I thought I would take the opportunity to look at my stats through the first six months of the year. Since last yearís drought, Iíve wondered what the effect of it was. With my fishing completed for the first half of the year, I think itís a good time to see if there are any conclusions to be had.
First, I did a lot more fishing through the first half of the year than I have in other years. I knew I was facing an extended period of not being able to fish, so I tried to get in as much fishing as possible.
I fished 46 times through the first six months of the year. Though I fished a lot more, my catch rate has been much lower this year compared to the same period in other years. I attribute that to more early season fishing trips than usual, but feel there could be other factors involved. My stream selection, hooking proficiency, weather, and stream conditions are important factors.
In my 46 trips through June, Iíve caught 1,611 trout for an average of 35.0 per day.
- 1,327 (82.4%) of my trout were browns, 251 (15.6%) were brooks, and just 33 (2.0%) were rainbows.
-1,442 (89.5%) hit spinners, 166 (10.3%) hit plugs, and 3 (0.2%) hit spoons.
In 2016, I fished 27 times and caught 1,164 trout for an average of 43.1 per day.
-1,049 (90.5%) were browns, 79 (6.8%) were brooks, 33 (2.8%) were rainbows, and 3 (.3%) were golden rainbows.
- -Spinners accounted for 1,1,06 (95.0%) trout, plugs for 47 (4.0%), and spoons for 11 (1%).
Attached is a comparison that shows trout caught by stream type and size distribution for the years 2011-2015 compared to this year and to 2016. It covers trout caught in the first half of the year only.
From the charts, you can see there is a marked decrease in the percentage of Less than 7Ē trout and 7 to 9.99Ē trout between 2011-2015 to 2016 and 2017 and a sharp increase in the percentage of 10-14.99Ē inch trout and the larger size distributions.
The biggest difference is the very low number of Less than 7Ē trout caught in both the limestone and the freestone streams in 2017.
I believe the data shows that the drought last year had a definite effect on the trout populations. I would expect the effect to be more drastic in the freestone streams, but my data shows a larger than expected effect on the limestoners as well. I believe that last yearís extreme water conditions took a toll on all trout, however the larger trout are more able to claim the prime holding spots, deeper pools, spring seeps, etc. This exposes the smaller trout in the less prime spots to thermal factors, as well as increased predation. The fat trout I caught in some streams also leads me to believe that a number of the smaller trout were forced into sharing the prime spots with the larger trout, and as a result many were eaten by the larger trout.
I would be interested to see what other anglersí conclusions are with half of the season gone. I would be interested to see if othersí stats agree or disagree with mine, especially those who fish freestone streams more than I do.