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Byron Begley
01-31-2007, 06:55 PM
In 1992 we began the task of forming the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited. We were chartered in 1993 to serve as a support group for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fisheries Department. The Chapter has been involved in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for research. I've worked personally with Steve Moore who is the "Chief of Fisheries" for almost 15 years. The Chapter and it's members have worked on many projects one of which is monitoring the fish populations in the streams in the Park.

We've learned a lot about the fishery. One thing we've learned is that fishermen don't have much of an impact on the fishery today here in the Smokies. Most fluctuations in fish population are due to floods and droughts. When we have floods that wipe out an entire age class of fish, the remaining fish have more to eat and become larger. We think the fishing has improved. When the trout are left alone by Mother Nature we have more trout but smaller size fish. We don't think the fishing is as good. I know or have known a lot of anglers who have fished here in the Park for over 50 years. Back in the old days, people kept every trout that was legal. These guys will tell you that the fish were larger then than they are now because there were less of them. I'm referring to people like Eddy George, Walter Babb and others.

The old Park Service management strategy was to protect the native Brook Trout by keeping anglers out of the streams and not allowing harvest. They found, through extensive data gathering over the years that it didn't make sense to curtail harvesting brook trout because it didn't make much of a difference. Steve Moore with support from Park Management decided to open over 100 miles of brook trout streams last year in the park and allow harvesting on a temporary basis to see exactly how much of a difference it makes.

It has been found that more people are practicing catch and release which I personally do myself in the Park. I just can't stand to kill one of those beautiful wild trout that I and a lot of my friends have worked so hard to protect. It's likely that if more people harvested trout in the Smokies, the "fishing experience" would be perceived as better because the average trout would be larger. I'm still going to release the one's I catch.

It is official now, that Lynn Camp Prong above the Cascades will become a brook trout stream. We have known for a couple of years that this was going to happen but final approval has been granted. I talked to Steve a little while ago. Our store has donated money to the fisheries program every year since we've been in business. We are donating $1,000 to this project next week. One provision though is that Steve will give me an interview about the project and it will be published on our website.

Unfortunately, for many of us, Lynn Camp Prong will be closed to fishing for a few years while the Brook Trout population takes hold. I bet there will be a time set aside where people can fish there and keep everything they catch. They may even allow bait fishing during that time. We'll find out next week. Then, the remaining trout will be removed by using a non-toxic method of removal. By non-toxic, I mean non-toxic to humans but lethal to trout. It's the same method used to remove the trout from Sam's Creek a few years ago. Actually it's been used all over the country and Steve and a couple of other people are the experts. The brood stock for Lynn Camp will come from Sam's Creek.

I thought this would be an interesting thread to help me gather questions to ask Steve in our interview. I know this may be bad news for some, good news for others. I look forward to having a pure brook trout fishery from the cascades up stream. But, I'll miss fishing there during the meantime very much. During that time I'll be hiking up there equipped only with a pair of polarized sunglasses and a camera.

So, here's a thread for some interesting debate and questions. Have at it!

Byron

Kevin_Thomas
01-31-2007, 07:20 PM
I love Lynn Camp... *Caught a ton of fish there last year. *I'll volunteer to help any way that I can through TU. *I know that the cascades provide a great natural barrier from Bows, but I have to admit that will make getting to the Brookies a little too easy for my taste. *And yes I know of a few roadside opportunites for Brookies, but having to hike in a ways to catch one of these jewels makes it particularly rewarding. *

Do you know when Steve plans to open Sam's Creek?

Not sure if I'll fish during the yank'em out days. *It would be hard to watch and I'm sure the crowd will be huge.

Bitter sweet, but neccessary. *If Steve says do it, I'm all for it!

