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Gerry Romer
09-16-2008, 12:40 AM
Got my A$$ kicked today!! Absolutely kicked!!

Volunteered for the Brookie project today and had a blast. I'll likely never do it again (although I am trying to clear my schedule for Thursday to give 'em a hand). Came home, stripped off my soaked and fouled clothes - at one point someone said I looked like I had wrestled a bear and lost - threw them in the laundry and took a good long soak in the whirlpool tub...ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.... Oh, yeah, Charlie... I weighed in at 208.2 so that little hike took about 4.5 pounds off me.

Seriously, we are all fortunate to have a stellar group of Park Service professionals working this project. We couldn't ask for a more competent bunch of people. These folks know what they're doing and I was honored to have them use me as they saw fit.

Here's how they used me.

Reported to the parking lot at the Lynn Camp trailhead at 8:00 am and met up with Charlie Barton and Steve Gillespie -members of this message board. We had to wait a bit for the rest of the crew to show up and we took that time to put our waders on, take our waders off, put our waders on again, then take them off and wait to be told what to do. (Ultimately, everyone put their waders on.) Matt Kulp and Steve Moore showed up and walked up the bridge over the confluence of Lynn camp and Thunderhead to pow-wow and come up with a game plan. That rain that Byron wrote lovingly about in his fishing report had turned Lynn Camp into a nice frothy milkshake.

Steve decided that it woulds be a waste of time, effort and resources to try and run the Antimycin today. So the decision was made to: 1) set up the potassium permangenate (antidote) station at the foot of the cascades 2) run four more Antimycin stations up Mark's Creek 3) shock more rainbows - for holding stations - and black-nosed dace for holding over at Sam's Creek 4) set up a bear trap further up the trail. Apparently the bears in the area have caught on to the shocking and holding technique in play and have decided that the candy is there for the taking. :eek:

After a briefing by Matt and Steve, we broke up into separate work teams and headed up to the Cascades. Our group included Charlie B. and Steve Gillespie. When we got to the Cascades, we started to set up a rope system to get the antidote setup down to the bottom of the Cascades. Turns out that Steve has some military background in knots and rigging so he was nominated (by me, I'm afraid) to stay behind and set up the antidote station... sorry about that, Steve. You see, recently Steve has posted here his desire to fish Beech Flats above the Oconoluftee. Turns out that Mark's Creek is a lot like Beech Flats. He could have gotten a good feel for how to fish Beech Flats.

Anyway, Charlie and I headed up to Mark's Creek with two guys from North Carolina Wildlife Resources and a lovely young lady from the National Park Service, by the name of Mariah, who headed up our group. The hike up Mark's Creek was, to be perfectly honest, not fun. These old legs and lungs just lagged further and further behind those younger legs and lungs. Yep, I'm feelin' my age here.

We got to our assigned stations up Mark's Creek and began setting up our Antimycin stations. Sorry, no pics, even though I brought my camera - just too much going on.

Setting up the stations involves planting a Rube Goldberg-type contraption in the middle of the stream. Basically, you've got a five gallon bucket that contains the diluted Antimycin located slightly above the dispensing station. The dispensing station is made up of a plastic dog-watering dish that is attached to two pieces of rebar which are hammered into the rocky stream bottom and then leveled to ensure accurate delivery of the diluted Antimycin. The dog-watering dish contains a float device that's like a crude carburetor. It controls the amount of dilute Antimycin available for dispensing. The bottom of the dish has a pinhole in it that allows for a continuous drip of the dilute Antimycin into the stream. If the stream bottom complies, you can set up one of these stations in about 15 minutes. But keep in mind that you're hiking in carrying five gallon buckets that contain the Antimycin, two 2' pieces of rebar, the dog-water-bowl-dispenser, about 5' of hose, a multi-purpose screwdriver, and a sledge hammer. In our little group we were hiking in four of these stations.

I think Mariah took pity on me 'cause she picked me and Powell (from the N. Carolina group) to help her set up the bottom two stations while Charlie B. and the other two guys in our group went on up to the top of the ridgeline. Thank you, Mariah!

We quickly set up our stations, broke for lunch and waited for the rest of our group to return. It was a much needed break!

The hike out was, needless to say, much easier. We returned to the main stream in about 15 minutes. The hike in seemed to take forever but was likely only about 30 minutes.

When we returned to the main stream our mission changed. We were now going to shock and collect rainbows and black-nosed dace for either transport over to Sam's Creek or holding in appropriate cages. What I was told was that these holding cages were kinda like the old canary cages that miners used to take down into the mines with them to serve as barometers to help detect lethal levels of gas. These holding cages will help determine the effectiveness of the Antimycin and help the teams adjust the levels if necessary.

