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Tyler Legg
Charlotte, NC, United States
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Sunday, June 21, 2009
Click the map for a better view...
I came across this map showing the Eastern United States Brook Trout populations recently. Once you understand what the colors represent via the key, you will soon realize just how close we are to losing the Southern Appalachian strain of the Brook Trout; for good. Years ago, the logging industry reduced the Brook Trout population tremendously. After local fisherman grew tired of trying to find the Brook Trout, they introduced the Rainbow Trout and the Brown Trout into the many streams and lakes in North Carolina. Little did they know, they made a HUGE mistake. Competition for food between the Brook Trout and the Rainbow/Brown Trout, not to mention the carnivorous nature of the Brown Trout, the native Brook Trout were driven to the headwaters and high mountain streams of the Western North Carolina mountains. Brook Trout ar actually char, which is a species of Salmonid. Brook Trout prefer considerably colder water temperatures than the Rainbow and Brown Trout, which in turn means they can escape from the 2 introduced trout species which prefer to have slightly warmer water temperatures. To this day, wild, native, Appalachian strain Brook Trout in NC are still thriving, barely, but thriving in high mountain streams or sections of streams at elevations of 3,000ft+. If you do happen to catch a Brook Trout here in North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, or Georgia please release the fish carefully and unharmed. If you are planning to fish a native Brook Trout stream, use barbless hooks and fine mesh nets. Always wet your hand before handling Brook Trout (or any fish you plan on releasing). Trout have a slimy mucous-like coating on their skin that prevents bacteria and disease from entering their body. If you handle a fish with a dry hand, this coating is deteriorated and the fish is eventually susceptible to disease. This usually is followed by death. The eastern Brook Trout range is slowly receding. If anglers don't pitch in, the Southern Appalachian strain of Brook Trout will soon disappear. Some call the Brook Trout Speckled Trout. Some call them "Specs". Others even call them mountain trout. One thing is certain...They're North Carolina's only Native trout (char) and they are on the verge of extinction here in the state. I can't wait until the day I can fish a stream that doesn't require a 5 mile hike and a topo map to then figure out the the Brook Trout in the stream are absent due to poaching, poor regulations, acid rain, unsteady Ph levels, and over predation.
Share your thoughts on this fly fishing issue...

6 comments:

chagua said...

Hello Tyler, how are you? Yeh, there is mor or less the same problem in Spain, but a bit different. Here in the 1960s a lot of trout come from the center of Europe were introduced in almost all rivers and streams. So the populations of native brown trout mixed with the exotic ones and reproduced th3emselves creating a half-exotic half-native browns.
We only have 100% native brown trout in small and inaccesible streams.
Take care. Fernando.

Tar Heel Fly Fishing said...

This is also a problem here: Cross breeding trout that basically wipe out all of the pure strains of fish. Out in the west (ie Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, etc) the Rainbow Trout will breed with the Cutthroat Trout to create what we call the Cuttbow...

chagua said...

Wich clues must be followed to say " this fish is a Cuttbow"? I think it could be difficult, because both fish are very similar ( except the throat) in in color, shape and so on.
Greetings. Fernando.

Tar Heel Fly Fishing said...

A cuttbow basically looks very similar to a Rainbow Trout, but it has a red/orange slash under it's jaw. If you can't see the red slash, you probably would mistake it for a Rainbow. They are extremely similar. I've caught a cuttbow out in Montana andat first I thought it was a Rainbow until I saw the red slash. Coloration between a pure cutthroat and a pure rainbow are very different.

chagua said...

Thank you Tyler. this information is very practical if I manage to go there someday.

Tar Heel Fly Fishing said...

I hope you get to see that area. It's argueably one of the best fly fishing states/destinations in the world.

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