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whitefeather
03-30-2011, 11:31 PM
I caught these brookies in the Bradley Fork in November of 2010. The wife took this picture just before they went into the frying pan. Smokemont Campground.

http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=89&pictureid=582

Two old dogs, Buddy and I after our first fishing adventure for 2011.

http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=89&pictureid=583

ifish4wildtrout
03-31-2011, 04:27 PM
Very nice. How far up did you catch those beasts?

BlueRaiderFan
03-31-2011, 07:08 PM
Very nice, Whitefeather.

GrouseMan77
03-31-2011, 07:46 PM
Marking the Bradley Fork off my list for a while.

whitefeather
03-31-2011, 08:36 PM
Very nice. How far up did you catch those beasts?

I caught both of them in the same general location between the Bradley Fork trail head and Chasteen Creek, but a day apart. I caught the bigger one first and it went nuts, churning up the area and spooking everything else into hiding. The next day I caught the second one, a nearly repeat performance of the first. They both hit a Royal Wulff Streamer, jerk stripped through the deeper water into the riffles. A third one I saw was much bigger, but totally ignored anything I threw at it, from the smallest nypmhs to the larger streamers.

Neither had eggs yet so I assumed they were male or just getting ready for the spawning run. I figure they came up the Luftee from the tribal trophy waters, but I don't know why they picked the Bradley Fork. On the other hand several people caught some very nice browns on the Bradley Fork also. I had never seen wild specks that large and in that lower elevation location, so I decided they were most likely stockers from down river and were good candidates for our meal of fresh fish from the park.

And they were very, very tasty!

flyman
04-01-2011, 12:32 AM
I've caught brook trout stockers from the reservation up to a couple of miles upstream of the campground. I think they instinctively swim upstream, but I'm not sure why? Maybe cooler water in the warmer months? I would have kept them now, but in years past you couldn't keep them even though you knew they were escapees from the reservation, Even those stockers taste OK after they have been in the stream a month or two.:smile:

pineman19
04-01-2011, 04:48 AM
I'll assume these Tribal brookies are northern strain. I imagine the Park Fisheries Biologists aren't too happy about the prospect of non-native brookies cross breeding with the natives. Maybe the otters will wipe out all the invaders:rolleyes: Caught my largest rainbow in the Park to date near the Bradley Fork last October, thought I had a nice wild brown for a moment, turned out to be a stocker bow.

Neal

Corbo
04-01-2011, 07:12 AM
I don't know how large native stream hatched southern brook trout can grow without a substantial forage base? Any ideas?

Up in Maine it was not uncommon to catch 12 inch brookies that had been stocked in larger rivers with good bug populations but most small stream fish are similar in size to those caught in Dixie waters as the water is less fertile.

Perhaps these were brood fish?

Someday I hope to fish LABRADOR Canada for brookies that average 5 pounds!

Does anyone know how long (perhaps 6 years?) it would take for a brookie to reach these lengths in Dixieland?

MBB
04-01-2011, 08:49 AM
It is my understanding that there were reports of Southern Appalachian brook trout up to eighteen inches in Little River before the massive timber operations and around 1910 or so. I have spoken with biologists in North Carolina and they advised that in one stream they shocked some Southern Appalachian brook trout at sixteen inches.

whitefeather
04-01-2011, 10:04 AM
I'll assume these Tribal brookies are northern strain. I imagine the Park Fisheries Biologists aren't too happy about the prospect of non-native brookies cross breeding with the natives. Maybe the otters will wipe out all the invaders:rolleyes: Caught my largest rainbow in the Park to date near the Bradley Fork last October, thought I had a nice wild brown for a moment, turned out to be a stocker bow.

Neal

Neal,

I don't know for sure about the specks strain, whether northern or southern. I would assume southern, from the sources that supplied the eggs to the tribe, originally. They now develope their own source.

I do know that considerable conversation about fish stocking took place between the EBCI and park officials, before the Raven's Fork land that was the park, became the property of the tribe and maybe after when the trophy waters were proposed.

Perhap's the biologists anticpated what would happen and made sure that the park specks wouldn't be overrun by an "outside" strain, like what happened before inside the park. A good question for Matt next time they put on a presentaton about park fish.

I also heard from an inside source that tribal officials were a little miffed about the fact that their trophy fish were migrating upstream into park waters to benefit park fisherman that the tribe had no control over. Did they assume their fish would stay in their boundaries?

I didn't mention this before, but the fish I caught had sculpins, minnows and crayfish remains in their stomach contents. Also, the Bradley Fork is reputed to have one of the largest and best Green Drake hatches of anywhere in the park.

