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Old 03-24-2010, 07:02 PM
ifish4wildtrout's Avatar
ifish4wildtrout ifish4wildtrout is online now
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Default Hundreds of Years Ago

Before our streams were stocked with browns and rainbows, what kind of fish were in the middle elevation streams? Would it have just been chubs, dace, etc?

Was it just brook trout up high, and small mouth and sunfish lower, and not much in between? Were brook trout living much lower then since there were no trout species to compete with?

Just curious, I wonder about these kinds of things.
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Old 03-24-2010, 07:23 PM
FishNHunt FishNHunt is offline
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I have also wondered just how far down river specs came "back in the day" before even white man. I would guess going back that far that the water was probably favorable (temp wise) to sustain specs much farther down stream. There was most likely lots more tree cover creating more shade on the river and the earth temp was probably cooler as well. Heck I don't know but, I've often thought the same things and that's my personal conclusion. I have also wondered just exactly how did fish get above these natural fish barriers? In some cases they would have had to have been there before the water falls were created.
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Old 03-25-2010, 09:32 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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FishNHunt--Obviously there are no provable answers to your questions, but I will venture forth with some theories.
First of all, there's no doubt specks were once found in the Smokies at much lower elevations than is the case today. There are plenty of examples of that fact in print. In the pre-logging years (most logging took place in the period 1900-1930) they were plentiful far downstream from where found today.
As for getting above falls, natural transplantation could come in forms such as a kingfisher or hero dropping a live fish above a natural barrier, eggs getting moved by birds, or in some cases, bad flooding offering a way to get above a waterfall. Of course, if you go back to the period when all the glacial activity connected with the Laurentian Shield reached far to the south, you have lots of other forces in action.
Jim Casada
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Old 03-25-2010, 05:13 PM
canerod canerod is offline
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For some reason Jim I thought I remember learning that the glaciers did not travel much below central Pa.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:37 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Canerod--You may well be right, but even if that was the case the changes they would have wrought to areas a few hundred miles south would have been immense. I'm sure there's detailed information on how far they went somewhere (perhaps even in a book entitle The Geology of I-40 in a series I edited) but I'm not sure beyond that.
Just checked and the Park Service's website says the glaciers affected the Park without reaching it.
Jim Casada
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:45 AM
CinciVol CinciVol is offline
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If I remember my geology from my days at UT correctly, the most recent glaciation terminated right around what is now Cincinnati, Ohio around 20,000 years ago. That puts it 300+ miles north of the Smokies. However, as Jim noted, the position of that thousand ft thick ice sheet "just" to the north and the generally cooler global climate that caused the ice sheets to spread south would have had a dramatic effect on the biology and geomorphology in the smokies. For example, the "boulder fields" that you see in high elevation areas in the smokies are thought to be the result of frost heaving of the rocks during a period of time when the Smokies had a high elevation "tree line". The image I think of is the New Hampshire mountains today that are "bald" at high elevations. The vegetation beneath the tree line would have been boreal (think Canadian shield).
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