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Old 02-18-2011, 08:03 AM
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buzzmcmanus buzzmcmanus is offline
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Default My summary of "An Update of Fisheries Activities in GSMNP"

I figured I'd start a new thread, since I didn't want to wade through the last one.

Matt Kulp and Steve Moore had an excellent presentation on the fishery in the GSMNP last night in Wears Valley. I would recomend it to anyone wanting to go in the future. Alot of information was covered, so here are a few of the highlights that interested me the most.

- 60% of the fish die annually in a typical year in the park.

- Most fish don't live beyond 3 years in age. The 9 and 10" fish you are releasing probably won't live much longer, so you might as well keep it.

- Terrestrials (sp.) make up most of a trout's diet, by a very large percentage. This has been told to me many times, I guess I just needed a biologist to pound it home.

- There have been 2 food habit studies of otters conducted in the park and both found that otters eat crayfish all months of the year.

- Of the fish that the otters eat, and they do eat fish, only 14.3% of them are trout.

- They have conducted fish population studies of watersheds before otter re-introduction and after, and have found that otters have little influence on trout populations within the park. Thay showed us the figures for many watersheds. Trout populations rose and fell with water events (drought, floods) and that there are as many fish now as there was before otters.

- As streams get smaller, otters eat less and less fish. Our brook trout streams are safe.

- They will be removing the brook trout from Lynn Camp Prong and re-poisoning it again this year in an effort to re-re-introduce the southern strain of brook trout.

I'm 100% satisfied that otters pose no threat to our fishery.

I'm sure I missed some other highlight that may have interest some of you, but you'll just have to go to the next one yourself.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:28 AM
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Excellent summary, Buzz. You take far better notes than I.

I got the impression they have conducted the fish population studies before otter re-introduction and after for most major watersheds, including Deep Creek, although there was not a slide specifically for it in the presentation. Matt said he would be happy to share the data for any or all streams that they studied.

The next Community Fisheries Presentation will be at Townsend City Hall on March 3 at 7pm. I encourage those that can to attend.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:34 AM
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JoeFred, I forgot you were going to be there. I would have come over and introduced myself if I would have know which one you were.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:42 AM
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I started to see if you were the person I had singled out, and should have. Were you about four rows back, next to whom I guessed was Hans?
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:47 AM
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Thanks Buzz, that's interesting information for sure. I am especially amazed at that 60% figure on mortality for a "typical" year so that means in a drought year it's way higher. Even more so in a 2nd or 3rd drought year I would think, it just drives home how tough the little fellers are at digging in and maintaining!!
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:00 AM
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Maybe I didn't read it right... They are going to kill all the fish in lynn camp again?? wow... Out of curiosity, what strain of brook trout did they put in? Whos job was it to obtain these brook trout? Does this man or woman still have a job? If so why? They cry about the posibility of someone adding rainbows to the creek, and they didn't even stock it with the right type fish themselves? What can we say, its a government job... Maybe we'll get to fish that area again in 30 or so years.. What a waste of time, money, and not to mention the thousands of aquatic organisms they are killing.
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:09 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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2weightfavorite--Like you, I am thunderstruck by this piece of information. We are talking tens of thousands of dollars and untold man hours. I thought the Park learned this lesson decades ago. Surely there is some explanation beyond "we are going to do it all again."
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:15 AM
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Buzz, thanks for taking the time to share some of the high-lights with us. Wish I could have made it.

Joe, thanks for posting the date for the next meeting.

Outside of predators, drought, floods, etc....... what were some other contributing factors pertaining to the short life spans?
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:15 AM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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Buzz thanks for the report. My mind at least is a bit more at ease on the Otter front but it is worth keeping an eye on over time like with anything. I was shocked about the plan to re-poison Lynn Camp prong again not sure how I feel about that. I am kind of thinking the restoration project should be ended after Lynn Camp is finally done. Does anyone know if any other streams are going to be restored or is this the last one? Overall I can't argue that it sounds like these guys know their business and I am impressed with all the specific details on the Otter situation in particular.
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:18 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Buzz--Thanks for the detailed report. I remain highly skeptical on the otters (certainly not 100% satisfied they pose no threat), and I'll give one specific example of why. How can the biologists determine that 14.3 percent of the diet of Park otters is trout unless they are (1) tracking otters constantly with a video or (2) killing otters to examine their stomach contents? The answer is obvious. They can't, because they aren't doing either of those things. When I see very specific percentages like this, I immediately get dubious. Moreover, I doubt, and doubt seriously, that there has been a lot of effort put into the otter research. Were you given any information on the specific streams surveyed, how it was done, when it was done, and who did it?
I do intend to contact Matt and ask for the specific studies and, more importantly, their methodology. I have found him very open and forthcoming. The information on methodology is crucial, as is the extent of the studies in terms of sampling.

My continuing skepticism notwithstanding, I appreciate your taking time to share what you heard. I've commented elsewhere on the re-poisoning of Lynn Camp Prong. That is, in my view, a travesty and someone screwed up big-time.

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