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Old 05-18-2019, 10:17 PM   #1
NHtroutster
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Are Browns Invasives??

Went to my favorite Adk stream today that's a hike to get to but awesome for stream brookies. Very rare to find one >12", but I was lucky a couple weeks back with the first pic. While I landed a few smaller ones, I thought I'd hooked a biggin like you pond anglers--until it turned out to be the brown in the second pic. Don't get me wrong, I love brown trout fishing, just not where I expect to exclusively catch brookies. The DEC does not stock this location and I've never caught a brown in many, many outings. So I'm not sure what to make of this. A few enthusiast friends of mine consider all browns to be invasives. What say you all?

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Old 05-19-2019, 06:37 AM   #2
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Certainly non-native as they're from Europe. As to whether they are invasive is another matter. We think of invasive as something that takes over ecosystems and does harm to the environment. Weeping willow tress are non-native, but not really invasive as they aren't threatening to anything. Japanese Knotweed is considered an invasive because it takes over whole areas and restricts native plant growth.

I can't say what role browns play in our ecosystem.
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:36 AM   #3
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What's up stream? Could be one that came from a stocked lake or pond they do stock. With the high water this year anything is possible
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:27 PM   #4
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Yes, they are human planted invasives. They have displaced native brook trout through much of their range so yes, they have had a deleterious effect on ecosystems. That said, I love brown trout and find them a real challenge.

The one you caught looks to be a stocker or a holdover, judging from the condition of the tail and fins. It certainly doesn't belong in your brookie stream!
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:08 AM   #5
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Yes, they are human planted invasives. They have displaced native brook trout through much of their range so yes, they have had a deleterious effect on ecosystems. That said, I love brown trout and find them a real challenge.

The one you caught looks to be a stocker or a holdover, judging from the condition of the tail and fins. It certainly doesn't belong in your brookie stream!
This is incorrect if viewed in the context of when they were planted. The streams where they were introduced in the Catskills, Long Island, and western NY were already pretty much devoid of native brook trout because of deforestation, rising water temperatures, siltation and damming. When Seth Green brought rainbows from California and browns from Europe to his little hatchery in Caledonia, NY, still operated by NYSDEC if you care to visit, he was not interested in supplementing the brook trout, but with replacing them. Modern brown trout stocking ion the 'daks is also usually based on rising water temperatures; ponds that are becoming marginal for brook trout will still support browns and rainbows. In other cases, ponds that have been subjected to bait bucket introduction are stocked with browns because they are larger and more efficient predators of the invasive baitfish. Also, hatchery workers are not perfect, so sometimes a few browns get mixed into the brookies, as in places like the MRP where some of the lakes get browns and the streams get brookies. (as far as I know the ponds that get brookies are air stocked with fall fingerlings, not spring "adult" fish as with browns and 'bows.)That would explain the isolated brown I caught a few years ago in Benedict Brook, which dos get stocked with spring " adult" brook trout.

The term used for a non native species consciously put in a waterbody for a beneficial purpose is "introduced."
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:42 PM   #6
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This is incorrect if viewed in the context of when they were planted.
The term used for a non native species consciously put in a waterbody for a beneficial purpose is "introduced."
Lucky, I agree with you about the history and context.

There's an interesting letter in the Sheldon Museum in Middlebury, VT that complains about the lack of 2 1/2 lb brook trout in Otter Creek. It was written in the 1850's, by which time they had been largely eliminated by a combination of industrial pollution and over-fishing. And by that time the Beaverkill and Delaware were full of bark and effluent from the tanneries. Those legendary brook trout fisheries collapsed.

Seth Green was a very interesting guy but the times were pretty tough on the environment. So maybe it was more like trash the waterways and then see what we can find to live in those diminished ecosystems.
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Old 05-21-2019, 07:47 AM   #7
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Non-native, yes. Invasive, yes. There are numerous studies showing Browns out compete Brookies for prime habit. Just like knot weed, if a non-native organism is detrimental to a native organism, then it is invasive. The state has succumb to the pressure of the put and take crowd. The state argues "there are places brook trout won't take hold". Well, if I'm a freshly spawned 2-3 inch native Brookie, and every year the state dumps 1000's of 8-12 inch Brown or Rainbow trout to compete with, or eat me, I probably won't do well. It's anecdotal science by the state.
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:17 AM   #8
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Growing up in the Adirondacks I never encountered brown or rainbows in any of the streams or ponds we fished. The rivers, lakes, streams we fished in Maine (our family hails from there) also never held anything but brook trout or salmon. It wasn't until I moved to New Hampshire that I experienced catching browns and rainbows. There the other fly fishermen seemed to think that it was better to catch one of these than to go home empty handed. I never quite understood. They don't fight as well. They are easier to catch. They don't taste very good. They have scales..... regardless of the history they are an introduced junk fish as far as I am concerned. I would rather catch a couple bullhead from icy cold water than a single brown.
In Idaho where my son lives they pull rainbows from their streams to eat them...they put the cutthroats, goldens and bulls back. They get it. They regard them as junkfish and make every effort to keep them from their streams..
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:18 AM   #9
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You must not have ever fished the Ausable or the Saranac when you were growing up. Take the brown trout out of those systems and you'll have one tenth of the fishery no matter how well the brook trout come back. And since acid rain, many of the formerly great brook trout streams Like the South Branch of the Moose are nearly devoid of trout, except in those sections like below Rock Dam, that get plantings of rainbows and browns. The Brook trout can't handle the spring low pH flush, and the exotics at least provide some fish through the summer.