Now, I'm used to wading these waters at a somewhat leisurely pace and fishing riffles and runs and plunge pools. Lemme tell you, Shock-Fishing is nothing like this!:eek: Basically, you've got two guys in the lead, wearing rubber gloves, with shocking rods fueled by backpack-Honda gas-powered motors running a generator that can crank out some serious electricity, followed by two guys with nets and rubber gloves and, finally, one or two guys carrying five gallon buckets half-full of water to hold and carry the shocked fish.

You're working in very close quarters and boulder-hopping your way upstream. The two guys with the shockers work the lead up both sides of the stream and into the middle, shocking and netting as they go. They net the fish they've shocked and pass them off to the netters, who are following in close proximity and who, in turn, pass off the shocked fish to the bucket holders. The bucket holders tote the five-gallon buckets upstream, boulder-hopping and toting that bucket - full of water and fish - without spilling or losing any of the fish. Guess what I was doing... bucket brigade! Not fun but necessary...

Charlie B. took a turn at netting behind the shocker and did quite well! Although he did take one glorious mis-step in a rather deep pool and went in up to his armpits! This was actually quite scary since the lead guys were shocking at the time and this presented a quite dangerous situation. Nevertheless, he managed to get himself out of a rather dicey situation and continued on up the stream, undaunted!:smile:

We continued on upstream, shocking and collecting, to a point just past the wooden foot bridge. This was the take-out point and I think we were all grateful. I know I was. While the group de-camped and got ready for the hike out, I took the opportunity to get a good cool soak in the stream and re-fill my water bottle. By the time I got back up to the trail, the group had loaded most of their gear onto a 6-wheel ATV and were ready to hike out. I think they took pity on Charlie and me 'cause they arranged for seating for us in the ATV. YAY!!!

Lemme tell you... ATV's in the park?? I'm all for it!! (just kidding). The ride down was fantastic! Although, as I pointed out to John Hammond (TWRA and our driver) hiking down would not have been a problem.

In any event, we went down to the first holding area and delivered the remaining rainbows from out last section's shocking. These fish were then placed in the holding cage, and we continued on down to the trailhead.

When we got to the parking area it was about 4:30... plenty of time left to switch out our gear and go fishing!! Charlie, Steve and I quickly switched over from stream biologists to avid fly fishermen and took off in search of the elusive Middle Prong rainbows. Don't know how Charlie B. and Steve did since we got separated, but I got quite a bit of action on an Orange Sitimulator... seemed a tad early for orange, but it definitely worked.

I fished the area below the parking lot for about an hour and by the time I got back up to the parking area, it was almost vacated... almost. It turned out that, in their haste to re-load vehicles and bug out, somebody screwed up and took out a pack with car keys and ATV keys in it. Poor Mariah and three guys were stranded in the parking area waiting for someone to bring them keys! I offered them a lift back down the mountain and they politely turned me down. It happened that, because of the screw up, they were all officially on OVERTIME!~ which the park service doesn't always believe in :smile:

So I motored on down the mountain and headed home, absolutely beat!!

But a good kinda beat. I hope that my paltry contribution in some way helped the cause. Being there and helping in some small way has made this project very real for me. I've spent the last five years going to Troutfest and buying the T-shirts and hats and such and thinking that I was some how "helping". Don't get me wrong... contributions of any sort are all valid and worthwhile, and by all means everyone should give whatever they can. But seeing first-hand the scope of this project and the dedication of the people involved in pulling this off has given me a much-needed perspective.

It may have kicked my ***, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat!!

If they'll have an old fart like me.

Wish y'all coulda been there :smile:

Gerry Romer

ijsouth
09-16-2008, 12:54 AM
Great report...and yes, I wish I could have been there to help.

mtnman2888
09-16-2008, 05:03 AM
Thanks for giving us an idea of what it's like to do that, very interesting read.

I was wanting to volunteer but unfortunately my work schedule and their schedule didn't cooperate.

MtnMike
09-16-2008, 08:40 AM
Thanks for the report Gerry. I appreciate the details, it really gives us a feel for what is happening. I had also hoped to volunteer, but couldn't make it happen this week. I would love a chance to be involved in a project like that.

Mike

nvr2L8
09-16-2008, 08:01 PM
Gerry,

Thanks for a much more in-depth account of our day. I just had a few minutes at work to sneak a little report out. I had been looking for your report (obviously under the wrong forum) and figured that you were going to pass on a write-up (oh, dopey me!). It was definitely a great day and I'll be back in the spring, schedule allowing, to help load the brookies in. Wouldn't have missed this for the world.