David Knapp
01-31-2007, 07:22 PM
I really like the idea of having a good brook trout fishery so close to Townsend but the whole thing makes me uneasy. *I know that despite good intentions, there have been situations out west on small streams where accidents occured when using the poison and much more was released into the watershed than was intended, effectively wiping out fish populations for many miles downstream. *

Also, I know that the cascades and falls on Lynn Camp are substantial but rainbows seem to get around some impressive barriers (I think sometimes with a bit of human help >:(). *I would be interested to see how much public education will go on to hopefully keep people from releasing caught fish above the barriers. *Think about Yellowstone lake. *They have a huge problem with lake trout that were illegally planted there. *I guess I'm just concerned that as much money as is going into this, what is the park doing to educate people and to ensure success. *Obviously some people will just be jerks but a lot of people do things because they are clueless... *

I would like to see some permanent signs, perhaps at the trailhead, explaining the project. *Perhaps even a logbook (as they do for hiking trails in parks out west) that anglers are REQUIRED to sign in on. *I don't know if this would help, just throwing some ideas out there. *I would like to see this project work and just want as much done as possible to ensure success... *

Also, I hate to see fish go to waste and most of the fish up there are too small to be worth eating. I would really like to see as many fish as possible caught and put in buckets or electrofished and put in buckets and transfered to another park stream that perhaps is going through a low population for some reason. Even take 'em and dump 'em in a tailwater to help grow bigger browns ::)...just something other than waste which I fear will happen to a lot if they are trying to "fish out" the stream.

Byron Begley
01-31-2007, 07:25 PM
Very good! You all are doing great!

Byron

Kevin_Thomas
01-31-2007, 07:42 PM
PA... *I love the reverse bucket biology idea. *I'd be big time on board if TWRA had a couple of four wheelers and were shuttling fish back to the trailhead for re-stocking.

DryFly1
01-31-2007, 07:45 PM
Lynn Camp is a jewel that will be sorely missed for several years by me and many others . Some great memories! * I will not participate in the evacuation of the remaining trout. *Sometimes it's hard to swallow "Progress!" All those little guys I have caught have been released for future fisherman. *I hope it's successful and I look forward to wading this water again and landing a fiesty little Speck,but I'm afraid I will have to fight a rather large crowd!

Mark....

ijsouth
01-31-2007, 09:34 PM
Wow...mixed emotions here. As I've just started fishing the Smokies, the Tremont/Lynn Camp area is the closest point to the house for me...I've fished there a couple of times, and I've really enjoyed it. I knew this was in the works for a while, but I do have a couple of questions:

1. What is the timetable for this? If there is going to be a "cleanout" time, when all trout will be kept, can we get an idea of when that will happen, too? I know I would want to bring my girls up for that - they always pester me "can we keep it?", no matter what the species. They're young - I'm trying to teach them on catch and release... ;)

2. I second the question on Sams Creek - will it be opening soon? I would still like to fish that general area, and I have no problems with heading the other direction at the confluence.

3. I saw that LRO is donating for the cause...perhaps something could be set up on the site for us to donate as individuals.

In the long term, this is wonderful news, of course. Brook Trout have become my latest "favorite species"...I just love them - such a beautiful creature, living in such a harsh environment.

On a related vein...I got one of those membership drive offers from TU in the mail...I would like to join, but there isn't a local chapter within 600 miles of here. Is there any way for me to specify the Little River Chapter as my preference?

tennswede
01-31-2007, 10:00 PM
ijsouth!

yes you can designate by calling TU national, the info should be on the www.tu.org website. I think the Little River chapter is #644

tennswede
01-31-2007, 10:08 PM
Well, Well. I can sympathize with people who object to the rainbow "waste". I'm also not so sure that federal law would allow transfer of fish from one stream to another. I do know that it is strictly prohibited by most state codes. The park is federal land and the rules might be different or maybe the biologists in the park can get permission. I'm just speculating I don't know this for a fact.

I think it would be very difficult to transport fish and do active fishing at the same time. In a way, why don't they just shock em' and release them downstream in the main tremont section. rainbow will find their way up there anyway. I'm not so sure that Rainbow is really that much of a culprit anyway. I know they compete but Brook trout has taken over big parts of the west and has become a nuisance in many places. In Sweden they have introuduced brook trout in some streams and they do well in competition with native browns. I guess my point is that logging, temperature problems, acid rain, siltation and several other environmental factors play a lot more of a role than we think. I WANT TO MAKE CLEAR THAT THIS IS JUST SPECULATION ON MY PART AND BY NO MEANS INDICATE THAT I THINK I KNOW FOR SURE.

thanks for an interesting topic Byron.

Can't wait until the green drakes on Abrams.

ijsouth
01-31-2007, 11:30 PM
Great news...thanks - I'll go on their site tonight.

Kevin_Thomas
02-01-2007, 12:03 AM
Dry... I feel you on the crowd thing. Last summer I would have to get to the trailhead around 0630 just to be first on Lynn Camp. I can only imagine the crowd when it becomes Brookieville...

