06-11-2010, 09:07 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
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