It is based on more than anecdote, measurements of temperature, bed imbededness, invertebrate population, water quality parameters, etc can be and are all used to identify candidates for stocking, or not stocking for restoration purposes. When this started, it was sort of " the fish are gone, what can we do", and the science was in its infancy, but much of that has changed. New York has recently undertaken a brook trout inventory that looked at pretty much all flowing waters in the state for presence of brook trout and will be used to identify candidates for removal from stocking lists, addition/modification of classification, etc.

A brown trout that during a spate goes over a normally impassable barrier and gets into the headwaters occupied by brook trout is invasive; a brown trout released into a stream by hatchery personnel is introduced. Knotweed was not brought here intentionally for some beneficial purpose (unless it was decorative, like hogweed, which has become invasive.) Political realities being what they are, a marginal brook trout water near a population center that will support a put and take brown trout or rainbow trout fishery is unlikely to be restored, even if it could hold a small population of brook trout. And if you fight one introduced population, you might lose a lot more, landlocked salmon and smallmouth bass are both occupying large areas of the northeast where they are not Native.

The environmental problems of the last two centuries usually happened because of a lack of knowledge of the effects of actions, a lack of planning (or the " I don't care what or who is downstream" attitude. now known as NIMBY in its suburban manifestations), and greed.

Where I live along the Big Pond, Lake Ontario, this argument is ongoing. Our world class lake and tributary fisheries depend nearly totally (except lake trout, and Atlantic salmon, fondly named unicorns by those of us who have looked for them in the rivers of summer) depends totally on " exotics," species introduced to the lake for the purpose of chowing down on Alewife, a truly invasive species that totally turned over the lake applecart in combination with massive pollution in the mid 20th century. The feds want to see lake trout and Atlantic salmon restored, the charter operators would have everything going in be King Salmon, and the fisheries managers pursue a set of objectives that toe the fine line between those extremes, and keep a whole lot of fishers out there fishing. The world has changed a great deal, even if you can glue his shell back together, Humpy Dumpty is going to be a little "changed" and worse for wear!

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Old 05-21-2019, 09:03 AM   #10
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Growing up in the Adirondacks I never encountered brown or rainbows in any of the streams or ponds we fished. The rivers, lakes, streams we fished in Maine (our family hails from there) also never held anything but brook trout or salmon. It wasn't until I moved to New Hampshire that I experienced catching browns and rainbows. There the other fly fishermen seemed to think that it was better to catch one of these than to go home empty handed. I never quite understood. They don't fight as well. They are easier to catch. They don't taste very good. They have scales..... regardless of the history they are an introduced junk fish as far as I am concerned. I would rather catch a couple bullhead from icy cold water than a single brown.
In Idaho where my son lives they pull rainbows from their streams to eat them...they put the cutthroats, goldens and bulls back. They get it. They regard them as junkfish and make every effort to keep them from their streams..
Rainbows are native in Idaho, and brook trout are invasives all over the west. Bulls are endangered and goldens are for the most part isolated in small alpine lake systems and were mainly introduced in those systems, nether bulls nor goldens could support much of a fishery. There are some very significant systems in Idaho that are based on browns and rainbows, perhaps you've heard of Henry's Fork of the Snake river? When you get south of New York, brook trout become an artifact isolated in small mountain streams, and there would be no capacity for fishers if it were not the stocked downstream sections, and their populations of browns and rainbows. Maine is both very cold and very sparsely populated, if not for those factors you would not have the Brook Trout size or numbers. New York uses Browns and Rainbows in large bodies of water that support multiple fisheries, and in ponds, like Sprague Pond or Mitchell Ponds, where, usually because of thermal changes, brook trout do not survive, as well as to continue the fisheries of systems like the Delaware and a lot of smaller streams where changes in land use make brook trout restoration either a pipedream or an elitist notion.

