Much of this website concentrates on giving you access to an unprecedented amount of data we think is useful (or at least interesting). To date, we haven’t offered any guidance on how to use all this data. That’s about to change. And because I hate long-winded explanations, I’m going to cut right to the conclusion (of course, if you read to the end you might learn more, but that’s up to you).
The Bottom Line
The basin level data published by the EBTJV is the only indicative dataset we have that covers the entire geographic extent of this site. It is also one of the best data sets we have, if interpreted correctly. Here’s how to do that:
- The wild trout range is basically the full extent of the EBJTV dataset, including some of the “extirpated basins”. I emphasize the last point because there’s a tendency to ignore these basins. These show up as the brown/black areas around the edges of the colored band in the image on the right.
- “Extirpated” (more colloquially, “wiped-out”) means no brook trout. But brown trout and rainbow trout can survive, even thrive, in water that a brook trout finds marginal. So you can’t ignore these basins, particularly since many of them tend to be near built-up areas (which is perhaps where you live). The closest wts to your house might be in one of these extirpated basins, though, of course, most of these basins will have no wild trout streams at all.
- What do the color bands* mean? First, they do NOT mean that best trout streams to fish are necessarily in the best basin habitat. A “great” basin might be filled with tiny headwater streams that really don’t fish all that well. A slightly larger stream in a “worse” basin might actually fish better.
- So, are the colors useless? Absolutely not! First, if you’re specifically targeting brook trout (and I often do), the better habitat is much more likely to offer brook trout streams than others. Second, in the better habitat it’s almost certain that most, if not all, of the streams in the basin hold wild trout. On the other hand, in the worse habitat (and particularly in the extirpated basins) the presence of wild trout will be determined on a stream-by-stream basis (a higher proportion of those streams will be warm water fisheries, or even completely dead).
OK, so that’s the bottom line. If you want more detail, and some interesting examples, click on to read —
“Part II: Case Study – Philly“.