Trout Id

Disagree. Although acid deposition is a problem on many western facing slopes and high points (especially near the Tennessee border), higher elevation streams are verified better quality due to cooler temperatures, higher oxygen saturation and less sediment. That is without question.

This is straight from the NCWRC page:

'Wild brook trout are most abundant in isolated, high-altitude headwater streams where the water is free of pollution and rich in oxygen. Brook trout prefer streams with stable water flows, silt-free gravel for spawning'



If stocked fish were a problem for specks, then their own fingerlings would cease to exist. The reason they used to exist below 2000' feet where they don't now is because of water quality and the reason they are beginning to pop up now in lower places especially in the GSMNP and NF, is due to conservation efforts and habitat restoration to improve water quality, such as dumping limestone sand to balance ph levels.

https://wlos.com/news/local/forest-service-what-looks-like-dumping-is-actually-fighting-pollution
We'll have to agree to disagree on some of that. I think specks could live just about anywhere in the GSMNP right now except for the lower reaches of the Little River, Abrams Creek, and a couple other bigger, lower, warmer stretches. The main reason they don't nowadays is not poor water quality, it's competition from rainbows and browns. I have personally seen rainbows and browns completely take over a couple of really good speck streams in a matter of just a few years after they somehow got around a natural barrier where they weren't before. The GSMNP over the last several years have been eliminating rainbows and browns and restoring specks in quite a few creeks with good natural barriers, all successfully so far as long as they get completely rid of the other trout.

On the other hand, without the rainbows and browns, there would not have been any trout fishing at all in much of the area for the hundred+years it's taken for the land to heal from industrial logging and farming. And I totally agree that a lot of NC, TN, and GA outside the high-water-quality areas like the national park and wilderness areas would have no trout fishing if not for the stocked fish.

I love wild rainbows and browns, don't get me wrong. But it would sure be nice to see some more bigger creeks with native specks only where the water quality is there. I'd love to see some of those 14"-16" specks that used to be here in my grandpa's day before they killed the creeks and restocked them with bows.
 

northgeorgiasportsman

Moderator
Staff member
I think competition from browns and rainbows has to play a role in the absence of specks in certain streams. How else do you explain the disparity in speck numbers above and below a barrier waterfall? Does the water quality magically change below the falls so that specks can't survive? No, the falls keep the browns and rainbows out and the specks above the falls can thrive.
 
I think competition from browns and rainbows has to play a role in the absence of specks in certain streams. How else do you explain the disparity in speck numbers above and below a barrier waterfall? Does the water quality magically change below the falls so that specks can't survive? No, the falls keep the browns and rainbows out and the specks above the falls can thrive.
Nobody ever said it didn't play a role, it just didn't play the bigger role in the issue with modern day speck populations.

Population isolation isn't the answer either but yes physical barriers do work sometimes, but physical barriers naturally separate many different species in the same ecosystem so one isn't necessarily indicative of the other. Just as there are physical barriers that keep rainbows and browns from competing for resources with brook trout, there are streams that have neither rainbow or brown where specks are struggling to thrive.
 
I love wild rainbows and browns, don't get me wrong. But it would sure be nice to see some more bigger creeks with native specks only where the water quality is there. I'd love to see some of those 14"-16" specks that used to be here in my grandpa's day before they killed the creeks and restocked them with bows.
I 100% agree. 100%!

My point is that right now it's a pipe dream until we improve habitat on a wide scale, and eliminating stocked fish will only cut down on the opportunity to fish, not cause a boom in speck populations because the areas being stocked currently are not the areas where brook trout inhabit. The wild waters of the GSMNP and the NF where much of the habitat improvement is taking place, there is no stocking.

Like I said in post #74, the damage of introducing rainbows and browns as wild trout was done a century ago and there is no going back. I also think that just as wild browns and rainbows can coexist, so to can the brook but the only thing holding them back is water quality and temperatures. Study after study has confirmed that the brook trout is least tolerant to high temperatures whereas brown trout are more tolerant to higher temperatures and polluted waters. I don't believe in many coincidences in life and a fish that is most susceptible to warming waters, disappearing in an era where water qualities and water temperatures continuously decline, doesn't sound like a coincidence in which we should be blaming the brook and rainbow. They have their part, I agree, but aren't the root problem.
 
I 100% agree. 100%!

