Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

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NJAngler
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Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by NJAngler » Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:06 pm

I may be in the minority here but I don't like this 'playing God' policy. I know we two-legged creatures are to blame for Brown trout invasion here but they do provide a much better fishing experience. Fight better. Reach larger sizes. Abundant numbers when conditions permit. I think one big reason for brook trout decline are droughts, floods, water temps, dissolved oxygen, etc and this is something beyond are control. There may now be more Brook trout in the stream but numbers will go up and down annually depending on flows, ice, drought, floods, etc. Brown trout do contribute to decline but how much they do is up for debate. Do we now remove smallmouth bass from our state because they are not native? Are they holding down numbers of indigenous species like redbreast sunfish, rock bass. madtoms and fallfish?


Rinehart Brook —
Brook Trout Restoration Project
A brook trout restoration project was initiated in 2017 on Rinehart
Brook, a tributary to the Black River within Hacklebarney State
Park. This restoration project, the first of its kind in New Jersey, was
designed to assist the recovery of a struggling brook trout population
by removing interspecific competition exerted by non-native brown
trout, the dominant species in Rinehart Brook.
Initially, 93 percent of trout in this stream were brown trout. Fish and
Wildlife biologists removed more than 1,100 brown trout by electrofishing
approximately 2 miles of stream eleven times. These efforts caused a
dramatic shift in species composition, and by early October 2018, zero
brown trout were found for the first time in the study! In that time the
brook trout population has more than doubled. These initial results are
very encouraging. The brook trout population has more than doubled,
comprising nearly 100 percent of all trout present in Rinehart Brook.
In addition, there was no evidence of a successful brown trout spawn
during the fall of 2017, as no young-of-the-year browns were found
during sampling the following spring. Biologists will continue to
remove brown trout and monitor the brook trout population through
electrofishing

rollcast
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by rollcast » Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:18 pm

I have no issues with restoring native species to their original habitat. If I could have my way, I would eradicate all invasives from our environment. Brown trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, european starlings, house sparrows, pigeons, as well as feral cats, as well as many other fish and bird species, etc. My magic wand could take care of all of these, if I could find where I left it.

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coaltrout
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by coaltrout » Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:49 pm

I have no opposition to what they're doing in Rhinehart brook. I think the project is pretty smart, simple, and interesting.
Here's my opinion

Brown trout displacing brook trout is a well known theory of why brook trout are declining; yes other factors such as stream conditions are a real factor too.
They put this theory to the test by selecting rhinehart brook, which Id say confidently has little angling interest as better brown trout streams are neighboring it.

NJAngler, I would be a bit concerned too if they did this to EVERY wild trout stream but it's safe to say they're only doing this for rhinehart, and if it's successful, they'll do it for brook trout streams where the brown trout fishing isn't in much interest. For example the Native brook trout streams, but leave the Brown Trout Enhancement streams alone. Clearly non-native fish have their benefits in the state, but I say take the non-native fish out of the very selective and unique streams where brook trout are holding up in.

Also im sure they're not even killing the brown trout but just placing them in the black river, but that's just rumor not fact, especially cause I was catching a lot of small browns in the black river this spring. So no need to think they're a mass genocide going on :mrgreen:

I think they already started to see some success in this project. And it's not very resource intensive.

joe_panella
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by joe_panella » Sat Dec 22, 2018 4:05 pm

They are moving the brown trout out of a trip to a stream that has brown trout reproduction. Is there a natural barrier to the black river on the stream. Are the brookies that are left heritage strain?

barkeater
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by barkeater » Sat Dec 22, 2018 4:50 pm

There is a natural barrier to brown trout migration into the Rhinehart area they are talking about. If I remember correctly there is a falls which was going to be further increased as a barrier by making the area just below more shallow so any fish trying to go upstream could not gain speed in order to jump. I forget whether or not the brookies are a pure heritage strain or have altered genetics with prior stockings.