92Esquire
02-01-2007, 06:12 AM
I guess I'm kind of mixed about this. Two years ago when I started fishing, that area was the first I ever fished. So even though I live in Knoxville and have only been fishing a short time, I consider it my "home" waters. I'd rather fish there than just about anywhere else in the park. So hearing that it will be closed for some period of time is not good news for me. On the other hand, it will be great to have a gorgeous brookie stream that I've got some experience on when it does reopen. :)

Griff
02-01-2007, 08:10 AM
On a related vein...I got one of those membership drive offers from TU in the mail...I would like to join, but there isn't a local chapter within 600 miles of here. *Is there any way for me to specify the Little River Chapter as my preference? *

Go to the little river chapter of TU website and it will tell you how to join their chapter.

Sivad
02-01-2007, 09:26 AM
When you say the Lynn Camp Prong above the cascades were exactly is that located. I have fished above thte cascades on the middle prong above tremont and was wondering if that section is the Lynn camp prong?

Why do they have to wipe the creek out of fish to make it a brook creek? Are they going to stock it with brooks to get it started?


Thanks for your help.

Patrick

Sivad
02-01-2007, 09:44 AM
Here is map to help with the questions I asked above.

Thanks to everyone on this board you all are great help.

patrick

http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s174/sivad14/lynncamp.jpg

ijsouth
02-01-2007, 09:50 AM
Thanks...I joined TU last night online, and I was able to pick my chapter.

Byron Begley
02-01-2007, 09:54 AM
If the majority of the trout are removed by electroshocking and stocked somewhere else, you wouldn't want to put them back into a Smokies stream. That would cause an over crowding situation. I think right now all of the Smokies streams are at full carrying capacity. Now maybe, TWRA could remove some of the fish by electroshocking and take them to a different watershed such as the Clinch or Chilhowee. I'll ask Steve about that.

The rainbows must be removed to allow the brookies to take over. The rainbow trout are a competing species.

Sivad, To get to the cascade drive all the way to the end of the gravel road along the Middle Prong. You then have to cross the foot/horse bridge and hike up the left fork (Lynn Camp) for about 3/4 of a mile. What you have circled is part of the future brook trout water. From the trailhead to the Panther Creek Trail is 2.3 miles. From the trailhead to the cascade is about .75 miles.

Sams Creek is the nursery stream. Some of those brook trout will be electroshocked and moved over to Lynn Camp. I expect that Sams Creek will remain closed until Lynn Camp is opened up again. There are two sub-species of brook trout in the Park. The Eastern strain which was stocked after the logging era. And there is the Southern Appalachian strain which migrated into the Smokies during the ice age. Sams Creek has one of the populations of Southern Appalachian strain fish. Sams Creek fish were removed a few years ago then re-stocked with the Southern Strain. It was all part of the plan to use these fish to stock Lynn Camp Prong.

You are allowed to fish the right fork which is Thunderhead Prong but you can't go up into Sams Creek.

Byron

Rog 1
02-01-2007, 11:46 AM
I have fished Tremont since my teens...too many moons to admit to right now....when my grandfather introduced me to the area....this was the last water we ever fished together since it was road accessible....the area above the Cascades has always been a favorite...the concept is an interesting one...brookies only.
I can remember one summer when the Park tried to fish out Tremont in an effort to assist the Brookies....you surrendered your license as you went in and were requried to bring out all fish caught except brookies. The next year the fishing was incredible....more fish to hand and the average fish was 7-8"....after several more years of what I can only assume as catch and release fishing the average size was down to 5-6"....these waters can only support so many fish.....just like so many farm ponds, unless some haversting is done the result is overpopulation and stunted growth.
I just cannot imagined that they will be able to eradicate every rainbow that has found its way above the cascades.....the only places in the park where I have ever been able to find pure brookie water is where the bows were never introduced in the first place and the is a natural barrier....these places take a lot of walking and few and far between. Nice idea and I hope it works but......

littlerivermike
02-01-2007, 11:59 AM
The project will start much lower, about at the M in Middle Prong Trail, on your map.

thebig21
02-01-2007, 12:59 PM
In about a week from now it will mark the first anniversery of catching my first Smoky Mountain trout after moving to Maryville from Mississippi. Lynn Camp Prong is where I caught it along with many other that day. If it wasn't for LRO and the outstanding staff there, I would still be wondering what to do to catch one of those wild trout.

