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View Full Version : Total number of fish caught on Lynn Camp


Fly_Man_Bill
06-16-2008, 11:22 PM
Any one have info on how many fish were caught durning the Lynn Camp fish out or a link that I could find this information? I'm would like to compair numbers of fish caught and the number after the park has the kill off to see if the fishing pressurer was hurting the fish population on this stream.

Thanks
Bill

ijsouth
06-17-2008, 10:28 AM
Good thread...I would like to know, too - to compare it to the last fishout a number of years ago on Sams Creek. In the white paper that the park service put out on the restoration there, they gave the numbers...you would think more would be caught on Lynn Camp, it being a larger stream - but given the disappointing numbers of fishermen who turned out that you've mentioned before, I'm not sure. All I know is, I have 10 of them still in my freezer - have to get around to grilling them soon ;).

flyman
06-17-2008, 11:36 AM
I don't think any real conclusion could be reached on the effects of fishing pressure from the small amount of statistical evidence gathered. I think some people might want to apply heuristics and may already have hindsight bias. In other words, I think some may already be convinced that fishing pressure has no effect on fishing.:confused:

ijsouth
06-17-2008, 12:20 PM
Now, are you saying fishing pressure (in the park) has an effect on fishing success, or on overall fish populations? If you're favoring the latter, the park service biologists would disagree with you; there are a lot of trout in the streams, fishermen don't catch that many, relatively speaking, and natural factors (floods, droughts, etc) have a far greater effect. Now, if you're saying the pressure effects success rates - that is probably true...the more a stream is fished, particularly by skilled anglers, the more the population becomes "schooled". However, even that effect is lessened by the fact that most of the fish are caught by the upper 10% of fishermen, and I would wager that a large percentage of that number release most, if not all, of their catch. It would be different if the situation was more like over in Europe, where the "dumb" fish have been caught and kept, leaving the smarter fish in the gene pool. Also, these fish in the Smokies have such a short life cycle, few of them live long enough to get really "schooled", with the exception of the large brown trout.

Does fishing pressure have an adverse effect on fish populations? Absolutely, in certain circumstances. If the streams were wide-open to bait fishing, I would fear for their future. However, these fish are relatively hard to catch - which probably discourages more people from fishing the park. I can honestly say, in all the times fishing the park the last few years (mostly on weekends, when pressure would be expected to be highest), I've only had one situation where I found out later I was fishing "used" water...on a lot of streams we fish, we're the only ones around, at least with a fly rod in hand.

flyman
06-17-2008, 05:44 PM
If fishing pressure has no effect on fish populations then why do we continue to have size and creel limits? Why do they keep streams that they restore closed for 4 or 5 years? I agree that angling pressure is not solely responsible for the overall health of a fishery, but it can't be totally dismissed as having no effect. I think to say that angling pressure plays no part in fish populations as I previously stated would not be supported by the statically evidence gathered in this small 12 day sampling.

ijsouth
06-17-2008, 06:10 PM
Of course there are limits...and other restrictions - remember what I said about if the streams were open to bait fishing. And, I wasn't totally dismissing the effect of pressure - that's a sweeping statement. What I did say, and it is what the biologists are saying, is that fishing in the park, under the current regulations, has very little effect on the overall fish population. That is a specific statement, applied to a specific location (the park). Now, if you had the same regulations, say, on a small farm pond, and applied it to the bass in the pond, and every angler took their limit every day, pretty soon you would have nothing but stunted bream in it...a different situation entirely. Yes, it is possible to "fish out" a particular fishery; it almost happened to the redfish down here in Louisiana, with the purse seines and the blackened redfish craze. At one time, there were no limits at all, then limits were gradually introduced but were still liberal - 50 reds/speckled trout a day. After the redfish populations cratered, commercial fishing for them was discontinued, and recreational anglers were limited to 5 a day...the redfish have come back in force. Again, a different scenario from the park. The park's trout are relatively hard to catch, and the size and creel limits ensure that we, as anglers, don't have a great impact on the fish.

