|During the months of July and August the staff of Fisheries Management Area 5 with assistance from the Monroe County Conservation District (Monroe County streams only) conducted surveys on the following streams: Kistler Run, Wolf Swamp Run, and Jeans Run. The surveys were performed as part of a 5-year assessment of trout populations in streams managed under the Wild Brook Trout Enhancement Program. Previously established sites, one per stream, were re-examined during this period. The length of each sample site was 300 m (328 yards). Additional surveys will be conducted to monitor wild brook trout populations in these streams in 2008 and 2010.
Statewide the average estimated abundance of wild brook trout seven inches and longer, and nine inches and greater in freestone streams, is 34 and 4 trout per mile of stream, respectively (2000 Trout Summit). In 2004, all three streams exceeded the statewide average abundance for brook trout seven inches and longer. However, in 2006, only Kistler Run and Wolf Swamp Run remained above the statewide average with abundance estimates of 53 and 48 trout/mile greater than or equal to seven inches in length. No brook trout greater than or equal to nine inches in length were present at the time of the 2004 and 2006 surveys in any of the three streams surveyed.
Some anglers may wonder what impact, if any, the severe June flood of 2006 may have had on the trout populations in these streams. The total catch data for each stream suggests its impact may have been minimal, particularly for Wolf Swamp Run (no decline in abundance of legal size trout from 2004). The decline of legal size trout in Kistler Run (51 percent from 2004) and Jeans Run (74 percent from 2004) may simply reflect natural year class variation rather than climatic impacts. It is interesting to note that the section gradients (ft/mile) and drainage area (sq. mi) from highest to lowest are 260 and 4.25 for Jeans Run, 239 and 2.70 for Wolf Swamp Run, and 86.7 and 2.32 for Kistler Run. The gradient aspect reflects the harshness of the environment the aquatic organisms face during high flow conditions. For example, the steeper the gradient and the larger the drainage area, the more influence floodwaters may have on both the physical and biological nature of the stream. Thus, when reviewing the survey results in light of the stream’s physical gradient, there does not seem to be any correlation regarding steepness and the loss of legal size trout from a high flow perspective.
Kistler Run, located in Monroe County, continues to be ranked in the top 25% of Pennsylvania’s freestone brook trout streams (46 to 81 trout per mile seven inches or longer). However, the 2006 estimate (53 trout per mile seven inches or longer) represents a fall in the ranking of this stream from the top 10% category (at least 82 trout per mile seven inches or longer). The abundance of trout seven inches or longer in 2004 (109 trout per mile) and 2003 (143 trout per mile) suggest that the recent decline from the top ten percent category may be short lived.
Wolf Swamp Run, located in Monroe County, continues to place in the top 25% of Pennsylvania’s freestone brook trout streams, with values of 48 trout per mile seven inches or longer in both the 2004 and 2006 survey years. The continued ranking of this stream in the upper quarter category suggests Wolf Swamp Run is a consistent performer in providing a wild brook trout population for an enjoyable trout angling experience.
Jeans Run, located in Carbon County supports a widely fluctuating native brook trout population. In 2006, the wild brook trout population fell from the state’s upper third of freestone brook trout streams category (36 – 45 trout seven inches or longer per mile) with an estimated abundance of 11 brook trout per mile greater than or equal to seven inches in length. This stream is subject to adverse conditions due to acidification during the spring runoff period.
|-- Dave Arnold, Area 5 Fisheries Manager|
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