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Old 03-27-2013, 04:23 PM
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Default Is it the habitat issues?

Was reading through an article writen by vtfw and it was great to see them promoting this highly overlooked variable.

"Habitat. We all need it, fish need it - for food, cover and spawning. We can put all the fish we want into the rivers and lakes, but they will not be healthy nor able to naturally sustain their populations without the necessary habitat to support them through their life stages. We can regulate fishing to help suffering fish populations, but without habitat improvements they will not recover. We can clean their water, but without habitat the fish will not benefit and a stream or lake's carrying capacity will be reduced."

Source: http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/fisheries_habitat2.cfm

I notice here in VT when ever i fish streams near by the # of fish i catch directly relates to the habitat i see in and around the stream.

What are some things i see in the rivers with higher numbers?
Farther away from roads
Deep pools/Big Boulders or trees in the river
LOTS of debris and shade cover
Good stream bank structure and plant life

These are all things you can read about in a whole library full of articles but it seems to sometimes fly over some peoples heads. I think VT is very smart for trying to educate their people about how much habitat effects trout populations.

I wonder how much better the fishing could be on the rivers we all fish if we restored them to what the trout like best? Would stocked fish have a lower mortality rate? Would more fish hold over? Would more fish reproduce? Would insect life an other stream life flourish? Would all of it go to waste a season later after high water and ice? Would it allow for less to have to be spent on stocking? Would it enrich the fishing here in NH and allow for more marketable fisheries?
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfreak288 View Post
"Habitat. We all need it, fish need it - for food, cover and spawning. We can put all the fish we want into the rivers and lakes, but they will not be healthy nor able to naturally sustain their populations without the necessary habitat to support them through their life stages. We can regulate fishing to help suffering fish populations, but without habitat improvements they will not recover. We can clean their water, but without habitat the fish will not benefit and a stream or lake's carrying capacity will be reduced."

What are some things i see in the rivers with higher numbers?
Farther away from roads
Deep pools/Big Boulders or trees in the river
LOTS of debris and shade cover
Good stream bank structure and plant life
How about presence of riffles, rapids, falls, plunge pools etc. to provide proper aeration.?
Abundant aquatic and terrestrial insects, and other food organisms.

I wonder how much better the fishing could be on the rivers we all fish if we restored them to what the trout like best? This is what Trout Unlimited and other organizations do, and it would be good if we all had opportunity to help with it. But we can also help with habitat improvement by collecting trash (especially wads of discarded fishing line) along river/stream banks and dispose of it properly before it gets washed into the waterway.
Would stocked fish have a lower mortality rate? Would more fish hold over? Would more fish reproduce? Would insect life an other stream life flourish? Would all of it go to waste a season later after high water and ice? I used to wonder about this as well. but I've since learned that fish are uncanny in the way that they can remain in place with prolonged turbid water conditions. Of course, we live above the surface, but they spend their entire lives below it. They are masters at hydraulics, and understand where to situate themselves to be sheltered from heavy flows. They often move into back water areas and eddies where currents are more manageable. I know that some fish do get displaced, but for the most part, especially with fish who have seen turbid conditions before, they know what to do to stay in or near their habitat.
Would it allow for less to have to be spent on stocking? Would it enrich the fishing here in NH and allow for more marketable fisheries?
Hi Milan,

This is good stuff. Thanks for posting. You asked some interesting questions. Rather than comment here below, I'll post (in red italics) above in your quote. Thanks for posting this. Good stuff.

FF

Below is a link to a good video of what some folks have been doing in their local water out west. Enjoy!

The Best Country

Last edited by FurFace; 03-28-2013 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:44 PM
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Thanks for the direct responses. It is interesting to think that fish (stream born fish i would guess) are professionals at river hydraulics and they know what to do when high water moves in, or ice starts flowing. Im going to give the video a watch now.
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:33 AM
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John Magee of NHFG just gave a great presentation at the March Monadnock TU meeting about habitat requirements for trout and work being done on Nash and Indian Streams. Both these streams were altered to facilitate log drives back in the day so they were essentially channelized in places. If you ever get the chance to see his presentation go.
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:54 AM
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Default Yes - It is the habitat issues!

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfreak288 View Post
Was reading through an article writen by vtfw and it was great to see them promoting this highly overlooked variable.

"Habitat. We all need it, fish need it - for food, cover and spawning . . .

These are all things you can read about in a whole library full of articles but it seems to sometimes fly over some peoples heads.
FlyFreak,
1. Habitat improvement is the basic premise that Trout Unlimited is based upon. It is a tremendous resource for your research, education and a means to implement positive change in coldwater habitat. Look at their websites; go to a meeting; talk to some of the members; get involved. Take a look at the NH TU Council (http://nhcouncil.troutunlimited.com/ ) and Eastern Brooktrout Joint Venture websites as starters: http://www.easternbrooktrout.org/
2. John Magee is giving a talk about wild brook trout habitat restoration at Fish and Game HQ in Concord on April 3. Details at: http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/News..._brookies.html He'll be giving info on a number of projects that NH Fish and Game, TU, and other groups are working together on to improve coldwater fishery habitat.

Good luck on your (our) quest,
Gerry
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:05 PM
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The biggest obstacle in regard to habitat and habitat restoration, is adequate buffer zones along the banks of rivers. When a river floods, that is deep in the woods, there is never the catastrophic erosion and habitat destruction we see on rivers that have been manipulated by man. Roots hold things together, trees shade the water, provide log jams, and are like sponges full of nutrients. This is why the best thing we can do for our rivers is reduce development, and plant trees where past development has occured. This "best practice" form of management is often not heeded due to conflicting interests. There are homes in our state with lawns that end where the river begins, farms where animals are still let to graze to the rivers edge, and recreational canoe companies who cut trees out of rivers to ensure smooth sailing for beer drinking, red bellied, river walruses. Many of these activities are technically illegal. Unfortunately, Our rivers are valued in different ways by those who use them. If more people wanted to spend money on catching fish rather than catching a buzz, the fish might be in better shape.

Habitat is crucial, as it affects all other factors that you listed previously. For example, it's hard to get away from that blue herron when there are no logs to hide under.
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Last edited by natefish; 03-31-2013 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:21 PM
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Gerry,

Thanks for the info and input! I just recently become a TU member and i am going to be going to a meeting up here in VT on the 9th. They are trying to rekindle the NEK TU chapter up here. When im back in NH i would like to become involved in one of the chapters near by. Thanks again

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry View Post
FlyFreak,
1. Habitat improvement is the basic premise that Trout Unlimited is based upon. It is a tremendous resource for your research, education and a means to implement positive change in coldwater habitat. Look at their websites; go to a meeting; talk to some of the members; get involved. Take a look at the NH TU Council (http://nhcouncil.troutunlimited.com/ ) and Eastern Brooktrout Joint Venture websites as starters: http://www.easternbrooktrout.org/
2. John Magee is giving a talk about wild brook trout habitat restoration at Fish and Game HQ in Concord on April 3. Details at: http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/News..._brookies.html He'll be giving info on a number of projects that NH Fish and Game, TU, and other groups are working together on to improve coldwater fishery habitat.

Good luck on your (our) quest,
Gerry
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