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GrouseMan77 06-07-2010 07:40 PM

Rainbows in Lynn Camp

I got to help out the fisheries department last Wednesday. It didn't go to well. We got rained out and only had time to shock up one of the two scheduled sections.

In that one section, we got four rainbows up, two male and two female. The fish looked very healthy, one was 12" and another was 14". Mr. Moore and Mr. Kulp were not present that day. One of the other guys mentioned that someone might have brought the bows in. I was astonished and could not believe that some idiot would undermined countless hours of physical labor and thousands of dollars because they like fishing for rainbows in a particular section of stream. Imagine having a stream where 12" brookies could be caught.

Mr. Moore is now stating that he also feels that someone is playing "bucket biologist". If that is the case, I really hope that the "sportsman" that is responsible gets caught. What a piece of trash.

Jim Casada 06-07-2010 08:03 PM

Jason--How far above the barrier (waterfall) were the rainbows? While obviously they have the ability to move upstream if a bucket biologist planted them, it is unlikely they would cover much water if they found things suitable low down. In other words, I am wondering if it is possible that it wasn't bucket biology but fish which were somehow not killed.
That happened, and in a big way, in Indian Creek (the N. C. one that feeds Deep Creek) back in the late 1960s or early 1970s. It was a different scenario in some ways--rotenone (I think) rather than antimycin--but I can see what happened there being possible today. The problem in Indian Creek, almost certainly, was that some tiny branches which fed the creek had wee 'bows in them. They just moved downstream into bigger water and within two or three years Indian Creek was back just like it had been; namely, a stream full of smallish rainbows.
I've also read or heard of other possibilities, such as egg migration on the legs of wading or fish-eating birds, but to me that seems unlikely.
There's no doubt bucket biology has taken place in the Park in the past, with Abrams Creek and browns being a prime example. As those who have read my book carefully realize, I've always harbored some skepticism about the efficacy of speckled trout restoration (just can't bring myself to use the B word). However, no one would be more tickled than me to see things back to the kind of situation my 100-year-old father talks about, when there were specks everywhere until a given stream was logged, and when he once saw a speck frozen in a block of ice with red spots on it almost the size of a dime. I've actually seen such fish, but they were in Labrador.
If it is bucket biology, it would be wonderful to catch the perpetrator(s) and punish them to the maximum extent possible.
I've read some other information about the recent survey on Lynn Camp Prong--I gather precious few specks were found, especially new recruits, and if so that's a huge setback. Has anyone heard anything recently about Bear Creek and the restoration there?
Jim Casada

GrouseMan77 06-07-2010 08:14 PM

Jim - The bows were a few hundred meters upstream of the Panther Creek Trail junction.

Jim Casada 06-07-2010 09:27 PM

Jason--Thanks, and that's not necessarily good news at all. That's an appreciable distance above the cascades, farther than I would have thought it likely for "bucket biology" rainbows to have migrated when there's plenty of fine water lower down. On the flip side of the coin, I don't think a bucket biologist would do illegal stocking while making that long a trip or, for that matter, that trout would survive after that long a hike.
A bit more heartening is that there were only four of them. How long a section of stream did you survey. If there were four in 50 meters or so, that's a dark cloud on the Lynn Camp horizon, but if the area covered was much longer, it's a bit more heartening.
Did your group find only rainbows or were there specks? If there were no specks, there's clearly reason for significant concern.
Thanks for your fine report (and your volunteer work with the Park).
Jim Casada

GrouseMan77 06-07-2010 09:36 PM

Jim - The section that we were working is four feet from the trail and the trail gets a lot of horse traffic. It would be easy. I can't recall exactly how long the sampled section was but the rainbows were somewhat clumped up in the last third. There were some specs in the group...around 10 if memory serves correct. Anywhere from about an 1" to around 7".

Crockett 06-07-2010 10:45 PM

I saw the story tonight on WBIR. The reporters and officials were insisting that the big rainbows they found were brought in there by someone. My first thoughts were that they just missed some bows somehow when running the poison because it's an aweful lot of water up there it could happen. Seems kind of odd that someone would plant bows in this stream so soon after the project completed and many years before it would even be open to fishing. There are lots of other brookie streams that are already open to fishing they could have "hit" if that was the case. The guy on the news actually said that "someone was planting rainbows so they could come up here and fish for them illegally". I thought that was pretty strange too since there are plenty of spots to fish for bows legally why would someone go through all that trouble. Anyway Jason thanks for your volunteer work with the park. I hope this turns out to not be as bad as it sounds.

Jim Casada 06-08-2010 07:15 AM

Jason--Thanks. I hadn't thought about transport by horse, although it is an obvious possibility. I really wish the Park would ban use of horses, although I know just saying that will raise some hackles. Yet anyone who spends much time in the Park has to recognize the undeniable fact that horses do considerable damage, especially on steep trails. There are places, especially on the Tennessee side of the Park, where horses have turned high elevation trails into gullies. Then there's the stink and general mess in horse camps.
At least you find a few specks, and the fact that some were tiny suggests at least a bit of population recruitment. That being said, the overall scenario doesn't look good.
Jim Casada

MBB 06-08-2010 09:26 AM

Hopefully, the four rainbows were the only rainbows left in the stream. I trust they were removed. I am glad there is continued monitoring work to complete the project.

I would also love to see horse traffic removed from the Park or at least greatly reduced. I have never understood why the Park has such stringent rules on human excrement while horse excrement lies in piles on certain Park trails. The horse traffic also destroys the hiking trails.

Grannyknot 06-08-2010 10:12 AM

I think that horses have been "grandfathered in" to the park, in respects to trail rights, because of their initial help in the construction of trails and bridges, or so I have been told.

I agree that they damage trails, streams, & campsites, although I won't place any additional blame on them for trash being left in the woods, as I have been extremely disappointed at the amount of trash i've seen on foot traffic only trails lately.

I'm sorry that Rainbows were found, again, in Lynn Camp. Thanks to everyone who has done work throughout the years in an effort to restore our native fish species. Hopefully everything will work out as planned in the end.

Jim Casada 06-08-2010 12:08 PM

Grannyknot--Interestingly, over the years, I have gotten different explanations as Park officials attempted to justify allowing extensive use of trails by horses. I've heard the explanation you offer, one to the effect that locals had traditionally used horses (only marginally valid but there's some truth to it), and even suggestions they did no more damage than humans (which is unmitigated hogwash).
One explanation which was never offered, but there's appreciable truth in it, is that no one in a position of authority has had the intestinal fortitude to stand up to a pretty powerful lobby which includes some political bigwigs (same sort of situation which left "summer retreats" for the rich and influential intact, let politically powerful folks stay at the Calhoun House on Hazel Creek, and the like). Another thing which frosts my grits is the tremendous amount of noise pollution from motorcycles. There are places you can be five or six miles from a roadway and hear them.
In truth, it's a balancing act for bureaucrats, but they have long turned a blind eye to the deleterious impact of horses.
Jim Casada

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