I am sorry that you have never caught a wild brown or rainbow trout, and have limited your fishing for them to following hatchery trucks soon after the plantings. While I admire the fight of a brook trout greatly, a comparably sized wild brown trout is at least the equal in fight and much harder to catch (part of why brook trout got stressed was because it is easy to fish them out of a stream) and a rainbow of the same size will put both to shame. This spring I caught two "wild" rainbows in a Finger Lakes stream, one was 5 lbs the other 3 and a half. I have fished for brook trout nearly all my life and except for a 22" fish from the Little Lehigh in PA, right below a hatchery, my biggest is 16", and that in a pond. I have caught browns to 24" on subsurface flies, and to 19" on dryflies, maybe you can do that once or twice in a lifetime outside of Maine (and Lake O browns and 'bows often exceed 10 lbs.) Brook Trout also have scales, but most of them that you see are too small for you to notice the scales. I suppose that Arctic Char even beat Brook Trout on the goodness scale, but you will need to go WAY north for them.
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Old 05-21-2019, 09:21 AM   #11
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Actually, brook trout are very tolerant of low pH levels, more so than browns or rainbows or most other fish. Pollution, elevated water temps, and low DO is what nails them. Certainly acid rain and acid snow melt aren't good for them, but it's hell on other fish too.
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Old 05-21-2019, 10:07 AM   #12
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While the spring low pH flush would kill all the trout, rainbows and browns could migrate downstream in the Moose system, eventually reaching the Black, and over that distance pH could be raised by input from better buffered soils. At any rate, DEC stocks the tributaries to the Moose with Brook Trout, but the main stem South Branch below the junction with the Red gets "exotics". Maybe it has something to do with the League Club land starting a mile below that, but I wouldn't want to suggest that NY pols might show favoritism to a private organization (wink, wink!)
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:51 AM   #13
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You must not have ever fished the Ausable or the Saranac when you were growing up. Take the brown trout out of those systems and you'll have one tenth of the fishery no matter how well the brook trout come back.
Are you 200 yrs old? It's never been tried, so how would you know???
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This spring I caught two "wild" rainbows in a Finger Lakes stream, one was 5 lbs the other 3 and a half.
So these fish were caught from streams not attached to any of the finger lakes? Amazing indeed! Most of the rainbows in the Finger Lakes manage to "spawn" with help from the DEC and a little vitamin B. Granted the eggs are taken from fish that run from the lakes to the creeks, but how do you know they were "wild" spawned? BTW, lake run Brook trout can reach 5 lbs, too. Whats your point?
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Old 05-21-2019, 06:33 PM   #14
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So here we are, a bunch of enthusiasts arguing amongst ourselves about the relative merits of trout species and what happened in bygone times.

Truth is, we have it pretty good compared to the rest of the country. We have reasonable rainbow and brown fishing in streams that will never in our lifetimes be brookie habitat. And the DEC, starting with Bill Flick's work, has managed to reclaim one heck of a lot of brookie ponds that we once thought were lost forever. It is now possible to catch a 5+ lb brook trout in the state. Not easy, but it can be done.

So let's all chill and bask in the Adirondack environment that we all cherish.
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Old 05-24-2019, 05:51 PM   #15
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I know of a few ponds that were very good brook trout waters that the DEC started putting browns in. And in a wilderness area also. Don't get it!
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Old 05-25-2019, 06:42 AM   #16
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I know of a few ponds that were very good brook trout waters that the DEC started putting browns in. And in a wilderness area also. Don't get it!
Neither do they!
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Old 05-25-2019, 08:14 AM   #17
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You must not have ever fished the Ausable or the Saranac when you were growing up.
That is a fact...I have never fished the Ausable...that's 55 years of avoidance...there's no need to fish thrashed waters if you know the park and surrounding areas. On any given day I can pull 16 plus inch BT's from one of my streams. And...I have only caught BT's in Upper Saranac...never a brown.
If I fish the Great lakes I will enjoy hauling a big brown in...no doubt...but that's a rare occasion for me. I find very little pleasure in depth's finders and down-riggers.
To each their own...I have never enjoyed the feel of a brown on the end of the line. A smallmouth gives me more satisfaction.
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:17 AM   #18
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Anyone encounter Tiger Trout or Splake in streams or tributaries? I know Splake have been stocked in lakes such as the Fulton Chain.
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Old 05-25-2019, 02:30 PM   #19
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I've seen people catch splake in the Pharaoh area.
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