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Wiscoy Creek (2009)

Fisheries Survey Summary

During August, 2009, DEC Region 9 Fisheries staff and many angler volunteers sampled the wild brown trout population in Wiscoy Creek. Wiscoy Creek is located in Wyoming County and is considered to be one of Region 9's premier wild brown trout fisheries. The stream has not been stocked with trout since the early 1970's. Ten sites were sampled, duplicating efforts in 2006 and 2007. Several of these sites on Wiscoy Creek had also been sampled from 1978-2001. In conjunction with the fish sampling, a March-October Wiscoy Creek Angler Diary program was also conducted.

DEC staff electrofishing Wiscoy Creek.

Wiscoy Creek is managed with a 10 inch minimum size limit and a 3 fish/day creel limit during the April 1-October 15 period and then with catch-and-release, artificial-lures-only regulations from October 16 - March 31. In addition, there is a one mile long section managed with catch-and-release, artificial-lures-only regulations all year. In the 2009 sampling, 941 yearling and older wild brown trout were captured in 5,866 feet of stream sampled. For the 10 sites sampled in 2009, the abundance of yearling and older wild brown trout/mile varied substantially from 84/mile to 1,581/mile with an average of 956/mile (Table 1). This is lower than the average value found in 2006 (1,432/mile). Some of this year's sites were sampled from 1978-2001, while other sites were new in 2006 and 2009. Table 1 compares the numbers of trout per mile each year at each site and shows the averages for each year from 1978-2009. The 2009 average abundance of brown trout was the lowest measured since 1978. Habitat at all the sites was very similar in 2009 to what we found in 2006, so it is unlikely that changes in trout abundance from 2006 to 2009 are habitat related.

Fisheries staff holding a Wiscoy Creek wild brown trout.

The average number of trout >10"/mile (legal size) in 2009 was 233, while in 2006 it was 404 (Table 2). Although the overall trout abundance was lower in 2009 than in 2006, we did find more, larger trout in 2009. The average number of trout >12" (115/mile) and the number >14" (38/mile) were somewhat higher than in 2006 (93/mile and 20/mile, respectively). In addition, the number of trout >14" was higher in 2009 than in 2001 (Table 2). The electrofishing catch of trout in 2009 included a higher than normal percentage of yearling fish and age four and older fish. Lower percentages of age two and age three fish were seen than normal. This corresponds with sampling done on other Region 9 streams like Mansfield Creek (2008), Ischua Creek (2008) and Clear Creek (2007), where brown abundance was also reduced. Across the border into north-central Pennsylvania, biologists have reported decreases in many of their wild brown and brook trout populations in 2009, indicating that this may be a regional phenomenon, not just something related to Wiscoy Creek. Weather records do show several regionally high flow events (November 2005, January, March and December 2006, and March 2007) that might have negatively affected brown trout reproduction for the 2006 and 2007 year classes (ages 2 and 3 fish in 2009).

Nice Wiscoy Creek wild brown trout.

Even with the average abundance dropping to slightly less than 1,000 yearling and older brown trout/mile, Wiscoy Creek still ranks among the best wild brown trout streams in western New York. While Wiscoy Creek is not known for producing large fish, the largest wild brown trout captured in Wiscoy Creek in 2009 was 18.1", with 7 of the 10 sites producing at least one fish >16". Anglers have abundant access to this 22 mile long stream with 12.6 miles of public fishing easements, 11 angler footpaths and four angler parking areas. Other areas are open by landowner permission.

We will again do population sampling on Wiscoy Creek in 2011 or 2012 to monitor the status of the wild trout population. This sampling will be dependent on staffing and budget considerations.

Table 1. Adult wild brown trout (age 1 and older) estimated abundance (#/mile) at each site (listed from downstream to upstream) in Wiscoy Creek electrofishing from 1978-2009.
Site #/mile
2009 2006 2001 1997 1996 1991 1988 1978
Village of Wiscoy* 537 1,046**
Below Pond Road* 84 216** 622
Scout Camp 947 1,300 860 696 1,206 1,415 1,768 549
Susan's Acres 1,449 878
Grey Cabin 412 1,254 1,021 847 2,207 1,598 366
1 mi. below Rt 19 1,695 207
0.1 mi. below Rt 19 1,434 842 1,390 1,659 402
Fairgrounds 1,105 1,596 1,624 1,022 978 1,683
Below Trout Brook 627 1,101 2,565 1,341
Above Trout Brook 811 2,602 1,262 1,439 415
Upper Wing Farm 1,459 1,055 1,024 1,134 524
Route 39 1,480 1,705
Lower C&R*** 1,318 1,529 2,622 2,866 1,706
Upper C&R*** 1,581 1,935 3,329 2,400
Upstream of Bliss 1,361 1,310
Average all sites 956 1,432 1,717 1,313 1,293 1,376 1,549 543

* These sites are in Allegany County and prior to 2005, were stocked with hatchery trout.
** Sites were sampled in 2007.
*** Catch and release section created October 1, 1994.

Table 2. Adult wild brown trout (age 1 and older) estimated abundance (#/mile >10", >12" and >14") at each site (from downstream to upstream) in Wiscoy Creek electrofishing in 2009, 2006 and 2001.
Site #/mile
2009
>10"
2009
>12"
2009
>14"
2006
>10"
2006
>12"
2006
>14"
2001
>10"
2001
>12"
2001
>14"
Village of Wiscoy* 249 115 48 465** 106** 74**
Below Pond Road* 11 0 0 0** 0** 0**
Scout Camp 126 57 11 211 82 27 137 21 11
Susan's Acres 310 74 44
Grey Cabin 63 45 9 415 190 63 298 122 68
0.1 mi. below Rt 19 388 93 16
Fairgrounds 202 86 38 409 113 10 673 157 29
Above Trout Brook 189 104 38 620 124 0
Upper Wing Farm 395 79 0
Route 39 267 134 21 516 40 13
Lower C&R*** 327 198 86 467 78 0 1,205 230 34
Upper C&R*** 516 285 77 715 154 0 1,538 290 15
Upstream of Bliss 416 113 38 257 13 0
Average all sites 233 115 38 404 93 20 610 130 26

Sites in bold were sampled in all three years.
*These sites are in Allegany County and prior to 2005, were stocked with hatchery trout.
**Sites were sampled in 2007.
*** Catch and release section created October 1, 1994.