Summary of the 2014 Genesee River Angler Diary Program
Scott Cornett and James Zanett
Region 9 – Allegany
From March through October 2014, Region 9 Fisheries staff conducted an angler diary program on the Genesee River. The diary program covered the entire river in Region 9 from the Pennsylvania state line downstream to the Livingston County line in Letchworth State Park. The river is managed as a stocked trout fishery from the PA line downstream to Belmont and this is where almost all of the trips reported by angler diarists occurred. The river also has a substantial population of smallmouth bass throughout its length. This diary program also collected information on that part of the fishery. The diary program is a particularly important way DEC obtains information on the quality of the fishery in a river the size of the Genesee. Its large size and deep pools preclude us from being able to adequately sample it with our stream electrofishing equipment. Diary programs have also been used on the river in 1988, 1989, 1993 and 2010. However, the 1993 diary program only covered the 2.5 mile long catch and release section.
In 2014, 96 persons originally signed up to keep a diary. Nineteen diaries were eventually returned with usable trip information. However, those 19 diaries did report a substantial number of trips made (237) and hours fished (749). The 19 diaries actually report trips from substantially more than 19 anglers as many entries covered the trips of more than one angler. As expected, the majority of diarist trips were made by anglers targeting trout (84%) and occurred in the months of April, May and June (61% of total trips). A total of 450 yearling brown trout (91% released), 179 two-year-old and older brown trout (80% released), 120 rainbow trout (90% released), 13 brook trout (92% released) and 222 smallmouth bass (all released) were reportedly caught by the diarists. Brown and rainbow trout are stocked by DEC, while brook trout are stocked in the Pennsylvania portion of the river and likely move downstream into the New York portion of the river. Only three trout were reportedly caught on trips targeting bass and only three bass were reportedly caught on trips targeting trout.
The combined average catch rate for brown trout and rainbow trout of 1.17 fish/hour, for angler trips targeting trout, was well above the management objective of 0.5 fish/hour (one fish caught every two hours of fishing) (Table 1). However, it is important to keep in mind that diarists tend to be more skilled than the average angler, thus we would expect their catch rates to be above the average angler’s on this stream.
|Table 1. Angler diarist catch and catch rates (fish/hour) for brown trout, rainbow trout and smallmouth bass in the 2014 angler diary program on the Genesee River. *Includes all brown trout >12 inches.|
|Total number caught||Catch rate|
|Yearling Brown Trout||449||0.70|
|*Two-year-old and older Brown Trout*||177||0.28|
|Combined all trout||746||1.17|
|release section, Section 3 spanned from Rt 417 in Wellsville to Route 86 (below Belmont), Section 4 covered from Route 86 to Portageville and Section 5 extended from Portageville to the Livingston County line (Letchworth State Park). Trout fishing trips occurred in sections 1-3 and 5, with the majority of the trips (60%) taking place in Section 1. Diarist’s average catch rates for brown and rainbow trout combined, by section, varied from a low of 0.71 fish/hour in Section 2 to a high of 2.14 fish/hour in Section 3 (Table 2). Section 3 also had the highest catch rate for trout in the 2010 diary program. Although there was a large range of catch rates between sections, none of these differences were statistically significant. Only Sections 1-3 are stocked with trout, thus it was somewhat surprising to have trout caught in Section 5. While water temperatures should be limiting for trout in this section of the river, the area below the three water falls in Letchworth State Park would have high oxygen concentrations, allowing for trout survival. It is unknown if these trout moved downstream from the stocked portions of the Genesee or whether they migrated down other stocked streams like East Koy Creek, draining into the Genesee River. Table 2. Number of angler trips and angler diarist catch rates (fish/hour) for brown trout and rainbow trout for anglers targeting trout, by section fished, in the 2014 angler diary program on the Genesee River.|
|Section||Number of trips (% of total)||Brown trout catch rate||Rainbow trout catch rate||
Although rainbow trout are only stocked in the river upstream of Wellsville (Sections 1 and 2) (brown trout are stocked in Sections 1-3), anglers did catch rainbow trout in Section 3 (Table 2). This indicates that some stocked rainbow trout are moving downstream into Section 3. Catch rates for rainbow trout were considerably higher in Section 3 in 2010 than they were in 2014.
A considerable number of large-sized brown and rainbow trout (>18 inches) were reported by diarists in 2014, indicating there may be some stocked trout overwintering at least one or two years in the river. Surplus breeder trout are stocked in the fall by DEC, and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocks large brown and rainbow trout upstream in the spring, thus it is difficult to determine what proportion of the larger trout are actually holding over in the Genesee River. The largest brown trout reported in 2014 was 24 inches and the largest rainbow trout was 18 inches. When we examine diarist use by month, we see as expected, the majority (61%) of the angler trips occurred during the months of April, May and June (Figure 2). Angler diarist combined catch rates for brown and rainbow trout by month ranged from a low of 0.42 fish/hour in March to a high of 2.34 fish/hour in August. However, there was considerable variation and statistically, only March’s catch rate differed (Table 3).
Figure 2. Angler diarist trips, by month for the 2014 angler diary program on the Genesee River.
Percent of total trips
|Table 3. Number of angler trips and angler diarist catch rates (fish/hour) for brown trout and rainbow trout, for anglers targeting trout, by month, in the 2014 angler diary program on the Genesee River.|
|Month||Number of trips (% of total)||Brown trout catch rate||Rainbow trout catch rate||
|Table 4. Number of angler hours and angler diarist catch rates (fish/hour) for all trout, in the catch and release section, for the 1993, 2010 and 2014 angler diary programs on the Genesee River.|
|Year||Number of hours fishing||Catch rate|