So I consider LC Prong my homewaters also but there are so many other areas in the park to fish that I think that having a brook trout fishery so close to home would be awesome indeed since I have yet to venture high enough to catch a brookie. Every stream that I have fished in the park has been a blast with alot of fish to catch and release for another day and beautiful scenery.

I think this is a great idea and like Byron said, what is 2 years to have something that could be the best around. Just my 2 cents.

TE

Byron Begley
02-01-2007, 01:01 PM
thebig21,

I think it's going to be more like 5 years. Just guessing.

Byron

thebig21
02-01-2007, 01:36 PM
Then I might be too old as well...jk. See you in about an hour or so.

thebig21
02-01-2007, 01:43 PM
By the way Byron, how did I get stuck with Homer Simpson?

RuningWolf
02-01-2007, 03:04 PM
Good explanations to what is going on

Let me thank you for always being willing to put your money and time into worthwhile efforts.

Byron Begley
02-01-2007, 03:06 PM
I just talked to Steve Moore a few minutes ago. We are going to the the interview on Tuesday. It will take me a couple of days to get it on the site. He said he was going to get on here and look at your posts. I did get some more information from him though. The actual treatment of the stream will be in 2008. The trout will be stocked in 2009. He hopes to stock 1,000 brook trout. We talked about Plateau Angler's idea about having an information sign telling people about the project and the consequences that a "bucket biologist" will face if caught transporting rainbows or browns and stocking them above the cascade. We both agree that anyone caught doing that should be get a fine equal to the cost of the project which would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. He said he would like to see the stream re-opened in 5 to 7 years. Everything depends on droughts, floods and a lot of other unforseen factors. I asked about Sams Creek. He doesn't know when he will open it but it will not necessarily stay closed until Lynn Camp re-opens. That surprised me. He did mention that a flood wiped out an age class of brookies in Sams Creek. We agreed also that he and I will fish together on that opening day. Keep the questions and comments coming. Your input is important to him.

Byron

Butte Irish
02-01-2007, 05:09 PM
Byron,

a great post. I to have been watching the brook trout Restoration effort.

The Southeastern Council of the Federation of fly fishers has earmarked $3,600 for this project. i just sent an email to Steve informing him of our desire.

Butte Irish

Dave Duffy
President
Southeastern Council
Federation of Fly Fishers

Byron Begley
02-01-2007, 05:24 PM
Dave,

Thanks for all the support. Great to have FFF as a partner. I gave Steve your new e-mail address this morning. He had your old one. You probably know this but he is speaking at Middle Tennessee Fly Fishers next week. They are a great bunch of folks and I told him he was going to have a good time.

Byron

Jswitow
02-01-2007, 06:14 PM
Hey all,
I have always thought of Lynn Camp as beginning (or ending right at the end of the road. The creek on the left is Lynn Camp and the creek on the right is Thunderhead. The cascades I think are about 1/2 mile above that confluence. Is that correct Byron?
I am all for it, I bet we will see some of those fish moving down stream with floods and showing up in Tremont (Middle prong). I am kinda like Tennswede; I feel they will compete favorably if given the chance. They were gone (I think) after the logging ended in the late 30's. The water may get too warm for them (in the summer)by the time it gets to the institute. Just spec-u-lation!

Byron Begley
02-01-2007, 06:36 PM
John,

You are correct. I think the cascade is more like 3/4 mile but I may be wrong. I'm no expert but I think if the brook trout could compete with the rainbows in Lynn Camp they would have done so by now. The brook trout have been there for a long time. Steve may arrest me for this but before Paula and I got married we fished way up in the headwaters on Indian Flats Prong a tributary to Lynn Camp Prong. I started catching brookie after brookie and we got nervous and left, we knew something wasn't right. It turned out we were fishing in closed brook trout water. I can say this now because the statute of limitations have run out, I hope. At that time the area was not properly marked and we didn't know we were on Indian Flats. But, since then I haven't caught a brook trout in Lynn Camp Prong.

