Friday, July 11, 2014

Surveys find new waters for wild trout TOM VENESKY OUTDOORS

February 16. 2013 12:29AM

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The little unnamed stream flows through the woods of Bear Creek Township before it empties into Laurel Run.

It doesnâ??t look any different than the hundreds of other coldwater streams that traverse the regionâ??s mountains, but this stream with no name could hold some extra importance.

The stream, which is near the Seven Tubs Natural Area, is one of several hundred that, until now, had never been surveyed for the presence of wild trout.

In 2009, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and cooperating partners consisting of several colleges and univerisities, including Kingâ??s, began surveying waterways to document the presence of naturally reproducing wild trout.

Itâ??s a daunting task, considering the enormous amount of streams in the state that have long flowed on forgotten.

Last week the PFBC released a list of streams that have been sampled and, according to preliminary results, may be eligible to be listed as a wild trout water or even a Class A wild trout stream.

A stream that is known to support natural reproduction of trout may still be stocked, but a Class A waterway â?? one that supports a wild trout population large enough to maintain a long-term fishery, isnâ??t stocked.

And the survey work to find them is kind of like a treasure hunt. It takes a lot of time and effort, but the reward can be substantial.

Consider the unnamed tributary to Laurel Run. It was surveyed for the first time in June 2011. In a 1.5-mile stretch, wild brook trout were discovered.

Actually, it works out to 32.57 pounds of wild brook trout per acre. To qualify for Class A status, a stream must have a wild brook trout biomass of at least 26.7 pounds per acre.

Where the stream has no name

The stream without a name more than meets the minimum, and thatâ??s why it is proposed to be listed as either a Class A or a wild trout water.

That makes it a pretty special stream.

Itâ??s hard to believe that a stream with such a thriving population of wild brook trout â?? one that flows only several miles from Wilkes-Barre, could go unnoticed for so long.

But these are the very gems that the PFBC survey is discovering.

In addition to the Laurel Run tributary, there are two other Luzerne County streams â?? both tributaries to Black Creek in the southern part of the county, that are eligible for the wild trout water listing.

So far, 1,049 streams have been surveyed across the state during the past two years. More than 500 have been listed as Class A waters, and there are still more than 10,000 yet to survey.

It will take years until every stream is surveyed, and the work will become more difficult as crews begin to explore the more remote streams in the state.

A tough job, but one worth finishing when one considers the potential yet to be discovered and the risks that threaten the wild trout streams as they flow in relative obscurity.

Streams such as the unnamed tributary to Laurel Run. We need to know where they are and what they hold.

Even if some of them donâ??t have a name, they are all worthy of being protected.

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