Summary of Breakout Group Discussions

 Trout Summit 2002

Trout Summit LogoOn September 28, 2002, some 90 invited angler representatives as individuals and from fishing-related organizations participated in small group focus sessions sharing opinions on subjects including trout stocking, habitat improvement, funding, and wild trout management. This part of Trout Summit 2002 was intended to provide an opportunity for the Commission to hear from a cross section of Commonwealth trout fishers as part of a “bottoms-up” review of PFBC trout programs. The day centered on briefings by staff on key topics, Wild Trout Management, Management with Stocked Trout, Hatchery Systems, Water Quality and Habitat Improvement followed by small group discussions.  Each participant had a pre-assigned breakout group in an effort to provide diversity in each group.

The purpose of the breakout groups was to solicit feedback to specific questions centered on a key aspect of the previous briefing. The idea being to “brainstorm” ideas or responses to the specific question and then to “massage” comments into a shorter list of responses without losing the meaning of any one comment or idea. As the composition of the 90-member audience may not have been a full representation of Pennsylvania’s trout angling population as a whole, the intent was not to have a group “vote” or otherwise select a preferred response.  Facilitators were used in an attempt to get all members to contribute and to keep discussions focused on the topic in addition to providing a neutral setting for accomplishing the mission at hand. Since time of discussion was limited, each breakout group was given a different set of questions. Some questions were common to three or more groups, some were not, and all were in a rearranged order so that each had a good chance of being addressed by at least two groups.

Summarizing responses to questions from the breakout session posed some interesting challenges as 1) we wanted to maintain the flavor of individual thoughts, 2) no attempt was made to select the preferred response based on popular opinion, 3) some sessions ran into time management problems and never got out of “brainstorming” mode, 4) some individuals/groups either did not understand the question or opted to address other issues, 5) some individual topics were not developed enough to be understood, and 6) not all participants were accustomed to the focus group process. Information provided by the PFBC staff was not understood by every participant.

As mentioned in background material leading up to Trout Summit 2002 and in the opening remarks, Trout Summit 2002 is but a steppingstone for additional dialogue with the public. Thus, in reviewing results from focus groups, readers need to bear in mind possible shortcomings of the process. But, foremost, the Commission heard excellent commentary across a wide variety of issues from a cross-section of state trout anglers. The format for “summarizing” the commentary follows each question asked the focus groups. A major effort was made to list specific comments by group yet consolidate those of a similar nature without losing the “gist” of any one thought. In several cases, groups were not able to work on a particular question.

Wild Trout Questions

Question 1:

What are the most important elements of a desirable wild trout fishery?

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Habitat

Habitat

X

X

     

Water Quality

X

       

Aquatic macros

X

       

Setting

Surroundings – Aesthetics – Setting

X

X

X

X

 

Quaintly

X

       

Accessibility (public/private/proximity to stream)

X

       

Nice environment (typical mountain stream)

X

       

Solitude

 

X

     

Health of watershed

 

X

     

Fishing Experience

Fishing Pressure

X

       

Any stream providing quality experience

X

       

Challenge

   

X

   

Regulations

Tackle restrictions

X

       

Hooking mortality

X

       

Special Regulations

X

 

X (C&R)

   

– Attract anglers & quality declines

X

       

– More diverse views

X

       

  – Number of legal size per mile means little to anglers

X

       

Trout Population

Abundance of trout

     

X

 

Size

X

X

 

X

 

Reproduction

X

       

Condition and behavior of trout

     

X

 

Quality

X

 

X

   

Species composition (brook trout)

 

X

X

   

Sustainable fishery

   

X

   

Size and number

   

X

   

Catch rate 2-3 per hour

   

X

   

Diversity (in same stream)

X

       

Information Needed

Questions – need more information

   

X

   

Staff were seeking feedback on the overall trout population relative to characteristics we study and what anglers might be seeking. Thus, the inclusion of trout species composition, size, number of trout, number of legal size trout on a linear basis, number of anglers fishing and trout catch rate. An interesting array of responses was provided. However, some participants either misunderstood the nature of the question or have other equally important elements in regards to a desirable wild trout fishery. And, given this was the first breakout session, the newness of the process might have contributed to the results.

Participants got involved in a combination of habitat, setting, trout population descriptors, and management concepts above and beyond what the question was intended to address. Those responses were exceptionally useful in that it would seem Trout Summit 2002 participants deem a wide variety of elements important in regards to a desirable wild trout fishery.