Since the food supply (insects) in these waters is quite diverse, it is not in great abundance. So it would be doing the natural fish a favor to cull the intruders when caught, instead of releasing them. Just my opinion.

And the largest one I saw was definitely a brookie (fin colors were prominent), was at least 22 to 24 inches in length, and most likely a brood fish that either escaped or was released into tribal waters. It picked up my streamer three times and dropped it out of its ly, when I dropped it in front of its nose, then swam back to where it had been. That both amazed me and bummed me out! LOL!

How big do brookies get?
http://zacksportsworldwide.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/WORLD_RECORD_BROOK_TROUT.176162445_std.jpg (http://zacksportsworldwide.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/WORLD_RECORD_BROOK_TROUT.176162445_std.jpg)

Streamhound
04-01-2011, 10:35 AM
on a different note...who is the fishing buddy with you in the pic?

JoelO
04-01-2011, 11:17 AM
I've got someone that looks like your Buddy...her name is Butter.

http://i693.photobucket.com/albums/vv297/JoelO_01/CanonEOS030-1.jpg

Streamhound
04-01-2011, 11:45 AM
great looking buddies. Mine doesn't fish but does come to the office with me

whitefeather
04-01-2011, 02:51 PM
on a different note...who is the fishing buddy with you in the pic?

Streamhound, Joel,

His name is Buddy! That was his name already so we kept it. He'll be 9 years old next week. I've had him since he was 4 months old. Rescued him from the animal shelter. His former owner did not take care of him and abused him. He is AKC registered yellow lab but I had to agree to get him neutered, so the papers don't mean much.

He's been everywhere with me. I use to drive an eighteen wheeler for a few years while I was laided off from my military adviser job. I taught him to guard my truck and he'd sit in the shotgun seat and take in the countryside as we rolled along. He's rode on my harley, a quad runner, in a small plane, but that was the first time I had taken him in a canoe, which I just acquired. Since he can't come fishing with me in the park, I try to get him out on our local river and lake, so he doesn't miss too much.

He's got one bad habit. Has to sample everything I eat. Love's chocolate chip cookies, (though I don't give him them anymore), twinkies, potatoe chips, or whatever else I'm muching on. He also devours fish. He loves our cats (especially baby kittens) and they love him. He's their protector outdoors from the coyotes and other things.

He's trained to respond to about 160 commands, although we haven't been giving him all the "refresher" courses he needs to stay current. It took me about 9 months to train him fully, once I got him trained to stay on our property and not roam.

He loves the GSMNP and Smokemont, but this year we are coming down minus his little buddy, "Jackie", who passed away the week after we got home from the park last November. Jackie got to see the mountains one last time before his cancer got the best of him.

bugg
04-02-2011, 05:42 PM
I may be mistaken, but I believe stocker fish are sterile. I know this is true in NC waters, not sure about Tribal waters...

Owl
04-04-2011, 03:59 AM
I wonder how the native fish will compete with 13 inch brookies from cherokee? geesh. i'm glad you ate them.

whitefeather
04-04-2011, 05:02 AM
I wonder how the native fish will compete with 13 inch brookies from cherokee? geesh. I'm glad you ate them.

Owl,

The more I read about stocked fish and the southern native specks, the more their prospects for the future seem to diminish.

I guess the two different strains will spawn together, eventually diluting the gene pool of the Southern Appalachian brook trout.

The only thing that assures their future is the constant vigilence of knowledgeable biologists and their ability to be proactive, and total isolation from the rest of the fish (non-native), as in barriers which prevent migration, like water falls and such. They say that is how the southern specks came to be in the first place, before the 20th century and the destruction of the land and its fallout.

Everywhere I looked on the internet Sunday evening I found the same thing. Southern specks only live in the wild for about 4 years and don't reach maturity till 2 years, which doesn't give them much time. The northern strain live longer than that, so the little southern guys have the odds against them. But fortunately they have proven to be survivors in the past.

I never did fully agree with C&R as a total solution simply because it depends on a number of factors which most people don't realize or think about. It just becomes habit that is often repeated to the detriment of the fish. In this case, cull the non-native fish and C&R the natives would be the best idea.

How can you really tell the difference? By location? By size? That would also change over time, just as it has been doing all along. Soon the upper elevations of the park would be penetrated, but for the natural barriers.

From now on, I am going to keep the larger fish I catch, presuming them to be stockers. That would leave more food behind for the natives.