The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community banner

21 - 40 of 56 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,305 Posts
I agree with most of what you said, though I'm not a big fan of stocking any trout into streams that have good wild trout populations. The trout that are stocked are often larger than their wild counterparts and can claim the better spots. Rainbows are the least likely to successfully spawn of the stocked species in PA. The rainbows that are stocked by the PAF&BC spawn in the fall and rainbow trout eggs can't survive water temperatures less than 40 degrees. The great majority of PA streams, especially the freestoners, get colder than that in the winter.

The only other disagreement is that I think brown trout after they reach 9 inches are more likely to eat fish, but will still eat lots of insects, crustaceans, or whatever they can catch.
Sorry, I wasn't advocating for stocking over viable wild trout populations. I was just saying that if it is going to be done in some cases, I'd like to see them at least not stock that species and really just rainbows only here in PA.

Yes Browns do still eat other food, just that they prey heavily on other fish beginning at that size. It's part of what helps them grow larger and out-compete other trout.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,456 Posts
Sorry, I wasn't advocating for stocking over viable wild trout populations. I was just saying that if it is going to be done in some cases, I'd like to see them at least not stock that species and really just rainbows only here in PA.

Yes browns do still eat other food, just that they prey heavily on other fish beginning at that size. It's part of what helps them grow larger and out-compete other trout.
I understand that. Unfortunately, some class A streams will continue to be stocked, and if that’s the case, I agree it’s better to stock trout that have little to no chance of reproducing, where if brooks and browns are stocked in streams with wild brooks and browns, the stocked fish interbreeding with wild fish would diminish the gene pool.

Thanks for clarifying your second point.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RyanR

·
Registered
Joined
·
203 Posts
I see both your points. I’m fortunate to live where the mountain streams run relatively cool all summer. I never thought about the temperature side of the argument. We only have one viable stream within a reasonable distance from me that has wild browns. I guess I got spoiled on wild Brook trout
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,023 Posts
Many creeks hold brookies in the headwaters yet don't hold brookies a mile or two downstream. Both browns and rainbows migrate up and down creeks so unless there is a natural or manmade barrier, fish stocked in lower portions could end up in brookie territory. Those stocked fish also travel up tributaries. So really the only way to prevent "other" trout would be to cease stocking them pretty much state wide. Some streams have "wild" browns and a few have "wild" rainbows... some have never been stocked by the PFBC(my lifetime anyway). They could have been stocked in the past by sportsman's clubs, Co-op's, private individuals or those fish traveled a long way(a huge brown was caught out of the Susky near Harrisburg a year or two back) into these creeks. A few of my "wild" creeks seem like they would be able to support brookies as they are mostly wooded and seem cool enough year round - should we kill the "wild" trout and plant "native" brookies ?

We also have to remember that "Penn's Woods" were pretty much clear cut by the 1900's add in pollution from run-off, farms and industry and you had the demise of our fish. I don't know if brookies could thrive in "reforested" sections of our modern creeks. I'm not even 100% sure many of our "natives" are in fact native or if like our whitetails were reintroduced(stocked) from other areas or states.

We are kind of in a catch - 22 between keeping anglers(FUNDING) happy and "fixing" our mismanaged waterways. I firmly believe that since the internet/social media craze of the last 20 years our "native" and "wild" trout creeks are taking a beating. Yes most guys are catch + release but no matter how careful we are some of those fish die either from deep hooks(happens even with lures) or from playing the fish too long. Even fish that swim away seemingly fine can succumb later. Personally I would like to see "native/wild" creeks closed to fishing from Sept through to Opening day to protect spawning fish, redds and newly hatched fry from "nimrods" wading through the creeks. I would also like the size limit reduced for "native" brookies maybe by weeding out some of the fish others could grow bigger.... A stream can only hold "X" fish because of limited food. Could be 10 fish @ 10" or 20 fish @ 5" that would depend on the creek.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,875 Posts
Icemole, the petition says " "We, the undersigned, urge the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to end the practice of stocking waters where wild native brook trout are present."

