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Bushkill Creek
Section 06
Northampton County
 
Catch-and-Release Area Update for 2010

Personnel from PFBC’s Fisheries Management Area 5 (Bushkill) office and the Coldwater Unit conducted a follow-up electrofishing survey to quantify the wild brown trout population in the Catch-and-Release Area of Bushkill Creek in Northampton County on July 19 and 20, 2010. Prior to this survey the abundance of wild brown trout was last measured in 2008, when results indicated that the population had declined from historic levels. Read the 2008 Bushkill Creek C&R web report for more details.

Surveying

In 2010, the total estimated wild brown trout biomass of 67.32 kg/ha was more than 20 kilograms greater than the 46.84 kg/ha recorded in 2008. With the exception of the 1989 survey, the wild brown trout population continues to meet or exceeded the minimum biomass standard of 40 kg/ha for Class A wild brown trout management (Figure 1). In addition, the estimated number of brown trout per mile between 7 and 13.9 inches in total length has increased since the 2008 survey. The stronger showing in 2010 is perhaps partially due to the unseasonably cool and wet summer of 2009, which most likely enhanced survival and growth of fish entering or within the 7 to 13.9 inch size range (Figure 2). This improvement is good news to trout anglers wanting to capitalize on potentially better fishing than in recent years within the section. Also, the 2010 estimate of 72 brown trout per mile exceeding 14 inches in length indicates that the section continues to support a worthwhile abundance of larger size trout (Figure 3).

In addition, an increase in the estimated number of small trout (< 7 inches) in 2010 provides further anticipation that the quality of fishing will be maintained or improved in the future (Figure 4). There is no reason to change management in this section at this time, as management under Catch-and-Release regulations protects the trout population from angler harvest. The PFBC will continue to monitor the status of the trout population’s abundance on this stream by conducting another survey in 2012, at which time the section’s management can be re-evaluated.

Brown trout

Two pictures of large brown trout exhibiting possible signs of thermal stress (thin appearance). Thermal stress in trout is caused when stream water temperatures exceed the preferred range (between 52 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit) for extended periods of time.

Brown trout

Figure 1. Time series of brown trout biomass estimates for Section 06 of Bushkill Creek from 1982 through 2010. Population assessments were not performed in 1984, 1986, 1996, and from 2002 through 2007, and in 2009, which are noted as “...”on the X-axis.

Figure 1

Figure 2. Comparison of the estimated number of brown trout per mile in the 7 to 13.9 inch size range for Section 6 of Bushkill Creek from 1982 through 2010. Population assessments were not performed in 1984, 1986, 1996, and from 2002 through 2007, and in 2009.

Figure 2

Figure 3. Comparison of the estimated number of brown trout per mile greater than 14 inches for Section 6 of Bushkill Creek from 1982 through 2010. Population assessments were not performed in 1984, 1986, 1996, and from 2002 through 2007, and in 2009.

Figure 3

Figure 4. Comparison of the estimated number of brown trout per mile < 7 inches in length for Section 6 of Bushkill Creek from 1982 through 2010. Population assessments were not performed in 1984, 1986, 1996, and from 2002 through 2007, and in 2009.

Figure 4

 
— Area 5

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