My point is that right now it's a pipe dream until we improve habitat on a wide scale, and eliminating stocked fish will only cut down on the opportunity to fish, not cause a boom in speck populations because the areas being stocked currently are not the areas where brook trout inhabit. The wild waters of the GSMNP and the NF where much of the habitat improvement is taking place, there is no stocking.

Like I said in post #74, the damage of introducing rainbows and browns as wild trout was done a century ago and there is no going back. I also think that just as wild browns and rainbows can coexist, so to can the brook but the only thing holding them back is water quality and temperatures. Study after study has confirmed that the brook trout is least tolerant to high temperatures whereas brown trout are more tolerant to higher temperatures and polluted waters. I don't believe in many coincidences in life and a fish that is most susceptible to warming waters, disappearing in an era where water qualities and water temperatures continuously decline, doesn't sound like a coincidence in which we should be blaming the brook and rainbow. They have their part, I agree, but aren't the root problem.
I agree with a lot of that, but I also say that if we had never introduced rainbows and browns, I bet you would see a vastly greater range of native brook trout right now re-inhabiting suitable waters as the forests regrow and damage to the land heals. As myself and Wes both said, water quality or temperature doesn't suddenly change at a waterfall, but the species composition certainly does. It goes from almost no specks to suddenly thousands of them thriving and doing well. The only difference is the lack of other trout species. I don't know why, but brook trout here just don't compete well against other trout. The certain thing is that we will never have good populations of native brook trout in streams where rainbows and browns thrive, regardless of water quality or temperature.

Cutthroats are facing much the same problem in places out west. And brook trout (although northern strain,) have displaced other native trout like cutthroats in some watersheds.
I agree that browns and rainbows are here to stay. There is simply no way to get rid of them at this point, without the presence of a physical barrier. And I wouldn't want to in most cases, but there are places that it would be nice.
 
Interesting concept, but what impact will they have on the native fish?
They don’t if they are in Tailwaters.

If they had never stocked browns and rainbows, there would be a lot more native trout in GA, NC, SC, and TN now. And I like to catch browns and rainbows. They have devastated the native speckled brook trout, though. Some areas of VA have regulations where all rainbows and browns caught must be killed. They are maintaining a good population of native brook trout. I think the southern Appalachians would be swarming with 10"-16" native speckled trout right now if there were no browns or rainbows after the forests have grown back from the industrial logging from the turn of the last century. Some places like the Hooch tailwaters, browns and rainbows are probably a good thing, because the water is too cold now to support native species.
Tailwaters and DH streams would really be the only place you could put them. For example the Georgia DNR wastes hundreds of thousands of Brooks, browns & bows stocking the Hooch DH which is getting blown out again this year. It’s poor use of a resource in my based on old management styles with zero scientific data done to support the validity of the Hooch DH. That’s just one example though.
I asked Hunter Roop if it was possible to restock the upper Hooch with brookies, preferably SABT to see how they’d fare. He mentioned from what he has read the reason they stock in the DH but not the upper section was based on shocking papers/tech bulletins from the 90’s.
Kentucky stocks them in tailwaters only.

I'd assume Georgia would do the same?

https://kentucky.gov/Pages/Activity-stream.aspx?n=FishandWildlife&prId=374
Exactly what and where I was thinking. I love the SABT’s & would enjoy seeing more stream restoration occur so they can be more prolific.
 
Disagree. Although acid deposition is a problem on many western facing slopes and high points (especially near the Tennessee border), higher elevation streams are verified better quality due to cooler temperatures, higher oxygen saturation and less sediment. That is without question.

This is straight from the NCWRC page:

'Wild brook trout are most abundant in isolated, high-altitude headwater streams where the water is free of pollution and rich in oxygen. Brook trout prefer streams with stable water flows, silt-free gravel for spawning'



If stocked fish were a problem for specks, then their own fingerlings would cease to exist. The reason they used to exist below 2000' feet where they don't now is because of water quality and the reason they are beginning to pop up now in lower places especially in the GSMNP and NF, is due to conservation efforts and habitat restoration to improve water quality, such as dumping limestone sand to balance ph levels.

https://wlos.com/news/local/forest-service-what-looks-like-dumping-is-actually-fighting-pollution
Every biologist I’ve talked to from Georgia & NC mentioned that the loss of the American Chestnut tree had more to do with habitat degradation than losing the hemlocks. Hemlocks produce tannins and acidify soil and streams. Chestnuts were so dense and their nuts so nutritious that when the nuts would break down it would balance the PH of the streams and provide additional nutrients missing. That combined with the loss of topsoil, that was balanced with nutrients, from mining and logging are the biggest factors to overcome.
 
