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Thread: Big Park fish

  1. #21
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    Jim,

    Do you regard the otters that have been reintroduced to some of the local tailwater, such as the Clinch, to be as much of a nuisance as they are in the park? Obviously, there are many more trout since they stock so many on the Clinch, yet there are very very many large browns still in those waters.

  2. #22
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    Rock Hill, SC
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    Carlito--The trout which are most vulnerable to otter depredation appear to be those in relatively confined areas (i. e., small rivers and streams). They can't escape as readily, and just like it is easier for fishermen to identify likely holding spots in smaller water, so it is easier for otters to know where trout are likely to be.
    I'll give you a solid, specific example. The steelhead in Lake Santeetlah are pretty much safe until they follow ages old instincts in the fall and stack up at the mouth of feeder streams such as Big Snowbird. Then the otters have a field day. Jim Casada

  3. #23
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    Mid Tennessee
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    Stupid question. Do otters eat carp? The Stones River in Nashville is full of carp, and you would think they would be an easy catch for otters. However on the occasions when I have seen otters eating fish, it has always been shad, bass or bluegill. I watched an otter eat a bass of around 14 inches last week. Yesterday I saw five ottters in the Stones river.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by silvercreek View Post
    Stupid question. Do otters eat carp? The Stones River in Nashville is full of carp, and you would think they would be an easy catch for otters. However on the occasions when I have seen otters eating fish, it has always been shad, bass or bluegill. I watched an otter eat a bass of around 14 inches last week. Yesterday I saw five ottters in the Stones river.
    I wouldn't eat those carp either!

  5. #25
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    Silvercreek--While I have heard biologists say, repeatedly, that otters eat "trash" fish almost exclusively, everything I have ever observed argues otherwise. What you saw simply echoes my visual experience (if I can mix sense metaphors), and to suggest that otters in a trout stream are only going to eat knottyheads, red horse, or hog suckers is nonsense.
    As for another question someone else posed regarding why otters were reintroduced, the Park would say it was because they were original residents of the region. On the other hand, the Park stocked rainbows and northern strain brook trout for many years, and brown trout on at least one occasion, thereby running counter to their own "dictates" about indigenous species versus others. It's quite a conundrum, and obviously I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about otters.
    I know enough about the way the Park approaches things to realize its about as likely they'll do something about otters as it is that they will cease highly destructive horse traffic on Park trails. But as someone who cherishes Park streams and wild fish, I find it extremely worrisome. Jim Casada

  6. #26
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    Halifax, VA
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    After seeing them procrastinate action on the cabins and hotel at Elkmont until the desired effect was achieved, I don't put anything past them!

  7. #27
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    Dickson Co. TN
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    As much as I love nature and most things wild,some animals that are reintroduced can become problems....just because they(otters) were there for centuries doesn't mean it's a great idea to bring them back....but try to tell that to officials.
    In my 56 years I have seen many animals brought back that today are so plentiful as to be a pest.I was over 20 years old before I saw my first wild whitetail deer,and later it was wild turkeys,and we all know that they're everywhere now,and to some people they are a nuisance....and beavers....I know of a large tract of land here in this county where the beavers dammed a small drainage ditch at a culvert next to the hwy. so many times,that after tearing out dam after dam,the hwy. dept. gave up,and now there's somebody's land that has been turned into a lake and swamp and has been designated a "wetland",all in 20 years.
    As far as otters in trout streams,I'm no biologist,but after observing animals in the wild for years,I know they won't be selective in their feeding to exclude trout from their diet.....common sense tells me that.

  8. #28
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    You have to keep in mind that years ago when otter where in the area, there were probvably people running trap lines and catching a few.

  9. #29
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    Kytim--Precisely, and interestingly enough, that's a part of the solution the N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission is suggesting--urge trappers to get busy (and as someone who trapped in my younger days and still follows the fur market a bit, I kno otter pelts do fetch pretty good "cash money." However, trapping is out of the question in the Park and that's why I fear things might run amok and already are to a certain extent. One writer of my acquaintance commented in print, back in the early stages of introduction, to the effect that hardy mountain folks worked for a century to get rid of otters and now the Park is bringing them back. The wrath of the Feds descended on him. My concerns are both practical and selfish--on the practical side, what happens when otters work their way into headwaters, as they are beginning to do, and start making tasty snacks of the specs which have involved so much expenditure of energy and money; on the selfish side, I just hate to see fishing populations greatly diminished. That has already happened on two streams I know and cherish which lie not far outside the Park, and I fear so few folks actively trap today that even in state waters the problem will only worsen. Ideally mine will be a gross overreaction, but based on the trend I've seen the last five years I fear that's not the case. Jim Casada

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