Clear Creek (Ellington) (2005)
Fisheries Survey Summary
Clear Creek, located near Ellington in Chautauqua County was surveyed on September 6 and 7, 2005 to update the stream's trout stocking policy and to monitor the wild brown trout population. At the time of the survey the creek had two separate stocking policies, one that went from the mouth to Leach Road (2.5 miles) (lower section) and the other from Ellington to the Cockaigne ski area (6.0 miles) (upper section). A 1-2 mile section of the stream between Ellington and Leach Road sinks underground most summers and was not stocked. There are 10.4 continuous miles of public fishing easements and three angler parking areas on the stream.
Five sites were sampled in 2005 which duplicated sites that had been done in 1990, 1991 and 1995. Biomass estimates for wild brown trout in 1990 and 1991 were 29 lbs/acre in the lower section and 27 lbs/acre in the upper section. In 1995, the biomass estimate in the lower section was 27 lbs/acre and in the upper section it was 54 lbs/acre.
From electrofishing in 2005, the estimated biomass of wild brown trout at the three sites in the upper stocked section was 58 lbs/acre and the estimated number of adult wild brown trout was 638/mile. At the two sites in the lower stocked section in 2005, the estimated number of adult wild brown trout was 1,052/mile while the estimated biomass was 103 lbs/acre. For all five sites combined the estimated biomass or wild brown trout was 80 lbs/acre and the estimated number of adult wild brown trout was 823/mile. Very low numbers of stocked yearling brown trout were captured at all five sites in 2005.
In the 2005 survey, two wild rainbow trout, one young-of-year and one yearling were captured at two sites. This is the first time wild rainbow trout have been captured in this stream. Recent surveys in Fenton Brook, another tributary of Conewango Creek approximately one mile upstream of Clear Creek revealed an abundant and apparently expanding wild rainbow trout population in that stream. The fish in Clear Creek may be a result of migration from Fenton Brook or could have been directly stocked by anglers in Clear Creek. Fenton Brook's rainbows are suspected to be the result of unauthorized introduction by anglers.
As a result of the high wild trout biomass and abundance, beginning in 2006 Clear Creek will be managed as a wild trout fishery and no hatchery trout will be stocked. Clear Creek will be surveyed again in the summer of 2010 to monitor the wild brown trout population and to see if the wild rainbow trout population continues to expand.