Summary:

Size (and catch regardless of size) of trout caught appeared to be an important element as expressed in a couple of ways across the groups. Even then, depending on the species or type of habitat involved, different likes were apparent. Also important was the setting (solitude, scenery, aesthetics and maybe the type of regulations in place).

Question 2

What Fisheries Management efforts do you believe are most important in improving wild trout populations?

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Enforcement

Increase enforcement

   

X

   

Education and Information

More and better E&I on C&R

X

       

Education efforts re: wild trout management

   

X

 

X

More information on trout population

X

X

   

X

Use input of local anglers

X

       

Survey (assessment) and plan

   

X

   

Regulations

Regulations to reduce harvest

X

X

X

 

X

Slot limits

X

       

Greater variety of regulations

X

       

Increase number of special regs areas

X

       

More and different special regs

X

       

Special regs on Class A & B

   

X

 

X

Change size of fish stocks

       

X

No special regulations

       

X

Access

Incentive to landowners who provide access

       

X

Stocking

No stocking

X

     

X

Stock wild trout waters

X

       

No stocking Class A and enforce regs.

 

X

     

No stocking Class “B” → “A”

 

X

     

Habitat Enhancement

Coordinate habitat improvement projects to benefit wild trout

X

       

Grant waiting assistance

X

       

More focus on buffers/fencing

X

       

Habitat improvement

 

X

   

X

Watershed restoration and protection

 

X

   

X

Funding

Shift to wild trout management

   

X

   

General

Resource first

X

       

This question was directed to address tools/techniques (stocking, regulations, habitat manipulation, access, education/information, etc) available to the PFBC in managing wild trout resources. Again responses were varied and interesting. Both opponents and proponents of stocking wild trout waters and using special regulations were among the participants. One central theme seemed to reflect interest in more restrictive regulations. A prevalent theme was the need for more information to guide wild trout management and educate the public. There also seemed to be a need for more information on specific findings from previous studies so participants could offer constructive input but with less generalization.

Summary:

To continue with wild trout management efforts to include more study and inventory efforts. Not stocking wild trout waters is still a polarized issue. Equally, the use of special regulations is not an agreed upon topic although there appeared to be a strong interest in regulations being more restrictive in regards to harvest.

Question 3

When wild trout populations on a particular stream do not improve with management, what actions do you believe would be the most important or appropriate to address the situation?

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Status Quo

Don’t panic

     

X

 

Don’t rush to stock or do other changes

     

X

 

Wait 10 years

       

X

Make Change

Begin to stock

     

X

 

Try other things to get improvement to get Class A, then stock

     

X

 

Some streams don’t support wild trout – allow continued stocking

     

X

 

Eliminate the regulations (concentrate on the ones that work.)

       

X

Focus on stream buffer zones (water temperatures)

       

X

Revert to previous management

       

X

Habitat protection

       

X

Consider other alternatives

       

X

Improve water quality

       

X

Information

Management plan should specify review date

       

X

Analysis of historic use

       

X

Identify carrying and limiting factor capacity

     

X

X

Further study

     

X

X

Consider constituent input with stream potential

       

X

Determine optimum stream performance.  How long do we wait?

       

X

This question was included with the unmentioned understanding that a substantial length of time (years) had passed with no improvement in the wild trout population but without mentioning what regulations were in place or the stocking history. Time did not permit a more thorough discussion by more than one group. Given that the situation was not specified, responses were varied and diverse. It was interesting that among other suggestions, both groups mentioned determining what may be limiting the stream’s wild trout population and address that factor (if possible) on a water-by-water basis.

Summary:

Manage on an individual water basis with a foundation on carrying capacity and expectation with the management plan. Little consensus was reached as to specific remedies.

Question 4

What are your ideas on the role of harvest as part of a wild trout fishery?

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Education

Educate the public re: harvest

     

X

X

Information

Identify how important harvest versus fishing is to users

     

X

 

A better informed public can offer more useful feedback re: harvest

     

X

 

Determine how harvest works as a management tool

       

X

Size limit

Use size limit as key tool

       

X

Slot limit to protect spawning fish

 

X

     

Slot limits on larger streams

       

X

Harvest

Need reduced creel limit

 

X

 

X

 

Harvest is okay keep current creel limits

 

X

 

X

 

Two (2) trout limit

 

X

     

Very limited

 

X

     

Permit harvest to maintain angler interest

 

X

     

Harvest stocked trout and release wild trout

     

X

 

Why harvest?

