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  #11  
Old 06-08-2010, 10:12 PM
ZachMatthews ZachMatthews is offline
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I gather that the "other identifying characteristics" referred to in the news report were probably concrete-scraped pectorals. While larger trout do suffer the effects of antimycin or rotenone poisoning more slowly, I find it really hard to believe that a fourteen incher would have gone unnoticed by previous shocking crews (unless this was the first time this stream was shocked)?

It's doubly distressing in that it is now June, and that sexually mature rainbow may already have spawned. I am sure Steve and his crew are just sick about this.

My solution to horse traffic is more pragmatic: (1) make them wear bags like the horse taxis have to in every major city (that will cut down on the besmeared trails) and (2) limit them to a handful of routes. They may already have regs on that; I have never tried horsebacking a trail.

As far as stupidity goes, I saw a study the other day. On one wall of a building, researchers posted a sign saying "Please do not write on this wall." On the other they wrote "Writing on this wall is FORBIDDEN!" No one wrote on the first wall; the second got graffitied heavily. Some people will do a thing just because they've been told not to.

Zach
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  #12  
Old 06-08-2010, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
As far as stupidity goes,
I believe it was George Carlin who once said something to the order of.
when you consider how stupid the average person is, it becomes really frightening to realize that half of them are even more stupid.

I don't think that is the direct quote but the essence is there.

Jeff
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  #13  
Old 06-10-2010, 11:07 AM
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Slipstream Slipstream is offline
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To be rainbows of that size, these fish had to be stocked, since 14 inch native rainbows are not possible in this water. If they came from a NC or TN state hatchery (for example, they were caught out of hatchery supported water and put in a bucket) they are sterile and cannot reproduce. Hopefully, the damage may not be as bad as initially feared.

Mr. Casada asked about any shocking results from Bear Creek, and no one has responded. Bear Creek remains closed despite being poisoned and re-stocked a number of years ago. Have any shocking surveys been conducted on Bear Creek? Does it remain closed because of inadequate spec population count? Have rainbows also been detected here? The presence of rainbows in other re-stocked streams would indicate that either the poisoning methodolodgy is flawed or the rainbow terrorists are well organized.
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:11 PM
ZachMatthews ZachMatthews is offline
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Hey Slipstream -

Man, I really wish you were right about the rainbows being sterile but I'm afraid you may not be. The only sterile stocker rainbows are triploids (which have an extra chromosome). There's nothing inherently different about any other kind of stocker from a stream bred rainbow. They have grown to a larger size than would be possible in a Smokies river environment in a shorter period of time, but they are definitely capable of reproduction if given time.

I've caught a lot of wild mountain rainbows in the S.E. In my experience, the males become reproductively active at about 14" long while the females may wait a little while longer. But that's assuming a lot of food, etc. (like a stocker). If you put in a 12" hatchery stocker it would most likely be a couple years before it was ready to spawn, assuming it survived in its native environment.

Once it did spawn though, its offspring would stunt to fit the environment just like any other stream-born trout. They would hit sexual maturity in a few more years (3-4) and at a much smaller size. Thus we're back to where we started.

Those hatchery fish need to be caught out ASAP. Rainbows mostly spawn in spring but they will begin spawning runs in the mountains as early as December. If one of them was 14" long, it might be ready to start this year. Moreover, those fish will be in great shape as the only fish of their size left in the river.

No one has said so but this stocker might have been motivated by simple big fish greed: as the only rainbow in the river, starting at 14", it isn't out of the question for those fish to top 20" or more even in skinny water like Lynn Camp Prong.

Zach

PS:

Active spawner 14" rainbow (male):



(Caught the first week of January).
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:26 PM
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If we ban motorcycles, horses, cars and people from the park, it'd be the perfect place to get away and relax and enjoy the park. oh wait. nevermind.




Speaking of stockers...I believe I caught one a while back up near the shooting range on mingus. I thought I had a stellar rainbow from such a small creek, only to realize after looking at photos of the fish, that it was probably a stocker from cherokee. No major waterfall to climb that I know of, but that's quite a distance for a stocker who could have had better water down lower in the Luftee or Raven's Fork.

