Brook Trout Creel Census
Volunteer measuring trout © Parks Canada/R. Baird
Brook trout are not only one of the most popular sport fish in Nova Scotia, bur their sensitivity to environmental change also makes them an excellent indicator species of freshwater ecosystem health. The trout are monitored through a Creel Census program which takes place for three consecutive years, every five years. Anglers collect trout data using barbless fly fishing techniques, which facilitate the catch and release methodology. The program examines species health and abundance, and also provides opportunity to look at trout growth rates, movement and habitat use.
Volunteer netting trout for monitoring © Parks Canada/R. Baird
In 2010, 19 volunteer fishermen, working with park staff, logged over 1200 hours of fishing and collected data on 742 individual trout. The Mersey and the Peskowesk watersheds were sampled. Preliminary analysis indicates that the population is relatively high and healthy. Trout populations are determined to be healthy at 1-2 fish caught per hour; the hourly catch rate was 4.2 trout on the Mersey River and 3.0 trout on Peskowesk Brook. The average condition (health) index was 1.47 for the Mersey River and 1.6 for Peskowesk Brook; anything over 1.0 is considered to be in good condition. Additionally, some of the trout were “tagged” with a special metal ID tag attached to the right-side gill plate. These tagged fish provide additional information about the health and movement of the population when anglers record and report data to park staff.
Fish Management and Protection