     

X

 

Ban on harvest on small streams

       

X

Permit harvest

       

X

Ban harvest have “fish for fun”

       

X

Allow opportunity for harvest

       

X

Limit harvest

       

X

Stream specific

Stream specific harvest regs

 

X

   

X

Harvest will improve some streams

     

X

 

Segment of streams with harvest some without harvest

     

X

 

Use selective harvest as some streams not affected

     

X

 

Consider management goals maximize resource

     

X

 

No “fits all” regulations

     

X

 

Account for natural predation/mortality

       

X

Management

Manage brown trout and brook trout differently

 

X

     

Keep regulations simple

     

X

 

Bigger fish is a bigger target

       

X

Watershed approach

       

X

Manage top 10% leave others alone

       

X

This question produced a great divergence of opinions. Some said that we should limit harvest because the resource is fragile while others said that limiting harvest, as through a reduced creel limit (lower than 5), discourages anglers from fishing. The groups seem to support the idea that some level of harvest was acceptable. And, that wild trout stream management should be based on the knowledge of PFBC biologists with the carrying capacity of the specific stream section in mind.

Summary:

Participants appeared to be polarized on this question; there seemed to be interest in providing diversity of opportunity based on knowledge of the resource. Also, there appeared to be much generalization about what regulations can and can not do as part of managing wild trout. Many appeared to favor a reduction in the creel limit, some favored all no-kill, while others felt that the current level of harvest was fine and the creel limit should be unchanged. Most agreed that at least some level of harvest should be permitted on wild trout streams.

Question 5

What are your opinions on supplementing the wild trout fisheries on particular waters by stocking?

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Cost

Need to look at $$

       

X

Habitat Enhancement

Favor habitat improvement over stocking

   

X

   

Education/

Information

More public education to support proper management

 

X

     

Do Class “B” waters need stocking?

     

X

 

Differences in philosophy dictate management

     

X

 

Find problems

     

X

 

General Management

Manage wild brook and wild brown trout separately

 

X

     

Manage stream based on carrying capacity

   

X

   

Re-establish wild trout populations by stocking due to drought loss, etc

   

X

   

Wild trout populations fluctuate

     

X

 

Stock

Stock hatchery trout in wild trout streams to maintain angler interest (including children)

 

X

X

X

 

Supplement Class B streams with hatchery trout

 

X

     

Stock additional fish in places that would not hurt wild trout

 

X

     

Consider stocking waters that are not high quality wild trout based on research

   

X

   

Consider fingerling stocking based on research

   

X

   

Stock only Class B wild trout water in urban areas

       

X

Stock Class C & D streams

       

X

Not stock

Don’t stock trout in high quality trout streams

 

X

     

No stocking of Class A waters

   

X

X

X

Do not jeopardize any sustainable wild population

   

X

X

 

Do not stock any “wild trout fishery”

   

X

   

Don’t stock marginal wild trout waters

       

X

Don’t stock Class B or higher

       

X

Four groups were able to work on this question. A great deal of polarity existed regarding stocking of waters with wild trout populations whether they be Class A or even marginal populations. Various suggestions were offered on use of fingerling trout, species specific stocking, stocking in urban areas, providing diverse fishing opportunity, etc. Concern was expressed that stocking might be important to maintain the interest of anglers, including youth.

Summary:

A divergence of opinions was noted on stocking or not stocking wild trout waters. There was considerable interest in not stocking Class A, and, maybe, the better Class B waters. At the same time support was noted for stocking to maintain angler interest.

Hatchery Trout Questions

Question 1

What factors should the Commission consider in determining how many adult trout should be stocked each year?

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Size

Size

X

   

X

 

Fewer trout but larger

X

 

X

X

 

More but smaller

     

X

 

Caps established by others

     

X

 

Habitat

Habitat water-temp, flow volume

X

 

X

   

Water quality

X

       

Stock marginal waters away from smaller or wild trout stream

   

X

   

Access

Accessibility public/private proximity to stream

X

       

Biology

Impacts on other species by stocking

X

       

Reproduction

X

       

Aquatic macros

X

       

Diversity in same stream

X

       

Anglers

Base on number of trout stamps sold

X

       

Fishing pressure

X

 

X

   

Fishing pressure, tackle restrictions, hooking mortality

X

       

Match angler success to numbers stocked

         

General

Emphasize (put-grow-n-take)

X

       

Quantity

X

       

Quality

X

       

Any stream that provides quality experience

X

       

One size not fit all

X

       

Grade trout (size) for stocking different habitats

   

X

   

Coops raise smaller trout

     

X

 

Education/ Information

How many can be produced (under effluent permit)

X

       

How many can we afford to raise?

