Wiscoy Creek Angler Diary (2009)
In 2009, the NYS-DEC Region 9 Fisheries Office conducted an angler diary program for Wiscoy Creek, one of the best wild trout streams in New York State. The entire section covered by the diary program in 2009 is regulated with a 10" minimum size limit/ three trout per day creel limit, except for a one mile long catch and release section where no trout may be kept. In addition, the entire section covered in the diary program is open to fishing from October 16 - March 31 under catch and release, artificial lures only regulations. For comparison purposes, the 2009 diary program duplicated studies done in 1997, 2001 and 2006. In addition to the diary program, extensive fish sampling was done on Wiscoy Creek in 2009.
Anglers who regularly fish Wiscoy Creek were asked to keep diaries of their angling trips during the 2009 trout season. Ninety three diaries were sent out, of which 45 were returned with usable information (48% return rate). Angler effort and catch is summarized in Table 1. Diarists reported making a total of 212 trips accounting for 448 hours of angling. April, May and June together accounted for 75% of the total trips. Anglers reported a total catch of 346 brown trout, of which 339 (98%) were released. The total catch rate for brown trout caught by diarists was 0.77 trout/hour. This was significantly lower than the brown trout catch rates for diarists in 1997 (1.27 trout/hour), 2001 (1.20 trout/hour) and 2006 (1.34 trout/hour) (Table 2). The sizes of wild brown trout caught by diarists ranged from 3" to over 19". The average size of trout released was 8.6" and the average size of the 7 brown trout creeled was 15.4".
When diarist trips were analyzed by section of stream fished, Sections 4, 5 and 6 accounted for 28% (59 trips), 24% (51 trips) and 18% (39 trips) of the total trips respectively. The catch and release area (Section 2), while only one mile long (4% of the total stream length), accounted for 15% of the total trips. In 2009, diarist catch rate was highest in Section 2 (catch and release section) at 1.60 trout/hour and in Section 5 (Rt 19 downstream to the Allegany/Wyoming County line) at 0.88 trout/hour (Table 2). The catch rate in the catch and release section was very similar to three previous diary programs and the rate in the most downstream section (Section 6) was slightly higher than in 2006. Catch rates in other sections were considerably lower in 2009 than in 2006, especially in Section 1 (Table 2).
Where it was reported, diarists fishing with flies accounted for 85% (146) of the total trips, while bait was used on 11% (18) and lures were used on 4% (7). Catch rates for each gear type were 0.27 fish/hour for bait anglers, 1.46 fish/hour for anglers using lures and 0.81 fish/hour for anglers using flies. It is important to remember that angler diarists tend to be more skilled anglers, so their catch rates would likely be higher than would be found for all anglers using Wiscoy Creek.
Overall, angler diarist catch rates on Wiscoy Creek in 2009 were significantly lower than in the past three diarist programs, adding to the electrofishing survey findings that the wild brown trout population in the creek is lower than in recent surveys. However, catch rates in individual sections of the stream did not always correlate with electrofishing abundance. This angler diary program will be repeated in 2011 or 2012 in conjunction with fish sampling efforts.
|Month||Trips||Hours Fished||BT Caught||BT Released||BT Creeled||Catch Rate|
*Catch and release only regulations in effect for March, November and October after the 15th.
|Section||Catch Rate 2009||Catch Rate 2006||Catch Rate 2001||Catch Rate 1997|
|6||0.61||0.44||Not Covered||Not Covered|
1 - upstream of the catch and release section
2 - the catch and release section
3 - Albro Road bridge to the catch and release section
4 - Route 19 bridge in Pike to Albro Road
5 - Route 19 bridge in Pike to Allegany County line
6 - Allegany County line to mouth