It doesn't say anything at all about killing other wild trout, etc.

The reason for the petition is simple. Ending stocking over native brook populations results in increases in those populations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,023 Posts
My point is how do you "protect" native brookies from stocked or "wild" trout migrating into the waters where the brookies live ? One native creek I fish has a 4' waterfall about a 1/4 mile above the "1st" stocking point going downstream. I had thought it was stopping the browns upward migration... I don't know how they got passed it but they did.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
20,149 Posts
These proposals create such slippery slopes in a way. The whole discontinuing stocking over native brook trout is a noble cause but truly needs to be looked at on a stream by stream basis. Some streams get posted when stocking stops and quite frankly I would rather have access to a stream that has native brook trout and get stocked rather than not have access to a stream that has native Brook trout. The feel-good feeling I get from knowing a stream has native brook trout doesn't make me feel as good as when I can actually fish the stream and there are certainly some instances where streams would be closed if stalking was discontinued. Public and state land... Absolutely divert to a different stream.

Second the argument about closing streams down from the spawn to opening day has zero scientific backing to it... respectfully. The last thing we need in today's society are more rules and regulations based off of emotion instead of hard science. The fact is that pressure is extremely light that time of year on wild and native streams and the odds of any redds getting stomped are really low. So low that Pennsylvania is thriving with wild and native trout streams. That is a rule that never would need to be implemented cuz there's no reason to do so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,456 Posts
Many creeks hold brookies in the headwaters yet don't hold brookies a mile or two downstream. Both browns and rainbows migrate up and down creeks so unless there is a natural or manmade barrier, fish stocked in lower portions could end up in brookie territory. Those stocked fish also travel up tributaries. So really the only way to prevent "other" trout would be to cease stocking them pretty much state wide. Some streams have "wild" browns and a few have "wild" rainbows... some have never been stocked by the PFBC (my lifetime anyway). They could have been stocked in the past by sportsman's clubs, Co-ops, private individuals or those fish traveled a long way (a huge brown was caught out of the Susky near Harrisburg a year or two back) into these creeks. A few of my "wild" creeks seem like they would be able to support brookies as they are mostly wooded and seem cool enough year round - should we kill the "wild" trout and plant "native" brookies ?

TT: There are a few people who are adamantly against any non-native trout species but there is no practical way possible to eradicate the wild browns and in a few streams, wild rainbows. They are here to stay. As I've said numerous times, if it weren't for wild browns, the trout fishing in PA would be extremely poor in most areas. Not only do the browns reproduce in many streams where the brooks don't, the browns also can withstand heavy fishing pressure much better.

There was a stream in south-central PA where there was a fish weir for years to try to keep the stocked rainbows and browns out, but it didn't work. After repairing it numerous times, and shocking and relocating the rainbows and browns, the PAF&BC gave up. Now that stretch is mostly rainbows and brooks.


My point is how do you "protect" native brookies from stocked or "wild" trout migrating into the waters where the brookies live? One native creek I fish has a 4' waterfall about a 1/4 mile above the "1st" stocking point going downstream. I had thought it was stopping the browns upward migration. I don't know how they got past it but they did.
TT: Icemole is correct in pointing out that streams that don't have native brook trout are often fed by ones that do, so to completely shield the native brook trout, stocking would have to be stopped on the whole system. I'm for discontinuing direct stocking on streams with a class C or better population of native brook trout, but not on the entire system. It’s been shown through tagging programs that native brook trout often overwinter in large streams, then return to the tributaries in the Spring. Those large streams are normally too warm to hold wild trout, so they are stocked. I’m not for discontinuing stocking on those stream sections.

I have seen browns attempt to leap a small dam that was at least 10 feet high and almost make it. They can clear a 4' waterfall.


