks

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Could you us more details about this? Is there a document available that explains all this?

Has PFBC agreed to ending all stocking over native brook trout populations by 2025 or 2026?

And will this include not just PFBC, but also the coop hatcheries? Will private parties not in the coop system also be prohibited from stocking over native brookies?

And how will they define what is a stream section with a native brook trout population? What will the cutoff level be?

If this is really true, it's very good news. And it will mean an enormous change in trout fisheries management in PA. The stream mileage where hatchery trout are being stocked over native brook trout populations is very large.

The political push back will be huge. I hope people will be ready to support the change.
If you go on pa fish and boats GIS map and highlight stocked trout streams and zoom out Pennsylvania pretty much glows orange. Now my understanding is that is JUST the roughly 3 1/2 million trout PA fish and boat stocks.

“The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has a long history of culturing and stocking trout for the anglers of the Commonwealth. The stocking program has changed many times over the years and is currently producing approximately 3.5 million eleven-inch adult trout for stocking annually. Other portions of the trout stocking program include 2-4 million fingerlings for the put-grow-take fishery, 1.2 million fingerlings to the cooperative nurseries, about 20,000 trophy trout consisting of 2-3 year old brood stock and 9,000 trophy golden rainbow trout. “


~9 MILLION TROUT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
those other 6.5 million trout don’t even show up on the GIS map when you make the state glow orange from space on pa fish and boats interactive map. There are streams that don’t show up as stocked that are full of cooperative nursery trout as i understand it.

Has it rained enough invasive species out of buckets and chutes in the state of PA yet?

NOPE

you still have the ENTIRE private hatchery industry in PA and the sportsmens clubs that buy em and disseminate across the state. The USDA would have the number of trout somewhere but its a STUPID large number. Like the slate run brown trout club’s invasion they launch at the doorstep of slate run every year I believe thats private hatchery not PAFB.

So whats the real number of trout stocked in PA 12? 15? 18 million?

Notice how anyone with fish commission denies to high heaven that there could be ANY possible ecological harm being caused by putting that many mostly invasive species in PA’s waterways.

As you can see this is why we cannot afford to stop stocking one single native brook trout sub watershed because obviously there would be no opportunity left state wide for any anglers and we can just say the kids will never grow up to be conssevarionists if we don’t stock our state fish to death.



Oh by the way the brook trout strong hold map on eastern brook trout joint venture in the north central part of the state lines up with some of the heaviest stocked regions. # resource first
 
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