What makes one fish run that far upstream, to live in a tiny little pool no bigger than a coffee table? If it were the search for food, better oxygenated water, etc. - wouldn't they all be trying to get up there ( as they do in places like the Spring Run at Yellow Breeches in PA?)
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:49 PM
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Zach--Rainbows don't have to be anywhere near 14 inches in length to procreate. In fact, other than possibly Abrams Creek, rainbows of that size are few and far between in the Park (no matter what the size of the stream). I think that if you check with biologists or, for that matter, clean a few fish in spawning time (I don't know if you keep fish, of course), you'll find this is the case. In other words, those rainbows in Lynn Camp Prong are way beyond the point, size-wise, where they are capable of spawning.
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  #17  
Old 06-10-2010, 04:01 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Owl--I've caught "migratory" fish from Cherokee Reservation waters as far up as Kephart Prong and last summer I caught perhaps a dozen of them in the Tow String area. Clearly they do move a good ways, although as you suggest, the reason for going up a little stream like Mingus Creek is one I don't get. Just one of the endless mysteries which makes the sport so alluring.
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  #18  
Old 06-10-2010, 04:22 PM
ZachMatthews ZachMatthews is offline
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Jim -

With respect, or perhaps due to me being unclear, I think you're missing my point.

I am aware that rainbows can spawn at much smaller sizes. My point was, if this was a typical stocker put in at 12" or so, it would still have a couple years to go before it spawned *due to the faster growth of stockers* while they're in a hatchery environment.

A 12" stocker is no more than a couple years old, because it's had a lot of food thrown at it. A 12" mountain-bred wild fish would be very old, 7-8 years, and thus would already have several spawning seasons under its belt.

Stockers don't spawn in their first year in tailwaters either. For all intents and purposes, these are "tailwater" style stockers that have been put in a mountain stream. If they survive, they might hit sexual maturity in a couple years. That 14"er that was shocked up is further along and could possibly spawn this year.

I may not have been very clear in my first post, and if so, I apologize.

Zach
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:28 PM
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Sorry about my earlier post, my facts were wrong. Only the NC stocked rainbows are sterile. Apparently TN does not stock triploid trout, though I found it listed as one of the goals of their management plan.


"In a news statement from the folks at the North Carolina Wildlife Commission in Raleigh fisheries supervisor Mallory Martin has some interesting plans to share. Hatchery- raised trout stocked in NC streams beginning in 2009 won't experience parenthood. That's because all brook, brown, and rainbow trout will be sterile and unable to reproduce.

The NCWRC gradually has been shifting its production of trout from those that can produce fry to those that won't be able to spawn offspring.

The impetus for converting to sterile trout is to help preserve the native Southern Appalachian brook trout, said Mallory Martin, the commission's regional fisheries supervisor in Marion, NC."
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  #20  
Old 06-10-2010, 05:30 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Zach--Thanks for the clarification, but I guess I'll raise another question. Unless I'm off base, the life expectancy (on the long side) of a rainbow is 3-6 years at best, and I tend to think that super size for rainbows (which I would define as anything aboe 11 inches) is more a product of environment than longevity.
That being said, certainly precious few rainbows reach the length of those found in Lynn Camp Prong.
I find it curious that only one of them has been identified as a stocked fish. I can virtually guarantee that I can identify a stocked fish 99 times out of 100, although admittedly hatchery fish look much better than once was the case. Odds are, and very heavy odds, that they are all stocked fish.
As to the means of getting them there and "stocking" them, I suspect the scenario was something along the following lines:
(1) Buy rainbows from a trout farm--plenty of places to do that.
(2) Transport them, perhaps using some type of small aereated tank and perhaps a bit of the kind of chemicals bass fishermen use in live wells to keep fish alive, to the trailhead.
(3) Load them on a horse or, possibly but far less likely, in a backpack. I would note that the browns in Slickrock Creek are direct descendants of fish carried in using backpacks back in the 1930s.
(4) Dump the fish in the stream.
It would be pretty hard to catch someone doing this, and I'm not sure just how far a ranger could go with a search. I've never checked the regulations on that, but I can see it opening up an "unreasonable search" lawsuit if some litigious and innocent person was searched if the law isn't crystal clear.
The essence of the matter is that it is quite complicated and a prime example of how one or two *#$%^@ (I'll leave it to you and others to fill in the best descriptive term, because all that come to my mind would bring the censurious wrath of Paula down on my head) can make live miserable for all of us.
It is quite likely that the same mindset that used to see fires set regularly in the Park when I was growing up in Bryson City is at work here. There is a small, mean segment of locals, on both sides of the Park, who hold a deep, abiding hatred for it. That is sad indeed.
Jim Casada
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