These proposals create such slippery slopes in a way. The whole discontinuing stocking over native brook trout is a noble cause but truly needs to be looked at on a stream by stream basis. Some streams get posted when stocking stops and quite frankly I would rather have access to a stream that has native brook trout and get stocked rather than not have access to a stream that has native Brook trout. The feel-good feeling I get from knowing a stream has native brook trout doesn't make me feel as good as when I can actually fish the stream and there are certainly some instances where streams would be closed if stocking was discontinued. Public and state land... Absolutely divert to a different stream.

Trout2003, the petition contains nothing about closing streams down from the spawn to Opening Day.
TT: The petition says nothing about that, but he's replying to Icemole's preference to see fishing closed on streams from the fall spawn to Opening Day.

Second the argument about closing streams down from the spawn to opening day has zero scientific backing to it... respectfully. The last thing we need in today's society are more rules and regulations based off of emotion instead of hard science. The fact is that pressure is extremely light that time of year on wild and native streams and the odds of any redds getting stomped are really low. So low that Pennsylvania is thriving with wild and native trout streams. That is a rule that never would need to be implemented because there's no reason to do so.
TT: I absolutely agree. Most wild trout streams get little pressure in the fall. There are some wild trout streams that get a lot of year round pressure and those streams are thriving. Careful anglers can avoid redds. Naturally occurring events like droughts and floods have a lot more ability to cause harm than fishing. A flood that occurs between the spawn and when the trout emerge from their redds can wipe out an entire year class of trout. Angling itself could never come close to doing that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,305 Posts
We're getting off onto tangents here. The petition is simply to have stocking cease over wild Brook trout. That's it, no other rules or stipulations.

On its face it's a good idea. However, the other issue is preventing other trout, particularly wild Browns, already present in the watershed from infiltrating or displacing the wild Brook trout. Without a plan to utilize barriers and other methods to eradicate other trout I'm not sure that action will achieve anything other than to just stop stocking trout to limit fishing pressure and losses of wild brookies to poor handling, creeling by "stocked trout anglers."

Troutbert, what comes to mind for me is the 30 year wild Brook trout project in the Smokies. That was a significant undertaking to re-establish wild Brookies in those streams and included a 30 year moratorium on fishing, barriers and even the use of rotenone I believe to eradicate Browns and Rainbows (and all fish). It was a multi-pronged approach.

It's also a fascinating story if anyone wants to read up on it. And if you've never fished the Smokies, by God you need to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,456 Posts
We're getting off onto tangents here. The petition is simply to have stocking cease over wild Brook trout. That's it, no other rules or stipulations.

On its face it's a good idea. However, the other issue is preventing other trout, particularly wild Browns, already present in the watershed from infiltrating or displacing the wild Brook trout. Without a plan to utilize barriers and other methods to eradicate other trout I'm not sure that action will achieve anything other than to just stop stocking trout to limit fishing pressure and losses of wild brookies to poor handling, creeling by "stocked trout anglers."

Troutbert, what comes to mind for me is the 30 year wild Brook trout project in the Smokies. That was a significant undertaking to re-establish wild Brookies in those streams and included a 30 year moratorium on fishing, barriers and even the use of rotenone I believe to eradicate Browns and Rainbows (and all fish). It was a multi-pronged approach.

It's also a fascinating story if anyone wants to read up on it. And if you've never fished the Smokies, by God you need to.
The petition doesn't mention eradicating non-native species or elimination of fall fishing, that's true. The latter issue was brought up by another poster and responded to.

I read about what was done in the Smokies. I sure hope it doesn’t rise to the level of construction of barriers and an attempt at eradication of wild browns and rainbows in PA.

I was only in the Smokies once, but didn’t get to do any fishing.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
20,149 Posts
Honestly, I wouldn't sign a petition to stop stocking over native brook trout because it's too encompassing and doesn't sound well thought out ( although I admittedly didn't read it). I would support it in a lot of cases but I would want to see a list of streams. You can sign any petition you want in this regard though, it won't matter. The stocked trout crowd dwarfs the wild trout crowd. It's a noble idea however.