X

 

X

   

How much water area is available?

X

       

How large do we want the fish?

X

       

How many are to be used for restoration of streams (fingerlings)?

X

       

Publicize late season stockings so kids can fish more

X

       

Current approach

Continue using current assessments in evaluating waters

X

 

X

   

A wide variety of factors were suggested by participants. Polarity was noted on one or two factors including the size and number of trout raised.  Several participants had questions on production ceilings, costs, trout stamps sold, budgets, extent of fingerling production, etc, suggesting the need for more information before constructive commentary could occur.

Summary:

Although difficult to “tease out”, it would seem consideration should be given to production based on angler pressure, angler desire, maybe license sales, and perhaps trout stamp sales. Differences of opinion was noted on size of trout to be produced. Use of fingerling trout was encouraged for restoration efforts and supplemental stocking.

Question 2

Assuming the Commission has a fixed (and relatively stable) amount of money to devote to stocked trout programs and major infrastructure needs, what are your ideas on the best way to allocate and spend this money?

 

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Commission should fix effluent issues

 

X

     

More emphasis on infrastructure and less on stocking (short term)

 

X

     

Explore new hatcheries on tailwaters and mine discharges

 

X

     

Curtail limestone stream hatchery discharges

 

X

     

Only one group was able to work on this question. The “gist” of the comments centered on fixing facilities to address effluent issues even if that meant a reduction in stocking on a short term basis. Suggestions were made as to exploring possibilities for new trout culture sites at tailwaters and possibly mine discharges and to eliminate discharges into limestone streams.

Summary:

Take care of infrastructure needs particularly those related to effluent issues.

Question 3

What actions should the Commission take to better promote the stocked trout fishery?

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Stocking

Stock larger streams

   

X

   

Take the pressure off the small streams

   

X

   

Urban trout stocking program

   

X

   

Spread trout during inseason stocking (more stops)

   

X

   

Float stocking

   

X

   

Saturday stocking

     

X

 

Year round stocking

       

X

Regulations

Close streams after inseason stockings (24 hours)

   

X

   

Expand delayed harvest

     

X

 

Get rid of regulated areas

       

X

Education/ Information

Show anglers “fished out” stocked trout streams – electrofishing demonstrations

       

X

Survey anglers about fishing license increase

   

X

   

Increase educational efforts as to costs of program

   

X

   

Promote program in schools

   

X

   

Educate as to why stockies “live”

       

X

Identify the goal of stocked trout fishery

   

X

   

Link cost of stocking to the cost of a trout stamp

   

X

   

Private land holdings

     

X

 

Consider economic impact to local economy

       

X

Why do we need to promote stocked trout?  Promote trout fishing.

       

X

How much do we spend for marginal angler?

       

X

Reason for promotion – to increase sales or increase fishing pressure?

   

X

   

Publicity and Promotion

Put out county maps promoting stocking information

   

X

   

Announce more inseason stockings

   

X

   

Announce Saturday stockings (lakes)

     

X

 

Not announce stream stockings

     

X

 

Stock fish for free days (2 weeks into season)

     

X

 

Youth only areas (in high use areas)

     

X

 

Promote as “natural resource”

       

X

Advertise

     

X

 

Sponsor youth events

     

X

 

Make fishing more appealing (angler success)

     

X

 

Contest (tagged fish)

     

X

 

Three groups were able to work on this question. A nice variety of responses were received. A number of specific “promotions” were mentioned in addition to other specific management techniques such as regulations and stocking practices. There was some skepticism as to why we even feel the need to promote stocked trout fishing. Again, polarity existed on several suggestions including announced inseason stocking. Both groups had questions including need for promotion and budgets.

Summary:

A mix of suggestions including ways to market stocked trout angling (maps, electrofishing demonstrations on “fished out” waters, and announcements) was heard.

Question 4

What advantages and disadvantages would there be in considering two opening days, one earlier than the present, that would accommodate the seasonal differences throughout the state?

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Opportunities

Advantage – extends fishing opportunities

 

X

     

Could attract anglers who might otherwise miss single opening day

 

X

     

Take advantage of good weather leading to more fishing opportunities

 

X

     

 Education/ Information

Why have opening day at all?

