Biologist reports logo East Branch Tunungwant Creek

McKean County
July 2005

Staff from the Area 2 Fisheries Management Office in Tionesta and the Coldwater Unit in Pleasant Gap joined together to survey Sections 2, 3 and 4 of East Branch Tunungwant Creek in late July. We greatly appreciated the help of McKean County WCO Pete Mader and local sportsman Bob Boyer who assisted with the netting and handling of many big brown trout.

East Branch Tunungwant Creek is located south of the city of Bradford in north central McKean County. Section 2 of the East Branch Tunungwant Creek is a Class A brown trout stream and is managed under Trophy Trout regulations. It runs from the Main Street bridge in the town of Lewis Run upstream 3 miles to the unnamed tributary known locally as Pigeon Run. Sections 3 and 4 are also Class A wild brown trout waters and are managed under the statewide standard regulations for Commonwealth Inland Waters. Section 3 runs from the bridge at Main Street downstream 1 mile to Browntown Road and Section 04 runs from Browntown Road downstream 3.5 miles to the bridge at South Bradford where channelization for flood control begins. This survey of the East Branch Tunungwant Creek verifies its reputation for producing trophy brown trout.

Fisheries Technician Tim Wilson with a 23 inch brown trout
Fisheries Technician Tim Wilson with a 23 inch brown trout

We backpack electrofished a total of 769 meters of Section 2 (at 2 sites) and produced an estimate of 46 pounds of brown trout per acre of stream. The minimum for Class A is about 35 pounds per acre. Within these two sites we captured 25 brown trout that exceeded the 14 inch minimum size limit of the Trophy Trout Program.

Electrofishing in Section 3 produced an estimate of 18.5 pounds per acre. We captured 9 brown trout between 14 and 21 inches in 370 meters of stream. The stream channel in Section 3 has changed significantly since our last survey in 2001. There are now three large holes within our historic sample site that were too deep to electrofish effectively and these holes undoubtedly held more big brown trout.

Backpack electrofishing in Section 4 produced an estimate of 16.8 pounds per acre. We captured 8 brown trout between 14 and 21 inches in 327 meters of stream.

A 17 inch brown trout from Section 4 of East Branch Tunungwant Creek
A 17 inch brown trout from Section 4 of East Branch Tunungwant Creek

The team electrofishes Section 4 of East Branch Tunungwant Creek
The team electrofishes Section 4 of East Branch Tunungwant Creek

Since originally qualifying as Class A waters back in the early 1990’s, results from surveys of Section 3 and 4 have been inconsistent and often below the Class A level although good numbers of trophy size trout continue to be present in them.

While warm water temperatures can be problematic in the downstream portion of Section 4 during some hot dry summers, the primary problem appears to be a lack of cover and suitable habitat for all sizes of brown trout. Except for several deep pools, long reaches of wide, shallow, open stream dominate the habitat in Sections 3 and 4 with none of the overhead cover that all sizes of trout prefer. In Section 4 we captured 10 trout from under one shoreline bush because it was the only quality cover available in a 100 meter stretch of stream. Severely eroded banks are also present in several parts of the stream. Habitat improvement has the potential to greatly enhance the quality of the fishery in this trophy brown trout stream.

 
-- Tim Wilson, Area 2 Fisheries Technician

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