March 18, 2010

Well today I had another of those wonderful experiences in how our wildlife agencies really work to give us the best they can.
I talked, photographed(click on photos for larger view) and observed as three PFBC employees worked on testing the North Fork of Redbank Creek in Jefferson County a mile from my home.
First a little history on this stream.. I have been fishing this stream since 1960. In years past it was one of, if not the #1 trout stream in Jefferson County, although being so close I may be a little bias on that statement.
In the past 5-7 years it has not retained trout after the PFBC stocks the stream, especially any trout stocked before the season opener in the upper sections of the stream. Truth is it was about to be dropped from the stocking schedules completely. Our local sportsman association started to treat the stream but had to stop because of budget restraints.
Enter the North Fork Water Shed Association. They have been working on placing limestone in the tributaries and the stream itself to improve the PH of that upper section.They have been very successful and although the ph has improved the PFBC will not be stocking the upper section this year pre-season.
The Ph over the past year has stayed pretty much between 6.2 and 6.7 with the limestone treatments.
Today I watched as the PFBC men tested the ph (6.4 today) and continued on their mission for today... Placing fingerling Brook Trout in containers and leaving them in the stream to return and check their health in a few days. When they did the same thing last year the results were excellent and they are hoping it will be the same for this year so once again the PFBC can stock the upper sections of North Fork pre-season next year.
Here's a summary of this morning's adventure....
They placed what I call a plastic milk jug container that holds 4 one gallon jugs in it with a wooden lid on the top to keep the jugs in place into the stream. They anchor the box to the bottom of the stream after filling the 4 jugs with 10 fingerling Brook Trout and a little feed for them in the jug they went into the box.
Here are photos of the box and one jug where you can see the screened sides which allow the water to flow through the jug with the trout inside, as long as the water is "good" the trout will survive...and a picture of the fingerlings that were placed into the jugs.

Here are a couple photos of the crew filling the jugs, placing the box and securing it to the stream bottom...

One final check that everything is in place and secured and the job is done and time to move on to another spot in the upper sections of North Fork...

As usual I found the guys pleasant and well informed on their duties and willing to answer any and all questions I threw at them. Another experience that allows me to be thankful I live in such a great state and secures my beliefs in the agencies that are currently in "control" of our fish and wildlife....
All the fingerlings survived after 3 weeks and were released in the stream. The Ph remained good, so it looks promising for these two sections to receive trout pre-season from the PFBC in 2011.
Thanks to the guys for a job well done and a pleasant morning experience for me..