Patuxant ElectroShocking Below Brighton Dam

DNR-fisheries, PPTU, and others from WSSC and Council of Governments met at 9 AM Sept 27th at Brighton Dam. We started just below the pipeline crossing below the dam and made 2 passes with the shocking equipment. We then moved down to Haviland Mill bridge and did 2 passes starting right below the bridge and working upstream with the same crew. We finished about 1:15 PM. All trout captured were measured for length and weight.

WSSC had turned off the turbines in the dam, and the flow was down to ~20-21 cfs (had been ~80 cfs for past month or so). This reduction in flow also resulted in a lower temperature of the water, from 68-70 down to 66-68. Water clarity was off a bit...maybe 12-15" of good visibility. Both sections sampled were the same ones that have been sampled for the past decade or so. Each is about 200 yards long.

I saw no hatching insects. I did see a bunch of small midges stuck in one spider web under the bridge.

Here are the gross results of the effort:

 Young of Year
 Young of Year

Largest trout was a brown at the dam section: 13", 12 oz. The origin of the Young of Year (YOY) was either the May TIC releases or the DNR release of fingerlings in mid-June. TIC released only a few hundred rainbows. DNR released 5000 rainbow fingerlings and 1500 browns with about equal number at the dam and bridge. These YOY were very impressive in their sizes, with some approaching 9+ inches already. Body condition was excellent for the trout below the dam and the trout at the bridge were in good condition. The adult and YOY trout were all in good color.

To refresh folks minds, PPTU stocked DNR-provided adult trout in Feb & March this year; mostly rainbows. As can be seen from the above numbers, adult rainbows did not show up very much in our sampling today.

Also found in the survey were 2 YOY walleye, the largest was about 12-13". There were hundreds of white suckers, fallfish, yellow perch, with smaller numbers of such species as white perch, red horse suckers, carp, largemouth bass, sunfish, and a wide variety of small 'bait fish'. Some of the white suckers were likely in the 2-lb size range! When they splashed in front of you or bumped your leg, you knew they were nice sized fish!

Last year if I remember rightly, we had ONE trout captured in these surveyed this is the very best showing we have ever had. Controlling the water temps has worked well this summer. Not perfect, but fairly well! If some may remember, we had some work on the dam in July that resulted in water of 82 deg being released for about 6-8 hours. Some of us figured that the trout largely succumbed to those high temps, as the temp shot from ~68 to 82 in less than 45 minutes and then plummeted back to about 65 when it was finished! Clearly many trout made it through that brief hot spell!

In sum, we found enough trout in the Patuxent below Brighton Dam to make fishing there the rest of the fall and into the winter reasonably least for anyone working a stream this close to the cities! DNR does not have any more trout for possible stocking in this reach this fall. ...Some might miraculously appear, but do not hold your breath!

Below are a few pictures of the trout and a short video clip of the proceedings.

Jay Sheppard

A 9" YOY rainbow stocked in May or June...very fat! ...might need to go on a diet!! (note clear undamaged fins, not clouded, as well as good coloration of all fins and body--signs of a wild or fingerling-stocked trout).

The biggest trout--brown--of the day: 13", 13 Oz. Stocked in February or March of this year (note clouded fins; pectorals and dorsal are also deformed: all signs of an adult stocked trout.)

Surveying right below Haviland Mill Bridge. The blue pontoon craft behind them crew holds the generator, holding tank.

Brighton Dam Shocking by Jay Sheppard from John Benoit on Vimeo.

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This document last modified 10/04/13