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Thread: Big Park fish

  1. #11
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    Jul 2009
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    Knoxville, TN
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    338

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    Bugg, that is a beautiful brown! We see big fish up in the park regularly, but rarely out of the water ;-) Thanks for sharing your great photos.

  2. #12
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    Jun 2009
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    Rock Hill, SC
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    Silvercreek--Matt was quite receiptive to my concerns, and I have found him to be a good listener on a consistent basis. I don't think he had given the matter much thought, but the correlation between the fact that the first (andultimately, the heaviest) stocking of otters taking place on Abrams Creek and the complete disappearance of browns there did strike a responsive note with him. The same was true of my relaying to him the fact that the N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission lost thousands of trout at their Armstrong Creek hatchery thanks to otter depredations. There's no doubt about their efficiency, and a family can kill huge numbers of fish. Jim Casada

  3. #13
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    Jan 2006
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    Tallahassee, Florida
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    Otters are not just partial to trout...a family showed up in the small lake at my Dad's retirement village and the bass population took a major hit....years later the size and number has yet to recover....eventually the gators took care of the otters....the circle of life.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    633

    Default Otters!

    I'm with you on the otters, they are fish killing machines. I saw three on Snowbird last time I was over, apparently mom, dad and pup. I bet mom and pop weighed 20+ lbs. They make a really destinctive chirp to communicate, or maybe sound an alarm. It almost sounds like the call of a little green heron, wish I could describe it.... high pitched, sharp, sort of a whistle. I ended up between them; mom and pop upstream and the pup downstream, a lot of that chirping was going on until they reunited. They continued down the creek. I saw video footage of one chasing down a rainbow one time, the trout never had a chance. Then while in florida a couple of years ago, I saw one drag a catfish up on the bank and eat it. The cat was easily 5 lb.
    A few pics, sorry they aren't the best, they just won't stay still!




    Hope those come out alright.

    Best,
    John

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Louisville, TN
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    536

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    there is certainly no doubt that otters can catch and eat a ton of fish, but i dont think we need to worry about fish populations in the park because the otters and trout have coexisted for a million years up there. I do know one thing, when im fishing and i see an otter, i go to a new spot

  6. #16
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    Jun 2009
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    Rock Hill, SC
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    Elikhaircaddis--I have to take issue with your statement that otters and trout have always coexisted in the Park. There are two inaccuracies in that statement. First, there were no trout in what is now the Park until a century or so ago when rainbows and browns wer first stocked (specks are a char, not a trout). Second, otters were, according to all available evidence, totally extirpated by settlers before the Park was created.
    If you take that information one additional step, it is rainbows and browns, far more than specks, which are suffering from the ravages of otters. I hope you are right but I greatly fear coming years will see the situation worsen appreciably. It already has as regards big browns, although drought is doubtless a factor as well. Jim Casada

  7. #17
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    Jan 2006
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Being originally from Sweden, where otters have been present since beginning of time. The nutrient poor lakes are choke full of yellow perch among other fish, and guess what I saw otters all the time. If anything they might help the population to recover from stunted growth. Would be a good thing if they eat all the 5 inch bows in my opinion.

  8. #18
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    Jun 2009
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    Rock Hill, SC
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    Hans--I'll have to disagree, and disagree strongly, with your sentiments about five-inch rainbows. While I'll acknowledge some Park streams have at times been overpopulated with smaller fish (a good argument for creeling fish when you want to enjoy some trout), right now I think those smaller fish are particularly important. Why? Because from my observations this summer, and In recent months I've done more fishing in the Park than I have at any time for 20 years (almost every day in the latter part of May, all of June, all of July, and up to the 9th of August), and on all streams I've fished I've found a dearth of the seven- to 10-inch class of rainbows. I think the explanation is drought the past two summers, but I know for sure the recruitment is need.
    Also, from all I can learn and what N. C. biologists tell me, it isn't the little trout but the trophy-sized ones which form the first or primary prey of otters. I'm betting, if you fish regularly, that you've been seeing fewer big browns in the last three or four years. I know for a fact that I am, and in one formerly wonderful N. C. trout stream (although it is outside the Park), Big Santeetlah, large wild browns are simply gone. Ask any veteran angler in Graham County and they'll readily confirm this. Jim Casada

  9. #19
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    Jan 2006
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Jim,

    I don't know you in person but I do know of you. I respect your experience and your standing in the outdoor media world. With that said, I'm not sure I believe that the otters are such a threat to bigger fish. I don't have any data to back it up but I have fished several high altitude streams at the same time as you (although not as many times as you), I caught many rainbows smaller than your bracket of 7-10 inch fish. In fact the streams I fished seem to have the same amount of bows in the fingerling classes as always. Of course this is on the TN side.

    I saw otters back in 1994 on Abrams when I first moved here and the browns were gone at about that time. I don't believe the otters are discriminating against the bows. There seem to be the same amount of 10-12 inch bows on Abrams as always.

    As for Browns being gone. I can't argue with your evidence on that one, although I'm not sure it's all simple as saying it's the Otter. I guess I'll just have to accept that we agree to disagree on that one.

    Respectfully,

    Hans Ahlstedt

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Dickson Co. TN
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    Why were otters brought back in the first place?
    I know years ago some were released in Harpeth River at the Narrows,but I don't know if they reproduced,since I don't get on that river much anymore I wonder.

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