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View Full Version : Specks in the Cataloochee Bottomland


JoeFred
07-28-2011, 10:51 AM
Has anyone read or heard any comments from NPS Fisheries Management on brook trout being lower down on Cataloochee Creek and its tributaries?

tnflyfisher
07-28-2011, 11:32 AM
Actually, I was just looking into doing some brookie fishing on the East side to include Big Creek and Cataloochee. From what I gather, there is a nice population of brookies in that watershed and it provides a good opportunity for a smoky slam. Not sure how far down you can find them but of course the higher the better. Caldwell, Palmer, Pretty Hollow and Rough Fork are also supposed to hold brookies so the area seems like a goot bet. I am actually really looking forward to getting over there myself in the near future! Sure there are a lot more convenient places to catch them but I like exploring new areas almost as much as I like catching fish, key word there is almost... ;)

Tight Lines,

JoeFred
07-28-2011, 05:25 PM
tnflyfisher, you're right. It has been established that the natives are showing up in some waters that held only browns & 'bows when the sampling was done just a few years ago. I hope to get over there soon too. I'm wondering what contributing factors may have been mentioned by Steve Moore, Matt Kulp or other Fisheries Management biologists. Just curious.

TNBigBore
07-29-2011, 02:52 PM
It is becomming pretty obvious that specs do much better under drought conditions than rainbows do, at least in Southern Appalachia. Check out TWRA's Region 4 trout reports for the past few years on their website. Interesting stuff.

Grannyknot
07-29-2011, 02:59 PM
It is becomming pretty obvious that specs do much better under drought conditions than rainbows do, at least in Southern Appalachia. Check out TWRA's Region 4 trout reports for the past few years on their website. Interesting stuff.

I've been reading the region 4 reports for several years now. Pretty grim reports on the populations and sizes of rainbows and browns in some of my favorite streams, but have noticed that the brook trout seem to be doing better than the rainbows in acidic water (not that you would really call ph of 6.7 acidic...but some would).

sorry...a little off topic.

fearnofishbob
07-29-2011, 04:10 PM
I recently caught "specs" at the group campsite on Cataloochee and they are probably even lower than that !

tnflyfisher
07-29-2011, 04:21 PM
tnflyfisher, you're right. It has been established that the natives are showing up in some waters that held only browns & 'bows when the sampling was done just a few years ago. I hope to get over there soon too. I'm wondering what contributing factors may have been mentioned by Steve Moore, Matt Kulp or other Fisheries Management biologists. Just curious.

Joe,

I'm sorry, I didn't recognize what angle you were coming from. I see you are well aware that there are brookies in those waters. As to why the migration down so low? I am not sure. I have no relationship with the individuals you mentioned and have not heard an official "scientific" explanation. I know of other locations in the park well below 3000' with brookies so maybe it just has something to do with the fact that they were here first and are taking over again. Kind of a cool thought ... ;)

Tight Lines,

Grannyknot
07-29-2011, 04:31 PM
3000 feet is just a general guideline for the altitude that the topography of the park starts making natural barriers. There are lots of natural barriers well below that mark that hold brook trout above them.

tnflyfisher
07-29-2011, 10:46 PM
3000 feet is just a general guideline for the altitude that the topography of the park starts making natural barriers. There are lots of natural barriers well below that mark that hold brook trout above them.

I was kind of hoping someone would just come along and elaborate on a few more of these locations... obviously I'm new and so my list is fairly short. Any recommendations? :biggrin:

Your comments about the valley seem to make sense as well... less bows and browns, less competition, hence more brooks moving/surviving downstream than in the past?

Tight Lines,

TNBigBore
07-30-2011, 11:50 AM
I've been reading the region 4 reports for several years now. Pretty grim reports on the populations and sizes of rainbows and browns in some of my favorite streams, but have noticed that the brook trout seem to be doing better than the rainbows in acidic water (not that you would really call ph of 6.7 acidic...but some would).

sorry...a little off topic.



I would not worry too much about the long term survival or rainbows and browns in these streams. A few seasons of good rainfall and lower stream temps in a row and you will have an increase in population and fish size in these streams. It is very cyclical in nature.

tennswede
07-30-2011, 03:17 PM
As low as across from Palmer House. As low as 1800 ft elevation on WPLP. As low as 2000 ft on Greenbriar.

