09-30-2008, 02:18 PM
Just wanted to give a public thanks to Steve Moore and Matt Kulp for allowing me to help with the electrofishing survey on Cataloochee Creek over the past weekend. The project required more manpower that I realized. At least 15-17 people wading up the creek together at any one time is quite a sight plus 2-3 more folks sorting, measuring, and weighing fish on the bank. Water levels were very low. Mr. Moore estimated that the park has lost nearly 50% of it's trout over the last 2 years. It was interesting to see brook trout in lower Cataloochee. Mr. Moore said that the rainbows were most affected by drought and that the brook and brown trout adapted better. The biologists said that trout numbers will rebound as soon as more rain allows more normal flows. They also encouraged folks to keep a few fish each time to allow for growth of the remaining fish as food availability is a limiting factor in Appalachian freestone streams. Again, just wanted to say that I was very impressed by the level of dedication that the NPS fisheries biologists, NC fish and wildlife biologists, students from Haywood Community College that were volunteering, and other TU volunteers demonstrated.