Byron

tennswede
02-01-2007, 08:11 PM
This is very interesting and I am in no way trying to say that I know all the answers, but I do have a few years on some small streams in the park. I might get in to trouble for mentioning this but as it is public knowledge I believe it won't do any harm. So here it goes: I have noticed that Brook Trout are fairly strong in numbers on West Prong of Little Pigeon all the way down to a half a mile above Cambell Overlook. I have caught them even lower but not often. Rainbows are plentiful all the way up. I have noticed the same on Greenbriar. The brookies are present all the way down to past the second wooden bridge going downstream which should be at around 2200 ft elevation. I guess my point is that I believe siltation, pollution and acid rain has a lot more to do with the survival of brookies, and any life forms for that matter. I guess maybe Brookies, are more tolerable to acid rain. I do this amateur guessing based on the fact that when you hit 3000ft you won't catch many bows on these two streams. Maybe the acid level is too high for the bows. I don't know, like I said I'm just an amateur but it sure would be interesting to hear Mr. Moore's take on this.

ijsouth
02-01-2007, 09:05 PM
I guess maybe Brookies, are more tolerable to acid rain.

Yatzhee! I think you're absolutely right...everything I've read says that Brook Trout are more tolerant of acidic water than any other species. Conversely, rainbow trout do better in water on the alkaline side. There's probably a threshold somewhere, and it probably varies from stream to stream.

Years ago when I was in high school, I did a science fair project on acid rain. I drove all over with my ph strips, taking samples. The conclusion was, down here, it didn't matter; our fresh water is already naturally acidic, and the salt water is alkaline. However, in an area with poor buffering capacity, like the Smokies, it is critical. There is a point where even brookies can't tolerate it. It leeches heavy metals into the water and literally suffocates them.

One question for anyone out there - a navigation question. When I was up there over New Year's with the girls, we hiked up Lynn Camp, but not that far...we went a little past the "chute", that one narrow channel where it looks like the stream is going over bedrock. How much further from there are the cascades? I'm normally pretty good at estimating distances in good 'ol flat Louisiana, but it's tougher when you're going uphill all the time. Just curious.

doghaircaddis
02-01-2007, 10:44 PM
I was planning on taking a friend up there in March for his first FF experience. The fish up there seem so eager to take a fly. I'll definitely miss that little stream.

Assuming the eradication method(s) are well planned, I believe this is a good idea. It will be nice having a quality brook trout stream so close to Townsend. I'm just afraid to think of the amount of pressure that tiny stream is going to have. In fact, I'm sure I'll be reluctant to fish there once it opens, unless I'm geared up at the trailhead at early daybreak.

Having an educational post at the trailhead is a good idea. Maybe the National Park Service could even set-up a donation box there.

I'm not well informed on the techniques used to extirpate a species of fish from a stream. Will it be electroshocking or poisoning? If poison were used, what would keep it from wiping out fish populations far below the application site? Also, would poison effect the entire biological makeup of the stream (eg. insects, salamanders, frogs) or only the fish?

ijsouth
02-01-2007, 11:09 PM
Will it be electroshocking or poisoning? If poison were used, what would keep it from wiping out fish populations far below the application site? Also, would poison effect the entire biological makeup of the stream (eg. insects, salamanders, frogs) or only the fish?


I was surfing the web about a month ago, and I found a .pdf on the restoration of Sams Creek - a white paper; it was on that paper that I first found out about the same plan for Lynn Prong. I'm going to get on Google again and see if I can find it again - I'll post a link...but, bottom line is, it is a poison, it has a very limited range, it dissipates quickly, and it shouldn't effect anything downstream of the areas where it is applied.

Vern
02-01-2007, 11:30 PM
There is a great podcast thay goes into detail about Steve Moore brooke trout management. very intresting. http://www.itinerantangler.com/ Season2 #2.

ijsouth
02-01-2007, 11:30 PM
Here's the link I was talking about:

http://www.nature.nps.gov/water/FisheriesReports/grsm_sams_creek_restoration_view.pdf


The poison that was used then is called Fintrol (antimycin). An application of Potassium Permanganate is applied just downstream of the treatment area, to act as a neutralizing barrier.