Every biologist I’ve talked to from Georgia & NC mentioned that the loss of the American Chestnut tree had more to do with habitat degradation than losing the hemlocks. Hemlocks produce tannins and acidify soil and streams. Chestnuts were so dense and their nuts so nutritious that when the nuts would break down it would balance the PH of the streams and provide additional nutrients missing. That combined with the loss of topsoil, that was balanced with nutrients, from mining and logging are the biggest factors to overcome.
You'll get plenty of different answers depending on who you talk to.

Panthertown Valley is known for it's tea colored water due to pine needles, bark and tannins steeping in the stream from the decaying flora in the surrounding bogs and it hasn't affected the habitat of the brook. As a matter of fact, it might be one of the best brook trout fisheries remaining in the Southeast. The hemlock on the other hand was notorious for it's riparian growth perpendicular to mountain streams and the shade that it provided.

In this study particularly they found that the loss of the hemlock allowed substantially more light radiation but that it wasn't necessarily affecting stream temperatures in the short term. This was from 2010, so it'll be interested to see long term studies.

https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/46553/PDF
 
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You'll get plenty of different answers depending on who you talk to.

Panthertown Valley is known for it's tea colored water due to pine needles, bark and tannins steeping in the stream from the decaying flora in the surrounding bogs and it hasn't affected the habitat of the brook. As a matter of fact, it might be one of the best brook trout fisheries remaining in the Southeast. The hemlock on the other hand was notorious for it's riparian growth perpendicular to mountain streams and the shade that it provided.

In this study particularly they found that the loss of the hemlock allowed substantially more light radiation but that it wasn't necessarily affecting stream temperatures in the short term. This was from 2010, so it'll be interested to see long term studies.

https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/46553/PDF
I’ve read that study before and partially agree only because we were not around when the chestnuts were thriving. Until we can get stands of chestnuts back and see some data on how the forests responds to them we won’t have relative comparative data. Don’t get me wrong though, it hurts my heart everytime I’ve gone back up to the Tallulah, Coleman and Chattooga and see all those dead giants that used to provide so much cover and mysticism as a kid fishing in those streams. I love the way those hemlocks looked when alive.
 
I’ve read that study before and partially agree only because we were not around when the chestnuts were thriving. Until we can get stands of chestnuts back and see some data on how the forests responds to them we won’t have relative comparative data. Don’t get me wrong though, it hurts my heart everytime I’ve gone back up to the Tallulah, Coleman and Chattooga and see all those dead giants that used to provide so much cover and mysticism as a kid fishing in those streams. I love the way those hemlocks looked when alive.
It was heartbreaking to see Cataloochee Valley lose most of its hemlocks. Those were the biggest eastern hemlocks on earth. And oddly enough, I live right across the ridge from Catalooch, and we still have most of our big hemlocks in my valley.
 
It was heartbreaking to see Cataloochee Valley lose most of its hemlocks. Those were the biggest eastern hemlocks on earth. And oddly enough, I live right across the ridge from Catalooch, and we still have most of our big hemlocks in my valley.
I hope you can keep it that way sir. As we experienced with the fires a couple years ago, those dead stands of timber catch easy and I’d hate to see another fire hit again. Don’t think it will but that is one unfortunate side effect of the wooly adelgid. I hate that bug & the one that spreads chestnut blight.
 
I hope you can keep it that way sir. As we experienced with the fires a couple years ago, those dead stands of timber catch easy and I’d hate to see another fire hit again. Don’t think it will but that is one unfortunate side effect of the wooly adelgid. I hate that bug & the one that spreads chestnut blight.
The other unfortunate effect is apparent when you are back in the woods when a storm comes up. Death traps.

I have spent a good bit of time getting certified and doing trunk injections on mature hemlocks. It buys some time at the least.
 

gobbleinwoods

Keeper of the Magic Word
The other unfortunate effect is apparent when you are back in the woods when a storm comes up. Death traps.

I have spent a good bit of time getting certified and doing trunk injections on mature hemlocks. It buys some time at the least.
I have had success using the ground treatment on my property recommended by the hemlock society.

Lots of places to purchase the chemical but I got mine at Southern States in Cleveland.
 
The other unfortunate effect is apparent when you are back in the woods when a storm comes up. Death traps.

I have spent a good bit of time getting certified and doing trunk injections on mature hemlocks. It buys some time at the least.
Thank you for doing that. Every little bit counts these days.
 
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