X

X

     

Need well defined boundaries

 

X

 

X

 

Ain’t broke don’t fix it

     

X

 

Two chances for complaints

     

X

 

Slob fishermen

     

X

 

Opening day

Opening day has been a traditional event, has a lot of sentimental value

X

       

Have no close season

 

X

     

Have an earlier opening day statewide

 

X

 

X

 

Distribution/ stocking

Tightened time frames could lead to less even distribution of trout

 

X

     

Problem with stocking logistics

 

X

     

Equipment purchases planned

     

X

 

Advantages – help fish distribution

     

X

 

Negative – delayed stocking due to inclement weather

 

X

     

Crowding/ posting

Crowding

X

X

     

Increase in posting where private land stocked

X

X

 

X

 

More crowded conditions on both opening days

 

X

     

Economics

Negative economic impact on northern areas (southern anglers would be fished out)

X

       

Shift in economy

X

       

Potential loss of economic benefits to destination areas

 

X

     

Based on discussions, staff should have explained the concept of two opening days a bit more, a generic approach and how trout distribution would relate to current practice. Participants differed on the need for an opening day. Reactions were mixed on impact economically with two opening days. Concern was expressed about having well-defined boundaries for separating areas with different dates and potential impact of shifting angling pressure onto private land in regards to angler-owner conflicts and posting.

Summary:

Overall, there seemed to be interest in the concept but concerns were expressed about boundaries, pressure on waters in private ownership and maybe the mechanics of the distribution system.  More information on concept needed for participants to offer meaningful commentary.

Question 5

Delayed Harvest regulations are one of the tools used by the Commission to manage stocked trout fisheries. What factors should be considered in determining when and how to use delayed harvest management on particular waters?

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Factors

Use cool streams for delayed harvest so trout would be there all summer

 

X

     

Fall stocking increases use of stream

   

X

   

Allow larger streams to be considered

   

X

   

Make every stocked stream delayed harvest

       

X

Reaction to delayed harvest concept

Brings additional anglers into the angling population

 

X

     

Loss of angling opportunities to the general public

 

X

     

Should be all tackle delayed harvest

 

X

     

Lack of use in open waters due to perception of no trout

 

X

     

Loss of fish due to mortality

 

X

     

Discriminate against bait anglers

 

X

     

Add more streams to the program

   

X

   

Adjust stocking rate based on use

   

X

   

Allow less restrictions on tackle for kids

   

X

   

Eliminate delayed harvest

       

X

Consider all tackle once harvest season arrives

       

X

Provide opportunity for campers/kids to keep some trout

       

X

Distribute fish when available

       

X

Eliminate them or include all stakeholders

       

X

The pros and cons of delayed harvest management seemed to get more discussion time than factors to be considered in determining when and how to use such management on particular waters. Two main schools of thought were apparent: one being to use them in increased numbers, the extreme being on every stocked water with the other extreme of eliminating all delayed harvest areas.  Interest (including participants from the “anti” camp) was expressed on the use of the more encompassing all-tackle set of regulations.

Summary:

It would seem there is need for more information on what delayed harvest is about, trout mortality in both delayed harvest and open waters, and angler use on the delayed harvest waters. Overall, there seemed to be support for adding more delayed harvest areas. Some discussion occurred on selecting waters likely to carry trout through the summer, fall stocking and possibly adding larger streams to the program.

Question 6

What are the most important objectives that fisheries managers should consider in adjusting management for stocked trout fisheries?

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Objectives

Angler use can be controlled

   

X

   

Use angler use/angler trip data

   

X

   

Creel return

     

X

 

Survey

Better look at individual streams when managing

X

       

Survey more streams

X

       

Management techniques/ philosophy

Reduce harvest

X

       

Stocking changes

         remove stocking on wild waters

         reduce pressure

         cropping

X

       

Continue stocking on wild trout for diversity

X

       

Consider the type of angler that will fish certain waters when proposing different regs

X

       

Cannot treat all water the same

         different habitat and fish

         habitat has changed

X

       

Watershed approach

X

       

Local input on management of streams

X

       

Slot harvest for size diversity

X

       

Stream categories too limited

– need new approach

X

       

More use of special regs

X

       

Habitat improvement

– not directly involved

– need better coordinating

X

       

Impact on wild trout

   

X

   

Impact on the environment

   

X

   

More Saturday stockings

   

X

   

Junior license at nominal cost

   

X

   

Junior trout stamp

   

X

   

Big fish (size)

     

X

 

Stock brook and rainbow early browns later

     

X

 

Species consideration

     

X

 

Spread fishing out once longer time – delayed harvest

     

X

 

This question was asked for purposes of refining how staff evaluates management of a stocked trout fishery. While other descriptors may be important in characterizing a particular fishery, the four mentioned ones (angler use, numbers caught, numbers harvested, and angler trips per stocked trout) are ones staff can quantify, provide the means to compare similar fisheries and are defensible. Any/all may be useful in assessing the utility of a stocking or other changes in management including access and publicity or across categories such as location in the state relative to human population density.

