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  #1  
Old 12-28-2018, 10:02 PM
Billfish715 Billfish715 is offline
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Default Flatbrook Survey

Stocked Trout Movement Study
in the Big Flat Brook / Flat Brook
Catch and Release Area
A two-year trout movement study in the Big Flat Brook Catch and
Release area was initiated in the spring of 2017 to help determine the
cause of a low number of stocked trout found during the summer
months despite heavy stocking, a no harvest regulation along with
adequate temperatures and habitat.
Biologists surgically implanted a tracking transmitter into the body
cavity of 80 trout. The transmitters allowed biologists to track individual stocked trout to determine if they were leaving the catch and release
area. It was revealed that predators play the biggest role in the limited
number of trout. Several transmitters were found among the boney
remnants of partially consumed trout, near dens or animal runs. A
couple of transmitters were tracked back to a great blue heron rookery.

These results are in the new Freshwater Fishing Digest. The results do not reflect all of the answers but do reinforce what many fishermen have known for a long time. The report says nothing about the fish that are consumed by the huge population of cororants that exists throughout the state. There are also active bald eagles and ospreys that feast on freshly stocked trout in many waterways.

So, to say that trout fishing in New Jersey is anything more than put and take would be misleading. The trout are put in and they stay around for awhile and then they are gone or are so spread out as to make it seem they are gone. The results of the survey and the comments and complaints that were made about the low number of trout being caught in the C&R area seem to indicate that. If the catch and release guys aren't catching enough fish, my opinion would be to let everyone try to catch what apparently is not there. Let them use artificials or bait since it doesn't seem to matter given that the trout aren't there anyhow.

There is a fisheries forum coming up this spring before the trout season and I'm sure the results and future plans for the Flatbrook Catch and Release Area will be discussed.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:59 PM
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thmyorke1 thmyorke1 is online now
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Default Re: Flatbrook Survey

found an article from May on this:
https://www.njherald.com/20180504/st...in-flat-brook#

Looks like they explain the numbers here more. Very intersting study!
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  #3  
Old 12-29-2018, 09:10 AM
Billfish715 Billfish715 is offline
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Default Re: Flatbrook Survey

A plausible explanation for the increase in predation rates, the 2017 report notes, "could simply be due to the time of year where more predators are spending more time hunting for trout because of the reproductive life cycles."

In other words: "There's hungry mouths at home that need to be fed."

But to reach that conclusion, the report said more study is needed on predation rates in other parts of the state.

The first year's results "answered many key questions on why the Flat Brook "catch and release" area is not holding trout to expected levels," Shramko wrote, "but it also unearthed, as studies often due, more questions about movement and predation rates in the Flat Brook system."

I enjoyed reading the article and think the research is worthwhile, however, I have some reservations about its purpose. Results seem to indicate there is quite a bit of natural predation. So, how will these results affect the Division's future decisions?

"More study is needed" & "expected levels" is administrative jargon to justify a need to continue to find justification to continue the survey and to continue to certify someone's "expectations" that the Flatbrook can sustain more trout stocking. Finding scientific data to support expectations is hardly a scientific approach. It seems there is a pre-conceived notion that the "Brook" can and will (and must) hold an increased trout population if more fish are stocked; and the Division will go to any length to prove its point.

I just think the council members need to re-evaluate the goals of the trout stocking program. They just should not cater to every special interest group that has economic and political support. Everyone pays the same license fees, yet those with political clout and the most vociferous voices get their way. If the state stocks more trout in the C&R stretches then someone, somewhere else is going to be receiving fewer trout. If the C&R stretches can not support a sizeable population of trout unless more and more fish are stocked, then what is the sense of having those designated areas just for the pleasure of a few special interest groups? New Jersey is not Wyoming. The Flatbrook and South Branch are not the Bighorn or Yellowstone.

How far we've come politically.........! We now refer to certain areas as Catch and Release. What ever happened to "No Kill"?
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Old 12-29-2018, 10:15 AM
RichS RichS is offline
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Default Re: Flatbrook Survey

I would also say that the fish that have better survival instincts there concentrate in very snaggy blow downs making them very hard to catch. Thereís a particular logjam that requires a perfect drift, but itís loaded with fish.
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:23 AM
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Default Re: Flatbrook Survey

I have always maintained that waters classified as trout production waters should NOT be stocked. Period. The stocked trout compete with the wild trout and keep their population numbers down. By not stocking the TP waters, the number of wild trout will increase due to the lack of competition, until the waterway reaches its carrying capacity for trout. Then the trout that are not placed in that waterway can be stocked at another location. The end result is more trout in NJ waters. Or more bird food, depending on how you look at it.
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:23 AM
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Drossi Drossi is offline
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Default Re: Flatbrook Survey

One could draw the conclusion then that the c&r section of the BFB must have less than ideal holding water since the predation rate seems to be higher. Stockers concentrated into limited holding water are easy pickings for fisherman and predators alike.
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:23 PM
Billfish715 Billfish715 is offline
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Default Re: Flatbrook Survey

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichS View Post
I would also say that the fish that have better survival instincts there concentrate in very snaggy blow downs making them very hard to catch. Thereís a particular logjam that requires a perfect drift, but itís loaded with fish.
The blow downs and logjams in the BFB really held the fall-stocked trout this year. It does not mean the stream will support a healthy population of them however, for so many reasons.
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Old 12-29-2018, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Flatbrook Survey

Imo any place C+r, especially a trout production water, shouldn't be stocked.

However I understand how these areas attract anglers therefore continued to get stocked. Can't complain about the state stocking fish where they are being put to use and being fished. I wouldnt say it's unfair too when it's public to anyone to fish; a spin fisher like me can still fish it.

I do think tho that the high predatory rates are connected to over-stocking.
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:30 PM
Billfish715 Billfish715 is offline
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Default Re: Flatbrook Survey

These survey results need to be discussed at the annual fisheries meeting in the Spring. Somehow, the concept of releasing caught trout so they may be caught again does not seem to have the return that is anticipated by the biologists. If one of the other advantages to catch and release (no kill) is that the released fish will stay in the area and fewer additional stocked trout would be needed, it's only a concept that looks good on paper and theory.

Even trout clubs that subscribe to no kill/artificials only regulations have to stock trout throughout the season to satisfy their members desire to catch fish. They stock fish for the same reason the state stocks more fish. The trout just don't stay put.

Pardon my pun, but based on the Flatbrook tagging project, the C&R program is "for the birds". It's money and natural resources that are being wasted to satisfy the appetites of natural predators at the expense of license buying fishermen. The question to be answered is: "How different would the catch results be if fishermen were able to keep some of the fish they landed?"
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Old 12-29-2018, 10:59 PM
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Lightbulb Re: Flatbrook Survey

I think many states like Pennsylvania are starting to make the move from stocking TP (Trout Production) waters, it makes sense to me. Stocked fish have terrible genetics, plus why spend the $$$ when you don't have to.
I fish up on the East and West branch of the Delaware river and trout stocking is not allowed. The rivers close in the winter when the fish spawn, which is a good thing. Funny how we are still learning factors when it comes to trout in New Jersey, you would think we would have it all figured out by now. Each day is a new learning experience I guess.
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