That smokey mountain thing sounds absolutely horrible. To remove fishing right on public streams for 30 years is crazy. Nothing surprises me in Virgini though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,456 Posts
I agree with Trout2003 that the petition is too general. I’ll provide the following example and my understanding of how it would be affected if the petition were adopted.

Suppose there is a long stream that has native brook trout in its headwaters, as many streams do. Further downstream as the stream widens, there are wild browns in addition to the native brooks. That section is rated class A and isn’t stocked. As the stream picks up tributaries and gets wider, it warms significantly. The PAF&BC surveys that section and finds it has few wild trout. The few that are there are wild browns, but they also find a couple of native brooks. Due to the low wild trout population the PAF&BC stocks that section with browns and rainbows. Further downstream, the PAF&BC finds only a few wild browns near the mouths of tributaries, but no native brook trout. That section is also stocked with browns and rainbows.

As I understand it, the petition calls for ending stocking of non-native trout in streams where native brook trout are present. That would mean that browns and rainbows would no longer be stocked in any of that long stream, even if they’re stocked 30 miles downstream of where the native brook trout are found.

Is my assumption correct?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,023 Posts
I didn't read the "Smokies" thing either .... But much of that area is in National Parks jurisdiction and it's not the first time they have tried to wipe out "invasive" fish on their lands. Yellowstone if I remember right had an eradication program for certain trout in favor of the "native" species.

I agree with Trout2003 that the petition is too general. I’ll provide the following example and my understanding of how it would be affected if the petition were adopted.

Suppose there is a long stream that has native brook trout in its headwaters, as many streams do. Further downstream as the stream widens, there are wild browns in addition to the native brooks. That section is rated class A and isn’t stocked. As the stream picks up tributaries and gets wider, it warms significantly. The PAF&BC surveys that section and finds it has few wild trout. The few that are there are wild browns, but they also find a couple of native brooks. Due to the low wild trout population the PAF&BC stocks that section with browns and rainbows. Further downstream, the PAF&BC finds only a few wild browns near the mouths of tributaries, but no native brook trout. That section is also stocked with browns and rainbows.

As I understand it, the petition calls for ending stocking of non-native trout in streams where native brook trout are present. That would mean that browns and rainbows would no longer be stocked in any of that long stream, even if they’re stocked 30 miles downstream of where the native brook trout are found.

Is my assumption correct?
That would be the best way to prevent stocked fish from migrating into "native" brookie territory,,,, but they could still migrate into that stream from a neighboring watershed. Stocking season is March 1 through Opening Day - even warm creeks/rivers are still pretty cool. And of course the "wild" browns might eat the brookies all anyway. Didn't you post something about the old "Brook Trout Enhancement Creeks" being a discontinued in another post ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,456 Posts
I didn't read the "Smokies" thing either .... But much of that area is in National Parks jurisdiction and it's not the first time they have tried to wipe out "invasive" fish on their lands. Yellowstone if I remember right had an eradication program for certain trout in favor of the "native" species.

That would be the best way to prevent stocked fish from migrating into "native" brookie territory,,,, but they could still migrate into that stream from a neighboring watershed. Stocking season is March 1 through Opening Day - even warm creeks/rivers are still pretty cool. And of course the "wild" browns might eat the brookies all anyway. Didn't you post something about the old "Brook Trout Enhancement Creeks" being a discontinued in another post?
I was thinking of one stream in particular in my example (though there are others with similar situations), which is extremely popular and gets many anglers from around the state and outside the state. I would be for ending stocking on the section where there is at least a class C population of native brook trout. I would not be in favor of ending stocking on the entire stream.

While wild browns do eat native brook trout, it’s not like they eat all of them or even close to it. I’m sure native brooks eat some of their own kind too.

