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Potential Changes for New York State Trout Stream Management

By: Rocci Aguirre- Adirondack Council Director of Conservation
November 9, 2017

For over 30 years, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has used the Catch Rate Oriented Trout Stocking program to manage trout streams across the state. This uses the assumption that anglers prefer to catch-and-keep as many fish as possible. But through the decades, angler perspectives have shifted to more catch-and-release ideals and a willingness to catch fewer, larger and wilder fish than the generic eight-inch hatchery fish used in the DEC’s stocking program. 

Being proactive, the DEC is currently hosting state-wide public hearings on possible revisions to the trout stream program that would update stocking objectives and management techniques. The DEC is attempting to get a better sense of how angler philosophies have changed and what the average fisherperson values. Given that in 2016, the DEC stocked over 440 streams statewide, this effort could have long-ranging impacts on the types of fish and fishing opportunities available to the public.

DEC trout stream management in the Adirondack Park has even more important implications. As waterbodies begin to warm because of climate change, the Adirondacks will become one of the last places for Eastern Brook Trout to thrive in their necessary cold water habitats. Brook Trout have a very low tolerance for waters above 65 degrees and tend to be easily displaced or eaten by the more aggressive Brown and Rainbow Trout. This must be an important aspect in the DEC’s program.  

The DEC should be commended for their efforts to reevaluate its trout stream management program. But we must continue to remind them of the need for stronger ecological protections for wild and native fish populations, particularly Heritage-Strain Brook Trout in the Adirondacks.  


Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/images/Rocci_thumbnail2016.jpgRocci joined the Adirondack Council staff in 2013 as Director of Conservation. He is responsible for the design and implementation of the Council's conservation strategy. Rocci holds a MS in Resource Management and Conservation from Antioch University New England.Rocci’s previous work experience includes eight years spent as a ranger with the National Park Service,  as field staff for Trout Unlimited and  in the Catskills. overseeing land protection efforts for the Finger Lakes Land Trust in Ithaca, NY and the Monadnock Conservancy in Keene, NH. When not fly fishing or hunting, Rocci can usually be found hiking in the woods looking for chanterelles or other delicious ingredients to add to the supper pot.

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