The Impact Of Increasing Fishing Pressure Upon Wild And Hatchery-Reared Trout Populations

Twelve years of trout stream management on the Standing Indian Wildlife Management Area in North Carolina has involved a fixed annual stocking of marked hatchery-reared trout. A complete creel census has been mandatory on the Area streams so that the catch of both stocked and wild trout could be followed. It was concluded from this study that: (1) Wild trout populations deteriorated after two consecutive years of 40 trips per acre per year; (2) Hatchery-reared trout provided only a buffer to the destructive harvest of wild trout up to a point, then when the wild trout have been depleted the hatchery fish became dominant in the harvest; (3) Up to that point, harvest of wild trout, not the harvest of the stocked trout, upheld the trout fishery; and (4) Increased fishing pressure resulted in decreased average catch and catch per hour, whereas, decreased pressure resulted in higher average catches.

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