I'm building hatchery creek!!!!
Its been a long time since ive visited/posted on here. Between having babies and work, ive been so busy its not even funny. Ive barely had time to fish unfortunately, let alone make it down to the Smoky's to get a trip in. But finally as fate would have it, Ill be making it down for a trip next week for 4 days in the backcountry.... FINALLY!!!! after 2.5 yrs.
So I guess its also fate that I found this post upon my return.
My name is Brad,I live in Lexington, Ky and I am the Field Superintendent for the EcoGro/Ridgewater team (stream restortion Contractor/designers/speclists). Us along with Stantec (engineering firm) were awarded the contract for the Hatchery Creek Design Build Project last fall. I have personally been involved with the design process, and as the only true trout bum from both companies I have been a popular fella...lol. We finished the final design end of March/First of April. Construction has been slightly delayed as we have had alot of hoops to jump through with this project being on Corps. Property. As it stands we are awaiting for the Environmental Assessment to go to 30 day public notice, then hopefully we will be awarded our 404 permit (the last of many), and can begin construction. Hopefully around the first of June as long as there aren't any more set backs.
Now thats out of the way......down to the nitty gritty.
As far as the specifics: Presently the discharge from the hatchery, at a constant 28 CFS and 45-50 degress, goes down roughly 400 ft of a riprap channel, dumps down a concrete pipe into what we call the ravine that then dumps into the Cumby after flowing about 900 ft. What we will do is build a clay core/rock protected dam across the ravine in order to get the flow across. The NEW stream will then wind its way down the valley for about 5800 ft and dump into the Cumby through a series of step pools that will act as a fish ladder so the big hawgs in the river can access the creek to spawn. More on the spawning later.
As far as the creek itself between points A & B: We have designed a migration barrier between the upper 400 ft. and the rest of the stream so that the bigger fish don't make it up into that area and eat the stockers. This area will also be re-established as a more natural stream and the current regs. will remain the same and THE ONLY AREA OF THE STREAM THAT WILL BE STOCKED (more later). As far as the rest of the channel, Its like nothing most people will think of as being a trout stream. Its going to consist of numerous braided channel sections and connected wetlands. The grade change for much of the stream ranges from .01 to .1% Given the grades, and after many discussions, we decided to kind of model the Deschutes. Its going to be slower and more sluggish stream, and I picture it resembling North Eastern, beaver dam Brookie steams. Not to worry, there will only be between a 3-5 degree increase in water temp. base on our temp. models.
As Field Super. I am in charge of all surveying, grade shooting and work right beside the excavator during construction telling him what goes where. So essentially I'm responsible for building the creek. As such, Ive been given about 1000 ft. to construct a fisherman's dream stream. This area has more of a 1.0-1.5% (roughly) grade and create velocities that will allow us to create more of an idealistic trout stream. Steeper riffles, bouldery pocket water runs, deep pools etc. The last roughly 600 ft is about a 30 ft decent into the Cumberland river or about a 5- 6% grade. It will be a series of step pools to act as a natural fish ladder so that trout can migrate up from the Cumberland. During generation pool, about half this section will be completely submerged by the the river itself, making easier for the trout to make it up, but also makes it very difficult to design.
One of the main goals of this project: TO MAKE KY'S FIRST SELF SUSTAINING TROUT FISHERIES. The goal is for this stream to never be stocked. It is to act as a headwater stream for the trout in the Cumberland to migrate into to spawn. We are bringing in natural river washed gravel, specifically screened for ideal size for trout spawning. This gravel will be used to dress a certain percentage of the riffles, specifically the glides and ideal trout spawning areas. Its expensive, and thats why there is only a percentage of the riffles/glides that will get it. As a little research, we will also use just regular quarry limestone (roughly 57 sized) thats more angular to see if trout will also spawn in it. The braided channels and connected wetlands sections are great rearing habit for fingerling and juvenile trout and give them refuge from the bigger, hungry trout. The goal is also that many of these will remain in the stream most of their lives and become "resident" trout. These areas also offer numerous other benefits.
According to the state Trout Biologist, given the 3 familes of trout stocked in the Cumberland; Brooks, Browns and Bows, and the several different species of each, its very possible for there to be active spawning about 10 mos. out of the year. I'm personally a little skeptical of that. But if he's right there should always be trout in the stream no matter what.
THE REGS: The upper 400 ft will remain stocked and all regs will remain the same as a put/take fishery. Still have the kids "Catch a Rainbow" fishing derby, handicap access, and allow bait fishing. BUT, from the end of that, From the migration barrier to the Cumberland will be a Catch and Release, artificial fly/lure only stream year round. KY's first stream with these regs. One thing that it has going for it is there is little to no vehicle access and will only be accessible by foot which hopefully will deter alot of lazy bait chuckers. It will also not be an easy stream to fish, especially as it grows in and the veg takes over in the next few years. Also making it difficult is that fact that there is only about half a foot the top of the banks from the waters edge, which will make it a boggy mess and difficult to walk along the banks.
This is not a stream designed for bait fishermen to just pull up and start pulling out fish. ALOT of money is being spent for this and is the first of its kind in the nation. Something like this, at this magnitude has never been done. The man in charge of this project for KDFWR is also an avid fly fisherman and intends for it to be maintained as such. And given my passion for trout and fly fishing, is a project im proud to be a part of.
Well, I hope that answers some questions for you fellas, and if you have anymore don't hesitate to ask. I will try to answer to the best of my ability. I'll try to keep you updated also as to the progress and when construction will start. This truely is a dream project for me and im super excited about it and can't wait to get started!!!!!
Tight lines and High Sticks.
"All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish" -Harold F. Blaisdell