Three groups addressed question 6. Numerous suggestions were made. However, several were somewhat distant for consideration in evaluating stocked trout fisheries and adjusting stocking plans. Even then, insight was gained as to participant thinking. It would seem anglers desire a diversity of fishing opportunity made possible thru stocking. Different stream sections may require different consideration for species to be stocked. And, we should consider the management plan for the individual water when selecting a species (s) for stocking. The little discussion that occurred on the four objectives in the initial question did not result in any conclusion—angler use, angler trips and creel return were mentioned however.

Summary:

No clear consensus of opinions on this question. Overall participants expressed a desire for diverse fishing opportunity based on management plans developed with the individual stream section in mind.

Question 7

What factors should the Commission use in deciding where to stock trout?

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Current approach

Use existing system – it is good

       

X

If it’s not broke don’t fix it

       

X

Angler interest

Stock where the public wants to fish

 

X

     

Waterway characteristic

Access

 

X

   

X

Stream size, water quality and habitat

 

X

     

Ownership

 

X

   

X

Urban areas

       

X

Stock lakes more

       

X

Rural experience

       

X

Use of super stream with no tackle restrictions

       

X

Coop nursery

Eliminate double stocking by Co-ops

 

X

     

Trout population

Stock where there are no trout

 

X

     

Stock where there is no viable wild trout fishery

 

X

     

Stock where there is no adverse impact on wild trout populations

 

X

     

Stock non-naturally reproducing waters or fin clip fish to determine the potential for a wild trout fishery and reduce harvest on target trout species

 

X

     

No Class A’s

       

X

Budget

Fixed $$

       

X

Pay as you go

       

X

Infrastructure needs

Fix big ones first

       

X

Where most of the production is from

       

X

Philosophy

Stock trout to attract new anglers

       

X

Don’t over emphasize sales over fishing

       

X

Focus on fishing experience

       

X

Hook anglers with numbers then provide more rural experience

       

X

Increase size of trout – reduce  numbers

       

X

Survey anglers as to impact change in hatchery operations might have on sales

       

X

Only two groups were able to cover this topic. And, even then, insufficient time resulted in a few points going unclarified. Two mains schools surfaced; those who thought stocking should not occur over wild trout and those who felt the number of wild trout should have no bearing on a stocking program. As to other factors discussion, they included stocking where anglers want to fish, using more lakes, more stocking in urban areas, ownership, access, stream size and water quality. Some felt the existing allocation system is fine as is. One group seemed to take a “back door” approach in answering the question by suggesting infrastructure needs be addressed and the stocking program be on a “pay as you go” plan. Both would determine how many trout are produced which in turn would affect allocations, but participants did not suggest how to fine-tune the allocation process.

Summary:

There was no clear picture on factors used in deciding where to stock trout. Participants seemed to be polarized on the role of wild trout in regards to the stocking issue.

Water Quality & Habitat

Question 1

What are your ideas about the most important elements of a successful habitat improvement program?

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

PFBC involvement

More PFBC involvement

-- advisory role

-- encourage

-- more proactive

-- more technical input

X

 

X

   

Seek/provide input to locals who set growing greener funds

X

       

PFBC needs to be more proactive with groups

X

       

List of grant opportunities

 -- dirt/gravel

 -- fencing, etc.

X

       

Partnership with private and public

 

X

X

   

Better reporting of accomplishments

   

X

   

Cost/benefit analysis needed

   

X

   

Funding

More $$ for more access

   

X

   

More staff

   

X

   

Technical elements

More watershed approach

X

       

Fencing and grazing areas

 

X

     

Increase trout biomass

 

X

     

Riparian corridor maintenance and preservation

 

X

     

Approach

No further harm

X

       

Avoid “overkill” make functional

X

       

Non-obtrusive devices

 -- not unnatural

 -- not too mechanical

 -- not too artificial looking

X

       

“Resource First” for fish

 

X

     

Three groups were able to address this question. Responses were quite varied and included both internal and external activities the Commission should undertake. Some took the “end product” approach while others addressed the process by which a habitat improvement program should be undertaken/pursued.

Summary:

Overall it would seem the PFBC should be more proactive in its role with habitat improvement in approaching groups as well as spending more on funding projects. It was universally felt that the PFBC should take a technical advisory role and partner with private and public groups. Comments and discussion also seemed to reflect a lack of knowledge of what the Commission does in regards to habitat improvement/enhancement.