BTW, didn't know you could say a$$ on this board! :eek: I'm just a little dense but I think I know what that means. I may never!!!

Speckleman5
09-16-2008, 08:02 PM
I was wondering what size fish were you relocating, and what were some of the larger fish you saw while following those backpacks???

nvr2L8
09-16-2008, 08:48 PM
It was a pretty representative sample of what you would catch up there - just more of them. A few up to 12 inches, a lot in the 5-7 inch range and quite a few smaller. In some of bigger pools (where you would expect some big fish to be hiding out), it was explained that we got fewer than expected because we were only using two shockers and there were more places to run and hide. In some of these deeper pools, our shockers had to back out because the bottom of the gas generator was starting to get into the water. I imagine we missed some pretty nice fish because of that. Some of most productive pools in terms of number captured were smaller/shallower.

Gypsy
09-16-2008, 08:56 PM
Thanks for the indepth. Charlie and I have both put a little bit under (Charlie a lot more then me) Consevation. I will be adding photos there as soon as I finish Wed. and I may (if needed) work Thur. I also agree with Gerry It was worth every drop of sweat and every ache. It is very rewarding to get the hands on work at restoration. I thank the NP service personnel for the invite.

Flyfishjeep
09-17-2008, 12:36 PM
Tuesday was a great day to be helping out on Lynn Camp. The weather was great. It did start later than expected (10:30) rather than 8 am. which allowed me to wet a line for a few minutes. 3 rainbows came to hand in about 30 min.
But none the less we were on our way. The majority of the day was similar to Monday's group with shocking and transporting fish to Thunderhead. Dan and I netted and transported rainbows and black nose dace before we called it a day. We did manage to net a few rainbows that were a healthy 10+ inches and the farther up Lynn Camp the brighter the colors.
Following the young guys shocking the water was interesting because all the fish would be jumping out of the water trying to get away before they went to sleep for a few minutes.

I was also able to help take a stream flow (CFS) of Mark's creek. It seems that the rain from the previous day was still posing a threat to the predetermined levels of antimyacin (sp) needed to properly treat. I was in charge of recording the data. Brad the parks service guy did the math thankfully.
We were also repairing the traps that the bear had destroyed from the day before. It seems like he was a curious little bear. He had ripped the seats off the parks 6X6 ATV and bit into the other ATV's seat.

Once we were around mark 11B we started to see the green tint in the water from the treatment. We had all the fish we needed and it completed our day around 5 pm.

Dan and I had a nice conversation with one park service guy from Bozeman MT. He was helping out some of the local parks service as a returned favor. Wednesday should be an interesting day once the antimyacin is in the water with the dye to make it green. The antidote below the falls makes the water purple. He said it is funny to be on the trail and see the right side as green water and than an immediate change to purple.
Imagine what people will think that don't know what's going on upstream?

All in all it was a very informative day and a great work out.

Another side note:
Remember to bring someone fishing or hunting with you next time your out.
The parks department and employees are fully funded by our purchasing of license and hunting/fishing supplies. When the number of sportsmen drops off, so does their opperating budget. These men and women work long hard days to keep our park looking as great as it does, and it is a great way to show them we appreciate it.

PeteCz
09-17-2008, 02:25 PM
Great job everyone who has worked and posted!!

While its not the same as being there, its been enjoyable to get detailed first-hand reports of the progress.

Gypsy
09-18-2008, 08:55 AM
9/18/08 Lynn Camp
Today was pretty much the same as Mon. and Tue. except for a few minor differences. The first and the largest difference was the fact that Steve Moore and Matt Kulp in their attempt to be finished on Thur. (Which Steve M. Said would Happen) worked me like a borrowed mule. as Gerry said on Mon "I worked my BUTT off". We were able to move all of the treatment stations and set them up for the final treatment starting early Thur. morning. We had a few less people helping, but everone jumped in and got the job finished by 5:30pm.
Josh & Adam from GSMNP along with Doug from NC west Fisheries and I started the day by hiking (bush wacking) up Marks Creek carring live rainbows and cages to set-up. That was a pretty much a butt kicking hike.

Alan Monsarrat also a member of this forum started out by collecting more stations and cages from higher up Lynn Camp to be put on Marks.

After lunch I rejoined Alan M, Steve Moore and Collen from Oragon, to go and collect 7 more stations from up Lynn Camp. After collecting these 7 and seeing that our bear friend had destroyed one station to the point of not being able to reuse it, Alan M. and I joined John Hammond and one other gentleman from TWRA to hike back up Marks creek to set-up 4 more stations.

