I made it- 168 days after I released the first tagged trout back to Loyalsock, I am hanging my waders up to dry. Telemetry season 2016 is over. And, it a good one.
Here are a few quick numbers to describe the last 6 months.
What’s on the docket now? First off, a lot of sleep. Then, a lot of unanswered emails. “I’m in the field” has been a great way of avoiding a lot of requests and obligations. Thankfully most people emailing me understand the chaos of field season, but I can no longer play that card.
After that, it’s time to start thinking about how to analyze all the data. In addition to the telemetry study I have about three other projects that are in need of attention. The data for all of them are collected, the results fairly clear and predictable, but it’s time to start making them more official and getting them ready to publish. For example, I can tell you a lot of great information from what I saw in the field. But, rather than saying “the fish moved,” I need to relate movement patterns to things like stream flow, fish size, and hopefully genetics. To do that, I also first have to clean all the data- fix bad GPS points, download temperature data, make sure everything is recorded correctly, etc. A lot of mind numbing days are ahead. But, sneak peek- the fish moved. And the most surprising thing, at least to me, is how many fish moved to Loyalsock after spawning. We thought it might happen, but I was thinking it would be a smaller percentage than what we found. During November sampling we really struggled to find adult brook trout, while in September they were plentiful.
While I’m looking forward to spending more time at the office and having some resemblance of a normal schedule back, it won’t take long for me to miss Loyalsock. While the bulk of field work for my degree is now complete, we have discussed the possibility of sampling more in the spring and summer. So, hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m back.
For now, Happy Thanksgiving! And if you’re fishing Loyalsock, keep an eye out for my antennas. My babies are on their own until spring.