Question 2

What do you see as the Commission’s role in habitat improvement programs?

-  Consider that large amounts of funding is being provided by other agencies for watershed planning, technical assistance and project implementation.

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Oversight/ Coordination

Check with organizations and groups for projects

 

X

     

Provide leadership to prioritize projects

   

X

   

Track projects

   

X

   

Permitting oversight review

       

X

Positive PFBC attitude

       

X

 

Oversee and advise – Growing Greener projects

   

X

 

X

Specific involvement

Technical assistance

 

X

     

Get information out to public (i.e., press releases)

 

X

     

Easement purchase and buying land

 

X

     

Mow less

 

X

     

Continue the Adopt-a-Stream program

 

X

     

More involvement in habitat projects

 

X

X

   

Educate as to need for permits to do various types of activities

 

X

     

Tools for WCOs to protect habitat

       

X

Professional water quality assessment service

       

X

Water quality monitoring by WCOs

       

X

Database available for local efforts

       

X

More input on dirt/gravel road issue

       

X

Landowner incentive for habitat protection improvement

       

X

Educational value of wild trout

       

X

Budget

Additional $$

       

X

Outcome

More fish

       

X

Limit harvest

       

X

Let streams maintain natural productivity

       

X

Let streams meet potential even if it means stop stocking

       

X

Comments seemed to center on two avenues – one being of the relatively narrow traditional approach of “being in the water” while the other involved more of an oversight or coordinating role working with organizations and other agencies. The words “habitat improvement” have different meanings to different people.  There also seemed to be a general lack of appreciation of current PFBC activities. Thus, the suggestion for more education/information efforts.

Summary:

Acting as a technical advisor and becoming involved with many more public and private groups. Also, overseeing and have an expanded leadership role with Growing Greener projects.

Question 3

You’ve heard a briefing about the subject of PCB’s and other chemicals in stocked and wild fish in Pennsylvania. What are your ideas about how the state can best inform the angling public about these matters.

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Alternatives

Promote catch & release

   

X

   

Improve water quality

     

X

 

General

Get other agencies like DEP and Health to put out information that puts this issue into perspective rather than always making PFBC defend itself.

X

       

Provide comparison – to other states

   

X

   

Don’t throw good money after bad

     

X

 

Ascertain level of contaminants in other things

     

X

 

Involve Health agency

     

X

 

Public approach

More education as to advisory versus warning

X

 

X

X

X

Put in summary booklet more thorough explanation of difference between advisory and FDA warning

X

 

X

 

X

Produce video as to situation and put things into perspective along with positive health benefits of eating trout

X

       

Maintain summary book and news releases

   

X

   

Get the word out that fish are safe

   

X

   

Give public information they can relate to

   

X

X

X

Drop advisory

   

X

   

Need better explanation and information on PFBC web site

   

X

   

Proactive announcements

     

X

 

Timing of release – March 1

     

X

 

Responsible news releases

     

X

 

Public announcements – radio and television

     

X

 

No more press releases

       

X

Be honest with information – don’t sugar coat it

       

X

Four groups were able to work on this question. Divergence of opinion was noted particularly on advisories with some participants suggesting dropping them with others offering specific suggestions on ways to better inform the angling public. It was obvious some participants were frustrated with the issue of contaminants given the involvement of agencies less dependent on a funding source such as license sales and trout stamps, insensitivity of the news media and the hype given the issue right before trout season. One suggested approach was to take advantage of public concern (as to consuming possibly contaminated fish) with an emphasis on catch-and-release angling.

Summary:

There was polarity especially on the issue of news releases and the like in regards to contaminants. One school of thought was to leave the issue alone and another supported doing more education as to keeping the issue in perspective and providing easily understood information from which the angling public could make decisions. Various suggestions were provided on this effort.

Question 4

Although PA has millions of acres of public land, the fact is that over 75% of the Commonwealth’s trout waters (both stocked and wild) are on private lands. What can be done to encourage private/public partnerships to insure that these lands and waters remain protected and open for the public fishing for generations yet to come?