Yes, the Brook Trout Enhancement Program (BTEP) was discontinued. The BTEP regulations were that all brook trout had to be immediately released but statewide regulations applied to other species. It was assumed that at least some people who fished those areas would keep the browns and rainbows. It was an incorrect assumption, because most wild trout anglers release all their trout. The intent was to increase the number of native brook trout over 7 inches in the waters under those regulations. There were 12 streams/watersheds under BTEP regulations and they found the new regulations had a positive effect in only one of them. So the program was discontinued and the one watershed went under All Tackle Catch & Release regulations. The rest reverted to general regulations. Special regulations areas draw added fishing pressure. I believe the added pressure is what hurt the brook trout populations in those streams.

You mentioned the Yellowstone: I saw a program on TV on the decline of cutthroat population in Yellowstone Lake. Lake trout were illegally stocked in the lake. They're highly predatory and were eating many of the cutthroat. Regulations requiring that all lake trout be kept were enacted, but that had little effect. A gill netting program was started but it still didn't remove enough of the lakers. Finally, by tagging the lakers, they were able to locate their spawning grounds deep in the lake and used a machine that would kill the lake trout eggs. They were able to do that without affecting the cutthroat spawning grounds because the cutties spawn in the feeder streams and not the lake. That of course is not the case with brooks, browns, and rainbows since they all spawn in the streams. They likely won't ever eradicate the lake trout, but even if the numbers are severely reduced, it will take a long time for the cutthroat to recover. Since the program was enacted, over 3 million lake trout have been removed and the cutthroat population has started to recover.

In the western US, there are efforts to combat rainbow trout takeover of streams that were historically cutthroat streams. Western rainbows spawn in the Spring, the same time as the cutthroat. Cutthroat are worse at competing with non-native species than brook trout from what I understand. The rainbows are more dominant and also freely interbreed with the cutthroat. In some streams, it is a requirement that any rainbow caught must be kept. I fished one stream in Idaho, the South Fork of the Snake, that had those regulations. It was a guided trip. I asked the guide if most people follow the rainbow harvest rule. He said almost all the guide services ignore it and he thinks most of the anglers who fish it on their own do too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,305 Posts
The petition doesn't mention eradicating non-native species or elimination of fall fishing, that's true. The latter issue was brought up by another poster and responded to.

I read about what was done in the Smokies. I sure hope it doesn’t rise to the level of construction of barriers and an attempt at eradication of wild browns and rainbows in PA.

I was only in the Smokies once, but didn’t get to do any fishing.
Just as FYI regarding the Smokies, not all streams were subjected to those measures. Personally I didn't have much problem at all with what they did. They were working hard to completely restore wild Brook trout in those mountains. And there are still streams in the Smokies with plenty of wild rainbows and/or browns in them. Also some stream sections that are also stocked and under Delayed Harvest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,305 Posts
Honestly, I wouldn't sign a petition to stop stocking over native brook trout because it's too encompassing and doesn't sound well thought out ( although I admittedly didn't read it). I would support it in a lot of cases but I would want to see a list of streams. You can sign any petition you want in this regard though, it won't matter. The stocked trout crowd dwarfs the wild trout crowd. It's a noble idea however.

That smokey mountain thing sounds absolutely horrible. To remove fishing right on public streams for 30 years is crazy. Nothing surprises me in Virgini though.
Well except the Smokies are in NC/Tennessee 😉. And not all streams were closed, there were plenty of stream miles in the National Park that remained open. Most of the restrictions were not near the most heavily fished areas, ya had to hike your behind in a bit to get to them. They had to be aggressive as they were attempting save and fully restore the Southern Appalachian Brook trout which is genetically distinct from Northern Brook trout populations. And they had become greatly reduced, isolated and fragmented.

Consider this, southern Appalachian brookies lost 75% of their range in the Park in the early 1900s from wide-scale logging that left the streams too silted and degraded. Then rainbows and browns were introduced to provide fishing. They quickly outcompeted and overtook the struggling brookies, further reducing them. And then acid rain piled on top of a that to further reduce them. There 2900 miles of streams in the Park, of which 20% are suitable for trout. Rainbows now occupy just over 15% and brookies almost 9% and browns just under 5%. Beginning in 1986 and as of 2015 biologists restored brookies fully to 27 miles on 11 different streams for a total 120 miles of streams exclusive to brookies. Since 2007 there have been some additional miles added.

