Brooklover on Apr 23, 2008April 23rd, 2008, 12:15 pm EDT
Ive heard of brooktrout being stocked in westen states like montana and reproducing. But have never heard of cutthroats being brought out here. Why is that. Im very curious about this.
SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse
Jjlyon01 on Apr 23, 2008April 23rd, 2008, 2:21 pm EDT
I am actually working on a paper about the stocking of Brookies in our western streams. The Brook Trout that have been stocked out west are invasive and do much harm to the Cutties. I am specifically studying the effects of the Brook Trout on the Greenback Cutthroats in small Colorodo streams. So far I've learned that the Brook trout out compete the Cutties in ever way including predation and out competing for food. The Cutthroat is also more sensitive to warmer polluted water than the their eastern counterparts.
I feel that people now realize that the stocking of invasive trout species does more damage than good. Most Northeastern states once were chocked full of Brookies and now they are thinned to about zero due to the competition with Bows and Browns. If these Cutthroat were stocked here they may do the same to the Brook trout that the Brook trout have done. I would love to fish for Cutties in the Battenkill or the Delaware but not at the expense of native species.
I'll leave more of my findings once my paper is complete.
Smallstream on Apr 24, 2008April 24th, 2008, 6:53 am EDT
I dont know much about this, but I doubt the cutthroat would do very well in the east because it is from areas where the habitat is about as good as it can get like montana and other places where the rivers and streams are just perfect for trout, while in the east the trout probably have to have pretty hardy genetics to survive in our overfished, habitat damaged, warmish, meager trout streams. The western trout have it made, and if they came to the east I doubt they would survive very well. The opposite seems to hold true for the brookies becuase in the east they are fighting to survive, but out west its like heaven to them with all the cold clean water and low fishing pressure.
Aaron7_8 on Apr 24, 2008April 24th, 2008, 11:10 am EDT
Hello everyone in the East. I live in Montana and the take on Brook Trout here is not good. Creel limit of twenty as compared to the catch and release status of Western Slope Cutthroats in almost all streams. However I do personally enjoy the brookies as much as cuts they both provide great sport. Talk to you all soon.
JOHNW on Apr 24, 2008April 24th, 2008, 11:49 am EDT
I know of one Eastern River where there is/was a concentrated effort to establish a naturally reproducing cutthroat fishery. From all I can gather there is only a sparse population of these fish.
Oh I almost forgot to name the river, which is by no means in danger of being overrun with anglers. The North Branch of the Potomac is the river in question, and the one trip I made to it was very frustrating. Bugs all over the place (mostly caddis and yellow sallies) and not a single fish to be seen or pounded up.
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
Brooklover on Apr 24, 2008April 24th, 2008, 11:52 am EDT
Aaron7-8, How do you enjoy the meat? Always heard it was the best trout meat there was. I never keep brookies because they are becoming increasingly rare here in the east. Im planning on traveling out to MT.in the late summer.Ill be near the bitterroot range, lolo national park will be one of my stops. Could you point me to streams that have brook trout? Id love to help protect your native cutthroat population by taking my limit in brooktrout.I cant imagine how brooktrout thrive in your perfect mountain streams! How big do they get out there?
Troutnut on Apr 24, 2008April 24th, 2008, 2:56 pm EDT
I'm glad nobody's trying to bring cutthroat out East. I've never caught one and, as much as I would love to catch one, I don't think it's worth introducing yet another invasive species to compete with the native brook trout.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Brooklover on Apr 24, 2008April 24th, 2008, 3:50 pm EDT
I agree i was just curious if there ever was a recorded population somewhere in the east. It seems like every other variety was passed around. Im suprised at some point they didnt make it out there. Also do cutthroats cross with brookies in the wild?
The North Br. of the Potomac was dead for so long, that after money, manpower and political willingness became available to improve water quality (especially after the building of Jennings Randolph Dam for flood and flow control), Maryland DNR seems to have started trying all kinds of different things to get salmonids going. Apparently that included stocking cutthroats hatched out of a tiny culture station in Allegany county, MD. From what I recall, brook trout were the first to return to the lower North Br., though whether that was from dropping down from the tribs or stocking I am not sure, probably a little of both.
How Maryland DNR figured it would be a good idea to start Cutts there would be of great interest to me since on the face of it, it makes no sense. Western streams are famous for their fertility, very much the opposite of the AMD impaired North Br., even with all the mitigation. That would imply genetics accustomed to far better conditions than in the North Br. Perhaps at that time there was evidence of Cutts doing well in reclaimed western streams? Was it Robert Bachman's idea?
Any former or current MD DNR professionals that may want to weigh in please do. Not on company time, of course!
JohnW, while you did not see any fish, it is great to hear there were good numbers of bugs flying around. The macroinvertebrates must be doing much better than the last time I was there.
Note that a whirling disease scare in April 2007 brought about the closing of three hatcheries in Garrett county: Bear Creek, the Jennings Randolph net pens, and Mettiki. I have read that the latter two may never be used again. Whether this will crimp the Cutthroat program only MD DNR could say.
Not that I am in favor of the cutthroat program or anything that would compete with the brook trout. It gets stocked with rainbows and browns, probably a political/funding/resource-sharing strategy given that access is from the West Virginia side. Cutbow hybrids next?
Aaron7_8 on Apr 25, 2008April 25th, 2008, 1:01 pm EDT
Brook trout as far as table fare are the most fantastic fish in streams here, the only exception is smoked whitefish which used to have a creel limit of one hundred per day and in posession, it has recently dropped to forty and forty.
In my experience they don't get very large in the small streams I fish for them in. The biggest I have caught to date is only about nine inches. However, I hear (and you can take any fish story with a grain of salt) that the Yak river near Libby MT has brookies up to about three pounds ,however, I have never fished it. If you do plan on coming to our state in the late summer always be aware of stream closures due to high water temps in august however this year's snow pack is quite a bit better as we have been getting light snow falls on and of all week.