View Full Version : Hemlocks are dying

08-19-2007, 06:58 PM
Not to be negative but on top of all this drought and high water temps, does anyone know how bad the hemlock problem is going to be for the trout? I've heard that it can potentially increase water temps up to 9 degrees when all the trees streamside are dead. I.e. end of trout fishing in TN as we know it.

I saw several dying hemlocks last Saturday on West Prong of Little P. this is going to be devastating if we can't stop it.

I wish we could hear from someone with experience from Shenandoah.

08-19-2007, 07:31 PM
Well, I know they've had, I think 80% mortality of the hemlocks there, but the fishing is as good or better than ever; I had a ball up there in April. I don't know how extensive the hemlock groves were, compared to GSMNP, so it might not be a fair comparison. Also, the location of the hemlocks in relation to the streams might be different.

I know the park is aggresively taking steps to combat the adelgids, since they saw it coming from points further north. The beetles that feed on them look promising. However, there is no doubt some trees will be lost. Furthermore, other tree species will probably move in to take their place. The key is not to lose them all at once - a tree here or there is manageable.

From what I've read, the park area was in far worse shape during the logging era; it definitely won't get that bad, but the recent comeback of the brookies might be in jeopardy.

08-19-2007, 08:12 PM
So, maybe 9 degree water temp increase is somewhat overstating it. I just read some on some websites about saving our hemlocks. Maybe it's not going to be so bad after all. I don't mean this to be just about fishing either. It's never good or positive when a species is lost. Did you check or talk to someone who has fished Shenandoah for a while? I'm curious on how it is going to be for the long haul.

08-19-2007, 09:04 PM
That's a good point; unfortunately, I really don't know anyone up there - certainly no one who's fished there for decades. It's difficult to compare the two parks. For example, the Smokies have a greater variety of type of streams, and species of trout; Shenandoah is primarily a brook trout fishery, and most of the streams would be considered small to medium sized at the largest. The Smokies (normally) get a lot more rain - many of the smaller streams in SNP go completly dry in drought years. I've only fished a few streams in SNP, mostly the Rapidan. It was in the upper reaches of the Rapidan where I first caught "trout madness" - there, it is a typical small stream with a complete canopy of trees. This spring, I got to fish it a bit further down the mountain - there, it is more of an open boulder field type stream, like Greenbrier.

Besides having problems with the Hemlocks, SNP is having some problems with the oaks, which took the place of the Chestnut trees after the blight knocked them out. The Rapidan had a lot of deadfalls when I fished it - apparently they had a horrible ice storm this winter that knocked down a bunch of trees.

08-19-2007, 09:35 PM
Thanks ijsouth for your reply. I'm hoping we would hear from someone eventually who has some older data to show us.

08-19-2007, 09:41 PM
I have copied a link to the Southern Research Station which is based out of Asheville, NC. I don't think it looks to good for hemlocks in the near future. The insect has been in the U.S. since 1924 according to website for the Northeastern U.S. http://www.na.fs.fed.us/fhp/hwa/
The GSNP is releasing predator beetles that are being grown at a UT lab. At this pont it is difficult for them to determine what effects they are having on adegid populations, and if they are successfully reproducing. In a nutshell, it's a lot harder to track a bug than a larger critter. Also, the beetles are difficult and costly to propogate, and there is some resistance to introducing them since they are not native to the U.S. The Park is also uisng an insecticide that is applied around the base of the tree, while effective on individual trees it doesn't seem to be practical on a landscape scale.



08-19-2007, 09:48 PM
You might want to check the S.E. Flyfisher's Forum...I read it from time to time; I have noticed that there aren't as many posts in the SNP section as there used to be - I know they've had some dry conditions of their own lately.