BTW, I culled this info from a few different sources.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,305 Posts
I signed it. If it helps that's great, I figure it wild brookies need all they help they can here. And signing it doesn't hurt anything and there will still be plenty of streams that get stocked even if the petition did work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,875 Posts
I agree with Trout2003 that the petition is too general. I’ll provide the following example and my understanding of how it would be affected if the petition were adopted.

Suppose there is a long stream that has native brook trout in its headwaters, as many streams do. Further downstream as the stream widens, there are wild browns in addition to the native brooks. That section is rated class A and isn’t stocked. As the stream picks up tributaries and gets wider, it warms significantly. The PAF&BC surveys that section and finds it has few wild trout. The few that are there are wild browns, but they also find a couple of native brooks. Due to the low wild trout population the PAF&BC stocks that section with browns and rainbows. Further downstream, the PAF&BC finds only a few wild browns near the mouths of tributaries, but no native brook trout. That section is also stocked with browns and rainbows.

As I understand it, the petition calls for ending stocking of non-native trout in streams where native brook trout are present. That would mean that browns and rainbows would no longer be stocked in any of that long stream, even if they’re stocked 30 miles downstream of where the native brook trout are found.

Is my assumption correct?
There is very widespread stocking of hatchery trout directly on top of native brook trout, on stream sections that are on the wild trout reproduction list, i.e. streams that are Class B, C, or D.

Back in 2003 the PFBC announced that they were going to take 63 Class B stream sections off the stocking list.

And the other side contacted their legislators, the commissioners etc. and they were forced to put them back on the stocking list.

Like you, I support ending stocking over streams with brookie populations Class C or better.

But they are still stocking many Class Bs, and some of these were even Class A in some surveys.

So, if this petition has any effect at all, it may give them some courage to take some of the Class Bs off.

And maybe still in our life times, some of the Class Cs might come off.

But waters that are way downstream, and not even on the wild trout list, they will be stocked as long as the PFBC has a hatchery program. That's where they SHOULD be stocking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,456 Posts
There is very widespread stocking of hatchery trout directly on top of native brook trout, on stream sections that are on the wild trout reproduction list, i.e. streams that are Class B, C, or D.

Back in 2003 the PFBC announced that they were going to take 63 Class B stream sections off the stocking list.

And the other side contacted their legislators, the commissioners etc. and they were forced to put them back on the stocking list.

Like you, I support ending stocking over streams with brookie populations Class C or better.

But they are still stocking many Class Bs, and some of these were even Class A in some surveys.

So, if this petition has any effect at all, it may give them some courage to take some of the Class Bs off.

And maybe still in our life times, some of the Class Cs might come off.

But waters that are way downstream, and not even on the wild trout list, they will be stocked as long as the PFBC has a hatchery program. That's where they SHOULD be stocking.
Thanks TB. The class B streams should definitely not be on the stocking list. I know of several class A wild brown trout streams that are unfortunately stocked. Do you know how many class A native brookie streams are stocked? You don't need to provide a list, a simple number will suffice.

I agree that the areas way downstream of the class C sections should be stocked. Based on what I have read on various forums, there are hard liners, who want to end stocking on stream sections that are well downstream of the wild trout areas. I would not be in favor of that. There are also are some people who think that some of PA's famous wild brown trout streams didn't have browns, that they would have native brooks instead. They are mistaken.

I've noticed some streams have a mixed population of wild browns and native brooks, while others that used to be native brookie streams are all wild browns. If existence of browns were the only reason for the brook trout's decline as portrayed by some anglers in various forums, then why are there mixed populations in some streams? Some of those streams have more brooks than browns, while others are about the same, and in others, there are more browns. I fished a stream yesterday with native brooks and browns. The lower part of the stream has more browns, though the population seems to be only slightly in favor of the browns. Further upstream, brookies clearly predominate there.
 
21 - 40 of 56 Posts
Top