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Thread: Question about an article about last years drought???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Question about an article about last years drought???

    Hi all,


    I was talking to a co-worker today. He said there was an article within the last week that said last years drought killed up to 75% (or something like that) of the Smokey's rainbow trout population. I didn't see the article and I am wondering if it was in the Daily Times or the Knoxville News. Has anyone seen or read this article?

    Could this really have happened? That is a very big number if that is the case seeming how the big fish took the drought the hardest. This would take many years to correct without re-stocking.

    Correct me if I am wrong on both accounts….


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    -- Within the Park, there will be no restocking.

    -- Natural mortality is higher than most people think, so even if a 75% mortality is attributed to the drought, it won't be as dramatic a decline in the population as you might believe.

    -- Oftentimes, this type of event actually improves the population after a year or two.

    How do I know these things? I don't.
    Please bear in mind that I have no idea what I am talking about.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    If Jack is right I would agree that it wouldn't be as bad.
    Less fish to fight over food with.
    Not as much stress when mating and laying eggs.
    More food per fish so the growth rate will increase at a faster rate.
    Plus the strongest fish survive which make for a better breed of fish in the park.

    Hopefully someone will answer your initial question. Sorry.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Hendersonville, NC


    I received an email from matt moore last year and he explained some of the effects of the trout on fish population. While i don't remember if said 75% of adult rainbows were killed, i know it was a large percentage and definitely over 50%. That being said, i don't believe you will tell a difference. I also remember a study somewhere that said that fisherman only effect a very miniscule percentage of the fish population, so don't worry. However, brook trout and brown trout were found to be basically unaffected by the drought.

    Like others have said, the streams were at their carrying capacity before the drought, so now that some have died there is more food per fish and hopefully bigger fish. I really don't think we'll tell a bit of difference though.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    This is why I catch and release and will continue to for the most part (if I'm back country, I may take one or two for dinner). Let them get a little bigger and better IMO.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Davidson and Bryson City, NC


    As I said in another post, I had the opportunity to hear Steve Moore, the Park fisheries biologist speak a couple of weeks ago. A large part of his presentation was on the drought. Here are some of the things I recall about rainbows:

    There are very few 4 year old rainbows in the Park. Rainbow diets are strictly insects. The Park is not particularly rich in insects (try to convince me of that when the knats are flying in the humidity of mid-summer), therefore once they get to be a certain size and their food requirements increase, they burn more energy sitting in the feeding lanes than they can take in. And they die off.

    That's essentially what happened to the 3 year olds and to a lesser extent, the two year olds during the drought. Their food source dried up and they died off. But that left what little food was available to the one year olds (YOY in his terminology) and they prospered. Bottom line is there should be just as many rainbows in the park as in prior years. But they will be smaller.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Tallahassee, Florida


    As I recall the hardest impact was on the mature rainbows in the lower elevations. I prefer to look at this as a natural selection process....the gene pool of the survivors will better equip the next generations for such future occurances....the other thing is that these rivers are shown to have a certain level of food supplies....with fewer fish to compete the surviving fish should have an increased growth level....since there is currently a heavy emphasis on "catch and release" there is no havesting taking place to keep the populations in check.....all you have to do is look to the example of your little farm ponds....where there is a limited food source and there is no harvesting what you end up with is stunted fish....

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