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

With landowners

Personal PFBC contact with landowners – post signs

X

X

 

X

X

Proactive – PFBC brokers contact for groups with landowner

X

X

 

X

X

Focus on major landowners, companies and associates

X

       

Communicate better with landowners as to what landowner wants

X

   

X

X

Education with landowner

X

       

Have regulations that landowner wants

 

X

     

Additional regulations to protect landowners

 

X

     

Work with Conservancy’s rails to trails greenway

     

X

 

Management techniques

PFBC provide parking

X

       

PFBC – direct support for cleanup

X

X

 

X

 

Survey anglers on willingness to support access program

X

       

Re-think how PFBC allocates trout

X

       

Incentives

 -- taxes cut

 -- more trout

 -- stream projects

X

       

Easement program

 -- funding thru stamp

 -- local clubs

 -- local zoning

X

X

 

X

X

Combat littering

 

X

     

Encourage adoption of streams

 

X

 

X

 

Educate anglers as to fishing on private land

 

X

 

X

 

Minimize amount of signage when access is provided

     

X

 

Again, four groups were able to work on this question providing an interesting array of suggestions. Suggestions varied from site specific activities such as the PFBC providing a parking area to the PFBC serving as a coordinator between landowners and groups in regards to a wide variety of activities. Numerous references centered on obtaining public access either through outright purchase or conservation easements.

Summary:

Proactive PFBC involvement with private landowners starting with personal contact by staff, oversight role in regards to coordinating clubs and organizations working on private property owners, and pursuing means to get more public access.

Question 5

The Commission’s habitat improvement and environmental services programs are currently funded through the Fish Fund. What are your ideas about how these programs, which benefit all Pennsylvanians, should be funded in the future?

   

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Funding initiatives

Voluntary donation for access

       

X

PFBC raise money – bonds out of general fund

 

X

     

Permit fees reflect cost payable to PFBC

 

X

     

Growing Greener-tipping fee money

 

X

 

X

X

Portion of an increased cost of trout stamp for habitat improvement

 

X

     

Portion of license sale to easements, purchase, develop and maintenance

     

X

 

Portion of state sales tax

 

X

X

   

Conservation stamp sale

   

X

X

X

Motor vehicle vanity license plate sales

   

X

   

State subsidize access acquisition

   

X

 

X

Anglers should not have to bear total costs

     

X

 

Local government

       

X

User fees for non-sportsmen

       

X

Internal

Habitat improvement bulletin

       

X

Partnering with various conservation organizations

   

X

   

Dedicate matching grants to adopt-a-stream projects

   

X

   

Direct local efforts to “in need of” stream

       

X

Shift funding to habitat improvement (? from stocking)

       

X

Promote adopt-a-stream program

   

X

   

Facilitate application process

       

X

More education that PFBC pays the bill for all users

       

X

From some discussions it was clear more attention is needed to better inform the public on PFBC habitat enhancement and environmental services. Often these activities and services are viewed in a very narrow sense of constructing in-water structures, ignoring those of a watershed nature. Suggestions followed two major themes -- continue to do business as we have with licensed anglers footing the bill or pursue more innovative ways to get citizens more involved in protecting and enhancing habitats of the Commonwealth. Various funding initiatives were suggested as well as in-agency activities.

Summary:

Citizen awareness of PFBC habitat enhancement and protection efforts as well as the responsibility of all citizens to support these efforts needs to be promoted. Various external sources of funding were suggested.

Acknowledgement and Appreciation

A special thanks to Coldwater Unit Fisheries Technician Bob Weber who sifted thru notes, chart paper lists, and reviews from all the breakout sessions to compile results that formed the basis for this summary.

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission

Commissioners

  William Sabatose, President                    Paul Mahon, Vice-Pres

Donald K. Anderson                                Samuel M. Concilla                                  Richard Czop                          Ross J. Huhn

Ted R. Keir                              Howard E. Pflugfelder, Jr.                       Leon H. Reed                          Rozell A. Stidd

Peter A. Colangelo, Executive Director

Trout Summit 2002

Dennis Guise                           Rick Hoopes                            Dick Snyder

Jeanne Benner        Tom Cochran           Jim Harvey              Cecil Houser            Marty Marcinko        Andy Shiels             Ken Stark

Cindy Kellander       Kim Gibson              Tom Greene            Bob Weber              Al Woomer              Bruce Hollender      Gary Smith

Tim Wilson               Bob Moase              Rob Wnuk                Mike Kaufmann        Dave Miko                Rick Lorson             Russ Burman

Jeff Bridi                  Don Lauver             Wasyl Polischuk      Fred Keeney           Lisa Cramer             Bill Frazier               Kelly Baker

Dave Bumann          John Simmons         Carl Haensel            Walt Dietz                Ted Walke               Art Michaels            Teresa Erdman

Charrie Seifert         Tom Ford                 Gary Moore             John Arway            Dave Spotts            Dan Tredinnick