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Fishing impacts vs climatic impacts...

Posted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:57 pm
by NJAngler
I have often said that special regs don't always make a significant difference for wild trout numbers or sizes. Back in the mid to late 2010's, the PFBC had a Brook Trout Enhancement Program. which had no-kill rules. It was in place for about 10 years. Data collection before and after showed almost no improvement and in fact the # of legal-sized brookies per mile dropped on 7 of the 8 streams. In some cases a big drop off. Climate had a far bigger impact on these ecosystems than angling pressure or harvest. These sort of regs only work if a stream sees an extraordinary amount of pressure(KLG). Even there I doubt it impacts it all that much. I think when it comes to mgt of these fragile ecosystems, emphasis should be placed on how to minimize the impacts of mother nature rather then anglers. These streams need more pools, overhead cover, and bank stability. This is especially true now because of the loss of so many trees to storms and excessive precip events. When I look at stream pics from 20 years ago vs today, its remarkable how much some streams have changed. Braiding is a common issue. Stream braids out into 2,3 or more smaller channels and then comes back together downstream. The channels themselves offer little in the way of safety or food. These areas could be addressed and corrected. pH issues aren't that common in NJ but a few well placed limestone boulders could help raise the pH and make the stream more productive. Headwaters of VCB comes to mind. Long Pine Pond is an biologically almost dead lake with pH around 3.5-4.5 and its outflow is part of VCB.

Re: Fishing impacts vs climatic impacts...

Posted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:28 pm
by coaltrout
totally agree, I think the biologist of NJ F&W already know this but still make these regulations to anglers for other purposes.

Opinion: Those regulations are in place to make anglers feel like their fishing in a "respected" stream. It's sort of an attraction, rather than think of a regulated stream as something an angler wants to avoid.

For Catch n release regs: A catch and release angler will think a stream that has less people taking fish out = more fish to catch.
For gear restrictions: they also get the sense that there's less fish getting caught, and even find the challenge of gear restrictions as fun.

The restrictions may also scare off anyone that can actually damage the place. More regs means more fines if caught? Idk.

In the more popular streams in the country, im sure regs for keeping how many fish and when do make a noticeable difference, and in the most popular streams, gear+hook restrictions may help fish health.
But in NJ? Nah, there's no NJ stream popular enough where keeping fish and using 6 barbed hooks on a lure will make a difference.

Re: Fishing impacts vs climatic impacts...

Posted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:31 pm
by Troutman
I tell fisherman all the time. If you want to eat fish. Buy it @ the supermarket

Re: Fishing impacts vs climatic impacts...

Posted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:46 pm
by joe_panella
When I was at WVU I remember they had lime in the rivers to fix the pH. I believe it worked very well. I think most of us would do things differently if we could.

Re: Fishing impacts vs climatic impacts...

Posted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:46 pm
by NJAngler
I've seen our WTS and other trout production waters largely ignored for any sort of improvement other than regulation changes which in nearly every case will make little if any difference. There just isn't enough usage or angling success/harvest to impact them. Even if ten people fished the same WTS the same day, only the first person through might do well. Those fish will be spooked for hrs before resuming normal feeding patterns. I think as I always have that these regs just bring attention to otherwise overlooked and ignored streams.

Van Campens Brook - which has been arguably our finest wild trout water for decades - has been pretty much ignored despite 100% access. Maybe the Federal ownership is a red tape issue but its a stream that has been hit harder climatically-wise than any other with hemlock loss, erosion, aging structures and stream braiding. There is a plan apparently to correct some of this in the Watergate area where the old dams are pretty much blown away. Beaver activity has also taken its toll there. I guess the plan is to restore the stream to its original course. This would help obviously but the stream there but it needs more help especially north of MIllbrook(lots of hemlocks down and stream blockages), just south of Millbrook village(stream has split into 2 and three channels) and in between the lower and upper falls(hemlocks down). The trout numbers are down and this should be a concern for a stream that has almost no impact from mans activities(construction,discharges,forestry,mining, etc) other than angling. ... ctID=62575