Posted on December 12 2019
(Guest blog submitted by Brett Lorenzen)
Redd (trout spawning nest) counts are widely used for monitoring salmonid populations. The estimates of reproduction produced by these surveys are used to develop sustainable fisheries policy. The lower reaches of the streams are surveyed every spring for rainbow trout redds. In the fall a more extensive survey is conducted, seeking brown trout redds in the lower reaches and resident brook trout in upstream reaches.
State conservation agencies survey the upper branches and mainstem of the river by boat, and have been actively engaged in this work since the UDR Joint Fisheries Investigation Plan was launched two years ago by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. However, survey work in the UDR tributaries requires more time and effort than the state agencies can muster. This is where FUDR volunteers stepped up. Thirteen volunteers spent several afternoons in late November visiting more than two dozen tributaries of the upper river. Each stream was surveyed upstream at the mouth, and accessible stretches of the upper reaches were walked where possible, sometimes as far as 9 miles from the river.
This year’s findings were mixed. While some streams had numerous redds, others showed little spawning activity. DEC crews surveying the main branches during the same week found many more redds. The working theory is that water levels and conditions in the main rivers during the fall this year were favorable, and the big fish simply didn’t need to move into the smaller waters in large numbers.
If you’d like to learn more about the redd counts and how they affect UDR angling policies, see (https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/dfipredd.pdf) TROUT REDD COUNT MONITORING FOR THE DELAWARE TAILWATERS 2018-2020.
We’d like to thank all of the volunteers that gave time for this effort. Special thanks to Frank Rosata and Whitetail Outfitters for their help and providing us with a warm spot to plan the day.
Teams will be back on the ground this April for the rainbow trout count. If you’d like to be involved, contact Brett Lorenzen (firstname.lastname@example.org). No special knowledge is required–training is provided, the routes are well-planned and mapped, and most can be completed in about 3 hours. Volunteers simply need a pair of waders, a ride, and a willingness to get outside for a few hours.