I found this paragraph, describing the angling efforts before the application was made, interesting:

Angler Success
Two hundred twenty eight anglers, from nine states, participated in the Sams Creek fishing
project with ninety percent of the anglers being from either TN or NC. During the first week of
the experiment, an average of 25 people per day fished the 2,400 m of stream, but during week
two, the average was seven people per day. Catch rates averaged 1.2 fish per angler in week one
and 0.9 fish per angler in week two. One hundred sixty seven (73%) of the anglers who
participated in the Sams Creek fishing project did not catch any fish. Harvest data shows that
165 (66%) of the 250 rainbow trout harvested were caught by 17 (7.5 %) of the anglers who
participated. Additionally, 82% of the trout harvested were caught during the first week of the
study. However, only four anglers caught more than 10 fish in one trip and most successful
anglers caught only one fish per trip. The 250 trout harvested was approximately 30% of the
number estimated to live in the 2.4 km of stream.

It doesn't seem to matter what type of fishing is concerned; most of the fish are caught by a handful of skilled fishermen.

BTW - Apparently I was mistaken when I said earlier that I had read about the plans for Lynn Camp in this paper...I must have seen that somewhere else.

Byron Begley
02-02-2007, 11:36 AM
I stated in the first post that the treatment used to remove the fish was not toxic to humans. It is an antibiotic used in agriculture. But I looked it up and it can be toxic to humans if they get a big dose inhaled, spilled on the skin of if you drink it. It is called Antimycin A.

I wasn't there when they treated Sams Creek. I'm sure the workers take precautions not to somehow injest the stuff. When it is applied to the headwaters of the stream a dye is also poured into the water. Technicians are placed in various locations on the stream and watch the progress. When the dye reaches a certain point a neutralizer is poured into the water.

I remember when Steve Moore went out West, I think to Yellowstone to learn how to do this. There is an expert who has worked with Steve and has done this a lot. I bet that guy will be here when they do it.

Electroshocking won't work. You can't get every fish using electroshocking. The fisheries folks here in the Smokies have studied this project for a long time and I know their worst nightmare would be for something to go wrong. I'm confident that they know what they are doing.

Byron

Rufus
02-02-2007, 02:11 PM
As I am fairly new to flyfishing, I have never caught, nor even seen. a brook trout. Maybe this will be my chance.

Kevin_Thomas
02-04-2007, 03:32 PM
Byron (or anyone else who knows),

Is there a goal for Brookie population in the park? *Are there other streams under consideration for similar projects? *I guess the more I think about this I wonder, if the brookie poulation was good enough to open streams that were closed for thirty years, do we need to do this? *I know its moving forward and I love Brookies, and would never want to see them not have a safe habitat, but is there a goal, or after Lynn Camp do we keep doing this in every stream with a natural barrier from Rainbows? *If we have a goal for the Brookie population, what should we look at next? *Are there things we can support for acid problems? *Preventing invasives? *I don't know, but if we have the Brookie population where we want it, should we be using the money for something else? *Are there bigger problems down the road?

Please advise,
Kevin

ijsouth
02-04-2007, 03:59 PM
I know that one big problem, in the high-altitude headwaters, is that they are just too acidic...some are too acidic for reproduction, and some are even beyond that. I wonder if the NPS is considering any neutralization projects, like what has been done to the south around the Cherohala Skyway. There, they've dumped a lot of lime-enhanced sand, in an effort to offset the damage the road caused, being cut through anakeesta formations.

Byron Begley
02-04-2007, 04:49 PM
Hi guys,

I don't know of any other planned brook trout restoration projects. I'll ask Steve on Tuesday when we do the interview. I think most of the streams that have natural barriers have been restored. The small streams were done with electroshocking. Lynn Camp is a big one that fits the criteria. It would be almost impossible and cost prohibitive to do it with electroshocking. The mission of the NPS is to protect and restore native species in their original habitat. Little River for instance in the lower elevations was not a trout stream. To restore it would mean removing all the trout and stocking smallmouth bass and rock bass. They have planned all along to leave the large streams alone. They do plan to stock brook trout in the spring area of Abrams Creek but they are not going to wipe out the trout population in the stream. That was done once by US Fish and Wildlife. Due to that big mistake several threatened and endangered species were removed. One of them, the Smoky Madtom was thought to be extinct. They eventually found some in the Cherokee National Forest and re-introduced them to Abrams Creek. There are other threatened species in the larger rivers. The Park Service can't do anything that would put those species at risk just to bring back smallmouth bass.

