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Chittenango Creek Catch-and-Release Area Electrofishing Survey 2013

Survey Number: 713016
Survey Date: August 20, 2013

Abstract

Management of a two mile section of Chittenango Creek, a popular trout stream in Madison County, changed to "Catch-and-Release" (C&R) artificial lure only trout fishery in Oct 2010. On August 20, 2009, prior to implementation of the C&R regulation, Region 7 Fisheries staff conducted an electrofishing survey at two sites within the proposed C&R area to gather baseline data on the trout population. On August 20, 2013, fisheries staff re-surveyed those same two sites to determine whether the C&R regulation has impacted the trout population in the reach. In 2009, 80 brown trout (73% wild, based on observations of deformed or eroded fins) were collected with a length range of 80-443 mm, mean length of 184 mm. The 2013 survey yielded 81 brown trout (67% wild) with a size range of 96-421 mm, mean length of 239 mm. We anticipated finding significantly more brown trout in 2013 as the result of the C&R regulation, but that was not the case. Despite similar numbers caught, the size distributions of the samples from the two surveys were significantly different. Increased mean size of the 2013 sample of trout was in part due to a nearly complete absence of young fish. Young-of-year trout (<106 mm) made up 44% of the brown trout sample in 2009 versus just 2.5% in 2013. The warm dry summer of 2012 and/or the major flooding that has occurred since may have affected survival of young trout. Increased abundance of older trout may be a result of the Catch-and-Release policy, but more sampling will be needed to say for certain. We will re-survey these same sites again in several years to determine whether abundance of older trout remains higher than prior to establishment of the C&R regulation.

Number of Brown Trout Collected per Year and Length Group
Length Group (Inches) Brown Trout 2009 Brown Trout 2013
3 22 1
4 13 4
5 0 1
6 3 4
7 16 16
8 7 15
9 5 8
10 2 8
11 0 10
12 2 5
13 2 5
14 4 2
15 2 0
16 0 2
17 2 0