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NJAngler
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by NJAngler » Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:00 pm

Invasive species are important to try an get under control and eradicate but of all our invasives,, brown trout are way down on the list. Many invasive plant species have long been ignored and now are firmly entrenched in our woods and ponds. Water Chestnut can completely cover an acre of water in under 3 years. Once it does fishing is impossible. It also blocks out light to submerged plants therefore affecting photosynthesis and reducing oxygen levels which leads to fishkills. Japanese Knot Weed, Mile-A-Minute plant, Japanese Barberry, etc all ignored. Now they are almost impossible to get rid of.

Some streams do have barriers. Trout Brook in Hacklebarney has an impassible waterfall for browns hence all brookies above. Rhinehart has a few small falls but I think browns may get passed it. Hollow Brook in Tewksbury has the old 10 foot high Pottersville Dam blocking passage but its in decline. Above there is just brook trout.

Some streams - like the upper Passaic - which hold wild bows & browns, will never be good brook trout water since summer temps routinely exceed 75F. They had a chance to make it cooler by removing the Leddells pond dam but chose to renovate it since its historic or some kind of bullshit like that. :roll:

It is interesting to note that many of the Flat Brook tribs (Criss/Forked/Shawanni/Tillman/Stony Brooks/Bierskill) hold only brookies despite no barriers(in the lower end of these streams) to block them from moving up. They are mostly quite small which may also keep browns from establishing. Lower pH may be a factor as well. Flat Brook itself has never been anything more than marginal wild brown trout water which may also be a reason the tribs have almost known. There are some decent wild browns in there(my largest was 17") but they are few and far between.

Dave B.
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by Dave B. » Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:16 am

NJAngler wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:00 pm
It is interesting to note that many of the Flat Brook tribs (Criss/Forked/Shawanni/Tillman/Stony Brooks/Bierskill) hold only brookies despite no barriers(in the lower end of these streams) to block them from moving up. They are mostly quite small which may also keep browns from establishing. Lower pH may be a factor as well. Flat Brook itself has never been anything more than marginal wild brown trout water which may also be a reason the tribs have almost known. There are some decent wild browns in there(my largest was 17") but they are few and far between.
Tillmans actually has a fair number of browns a does 1 other un-named trib in the same general area of the FB drainage. These are the only 2 known tribs to have shown consistent wild brown pops over many years of sampling. Likewise the FB section from approx. the lower end of Blewitt down to around Walpack is the only section to have also shown consistent wild browns pops across many decades of stream sampling.

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NJAngler
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by NJAngler » Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:25 pm

I've been fishing Tillmans over 37 years. One wild brown I remember.

Turtle Corner Brook has produced fair number of wild browns for me over the years but its been in the decline for years. Its one of the few streams where stocking was discontinued but wild trout numbers dropped. I did not fish it the last two years so can't tell you whats its like now.

Jaybird
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by Jaybird » Mon Dec 24, 2018 11:28 am

I just think it's great seeing F&W being active and doing projects that not only us fisherman think are meaningful but what they F&W think are meaningful .

Dave B.
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by Dave B. » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:43 pm

NJAngler wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:25 pm
I've been fishing Tillmans over 37 years. One wild brown I remember.

Turtle Corner Brook has produced fair number of wild browns for me over the years but its been in the decline for years. Its one of the few streams where stocking was discontinued but wild trout numbers dropped. I did not fish it the last two years so can't tell you whats its like now.
That's interesting to hear Mark. I have absolutely no reason to question your statements as I know what an avid wild trout angler you are. I wasn't aware there had been so many browns in Tuttles Corner, I personally haven't fished it. I would imagine the past couple of years may have seen the pop decline continue given the water levels we'd had.

