More brookies in Penns Creek?

discomidge

discomidge

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I’ve caught waaaay more brookies in Penns this spring than in years past. Anyone else noticing this or am I just suddenly a brook trout magnet? I fish Penns a lot (closest big stream to me) and for the past several years I’d catch maybe 1 brookie to every 20 browns. This spring it’s been almost 1 to 1 for me on the same stretch of water. Not complaining, lots of them are pretty nice and man what stunning fish, but it’s been a real weird spring. And all this is after exclusively catching browns all winter. A looker from last night:
 

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Nymph-wristed

Nymph-wristed

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Thanks for posting this. I was wondering too and am curious what others experienced. I saw PA Woods and Water Scott's video, and he caught a bunch this month. I was wondering if they were wild or put in by a local "conservation" group? I find stockers in Class A wild brown cricks in SEPA too often.

Maybe Mike knows if the storms last year pushed them out of tribs, for example?
 
silverfox

silverfox

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I’ve caught waaaay more brookies in Penns this spring than in years past. Anyone else noticing this or am I just suddenly a brook trout magnet? I fish Penns a lot (closest big stream to me) and for the past several years I’d catch maybe 1 brookie to every 20 browns. This spring it’s been almost 1 to 1 for me on the same stretch of water. Not complaining, lots of them are pretty nice and man what stunning fish, but it’s been a real weird spring. And all this is after exclusively catching browns all winter. A looker from last night:
Interesting. FWIW, that fish looks wild to me, and looks like most of the others I've caught in Penns over the years. Completely anecdotal, but it also looks a lot like the wild brook trout I catch in a huge tailwater in another state. I doubt there's any connection, but the brook trout population in said tailwater is also "exploding" over the past few years for some reason. One possible explanation given to me was that they've done so much work in the headwaters to reduce Ag impact that the water quality has gotten far better in recent years and may be favoring brook trout more now.
 
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lycoflyfisher

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Still a lot of room for additional ag bmps, stream bank fencing and riparian buffers. However, a lot of work has been done and at some point improvement in water quality will have an effect on the biological community. There is another popular limestone influenced watershed where brook trout anecdotally are on the rise for the past few years.

Neat report, thanks for sharing!
 
discomidge

discomidge

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Thanks guys and yeah, I think it's really interesting. I haven't caught any tiny ones like I do on blue lines near Penns or occasionally on BFC - most of the Penns brookies I've hooked have been in the 9-12" range. And I'm no expert, but the ones I've been catching look just as wild as the ones I catch up in the mountains. If it's the result of improved water quality I'm all for it. C'mon tiger trout.
 
silverfox

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Thanks guys and yeah, I think it's really interesting. I haven't caught any tiny ones like I do on blue lines near Penns or occasionally on BFC - most of the Penns brookies I've hooked have been in the 9-12" range. And I'm no expert, but the ones I've been catching look just as wild as the ones I catch up in the mountains. If it's the result of improved water quality I'm all for it. C'mon tiger trout.
OT, but I posted some videos from EBTJV yesterday, if you listen to the one on nonnative fish, you'll catch a brief discussion at the end where someone (Matt Kulp) asks about how many tiger trout they found. In VA, they didn't find any during all those years of sampling. Someone from WV (I believe it was David Thorne) mentioned that where they tend to find them in WV is where there is limited spawning habitat and strong populations of both species. That those conditions force them to spawn together in limited sites. Makes sense to me. Doubt that will ever be the case on Penns.
 
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TheDogHollerer

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Hello! I listened to a great podcast recently that has some surprising data about Brook trout, including improving a stream too much can actually drive native brooks out. In fact, one reclamation project that had 80 percent brook 20 non native completely flipped to 20 percent brook after spending a bunch of money "improving " the stream. Gentleman is from Central PA too :
 
sarce

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I can't speak to PA conditions but in MD we've managed to avoid any significant floods and sustained anchor ice conditions the past few winters , during the period where brook trout eggs are in the stream bottom. I think I have read before that those conditions favor strong brook trout year classes. Brown trout YOY were down on a couple streams in MD last year. Might be related, I don't know for sure.
 
