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Genesee River Angler Diary Program (2010)

Program Overview

From March through October 2010, the Region 9 Fisheries office conducted an angler diary program on the Genesee River. The diary program covered the entire river in Region 9 from the Pennsylvania state line downstream to the Livingston County line in Letchworth State Park. The river is managed as a stocked trout fishery from the PA line downstream to Belmont, and this is where almost all of the trips reported by the angler diarists occurred. The river also has a substantial population of smallmouth bass throughout its length, and this diary program also attempted to collect information on that part of the fishery. The diary program is a particularly important way DEC obtains information on the quality of the fishery in a river the size of the Genesee. Its large size and deep pools preclude us from being able to adequately sample it with our standard stream electrofishing equipment. Diary programs have also been used on the river in 1988, 1989 and 1993. However, the 1993 diary program only covered the 2.5 mile long catch and release section.

Although 50 people originally signed up to keep an angler diary, only 13 diaries were returned with usable trip information. However, those 13 diarists did report a large number of trips made (209) and hours fished (702). As expected, the majority of diarist trips were made by anglers targeting trout (94%) and occurred in the months of April, May and June (79% of total trips). A total of 499 yearling brown trout (96% released), 213 two-year-old or older brown trout (91% released), 178 rainbow trout (98% released), 14 brook trout (all released) and 20 smallmouth bass (all released) were reportedly caught by diarists. Brown and rainbow trout are stocked by DEC, while brook trout are stocked in the Pennsylvania portion of the river and likely moved downstream into the New York portion.

Angler Diarists' Results

The combined average catch rate for brown trout and rainbow trout of 1.33 fish/hour was well above the management objective of 0.5 fish/hour (1 fish caught every two hours of fishing) (Table 1). However, it is important to keep in mind that diarists tend to be more skilled than the average angler, thus we would expect their catch rates to be above the average angler's on this stream. Although only a few angler trips targeted bass (12), the average catch rate for smallmouth bass in the diary program was also good at 0.66 fish/hour.

Table 1. Angler diarist catch and catch rates (fish/hour) for brown trout, rainbow trout and smallmouth bass in the 2010 angler diary program on the Genesee River.
Fish species Total number caught Catch rate
Yearling brown trout 499 0.74
Two-year-old and older brown trout 213 0.32
Rainbow trout 178 0.27
Smallmouth bass 20 0.66

The diarists' average catch rate for brown and rainbow trout combined in 2010 (1.33 fish/hour) is nearly identical to the average catch rate found in the 1988 diary program (1.38 fish/hour), but lower than the rate found in the 1989 program (2.40 fish/hour). For this diary program, the Genesee River was divided into 5 sections, with Section 1 from the PA line to Wellsville, Section 2 being the catch and release section, Section 3 from Wellsville to Route 86 (below Belmont), Section 4 from Route 86 to Portageville and Section 5 from Portageville to the Livingston County line. Trout fishing trips only occurred in sections 1-4, with the majority of the trips (65%) taking place in Section 1. Diarists' average catch rates for brown and rainbow trout combined, by section, varied from a low of 0.59 fish/hour in Section 4 to a high of 2.01 fish/hour in Section 3 (Table 2). Although there was a large range of catch rates between sections, these differences were only statistically significant for Section 4. Only Sections 1-3 are stocked with trout, thus it is expected that average catch rates for trout in Section 4 would be lowest.

Table 2. Number of angler trips and angler diarist catch rates (trout/hour) by section fished, in the 2010 angler diary program on the Genesee River.
Section Number of trips (% of total) Catch Rate
1 129 (65%) 1.17
2 44 (22%) 1.63
3 21 (11%) 2.01
4 3 (2%) 0.59

The angler diary program on the river in 1993 covered only the catch and release section. However, we can compare the average catch rates between 1993 and 2010 for this section of the stream. We see that the 1993 average catch rate (1.51 fish/hour) was very similar to that found in this year's program (1.63 fish/hour). Considerably more fishing effort was expended in the catch and release section by diarists in 1993 than in 2010 (Table 3). The diarists' average catch rates both years exceeded the management objective for stream sections managed with catch and release regulations of 1.0 fish/hour.

Table 3. Number of angler hours and angler diarist catch rates (trout/hour) in the catch and release section, during the 1993 and 2010 angler diary programs on the Genesee River.
Year Number of hours fishing Catch Rate
1993 800 1.51
2010 141 1.63

This year's diary program allowed us to gain valuable knowledge of the trout fishery in the Genesee River and compare it to past diary programs. It is hoped that we can continue this program every 2-3 years to better monitor the fishery and make any needed adjustments.