I've talked to Steve about treating the water with limestone probably 10 years ago. Except for some road construction that uncovered some anakeesta shale a long time ago, most of the acid introduced by man occurs as a result of air pollution. That is gradually improving. Many of the streams in the park are acidic by nature. There is a lot of shale and as the forest matures the buffering capacity will decrease. Evidently, old growth trees don't absorb nitrogen as well as younger trees. Probably 200 years ago these streams were on the acid side anyway and the brook trout were able to tolerate that condition. Adding limestone to streams is something they just won't do, at least for now. Maybe if acid rain threatened the brook trout streams they would do something like that. I don't know.

Limestone treatment has been successful where mining has caused acid problems. The Cranberry River in West Virginia is a good example.

I'm not scientist and the above statements are just my recollection of what I've heard by working around these people who are. Don't hold me to it. I'm just stating what I believe to be true.

Byron

buckeyetrouter
02-04-2007, 04:57 PM
hey Patrick .....what is the website for this map...???

buckeyetrouter

ijsouth
02-04-2007, 05:05 PM
Thanks for the in-depth answers...I'm glad to hear that the acid rain situation is improving. The (fresh) water here in Southeast Louisiana is naturally acidic, too...much like Florida, it is loaded with tannic acid from the leaves, pine needles, etc. Now, the salt water is alkaline - these two facts, along with soft soils which have a higher buffering capacity, means we don't have a problem with acid precipitation.

Sivad
02-05-2007, 09:07 AM
Buckeye

I don't rember But I can e-mail them to you. Let me know

Patrick

Byron Begley
02-05-2007, 04:41 PM
I just talked to Steve Moore and we are going to put off our interview until February 12th. But I did ask him some questions to clear up what I said earlier.

First, there were brook trout in the East Prong of the Little River down to the Sinks at one time. I always thought that was a smallmouth bass and rock bass fishery. And, I still believe it was based on what some of the old fellows have told me. Steve has information that dates back before the logging so his information is correct. I asked him why they don't plan to do the same thing on the East Prong that they are doing on Lynn Camp Prong. His answer was that the Park Service Mandates that you should restore the native species where it is practical and feasible. The East Prong from the headwaters to the Sinks is not practical and feasible.

He said that there are 3 or 4 more streams where brook trout restoration will happen over the next few years. They are small streams. He'll give me the list. I don't think any of them are as large or significant as Lynn Camp Prong. The Lynn Camp Prong Project is not completely funded. It will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000. They have to complete an EAS, do an insect study to make sure there aren't any endangered species and jump through a lot of expensive hoops before the restoration can actually begin. Mark Spangler from the Little River Chapter worked with Steve to submit an Embrace A Stream grant to Trout Unlimited for $10,000. Steve also has quite a bit of money pledged but any contributions would be very helpful. We're donating $1,000 now and maybe more later. The Southeastern FFF pledged $3,600 and I think you have read Dave Duffy's post. Steve has other rather large amounts pledged.

I talked to him about acid deposition. He agreed that the air pollution problem is improving but some of the streams that have been effected by acid deposition have not recovered yet. And, as the forest gets older it will lose it's ability to absorb nitrogen. So, it's still a problem but one that appears to me to be improving.

One way to get involved is to join the Little River Chapter. Our chapter works as a support group for the National Park Fisheries Department. Troutfest, for instance raises about $10,000 per year for them. Also, the Great Smoky Mountains Chapter of TU works with the National Park by providing volunteer labor and maybe money though I'm not sure about that.

Byron

ijsouth
02-05-2007, 10:17 PM
One way to get involved is to join the Little River Chapter.

I joined online last week, and since the nearest chapter to me is 600 miles away, I picked the Little River Chapter.

About small streams...how about this one? Shut-in Creek, a tributary of Thunderhead. I spotted it on my map, and it looks to be a very steep-gradient stream. Does anyone know if there are any trout in it, and if so, is it open to fishing?

Kevin_Thomas
02-05-2007, 10:28 PM
I've not ran into many folks that go up Thunderhead. I tried it a few times with moderate success, but nothing to write home about. I've heard the same from others who fished it too. Not sure about your actual question though...

doghaircaddis
02-05-2007, 10:44 PM
One way to get involved is to join the Little River Chapter.

I joined online last week, and since the nearest chapter to me is 600 miles away, I picked the Little River Chapter.

About small streams...how about this one? Shut-in Creek, a tributary of Thunderhead. I spotted it on my map, and it looks to be a very steep-gradient stream. Does anyone know if there are any trout in it, and if so, is it open to fishing?

