Lynn Camp Restoration Overnighter (long)
I would like to share my experience doing an overnighter volunteering for the Park Service working on the Lynn Camp Brook restoration program. I had worked a day last year stocking the stream after Bone posted a post on this board looking for help. Since then I had been anxiously awaiting this trip and I was not let down in the least bit. The Park Service proved to really impress me with their honesty, frankness, huge amounts of data, and a dedication that is not often seen these days. I had many questions going into the trip and I think I got all of them answered by either Steve Moore or Matt Kulp. At one point Matt kindly said, “James you sure do have a lot of questions”. I know it was volunteer work, but you can’t blame a man for trying to get his money’s worth. I even got into a nice conversation with a graduate genetics student who had some really interesting things to say about the Brookie reproduction. The trip was supposed to be 3 nights and 4 days, and after the spots for TU volunteers weren’t filled, I begged my wife to do a night and two days work. She gave in, the park service agreed and Ian Rutter and Bill Bollinger did the first night leaving all the field work covered, however, the fishery students would have to break down camp.
I met Steve Moore at 8 AM at the Tremont trailhead. This was the first time I met him and he really seemed to be a nice guy (unless you’re the person who through rainbows in Lynn Camp) and was a nice blend of a wise old grandpa who was just goofy enough to cut up and joke with the fishery students, while still maintaining complete control of the scene and making sure everything was being done right. I really enjoyed my hike in with him. We soon ran across a bear.
He’s hard to see in the first picture, here’s a better look.
He didn’t seem to be too afraid of us and was clearly tagged, but after some gentle prodding from Steve he ran off.
We hiked up to the old CCC camp where the others were hiking down to meet us. The group led by Matt Kulp, seven graduate students, Ian Rutter, and LRO’s own Bill Bollinger made us a dozen strong now. Armed with 3 shockers the plan was to make some ground. I forget how many 100 meter sections we did but it was several hours’ worth. Since this was my first time around the fish shocker, I was told to watch at first to see how things were done. Matt gave ma a good safety lecture about the shockers and explained how the 600 volts they were pushing could cause someone to have a heart attack if proper procedure was not followed. Watching did give me a good opportunity to take some picture though.
Here is a big Brookie. Not the biggest of the day, but taking pictures was not the priority. There were several that were bigger. I’d say a few were 9.5 inches. This one was probably 8.5. Steve said that based on the stream data we should easily see some Brookies around 11 inches or so!
And what we all want to see the young of year or as the students would shout YOY.
Here’s a shot of the group working a hole, and gives you a pretty good idea of what is happening.
Soon we shocked up a rainbow. Here is a shot Bill confirming that he is a male while Ian and Steve look over.
I eventually was able to help put the Brookies back from the hole they came from. Basically the netter, who is the person who stands behind the person shocking, would hand the stunned fish from his net to mine where I would gently ease it back into the water until they came back where they would be released into the hole they came from. The students kept a good eye on me and I quickly learned to get into the rhythm. I am happy to report that there were YOY’s throughout everywhere we shocked. I know many are a bit skeptical as to the success of any restoration program, but I am glad to report that this one should be a success (as long as no one continues to do any stocking as I am confident Matt will make sure the other areas that had rainbows will be dealt with). Hopefully with Lynn Camps good stream size and adequate flow there should be some monster Brookie fishing in our futures.
After we finished up the lower section we hiked back to camp, where we split into 2 groups. Steve took half the students to Indian Flats for some stream work, while Matt took me and some student into the headwaters of Lynn Camp. I was really tight at first where the netter would have to pick up the rhododendron so the shocker could access all parts of the stream. It opened up a bit where I grabbed this shot.
