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North Branch Wiscoy Creek (2012)

Fisheries Survey Summary

Fisheries staff electrofishing North Branch Wiscoy Creek.
Electrofishing at the Kegler Property.

In late summer 2012, DEC Fisheries Staff, assisted by angler volunteers, sampled the trout population on the North Branch of Wiscoy Creek by electrofishing three sites. The stream is located in south-central Wyoming County and is one of the main tributaries to Wiscoy Creek. North Branch Wiscoy Creek is not stocked (has not been for at least 50 years) and provides a fishery for wild brown trout. Although there are 0.9 miles of Public Fishing Rights on this 4 mile long stream, anglers should be prepared to ask permission to fish non-PFR sections of North Branch Wiscoy Creek. Fishing can be challenging due to the narrow stream width and abundance of overhanging alders along much of the stream. However, DEC fisheries completed the N. Branch Wiscoy Habitat Enhancement Project in 2011 to increase both quality trout habitat and the area of fishable water in the stream. The stream averages 15-20 feet wide and has very cold water temperatures that are ideal for wild trout survival and reproduction.

Results

North Branch of Wiscoy Creek was sampled at 3 standardized sites, duplicating surveys done in 2006 and 2009, with wide variation in the abundance of adult brown trout depending on the quality of habitat at each site. Of the three sites, the site with "average" habitat (Village of Bliss) had 1,250 yearling and older wild brown trout per mile (Table 1). At the site with fairly poor habitat (PFR below Gary Road), we found 566 wild brown trout per mile and at the site with extensive habitat improvement structures (Ray Kegler's property) there were 3,750 wild brown trout per mile. All three sites had similar volumes of stream flow and cold water temperatures. Overall, for these three sites there were an average of 1,490 wild brown trout per mile. This is almost identical to the 2006 value (1,424 per mile), but is much lower than the 2,385 per mile found in 2009 (Table 1). After just three sampling years, we see substantial variation between sampling years and no apparent trend in the population estimates between sites or overall in the 2006-2012 period. The largest wild brown trout we captured in N. Branch Wiscoy Creek was 17.5" (at Ray Kegler's property).

The site on Ray Kegler's property has been sampled even though it is not open to public fishing. This is to show what kind of trout abundance this stream can support with substantial stream habitat improvement compared to other areas of the stream with "average" or "poor" habitat, but the same water volume and quality.

Table 1. Abundance of Yearling and Older Wild Brown Trout (BT) Per Mile Found in N. Branch Wiscoy Creek in 2006, 2009 and 2012 Electrofishing Surveys.
Site 2006
Estimated BT/mile
2009
Estimated BT/mile
2012
Estimated BT/mile
Village of Bliss 1,536 1,181 1,250
PFR below Gary Road 237 789 566
Ray Kegler Property 3,450 6,475 3,750
Average (all three sites) 1,424 2,385 1,490