MBB
08-01-2011, 12:05 PM
Three years ago, I caught one just above Ashbury bridge. The drought hit the rainbows hard, allowing the speckle trout to repopulate some sections.

JoeFred
08-02-2011, 08:21 AM
Good info, guys. I got a note from Matt Kulp also citing the recent drought years as the cause of the downstream movement.

Crockett
08-02-2011, 11:14 AM
It's interesting that the drought allowed the specks to repopulate down in cataloochee but the opposite seems to have happened on Walker Camp Prong. I would have thought the drought would have impacted it more since it is higher up and much thinner water than lower cataloochee creek. But on walker camp the bows seemed to have gained ground since the drought. I think there must be something else besides just the drought to explain this. I also actually think the change over in cataloochee happened post drought. 2009 was a wet year with cool temps and in 2010 when I fished over there it was mostly rainbows below cs 39 on Palmer Creek and the bows seemed to be doing great. This year it was all specks in the same places despite no real drought since 2008. Still could be the drought and my observations were an abberation I realize that but it makes me wonder.

On the other hand I will totally agree from my own observations that specks could probably handle drought a lot better than the bows. Just in fishing I notice that bows like to lay in the fast moving water areas. I never expect to catch a bow in a stagnant, non-flowing, warm, side pool but I frequently catch specks in places like that. In fact I catch specks in the slow/no flow areas as much as anywhere that is a fast flowing run if not more. There must have been thousands of years of droughts and unimaginable hot dry periods over the millenia and these natives endured all that and survived.

JoeFred
08-02-2011, 12:00 PM
...There must have been thousands of years of droughts and unimaginable hot dry periods over the millenia and these natives endured all that and survived.

I like that.

JF

tennswede
08-02-2011, 06:02 PM
Crocket, not to be nit picking but Cattaloochee campground is at 2600 ft. You would have to go to above Chimney's Picnic area to achieve that kind of elevation. A lot of people don't realize how high the elevation is in the Cattaloochee valley.

Crockett
08-03-2011, 09:16 AM
Crocket, not to be nit picking but Cattaloochee campground is at 2600 ft. You would have to go to above Chimney's Picnic area to achieve that kind of elevation. A lot of people don't realize how high the elevation is in the Cattaloochee valley.

Good point Hans

steamnsteel
08-03-2011, 03:23 PM
I recently caught a couple of specks below the school house and the browns were alive and well along the road near the sycamore hole:biggrin:

ijsouth
08-16-2011, 11:02 PM
I've caught brookies in the neighborhood of the schoolhouse as well. I think there might be another factor, besides the drought, that is working in the specs' favor. Rainbows are actually, by nature, a big-stream fish - that is their natural tendency, and they seem to thrive in fairly open stretches. I've read stories about how big they got back when the park first opened, right after all the logging - the streams were pretty open, and there were all sorts of terrestrials like grasshoppers to fatten them up. Also, with an open canopy, there was probably a bit more aquatic growth, and perhaps more aquatic insects to go along with that. Now, the forest has regenerated, and the conditions favor the brookies a bit more...it probably works in the browns' favor as well.

fearnofishbob
09-19-2011, 09:20 PM
:biggrin: Had a short amount of time to fish last Tuesday so we went to the group camp site area on Cataloochee and had a good morning... I caught rainbow, brook and brown all 3 before lunch...one of the guys had a brown in the 12" range.. We put them all back as we normall do and made it back home in time for our afternoon appointments... Going back hopefully before the end of this week weather permitting........

mora521
06-23-2012, 07:24 PM
I never caught specks on Lynn Camp prong til I got up around the closed water back in the early 90's but when I moved back to maryville in 01 and started fishing it again I caught specks regularly as low as where painter creek comes in.I was a little sad when I heard about the plans to poison the creek since the specks were expanding their range naturally and thought maybe a study could be done to determine what factors(increased acidity due to acid rain perhaps)led to the specks moving into water that used to hold only rainbow trout.

I bet the same factors are happening in Cattaloochee and maybe other creeks that have always had specks in the headwaters.