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pineman19
06-26-2009, 08:21 AM
Hello,

I am curious about Santeetlah Creek. I have read that the fishing tends to slow down on this stream in summer. I have a NC license this year, so I am trying to do more fishing in that area. If you don't want to post info on the forum you can email me at the address listed below.

Thanks, Neal

pineman19@yahoo.com

Jim Casada
06-26-2009, 10:21 AM
Hello,

I am curious about Santeetlah Creek. I have read that the fishing tends to slow down on this stream in summer. I have a NC license this year, so I am trying to do more fishing in that area. If you don't want to post info on the forum you can email me at the address listed below.

Thanks, Neal

pineman19@yahoo.com
Neal--First of all, I assume you mean Big Santeetlah (there are two Santeetlah Creeks, Big and Little). The fishing in the lower reaches has historically slowed down in the summer, but that's been as much because it was primarily brown trout territory as it was a weather-related consideration. A far bigger problem, from my viewpoint (and it is a largely ignored problem affecting a lot of Park streams as well as many in N. C. and Tenn. outside the Park), is otter depredation. You won't hear fisheries biologists saying much about this, but the old chestnut suggesting otters eat nothing but crayfish and trash fish is hogwash. They have devasted lower Big Santeetlah, are wreaking havoc on steelhead running out of Santeetlah Lake into Big Snowbird, feasted to the tune of untold thousands of dollars on trout at a N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission hatchery on Armstrong Creek, and more. I have personally seen them, trout in mouth, on three Park streams, and I have a number of horror stories about otters related by others. I'm surprised it hasn't been a hot topic among anglers on this and other forums.
As for Santeetlah, I'd recommend going high up if you fish it. A better option, if you are going to be in Graham County, is Big Snowbird. I'm heading there sometime in the next few days. Jim Casada

silvercreek
06-26-2009, 10:46 AM
I was amazed to find that there are otters in the Stones River below Percy Priest dam here in Nashville. They stock the Stones River December through March, and I have seen Otters right below the dam by the I-40 bridge munching down on trout. I think they will eat any fish they can catch, and I have heard no fish can outswim them.

pineman19
06-26-2009, 11:14 AM
Jim, I fished Big Snowbird in February for the famous steelhead. It was a tough day, water temps were in the hisg 30's and we didn't have any luck. I plan on hitting upper reaches sometime this summer to get into the good spec water.


Neal

mora521
06-28-2009, 07:08 PM
Jim,I believe that non-native species and humans are the only critters that "wreak havoc" on ecosystems.Otters were so numerous in the park(before ignorance and lust for the fur led to the otters being trapped out)that the Cherokee name for Cades Cove was otter place.I have to admit that I think that otters eating thousands of dollars of government trout is a form of poetic justice.I also think that the mountains are a much nore interesting place with otters than without them.

pineman19
06-28-2009, 08:33 PM
I don't have any facts or stastistics to back up this statement, but I would tend to think that recently stocked trout would be much easier prey than wild trout. I have seen otters in three different locations in the Park; Big Creek, WPLP and one crossing Little River Road. I haven't seen one eating a trout yet, but I am sure like most carnivores they will eat what they can catch in their environment. I saw three of them swimming together on Big Creek almost a year ago. If they are considered to be a native species of the Smokies the Park Service is required to restore them if it's feasible, just like they are restoring southern appalachian brook trout, elk, and the red wolf restoration project that failed in the 90's.

MBB
06-29-2009, 04:51 PM
While stocked trout are easy prey, wild trout also become an easy meal for them in times of drought, particularly larger trout. During these last two years of severe drought, otters have assisted in the devastation of trout populations in certain streams.

In normal or high water flows, the otters are not a problem. But, the last ten years or so we have experienced unusually low water levels in several years.

Speckleman5
06-29-2009, 05:51 PM
I used to really enjoy going camping over there, but the last 3 years have been prgoessively worse in numbers and size of fish caught. There is an awful lot of pressure early in the season....