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Stocking Experiment in Ischua and Goose Creeks (2010)

Overview

In the spring of 2010, Region 9 Fisheries, in cooperation with 28 volunteer angler diarists, conducted experimental trout stockings in two streams. The idea was to determine if stocking yearling brook trout in the pre-season (March) instead of the normally stocked, yearling brown trout would produce better catches by anglers. In a 2008 angler use survey done on Ischua Creek, it was found that brown trout stocked in March contributed virtually nothing to the fishery. The other stream used in this experiment was Goose Creek which receives heavy use by anglers, but had never had its fishery evaluated by angler use surveys. Due to early season demand by anglers, preseason trout stockings in Region 9 streams typically do not follow historical guidance that recommends not stocking brown trout until stream temperatures reach at least 45 degrees.

Study Findings

Anglers fishing Goose Creek from shore.
Anglers on Goose Creek.

The primary finding of this study was that stocking yearling brook trout in March did not appear to provide better catch rates by anglers than stocking yearling brown trout. The study also allowed us to reaffirm findings for Ischua Creek in 2008, that yearling hatchery trout stocked in March, appear to experience very poor survival with almost none caught by anglers. In Goose Creek, both yearling brown trout and brook trout, stocked in March were caught by diarists at acceptable rates, both early in the season and continuing through June 30th. What factor or factors resulted in poor survival of March-stocked trout in Ischua Creek, but good survival and catchability in Goose Creek is not evident.

In the future, the Region 9 fisheries office will review all pre-season stocking policies to determine if changes need to be made. The DEC Bureau of Fisheries recommendations for not stocking brown trout in water below 45 degrees, in general, would not allow for much, if any March stocking in Region 9. How this would affect hatchery operations, angler use and general angler satisfaction needs to be considered carefully. It is apparent that Ischua Creek is not a good location for early stocking of trout. Changes will be made for 2011 in the timing of the first increment stocking there. However, this study indicates that on a stream like Goose Creek, survival of the March stocking increment can be quite good. Without sufficient indicators of why stocked trout reacted so differently on these two streams, it may be difficult to make across the board judgments on the suitability of any given stream for March trout stocking.