I soon got a promotion to net boy, and wasn’t able to take any more pics. As we finished up we dredged up the hill to an old rail grade which led us back to camp. Back at camp the boys worked on dinner and making a fire. They had a tent set up for me, and I got my sleeping set up ready. I have to admit its pretty nice having food taken care of, and not having to pack in a kitchen or tent does wonders for your back. After dinner I took a Tylenol PM and passed out pretty early. I awoke at 6 AM to Matt tapping on the tents waking us up for our day. I was glad to have had a good night sleep as my last adventure into the back country was an awful sick night with little sleep. The boys had coffee made and were working on pancakes. I have to say that the students the Park hired this summer are top notch. At first look they look like any college students, but you soon saw how they worked together and were happy to help each other out. EVERY time someone said they needed water filtered, dishes done, or whatever, multiple people would step up to get it done. They would joke and give each other plenty of crap, and you could tell this group spends many hours together in isolated places and was a tight group. And while they were loose with each other, they were all very dedicated consciences workers. Even Steve helped with dishes!
I would say more about this picture but it already got me into enough trouble, and I would like to be invited back to volunteer in the future. Talk of the morning was centered on the weather, and plans for the day with back up plans for rain again split us into two groups. I was lucky and got to go with Steve to Indian Flats for some different stream work, while Matt led the students into the “gorge”.
I'm out of picture space so I will finish in a reply
Lynn Camp continued
Well they said I couldn’t operate the shocker, but they did grant me the honor of carrying the shocker to the work site and back. As I was carrying it down the trail, I thought of what a pain in the butt it would be to carry off trail and in the stream each day. Think you’re tired after a day fishing? Add 45 pounds that dig in and are not that friendly on the back next time and you will appreciate what the fisheries department does for us anglers. We worked what I believe to be site 5 on Indian Flats. This time instead of a single shock and young, juvenile, and adult being counted; we shocked three times and had nets set up to keep the fish from escaping to get a more complete inventory. Here is a shot of the net being set up on the lower end.
And the holding tank where the revived fish would wait until we were finished with all 3 passes to put back where they came from.
Here is a shot of the weighing and measuring of the first round.
And a shot of the students calculating the CFS of the stream
And another shot of us measuring steam width in 10 yard increments to figure and average width to this section.
I was bucket boy on the first run, and kept thinking to myself I hope I don’t fall and drop the bucket putting all the fish back into the stream. Luckily I didn’t slip and was promoted to netter for round 2 and 3. As we finished up you could hear the thunder and before we could pack up it was pouring. We hiked back to camp in the rain, but as soon as we got back the weather took a brief respite making us wonder if we should have waited the weather out and hit another steam site. After listening to the updated forecast on the park service radio we figured we made the right call. Matt and the group soon appeared from the gorge looking a little “gorged out”
Nothing like bushwhacking and stream hobbling in a good thunderstorm to humble oneself.
I soon gathered my pack and got ready to hike out as the others were discussing who really needed to stay that night with the gear and who should head home. Since Greenbrier was without electricity that night the guys living there said they would stay. Others were reluctant to leave those who were staying and even offered up their house to one of the Greenbrier boy’s if he didn’t want to stay. I enjoyed my hike out and stopped at Indian Flats Falls before it started pouring again. Here is a shot of one of the middle drops
A nice shot on the way out of Lynn Camp in the mist.
I thought I might even get in a few hours on Sam’s since I had my fishing gear in the car and we finished up early, but it was piss pouring when I got to the trailhead so I just headed home.
I learned a ton and had a great time, and can’t wait to catch some Brookies in Lynn Camp in the not too distant future (maybe 3 years)! This trip was also a reminder that I need to join the Little River chapter of TU since they do so much for the park. I know this report was long, and I hope it was a bit informative and could give one an idea of what is really happening on the ground. I would like once again to thank the Park Service for their hard work and dedication, and for giving me the opportunity to giver back to a precious resource that many times is the only thing that keeps me somewhat sane. Ooh and thanks for all the other volunteers who helped out, and all you Troutfesters which raise huge amounts of money that make restoration programs like this possible!
Great report. Sounds like a lot of hardwork and a good time. Great Job.
Great report! Btw, how do you calculate the cfs of the stream?
Thanks for the report! That second fish pic from the top, the young of year one, sure looks like a young of year rainbow to me instead of a speck. I hope I am wrong in my fish ID cause that would be bad.
I'm pretty sure its a Brookie
It was a neat process
Very interesting report. How long do the fish stay "stunned" once they are shocked?
It varied quite a bit
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