Brian Kelm, Recreational Angler
- Ellicott City, MD
- Total Reports: 3
- View all reports by Brian Kelm →
Posted on October 22, 2013 | Permalink
Q and A: Fly Fishing for Stocked Trout
Location: Little Patuxent, Middle Patuxent, North Branch Patapsco, Daniels Dam, Morgan Run
After signing up for, and getting the DNR email about the recent stockings in my area last week I hit a few of the rivers this weekend (Little Patuxent, Middle Patuxent, North Branch Patapsco, Daniels Dam). Most of them are local to me so I've fished them with regular success scores of times. I know the holes and usually what the trout are eating. The strange thing about this weekend was that not only did I not catch any trout in the stocked rivers (except for one fresh rainbow), I didn't even see any! The water was very clear but all of the usual holes were empty. However, I did see several large, dead rainbows on the bottom in the Middle Patuxent.
I finally gave up and went to Morgan Run and hooked up with the usual local browns (see pic). This is the first year I've paid attention to the stocking calendar and my questions are; Do fresh stocked fish cause issues I'm not aware of? Do many of them die? Do they disrupt the feeding cycle? Are they eating bugs right away? Do they spook the local fish? Do they need time to adjust? Any insight would be helpful.
DNR Response: Do fresh stocked fish cause issues I'm not aware of? Yes, stocking hatchery trout into wild trout streams can impact the behavior and distribution of wild trout, generally the hatchery trout are more aggressive and push the wild trout out of the better feeding areas. There is also the potential to introduce diseases or parasites if biosecurity measures are not in place or adequate. MD DNR Fisheries has a policy of not stocking put and take trout into wild trout streams, this policy is upheld in almost all our put and take streams with a few exceptions that have been “grandfathered in” due to our long history of stocking certain streams. There are lots of scientific literature studies that explore this issue in many different ways. Do many of them die? No, usually mortality among the stocked trout is low. Do they disrupt the feeding cycle? Yes, they can impact the feeding behavior of wild trout that are already present in the stream. Are they eating bugs right away? Usually it takes some time, before hatchery trout adapt to feeding on natural food items, however they will instinctively feed on anything that looks like food. Do they spook the local fish? Yes, see previous answers. Do they need time to adjust? Yes, see previous answers.