Re: Stocked Wild Or Somewhere in Between?
I can't really answer your question but will share some thought on the topic with you here. It took me years to reach the point where I could make an educated guess at the actual origin of a fish I had caught in some Pennsylvania streams. Since I lived in the north central mountains of the state many of these streams were host to the three categories you outline in the post. After some book learning, some hands on experience with stocking programs and many hundreds of hours spent sampling the streams I found my way to predominately wild fisheries. It takes a well trained eye to discern whether you are holding a 4 - 5 year holdover fish or a stream bread fish and yet today I can't say that I could tell for certain.
There is a certain feeling of fulfillment when you are confident you are in the midst of a true wild fishery but for those places that have the population augmented by stockings, I enjoyed them as well........almost. Perhaps you'll end up like me and you will spend your fishing life in pursuit of the perfect place to fish. In the time it takes to get there I advise learning as much as you can about the fish and everything else that surrounds those streams you now call home. Knowledge is a transferable property and as you strive to know more you are building your path to your own special place.