As for why streams are closed for lengthy periods...I assume you are referring to Sams Creek. I don't know why it was closed for so long after the restoration, but remember that was the first stream to have had this poison applied, and they had to do it twice to get rid of the rainbows. The park service probably went the conservative route, to ensure that it could be studied in depth and that the brookies had time to establish a couple of generations - given that most of them only live 3 years, double that, and you have 2 generations, and the amount of time it was closed.

Bottom line - I don't think discussing stream conditions, etc on particular streams will cause an avalanche of anglers descending en masse; in fact, the number of fishermen in general is dropping nationwide, which is not a healthy condition for our sport. And, all the hand-wringing I've seen elsewhere just because someone keeps a few fish (within the regulations) is very misplaced, in my opinion. Sometimes, we give ourselves far too much credit in terms of our ability to affect things in nature.

flyman
06-18-2008, 08:24 AM
LOL:p I can see we just have a differece of opinion. I think this might be a good place for me to exit this stream. Enjoy your visits to the park, hope you and your girls catch alot of fish and return for many visits.:smile:

ijsouth
06-18-2008, 09:56 AM
Oh, I don't think we really disagree...there's no doubt fishing pressure can be a factor. I think it is just the case of this one specific instance - given the situation in the park, and with its current regulations, we as anglers just don't have much of an effect, and the park's statistics back that up. Now, if the regs were changed, there would be an effect most probably. In the case of the fishout, it probably made a small dent in the population, more than normal fishing pressure, but given the disappointing turnout, it probably wasn't a big difference. I am curious to see the numbers, mostly to see the angler success rates, and if they're consistent with what they had on Sams Creek a few years ago. Just for the record - I have only kept fish twice in the park, both from Lynn Camp - 10 from the fishout and 2 from a trip earlier this year. Other than that, it's been strictly catch n' release for me, although I might keep the odd fish or two if the opportunity presents itself - and keeping a few might actually help the streams out...there's only so much food for the fish to go around.

The solitude factor will be tested on our next trip - we're going to go up the 4th of July weekend....normally, I would avoid the park in such a circumstance, but given my work schedule, and other factors, I can't pass up a free 3-day weekend...so, we'll see how things are - luckily, I usually go off the beaten path, so I doubt we'll have any crowding issues on the streams.

PeteCz
06-18-2008, 01:28 PM
When I was working the check station last week I looked at the log book and after about a week and a half, 325 fish had been caught by 110 anglers. About 5 of the anglers caught over 150 of the fish (including one who caught 56). So in terms of ratio, there was a less than a two fish per person catch rate (with the highest five catches removed). A better ratio than on Sams Creek, but not by much.

From those numbers it appears that even without regulations, most anglers would have little to no impact on the fishing quality in the Park's streams. However, if there were no regulations and the best anglers came back repeatedly and kept their catch, there is little doubt that they would have an extremely negative impact on the stream.

I believe the more interesting discussion is - if most people followed the regulations and took out a few "legal" sized fish each time they fished the park, instead of catching and releasing them, would it improve the quality (size) of the remaining fish in the streams, because the food supply is limited and the streams are at or above carrying capacity. An interesting study would be to determine how much thinning is beneficial and how much is too much. It seems to me that 5 seven inch fish per angler is a lot, but it's probably the amount they settled upon knowing the vast majority of anglers in the park don't seem to take any fish.

ijsouth
06-18-2008, 11:01 PM
Thanks for the numbers...about what I expected. The white paper on Sams Creek also broke it down by angler location - whether they lived in the area or not. Of course, the numbers were tilted greatly in the favor of the locals, with anglers from outside of the area typically being shut out. Of course, the "coonass brigade" from Southeast Louisiana skewed the results this time ;)...in actuality, we come up so often, and especially because I now own property in the area, we're at least "semi-native". The smokies have become a second home, and perhaps my retirement locale down the road.

