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  #21  
Old 07-04-2010, 07:31 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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nvr2L8--Sams Creek is certainly a success story. I'm less certain about Road Prong. Was it ever part of the restoration program? It's had specks (and rainbows)as long as I can remember, and rainbows are removed with restoration. Maybe something was done above one or another of the falls on Road Prong, and I'm sure someone here will know. If so, however, I just don't remember it.
For me, the two current projects, Lynn Camp Prong and Bear Creek, will tell a lot one way or th other. I would also add that Mother Nature may well be leading the finest restoration program of all. Specks are now found, as I have pointed on on this forum before, in a number of places where they weren't a few decades back.
As for restoration projects, I haven't heard a peep about Bear Creek, and that project pre-dates Lynn Camp Prong. Does anyone know details about what's going on with Bear Creek?
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  #22  
Old 07-04-2010, 12:09 PM
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nvr2L8 nvr2L8 is offline
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Jim,

In the lower part of Road Prong, accessible from WPLP, there are, indeed, bows just as you will find them in Sams Creek below the falls. From the fourth bridge of the Chimneys Trail and up, you will not find a single rainbow. Specs rule. So somewhere between the second bridge and the fourth is the unscalable natural barrier that keeps bows out of the upper reaches. If I'm not mistaken, Road Prong was a closed stream up until a few years ago and my assumption was that this was for a restoration project.

Like Bear Creek, a little known TU restoration project of a few years back was Mannis Branch. Bows have been replaced by specs there as well. Mannis is a skinny creek from its lowest reaches and not the draw that many other streams are but I've been assured that it is full of specs, particularly in its upper waters.
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  #23  
Old 07-04-2010, 07:07 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Charlie--I'm intimately familiar with Road Prong--I fish it at least a couple of times every year--and you are right about the distribution of specs and bows. My point was that I don't recall it having been the focus of a restoration effort. As for being closed, yes it was at one time. But so were literally dozens of other Park streams, and the vast majority of them have not received restoration efforts. Many aren't suitable inasmuch as they don't have the right kind of barrier (of course Road Prong does, in fact multiple ones). They just had natural speck populations, and Park biologists finally realized that human predation (i. e., catching and keeping specks) has no significant impact on the stream population That's why streams were re-opened.
Bear Creek isn't terribly skinny water and that's why I'd like to have a status report. It's been long enough since it was poisoned for there to have been a follow up, but if it has taken place I've heard nothing about it.
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  #24  
Old 07-04-2010, 10:50 PM
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nvr2L8 nvr2L8 is offline
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Jim, check with Charlie Chmielewski of TU at charlieflyfish@gmail.com. He might be your best source of info on any TU/Park Service restoration effort.

May have been a bad assumption on the Road Prong closure. Thanks for the follow-up.
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  #25  
Old 07-05-2010, 07:24 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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nvr2L8--Thanks. I'll drop the guy an e-mail and also send one to Matt Kulp. My interest goes beyond the personal, although that's keen enough. I'm working on a book project on specks. It's still somewhat vaguely defined but will follow a similar path to my book on the Smokies in terms of approach and coverage. In other words there will be considerable history, lots of anecdotal information, and detailed focus on specks. A key part of the latter area will obviously be things such as the restoration project, problems with Anakeesta Rock, the interaction between specks and man (logging in yesteryear, the Road to Nowhere in today's world, the issue of long-time stream closures an why that came to an end, etc.).
Incidentlly, if forum readers have thoughts on any of this please share them.
Jim Casada
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P. S. You may (or may not be wrong on Road Prong). I was just saying that if it was a focus of restoration efforts, I never knew about it. Surely some reader knows the answer.
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  #26  
Old 07-06-2010, 10:51 AM
TNBigBore TNBigBore is offline
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Back in the 90s when I was with TWRA we found that brook trout were often outcompeting rainbows in some streams and were gaining ground so to speak. Other streams showed brook trout losing some ground to rainbows, but not much. There was an overall net gain in miles of brook trout streams over the course of the 90s from what we found. This did not include the Left Fork of Hampton Creek restoration and similar. My best guess as to why the brookies seem to be doing better in competing with rainbows has to do with forest succession. I think the forest canopy and the streams themselves have returned to conditions similar to the pre-logging era. There are so many possible variables that could affect population dynamics though we may never know.
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  #27  
Old 07-06-2010, 12:06 PM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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Jim your book idea sounds great I will be waiting to buy one! I have noticed that often times I can catch specks in slow or still water way off the main flow of the stream. I almost never catch bows in those types of "dead" looking muddy areas it seems they prefer staying closer to the high fast flow spots. Specks seem to be able to tolerate those "stagnant" type pools better for some reason. I am wondering if that might give them an advantage when there are drought conditions like a couple of years ago to survive when the bows might just die more easily in those conditions.
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  #28  
Old 07-06-2010, 05:13 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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TnBigBore--I concur that reforestation and a diminution of erosion as compared to the period up to the 1970s or so (there were still lots of fields then which are now fully overgrown) is a significant factor. I think the same situation has adversely affected smallmouth. I know for sure that bronzebacks aren't nearly as widespread in Park waters as was the case when I was younger, whereas specks have greatly extended their range, and by no means all of that has come at the hands of man. Thanks for the insight.
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  #29  
Old 07-06-2010, 05:18 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Crockett--I have noticed the same thing and will add a bit. I've observed, over time, that specks have a lot of brown trout-like habits in terms of habitat preference. But I would add to that the fact they seem to be comfortable almost anywhere the water has a bit of depth. That incudes still water and holding spots right out in the open that neither a self-respecting rainbow or brown would use, except maybe at dawn or dusk. Good stuff and certainly grist for my mill. I hope others with some experience with specks in the southern Applachians will chip in. No man is an island, and nowhere is that more accurate than when it comes to insight from other anglers. I might not always agree, but I always pause, ponder, and think about such offerings as you and TNBigBore have given.
Jim Casada
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  #30  
Old 07-07-2010, 12:28 PM
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JoeFred JoeFred is offline
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As I worked on a map of upper Deep Creek, I found it quite interesting that there are a couple of short stretches high up in which the NPS Fishereis Management biologists found browns and specks together, but... no rainbows.

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