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Rusty Spinner
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by Rusty Spinner » Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:43 am

A few things to add. This is not the only stream the Division is electro fishing non-native browns out of to restore native brook trout populations. This stream has 5 minor waterfalls, the upper 2 or 3 of which seem to be fairly although not fully effective fish passage barriers to upstream migration. I know the fisheries biologist would like to see modifications made to help further, but getting heavy equipment on site is impossible or at least highly impractical. The browns are being relocated to the mainstem of the Black River, not euthanized.

Mark, your statement: "Do we now remove smallmouth bass from our state because they are not native? Are they holding down numbers of indigenous species like redbreast sunfish, rock bass. madtoms and fallfish?" The answer is no, smallmouth are not displacing native fish in such a way that brown trout are displacing native brook trout. That is the reason fisheries biologists are focused on brookies over yellow perch, for example.
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

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NJAngler
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by NJAngler » Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:16 pm

I would like to see a thorough carp removal/euthanization program. How many rivers and lakes are muddy messes with high turbidly because of them??? Can't tell me their activities don't affect game fish pops. A big part of the problem is anglers themselves introduce them.

martalus
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by martalus » Fri Dec 28, 2018 7:43 am

Rusty, do you know what other streams they are going to try the brookie restoration on? As of this summer when I reached out, it was not yet certain.

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NJAngler
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by NJAngler » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:04 am

They better leave Dunnfield alone. Don't mess with the good streams.

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NJAngler
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by NJAngler » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:21 am

Maybe instead of tearing down dams we should build some to keep browns out? Maybe a heron kingfisher merganser extermination program? Can't have them eating our trout right? 🙄

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coaltrout
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by coaltrout » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:47 am

Thanks for the info , rusty spinner. I heard other rumors that the fish were killed and never heard anything about other streams.

I guess at the fisheries forum next month more things will be clear.

I wonder what options we have to make one of the preexisting waterfalls less passable. Maybe volunteers could just go in and throw a bunch of rocks and boulders into the base if a waterfall :mrgreen:

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Drossi
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by Drossi » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:00 am

I know a formerly good brookie stream that could have used 1,000 wild browns. It's overrun with fall fish now and the brookies are gone.
You're NOT worthy
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NJAngler
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by NJAngler » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:02 am

They aren't rumors. 1,048 captured, fin-clipped and released into Black River and lower Rhinehart(below the falls). 79 were captured later in 2017 and euthanized. In 2018, 83 fin-clipped browns were captured - 43 above the lower brook falls; 40 below - these were also euthanized. So 162 have been killed. Still seems a bit unnecessary to me but I guess I'm in the minority on this one. I think the brown trout are being made out to be the villains here. Paying a price for our past ignorance and greed. Doesn't seem fair to me. Brown trout lives matter! :lol:

Brookies lost a foothold in our streams not because of brown trout but because of many other factors. How about all the well drilling for our lovely country homes? They tap into underground aquifers and lessen the amount that percolate to the surface and give origin to many of our streams . This has reduced summer flows and lowered temps. Brookies struggle during hot and dry summers( and dry, cold winters) and their numbers dropped. This left open niches for other species like fallfish and brown trout to fill in. We can help them now but it won't guarantee they will be able to stick around. I know for a fact Rhinehart exceeds 70F in hot summers when we get those 4-5 days of 90+.

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Drossi
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by Drossi » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:45 pm

Completely agree with NJA. I love brookies but in NJ they are playing cards against a stacked deck favoring the house (pun intended). Browns are very worthy wild fish and probably should be left to their own devices in streams where they've come to supplant brookies. That strategy works well in PA and NYS.
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Razorbacker
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Re: Rhinehart Brook brown trout removal...

Post by Razorbacker » Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:56 pm

Completely agreed as well with Drossi and NJA. I love brookies and I am all for protecting them as much as possible within reason, but NOT at the expense of wild brown trout. I had not heard that to be the case, but it was early in the process that I had talked to F&G. Actually I don't have a problem with local relocation like into the Black/Lamington. In fact, I could point them to some current seemingly fishless stretches that would benefit from an infusion of wild browns.

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