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  1. #1
    rcturner99 is offline Just finished a River Runs Through it!
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    stocked trout behavior

    This will be my first opening day, so I have a few basic questions. When trout are first stocked, do they tend to exhibit any particular behavior? Do they scatter looking for deep holes until they acclimate? Do they stay close to the stocking point, or tend to spread out? Is there a tendancy to move upstream as opposed to downstream, or vice versa? How close to the original stocking point do they stay? A few hundred yards up/downstream? Or does every river vary any you just have to seek them out.

    Thanks for any info.

    Artie


  2. #2
    Andy is offline Just finished a River Runs Through it!
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    Re: stocked trout behavior

    That's a difficult question to answer since a lot depends on the particular stream, speed of the water and place the fish are stocked, among other things. For example, if a net full of fish is thrown in a fast-moving riffle, the fish initially will probably drop downstream until they find something to break the flow (like the cushion behind a rock) or a slower pool. Look at all those tiger trout that ended up in the lower Musconetcong and Delaware when their pond in the Asbury Hatchery washed out during the floods. Remember, swimming against a fast current is something a hatchery trout has never done before. If the net-full lands in a slower pool most of the fish will probably stay in the vicinity until wanderlust or something else gets them to move. But there are no hard, fast rules.

    A few years back (2005) Pennsylvania did a study on two heavily stocked streams when anglers complained that they weren't catching anything. Those streams were Wysox and Tunkhannock Creeks. One radio-tagged rainbow was found 123 miles from its stocking point 16 days after it was released! They further concluded that rainbows tended to leave their stocking points after 3 days; browns after 7 days and brookies after 10 days. Conversely, one study fish stayed at its stocking point 14 days before moving. With this in mind, I guess it's safe to say that the longer the fish has been in the stream before opening day, the better the chance it has time to move.

    Stocking points tend to be crowded with everyone looking for an easy limit. You will probably have an enjoyable day just fishing the water and might just catch a fish or two.


  3. #3
    Joe D's Avatar
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    Re: stocked trout behavior

    "I think I fish, in part, because it's an anti-social, bohemian business that, when gone about properly, puts you forever outside the mainstream culture without actually landing you in an institution." John Gierach

    www.FlyFishTheDelaware.com


  4. #4
    miserjoe is offline Just finished a River Runs Through it!
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    Re: stocked trout behavior

    you know, its funny, an old timer once told me to fish upstream of where they stock since the most active brutes usually wound up there and people don't believe the fish move upstream when stocked. Personally, you can bet on that easy limit being with 100 yards of the stocking point on opening day given we don't have a flood before then. High water are gonna push those trout around, then you might as well get away from the sstocking point (no need to be part of the circus). In lakes, they will scatter within a week or two but they will be roaming in packs. I remember in Alaska, a week after they would stock, the trout would be gone from the stocking point but then every hour of two, the whole school would swim buy - you would throw a handful of salmon eggs on them to keep them in the area and get your limit in no time (something I do here in PA - I actually keep all my salmon eggs from NY throughout the winter then feed the stockies in my local creek right where I want them to stay).

    Here in PA now that we have 2 opening days, the state has taken it upon themselves to stock as close to opening day as feasible so the trout stay put for the opening day crowd. Its a ridiculous concept, one that has me praying for a hurricane for the 4/12 opener.

    The best creeks are the ones with no names

  5. #5
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    BIGBOW is offline Wilderness Fanatic
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    Re: stocked trout behavior

    I like the fact that most NJ rivers begin stocking a few weeks in advance (today being the first closed day until the 5th). Gives the fish a chance to get used to the rivers and spread out a bit, so we too can try to spread out a bit.

    Listen To The River Sing Sweet Songs To Rock My Soul...

  6. #6
    JeffK is offline Trout Hunter
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    Re: stocked trout behavior

    I always suggest people learn the good spots in a river and forget about the stocking truck - the fish will get there eventually and when you find a good spot away from the stocking location you may have it all to yourself. That said, stocked trout often behave in regular patterns. Observe the other fishermen and see if anybody is catching more than their fair share. Don't crowd out any successful fishermen since it is poor sportsmanship, but note the spot. A good spot is usually always a good spot under the same conditions. When you locate a good spot, look for other spots that seem similar. Another way to learn is the cover a lot of water with streamers or spinners fished near the surface. Fish that follow and don't strike are just as important as the ones you catch since it shows where the fish are. The more spots you know the more options you will have and the more successful you will be.

    Last year Ozzy was filming in the Musky in the Point Mountain Trout Conservation Area and couldn't find a fish soon after the pre-season stocking. One of the stocking locations has had serious stream widening and the fish move out of the area fairly rapidly. Some of the spots they go to are not very obvious and offer good fishing for those who work at it.


  7. #7
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    coolkyle is offline De nalgas!
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    Re: stocked trout behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by miserjoe View Post
    something I do here in PA - I actually keep all my salmon eggs from NY throughout the winter then feed the stockies in my local creek right where I want them to stay
    Is chumming legal in PA? It's a good way to spread disease between watersheds, and just kind of crappy!


  8. #8
    Joe D's Avatar
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    Re: stocked trout behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by coolkyle View Post
    Is chumming legal in PA? It's a good way to spread disease between watersheds, and just kind of crappy!
    Unbelievably, it is.

    Have your voice heard where it might count: Form - Comments & Questions to PFBC

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  9. #9
    Johnw is online now Trout Hunter
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    Re: stocked trout behavior

    I've been float stocking a NJ river for the past 4 or 5 years and my observations are that initially the fish band together and tend to move downstream and stay that way for about one week. After the week they gradually spread out and after a couple of weeks they are well spread out throughout the river. Last year, because of high water, we were forced to stock the fish in just one location and by opening day (2 1/2 weeks later) they were well dispersed. It's true as someone mentioned, in lakes or ponds the trout tend to band together and roam in packs often ending up in the same place at the same time each day. Another observation is that they also tend to roam a lake in a counter clockwise direction. Interesting stuff.


  10. #10
    eddavidson9's Avatar
    eddavidson9 is offline how's that for a slice of fried gold
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    Re: stocked trout behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnw View Post
    Another observation is that they also tend to roam a lake in a counter clockwise direction. Interesting stuff.
    Very interesting. How fast? Depending on paddling ability, would one be able to keep up in a canoe if one happened upon a roaming pack?


  11. #11
    Johnw is online now Trout Hunter
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    Re: stocked trout behavior

    I would guess you wouldn't have any problem keeping up with them.


  12. #12
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    Drossi is offline If they can't take joke .....'em
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    Re: stocked trout behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffK View Post
    I always suggest people learn the good spots in a river and forget about the stocking truck - the fish will get there eventually and when you find a good spot away from the stocking location you may have it all to yourself.
    So true, I fish a number of spots that are in a section of stream that is a 100 yds each way between stocking points. The same spots will always produce fish and have every year for 30yrs. Like clockwork the fish work there way to the best holding water no matter where they are stocked.

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