I'm not sure, but I would imagine if there were any fish up there they would be tiny. Thats a pretty rough hike too.

ijsouth
02-05-2007, 11:19 PM
Thanks...the question, I guess, is whether it would be worth hiking to and giving a try. I'm trying to identify places that might be a little out of the way, and therefore might have some uneducated fish. I'm especially interested in any streams where I can get some brookies - although I certainly don't mind the rainbows.

Gerry Romer
02-05-2007, 11:57 PM
I hiked and fished Thunderhead last Spring. Hiked past Long Branch and Sam's Creek to just below Chimney Rocks. Fished Thunderhead from there down to just above Shut-In Creek. Tons of really great scenery! Spooked a few Wild Toms along the way... fish??? Nada :(

Doesn't mean they aren't there, just that I couldn't find any. FYI there really isn't much of a trail there, and what there is of a trail leaves the stream pretty quickly. You can hear it off to your left, but unless you take to the stream and fish your way up the whole way, you're likely to pass by both Sam's and Shut-in.

If you're interested in Brookies with little or no hiking, go up above the Chimneys on the West Prong of the Little Pigeon. It's beautiful country but easily accessed by car so you've got to put up with a lot of tourist traffic. Once you hike back into the stream - Walker Camp Prong - you really can't hear the traffic and the scenery is great.

If you're looking for something Brookie that's convenient but really tiny, (and I think not fished much) try the headwaters of the Oconoluftee. Go up and over the top and just below the top, after the road completes its very long s-curve, look for a spot to pull off on your left. Park it and hike in to Beech Flats. No trails to speak of. Very small creek with some very neglected and hungry Brookies ;)

Have fun!

Gerry

ijsouth
02-06-2007, 12:43 AM
If you're looking for something Brookie that's convenient but really tiny, (and I think not fished much) try the headwaters of the Oconoluftee. Go up and over the top and just below the top, after the road completes its very long s-curve, look for a spot to pull off on your left. Park it and hike in to Beech Flats

Thanks! That's just the sort of information I'm looking for. I thought about fishing that very area over Thanksgiving...I came in from Cherokee, went around that 'S' curve, and there was a parking area for one of those "Quiet Walkways" on the right. There was a sign for the fishing regs, so I figured water had to be nearby...but, I was fighting the clock, and I was determined to catch something before I left, so I didn't walk down the trail very far....could I have reached Beech Flats from there? I have to think it was the only possibility.

Gerry Romer
02-07-2007, 02:03 AM
If you were coming from Cherokee, headed toward Gatlinburg, then the Oconoluftee was on your right all the way up the climb to the top. Just below the top, 441 makes a long, uphill s-curve, first looping back around to your left. About a quarter mile before this loop-back, the Oconoluftee thins out to a very small mountain stream/creek. I'm not aware of any parking areas up that far on the NC side for "Quiet Walkways". There are a couple small turnouts (they would be on the righthand side coming up from Cherokee) where you can park and then hike in. This is the Beech Flats Prong section of the Oconoluftee headwaters. The creek is very narrow with very limited space for casting so expect to feed a few trees while you're there. Does that help?

Gerry

ijsouth
02-07-2007, 09:45 AM
Yep, it does...I guess when I have time the next time I'm up there, I'll have to explore it.

I love the small streams - yeah, feeding the wooden trout isn't much fun, but that's the admission ticket, I guess.

The place I was talking about had a pretty generous pullout, and it led to a trail that was pretty wide and gated; it looked like it might have been a park service road at one time. It was right past the first sharp turn in the 'S' turn....at that point, you're heading almost straight southeast for that stretch, before you make the second turn. The trail heads back in the direction you came from (back towards Beech Flats).

Gerry Romer
02-07-2007, 01:21 PM
Yep, that's too far up. When you get to that particular turnout, pull off, turn around, and head back toward Cherokee. After you make that final hard right coming out of the s-curve and the road straightens out, you'll see a smallish field coming up on your left, followed by about an 8-car parking area on your left. I'd just turn around in the parking area and go back up to that field. Then just pull into the field, park by the tree line and head down into the woods about 200 yards or so. The few foot trails I explored down by the parking area were pretty well trashed >:(. Above that was much better :)

Gerry

ijsouth
02-07-2007, 08:54 PM
Thanks...hopefully, I can give it a try when it warms up.