Biologist reports logo Saucon Creek
Selective Harvest Special Regulations Area

Northampton County
August 2004

Fisheries Management Area 5 staff assessed the wild brown trout population in Section 5 of Saucon Creek during August 2004. Section 5 extends from the upstream boundary of the City of Bethlehem property downstream 2.1 miles to the S.R. 0412 bridge. This area was placed in the Selective Harvest – Artificial Lures Only program effective January 1, 1997. Selective Harvest regulations have a two trout daily creel limit (opening of trout season thru Labor Day), a 9 inch minimum length limit for brook and rainbow trout and a 12 inch length limit for brown trout.

Two historic sites were surveyed as part of an ongoing monitoring program. The first 330 yard site is located immediately upstream of the High Street Bridge in Hellertown, and the second 330 yd site is within Saucon Park in Bethlehem. As in previous surveys the catch at both sites was dominated by wild brown trout. A few stocked trout most likely from stocking elsewhere on the stream were present at both sites.

Electro-fishing Saucon Creek

Section 5 continues to offer anglers opportunity for a very fine fishing experience. The total number of brown trout sampled in 2004 (high water year) was similar to the catch of 1999 (drought year) at the High Street Site, but declined slightly at the Saucon Park site. The catch of legal size brown trout (twelve inches and longer) was similar at the Saucon Park site, and decreased slightly at the High Street Bridge Site. The number of trout fourteen inches and longer at the Saucon Park Site doubled from 1999.

High Street Site
Survey Year 2004 1999
Average Site Width (ft) 45.2 42.2
Size Range (inches) 3 - 14 3 - 15
Total Number Brown Trout Caught 691 684
Number of Trout 12 inches and longer 19 29
Number of Trout 14 inches and longer 1 2
Saucon Park Site
Survey Year 2004 1999
Average Site Width 59.7 57.1
Size Range (inches) 3 - 15 3 - 18
Total Number Brown Trout Caught 678 723
Number of Trout 12 inches and longer 50 52
Number of Trout 14 inches and longer 16 8

Measuring and recording trout

The Area 5 staff is very pleased with the findings during the two surveys. The wild brown trout population in Section 5 continues to remain well above the pre-special regulation population (1991-1994). The 2004 survey documented the second highest recorded catch and estimated biomass of wild brown trout since 1991.

Survey Year Management High Street Site
Trout Biomass
(lbs/acre)
Saucon Park Site
Trout Biomass
(lbs/acres)
2004* Wild Trout, Selective Harvest - Artificial Lures Only 160.0 169.0
1999** Wild Trout, Selective Harvest - Artificial Lures Only 191.3 188.1
1994 Wild Trout, Statewide Regs 91.8 52.0
1993 Wild Trout, Statewide Regs 75.5 41.2
1992 Stocked Trout, Statewide Regs 79.6 51.0
1991** Stocked Trout, Statewide Regs 58.4 49.4
* high water year
** drought year

As part of an effort to simplify trout regulations, waters managed in the Selective Harvest program are being incorporated into other programs for 2005. On January 1, 2005 the Saucon Creek section will be managed under the Trophy Trout program. The main difference in the change will be the 14 inch minimum length limit for all trout.

 
-- Dave Arnold, Area 5 Fisheries Manager

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