Fly_Man_Bill
06-19-2008, 12:04 AM
Pete Cz,
Thanks for the info. I beleive that people should keep a few fish each year to help the over all quality of fish. Some of the creeks in the Park are pushed to the limits on carrying capacity. I read a report some time ago about catch and release of fish. The person who done the report was a fish biologist out west, in his report he stated that 20 to 30 percent of the fish landed then released would die. Due to mishandling by the fisherman. He was talking about trout in his report. The study was done for 1 year the best I can recall. Most of the fish in the report were between 8 to 12 inches in leangth. He also stated that big fish had a hard time of living after a stressful fight after the hook set. Do you think this holds true for the Park? I personally feel that is a high percentage of fish that die each year.

May God Bless You...

Bill

PeteCz
06-19-2008, 08:55 AM
Bill,

Trout lifespans are short in the park for Rainbows and Brookies. Browns are another story, they can live to 8 years, or more. I believe the max lifespan for Rainbows is 5 years and only 3 years for a Brookies. So basically 20-33% of a stream's Rainbows and Brookies will die each year under normal conditions.

I suspect that rough handling by fisherman is probably part of that number. Even still its irresponsible to overplay a fish that you have no intention of keeping. I read somewhere also that a fish that has been taken out of the water for more than 15 seconds has only a 50/50 chance of survival. Which would say that dropping a fish on rock for a picture would greatly diminish their chances for survival, even if you intend to release them back into the water.

That all being said, even dieing fish don't go to waste in the Park's ecosystem. They usually end up as food for other animals or nutrients at the very least. And the carrying capacities being what they are, some reduction of the herd is helpful...

Here is a very interesting study report done by the NPS Biologists on the effects of anglers on fishing populations. http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/upload/fishing-study.pdf

This is from the Park's Website:
Fisheries staff have been monitoring fish populations in both high elevation (>3,000 feet) brook trout streams and low elevation (<2,500 feet) large stream systems through the park since 1986. Long term monitoring surveys indicate that fishermen play little to no role in the population dynamics observed in park streams. Major spring floods and summer droughts are the driving forces behind fish population fluctuations seen both in the park and outside the park.

Although most streams in the park are very clear, cold and pollution free, they are not very productive in terms of growing big trout. Most trout in the park grow relatively fast, live only about 4 years, and die due to a lack of food resources. The diversity of aquatic insects in park streams is quite high, but the density of each species is fairly low making food resources for trout scarce. In fact, only 4% of brook trout and 30% of rainbow trout reach 7 inches. Less than 1% of brook trout and 17% of rainbow trout reach 8 inches. Only brown trout, who switch to a piscivorous (fish) diet at around 8 inches, have the ability to live beyond 4-5 years and reach sizes of nearly 30 inches!

One last link: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/upload/fish-facts.pdf

ChemEAngler
06-19-2008, 12:26 PM
Bill,


I read somewhere also that a fish that has been taken out of the water for more than 15 seconds has only a 50/50 chance of survival. Which would say that dropping a fish on rock for a picture would greatly diminish their chances for survival, even if you intend to release them back into the water.



I don't know how accurate the number above is, but that is the reason I don't do the "fish and rod side-by-side on the ground" picture. You have to make your way to the bank, find a suitable location, place the rod and fish in the area, then frame the shot, take the picture, recover the fish, and finally release it. A very time consuming process that is not the most efficient approach. Most of my pictures are quick snapshots while the fish is in my net or I cradle the fish in the net, drop the net, and snap a shot as the net is being retracted up onto my back. Until the camera is powered up and ready for the picture I keep the fish in my net submerged in water. So total time out of the water is easily less than 10 seconds.

Travis

Fly_Man_Bill
06-20-2008, 01:11 AM
Pete Cz,

Thank you for the info. It was interesting reading.

May God Bless You...

Bill