This may not seem like a lot of work being done, but you have to remember there were other people working in other areas that I cannot report on. However I do know this at 5:30 when most of us came back together, there were a lot of tired, dirty people walking out.

In other news todays efforts was capture on video by WBIR, Heartland Show. Bill Landry arrived at 7:45am with crew and it will be shown in about 6 weeks. I hope you all get to see it.

I wasn't able to take any pics today, as I have said everyone work their butts off and trying to get everthing finished for Thur. was the upmost important for everyone.

I want to, on behalf of everyone that volunteered this week, thank Steve M. and Matt K. for the invite I believe we all learned something, had fun, meet great (like-minded) people from all over the US, and worked on a great project that will give us great fishing for native Brookies in the near future. On that note Lynn Camp will reopen in 5-7 years and as Matt and Steve both stated it will be one of the best, if not the best Wild Brook stream in the park. That is when all of their efforts will be truly rewarded.

Now on a personal note: I was able to see my first GSMNP bear driving in and then another one leaving, both small (120lbs or so). And I have meet my new hero, Mr. Steve Moore, he has dedicated 27yrs to our beloved park and I have found that noone other then the creator himself knows more about the fisheries therein. My hat goes off to his dedication, and service, but more importantly his love for those waterways and the creatures that inhabit them.
It is awsome to get a first hand, behind the scenes look at the hard work and effort that goes into keeping what we have great and making it better for us and our kids.
Yours humbled;
Steve Gillespie

Gerry Romer
09-18-2008, 10:50 AM
If I can just amplify a bit.... (I'll try and keep the character count down)

That trail up Mark's Creek is pretty much just a primitive trail. Take the Lynn Camp trail and cut it down to about 1 1/2' - 2' in width, then lower the canopy down to about 6' and bring the undergrowth in on all sides to about 3' wide. You don't have to do any bushwhacking but you do have to work your way around, over and through fallen trees, etc. -- all the while carrying 5 gallon buckets loaded with equipment and/or wearing backpack frames outfitted with 5 gallon holding/transport tanks. On Monday, we just hiked up carrying in the station equipment in the 5 gallon buckets. I can't imagine what a pain it was to haul in rainbows on those backpacks!!

On a side note... Steve, if you got up near #17 on Mark's then you got a pretty good idea of what Beech Flats looks like. There's a stretch about a quarter mile below #16 that looks exactly like Beech Flats.

Glad to hear that WBIR-TV showed up to do a Heartland Series episode! I regretted that I was unable to get any pictures -- there just wasn't any time. Maybe now folks will be able to see just how complex and professional this effort is.

Wouldn't it be nice if Byron could get them to share some of their photography so he could post it here for all the message board members to see?

Gerry

Plunker
09-18-2008, 07:12 PM
Thanks you Guys for your service and hard work for our sport and environment.
Also thank you for the GREAT report...you guys made me hurt with you.
I appreciate you.

JoeFred
07-26-2009, 08:44 AM
Thanks to all that are contributing to the cause.

Question: Just what portion of the streams are still closed? I got the impression from some it includes Lynn Camp Prong above its falls and all of its feeders, but the the GSMP web site limits closings to Indian Flats Prong at the Middle Prong Trial crossing and its tributaries upstream.

http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fishing.htm

JF

D-Drake
07-26-2009, 10:27 AM
Lynn Camp Prong is closed from the confluence with Thunderhead Prong and everything upstream. There is a chain with a sign strung across the stream. If you are fishing up from the Middle Prong it is easy to see.....if you are just walking up the trail you have to look off the bridge to the left to see it.

Thunderhead Prong and Sams Creek are both totally open to fishing.

Daniel

Gerry Romer
07-26-2009, 11:53 AM
Daniel --

Has there been any official statement as to why the gorge itself is closed? The final neutralizing station was set up at the base of the cascades to prevent any spill or seepage into the gorge. The stretch from the confluence to the cascades is short but awesome and I can't see where anyone could fish their way up the face of the cascades so there shouldn't be any real threat of contamination or species transference.

Was it just convenience thing?

I know it's just 3/4 of a mile in a park of over, what (?), 700 miles of streams... still it was my favorite spot -- in spite of the fact that my rotator cuff will probably never be the same again...

Gerry

JoeFred
07-28-2009, 10:58 AM
Lynn Camp Prong is closed from the confluence with Thunderhead Prong and everything upstream....

Daniel

Thanks, Daniel. That's what I've indicated on the map.

JF

D-Drake
07-28-2009, 11:51 AM
Gerry,

The next time I speak with Steve Moore with Fisheries I'll ask him and I'll let you know.


Daniel