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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was reading the 2014 fishing regs and the 4 mile stretch of fly fishing only will now be fly fishing only and catch and release all year long now. Previously it was open to spin fisherman the first two weeks then would go back to fly only, also you could always keep fish from there, no anymore. I think the change is a good thing as the studies they have done ( you can read them in the book) shows the water quality is very good and could support breeding. Just thought that was an interesting change.
 
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Trout breed in all sections of that brook. Sure it gets pounded hard by all types but that water so low and gin clear the fish become wary and survive just fine. I have caught native 4" bookies in heavily fished bait stretches.
 

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The Ken Lockwood Gorge is going to no-kill also but still open to spin fishermen with artificial lures. If its no-kill they should make treble hooks illegal also.
 

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Is it still fly only? I thought it went to artificial only.
That's what I had heard as well. Artificials but I have not seen the regs yet. I loved doing the bait with the big crowd for the opener. Lot of faces I won't see anymore. Wouldn't be such a big deal but for the fact that the stocking of some of the bigger holes, especially the Roy Bridge, has been god awful for two years for the opener.
 

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It is no longer fly only, but artificials only, year round and no kill. If anyone is pissed, feel free to hammer away at me as I pushed this change along with the local TU chapter and our state council. This water supports both wild brookies and browns. After a conference call, I'll come back to this thread with a lot more information on the science behind this change. Back sometime likely after 3 pm today...
 

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Here's some of the science behind this regulatory change:

(in no particular order)

1) The Flat Brook's coldest water in summer is within this stretch between rt. 206 and the Roy Bridge. Summertime highs two summers ago which was the hottest NJ summer ever recorded peaked at 73 on two occasions. Lethality for brook trout, depending on dissolved oxygen, is right around 79.5 F. Somewhat oddly for most trout watersheds, all of the smaller tributaries upstream are dammed, hence the river is warmer upstream than it is in its middle reaches.

2) Opening Day creel surveys and creel surveys conducted each Friday after Opening Day during the spring stocking season showed anglers creeling not the freshly stocked brook trout, but holdover rainbows and wild brook and brown trout at a much higher rate than was anticipated by Division biologists. Also, periodic surveys during summer showed fly anglers creeling up to their 4 fish limit and further depleting the resource. This river is one of the few where it is safe to practice catch and release on trout during the summer as it remains cooler than 70 degrees F and has some excellent insect hatches that make fishing fun for rising trout.

3) Aquatic insect hatches are some of the best in the state as this is our least developed watershed.

4) The 9 day open slaughter-fest from Opening Day forward showed a large percentage of anglers creeling fish and depleting the resource.

5) Angler surveys performed by an outside firm that called random anglers that purchased both a freshwater fishing license and a trout stamp as well as the same survey conducted online showed nearly identical results which were angler support for more conservation stretches. A full 75% of NJ anglers fishing for trout described themselves as either strictly catch and release or predominantly catch and release anglers.

6) Anglers supported the change overwhelmingly during the written public comment period. Of those roughly 25 anglers that did not support the change, about 1/2 were Trout Unlimited members.

That's the background on the changes. This includes the previously fly-only Blewett Tract where the Big and Little Flat Brook rivers converge. It is now a 4.2 mile no-kill stretch year round with no bait allowed. But spin anglers can now fish it year round provided they use artificials. Same for fly anglers, some of whom used bait in the past.
 

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Bucksnbows now why don't you push to get a single hook only regulation so the lure fisherman aren't releasing dead or soon to be dead fish?
 

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Bucksnbows now why don't you push to get a single hook only regulation so the lure fisherman aren't releasing dead or soon to be dead fish?
I agree with you, but our state's Chief would not. She'll cite a study showing no mortality differences between single and trebled hooks. But I think in time, they will become enlightened and make some common sense changes like that. You have to fight the battles you know you can likely win. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The article is cut and dry with the studies. I think it's great. Awesome job bucksnbows. I think this is a great step for the flatbrook.
 

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Thanks Oneshot. This was our third attempt in many years, and the timing was finally right. I liked that the Division used their online licensing system to generate a survey of known trout anglers throughout the state to help drive this change. Would like to see them gauge sportsman's interests on a variety of subjects related to fishing/hunting/trapping regulatory changes to improve our outdoor experiences.
 

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Bucksnbows "9 day open slaugher-fest". Ha, Ha, you should try eating a trout they are good. Or do you just like to see them struggling on the end of your line.[lol]
 

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For the record, a lot of folks helped. One chapter member in particular that fought this battle three times until we got it right. He had the backing of his chapter and of state council as well as the area's fisheries biologist. Then we needed support from the Federation and ultimately from the F&G Council.

As mention earlier, the Ken Lockwood TCA will now also be year round no kill beginning last month. It never made sense to protect the fishery yet still allow one trophy sized fish a day over 15". Let the wild browns and holdover fish grow up and get big and the catch and kill guys can still keep their limits up or downstream.
 

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Bucksnbows "9 day open slaugher-fest". Ha, Ha, you should try eating a trout they are good. Or do you just like to see them struggling on the end of your line.[lol]
I'd rather eat wild trout any day over pellet fed mushy-fleshed stockies. I find stocked fish taste like crap, lol. Here in NJ, I average less than one trout per year that I keep. But I have no issues with anglers that follow the rules and keep up to their limits. It's just that we can wipe out certain fisheries if we allow too much harvest and it's those areas where I'll work to protect the resource. We have excellent laws that protect the overwhelming percentage of our native (and wild) brook trout already, so I'm happy to see those regs in place.
 

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I don't think I would care as much but they haven't stocked the bigger holes of the Flatbrook well for the opener the last two years. The bigger main hole that is now closed to bait during the slaughter were stocked very well for the put-and-take fisherman for years. I like what the rule change is meant to do but I lost a nice hole that a group of us used to fish with our kids on opening day.
 
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