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03-06-2012, 09:31 PM
Why are the fish in the GSMNP getting larger and enhancing a better fishery?
1)less acidity in water?
2)more calcium in water?
3)the drought year killing off the not-so-strong?
4)decrease in fishing pressure?
5)biological cycle coming back to us?
6)the forested,harvested trees of the forest that stood ,virgin,onthe lands of the park are just now beginning,due to regrowth of the forest, to provide the Smoky's streams with canopy enough to elicit a major bug population?
03-06-2012, 10:12 PM
A couple of comments:
The water is GRADUALLY getting less acidic based on the results of the stream sampling that I heard at the February 2011 kick-off meeting (didn't get to go this year so I haven't heard an update to that). The change has not been so drastic that it would significantly improve the fisheries yet.
No evidence of more calcium in the water that I'm aware of - the only streams with significant calcium content are those running through Cades Cove; most other streams just aren't exposed to calcium-rich bedrock.
My guess is that your third question is closer to the truth. The drought years affected the numbers and health of the fish for a couple of years but there's a good chance that what we're seeing is those populations finally rebounding after a couple of really good, wet years.
As for fishing pressure, I feel just as much pressure to go fish as I always have - just can't seem to find the opportunities I used to. But that's probably not what you were asking.
What goes around comes around - again, I think what's coming back around is the rebound from two very, very lean years.
Like the acidity question, I think the reforrestation is something that is very gradual and from year to year, we probably will not notice the impacts. Possibly from decade to decade if we can (i.e., I can) remember that long.
03-06-2012, 10:19 PM
If you go back to the drought years 2007-08 you could hardly find a rainbow trout in Little River that was more than 5-6 in. long, anywhere below Elkmont Campgrounds. There were some browns that made it and you can see the reflection of their sizes this year during the Quill Gordon hatch, They have had 5 years to grow without so much competition and we are witnessing the results this Spring of that 5 year growth cycle. It's kind of nice to see Mother Nature repair the damage.
03-07-2012, 12:26 PM
As has been posted here on many occasions there is not an over abundance of food in the park's waters....what food sources there are will only support a certain number of fish before affecting the ability of the fish to grow....best example is a farm pond where the population is allowed to grow without any harvesting...in the most recent example of the droughts reference in this post Mother Nature did the harvesting allowing the remaining trout a larger supply of food to go around....this is the reason that the park's biologists say that a pure catch and release attitude does not benefit the overall fish population in the park...it does not hurt to occasionally keep a trout or two to enjoy with some grits and hushpuppies...the proof is in the pudding.
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