Trout movement is still a mystery
Written by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette   
Tuesday, 21 November 2006 16:19

 About nine percent of Pennsylvania's stocked trout streams lose most of their fish shortly after they are stocked, while 72 percent appear to retain about 40 percent of their trout, according to a Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's survey of 187 stream sections, statewide, last spring.

The Fish Commission electro-fished football field-length sections of streams -- and sometimes two sections of the same stream -- 10 to 20 days after they were stocked.

"Trout move, but we don't know how far beyond 300 meters, and we don't know why," said the Fish Commission's fisheries management chief Leroy Young. "We looked at a lot of variables, from water quality to water temperature, but nothing indicated a particular pattern."

Young said elevated streams showed slightly more movement, while waters with good in-stream cover showed a little less movement, "but these just hints at the effect ... they don't come close to telling the whole story."

In southwestern Pennsylvania, Dunbar and Whitely creeks were among streams rated "poor," or retaining less than 10 percent of trout, while Elk Lick Creek, Laurel Run, Meadow Run and Mill Run were rated "fair to excellent," or retaining 40 percent of their trout. Four Mile Run showed mixed results -- one section being poor and the other, fair to excellent.

Young said poor streams would be re-sampled in the spring, along with new ones, and some might be dropped from the stocking list or stocked closer to opening day.

"We may never know why trout move in some places," he said, "but we'll find ways to deal with it, practically."
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