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lycoflyfisher

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Hello! I listened to a great podcast recently that has some surprising data about Brook trout, including improving a stream too much can actually drive native brooks out. In fact, one reclamation project that had 80 percent brook 20 non native completely flipped to 20 percent brook after spending a bunch of money "improving " the stream. Gentleman is from Central PA too :
Thats your own Fishsticks as he posted here https://www.paflyfish.com/threads/brook-trout-myths-podcast.80782/
 
McSneek

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I commented on another thread that a couple of years ago I caught several brookies that I believe were stocked. They were nice fish but too large and just didn’t look like natives. I do catch natives in Penns though. Go to the tail out of the Broad Waters and you will almost always find a couple rising around the first island. They’ll eat a dry willingly.
 
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JeffP

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There just doesn't seem to be a ton of streams with a lot of brookies to support catching many in the big creek. Poe, Swift, Panther et all could add a few. Not sure brookies could really run up Swift or Panther. I also got the feeling there were fewer fish in some of the other tribs like Weikert and Cherry. I'm sure Elk and Pine add a few. What is the trib that runs in at Ingleby? Does it have brookies? 2 dams on it and an ugly Metal barrel at the mouth. Get that thing out of there!
 
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Sylvaneous

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I’ve caught waaaay more brookies in Penns this spring than in years past. Anyone else noticing this or am I just suddenly a brook trout magnet? I fish Penns a lot (closest big stream to me) and for the past several years I’d catch maybe 1 brookie to every 20 browns. This spring it’s been almost 1 to 1 for me on the same stretch of water. Not complaining, lots of them are pretty nice and man what stunning fish, but it’s been a real weird spring. And all this is after exclusively catching browns all winter. A looker from last night:
What section are you finding them? I found the most around Swift Run, but my experience is far less than a 'regular'.
 
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lycoflyfisher

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There just doesn't seem to be a ton of streams with a lot of brookies to support catching many in the big creek. Poe, Swift, Panther et all could add a few. Not sure brookies could really run up Swift or Panther. I also got the feeling there were fewer fish in some of the other tribs like Weikert and Cherry. I'm sure Elk and Pine add a few. What is the trib that runs in at Ingleby? Does it have brookies? 2 dams on it and an ugly Metal barrel at the mouth. Get that thing out of there!
I was staying at a cabin in the weikert area a few years ago late summer. Had a big thunderstorm Friday and Penns was not fishable. Had one of my best brook trout days ever in PA on Cherry Run, didn't even catch a brown trout. I have tried to replicate that many times, I have always caught fish, but never that many or size. I often wonder if perhaps some of those fish came up from Penns.
 
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JeffP

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Which brings us back to the fact of how transient these fish are? I seem to recall a survey of Cherry Run that showed surprisingly few trout.
 
discomidge

discomidge

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What section are you finding them? I found the most around Swift Run, but my experience is far less than a 'regular'.
Between the mid-state trail lot and the splits in the C&R section. I kinda live there, or would like to.
 
jifigz

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I fished Penns once this year and I caught one pretty dang nice Brookie. So yeah, my only trip back I found a Brookie. Just one though, all the rest were browns
 
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Mike

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Could be a single year of big yr classes in all of the trib streams and there is only so much room for larger fish, so territoriality is pushing them out into Penns either seasonally or permanently. Could also be that the fish left the tribs post-spawning from winter and didn’t return to the tribs yet. Finally, could be as was already said that Penns is temporarily improving or permanently improved for ST. That third possibility is seen by me as being least likely due to the Penns temperature problems….but perhaps there could be localized exceptions/ specific cooler stretches
 
Fish Sticks

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I would be curious to see if there are surveys recent enough on panther, swift, the poes, pine/elk high up, henstep, and the other ST tribs to see if all these reports of brookies in penns we are seeing are correlating with the population dynamics in the tribs. Also would be interested to see what wild brown trout numbers are doing in penns and some of the class A tribs at same time are doing. As far as reasons why i dont think favorable hydrograph would support a bunch of large 2-3 year old fish like the ones we have seen because we had that horrible drought summer not long ago if I am remebering correctly. As lyco mentioned still a TON to be done for ag and storm water/erosion on penn creek watershed. I would love to know what to attribute this too. I forget how lingnagk tbey stopped stocking the one section of penns and where exactly it was located.
 
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troutbert

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As lyco mentioned still a TON to be done for ag and storm water/erosion on penn creek watershed. I would love to know what to attribute this too.
The reason is the same as in other areas. Riparian buffers are voluntary. There is no law that requires landowners to create riparian buffers.
 
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