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 Post subject: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: October 31st, 2010, 2:22 pm 
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Joined: July 30th, 2010, 10:48 am
Posts: 518
Location: KY: Fayette Co.
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I was fortunate enough to help out with some brook trout surveys in Shenandoah the past couple weeks. The only salmonid native to the eastern US, brook trout are some of the coolest fish in the Appalachians. When I lived in Wyoming I considered brookies trash fish and pursued cutthroats and grayling instead. Seeing native populations within there historic range is very rewarding. Anyway, I had a blast and saw some great fish. Here’s some of the habitat:

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Part of the work involved snorkeling. The streams are very cold, so a full wet suit was required. Here I am counting trout:

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Aside from snorkeling, other sampling methods were also involved. In some streams we found some interesting by-catch:

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Rhinichthys atratulus – Blacknose dace (extremely abundant in some pools)


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Rhinichthys cataractae – Longnose dace (very powerful swimmers)

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Phoxinus oreas - Mountain redbelly dace (Males of this species display amazing breeding coloration in the spring.)


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Clinostomous funduloides – rosyside dace

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Nocomis leptocephalus – bluehead chub

And of course, the brookies (Salvelinus fontinalis):
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Young of the year:
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With habitat:
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Herps were encountered during the surveys. Two-lined sallys were common. I also saw some duskys, spring, slimy and redback salamanders. Green frogs and American toads were abundant. I saw a ringneck snake on the crawl and a pair of copulating garter snakes as well. The garters surprised me, I thought they typically breed in spring. Here’s a few select herp images from the trips:

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Anaxyrus americanus – American toad in situ

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Eurycea cirrigera – two-lined salamander

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Plethodon cinerus – redback salamander

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Gyrinophilus porphyriticus – recent metamorph spring salamander

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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: October 31st, 2010, 4:31 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:28 am
Posts: 1787
Location: FL Keys
Excellent Jason! I love Brookies and the places they call home. (I'm a little surprised some of the adults weren't sporting more breeding colors this time of the year.)
Thanks for a great post!
*I always wondered what a Blacknosed Dace looked like. It's a very famous fishing fly designed to catch Brook trout...makes sense now.
Tim


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: October 31st, 2010, 6:31 pm 
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Joined: June 11th, 2010, 7:43 am
Posts: 1221
Location: kaukauna, wi
that toad looks like he wants to beat you down.

snorkeling now? Brrrrrrrrrr.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: November 1st, 2010, 11:43 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:37 am
Posts: 879
Location: NE Ohio
Jason,

Very cool work you are doing. Not sure what your definition of the east is but I would consider Atlantic Salmon, Lake Trout, Brook Trout and a few of the whitefishes (and ciscos) all native salmonids of the east. I was out catching Dace around here yesterday - Got S. Redbelly, Redside, Blacknose and Longnose. It was a pretty good dace day, only missed Rosyside (but they are only left as an extreme remenant population in the southern tip of Ohio).

Tim,

Here is a picture of my large male Blacknose Dace when he gets all fired up (which is usually any time other than morning).

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Andy


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: November 1st, 2010, 3:06 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:44 pm
Posts: 250
Location: Camden County, Missouri
Really enjoyed this post!

I remember catching wild brook trout in Rhode Island many years ago when I was in the Navy. The streams were so small, much like your habitat pics. Most people went for the hatchery reared rainbows in the bigger streams.

A ten inch male brook trout in spawning colors is a beautiful fish!

Gary


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2010, 5:44 am 

Joined: June 9th, 2010, 3:10 pm
Posts: 80
What size are most of those guys. I know here in N. Ga being at the southern end of the range they are much smaller usually only 4-5 in. long. Furthermore, DNR does some stocking of brookies, but for some reason they stock the Northern strains not the Southerns, do you have any idea as to why?


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2010, 6:46 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:08 pm
Posts: 542
Location: Montana
Hell yeah! Very interesting post, well done and thank you.

The habitat shots are good to see, and even though I've seen it hundreds of times I'm always surprised to see trout living in such small creeks. Your habitat photos documented this point very well.

-Dell
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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: November 3rd, 2010, 2:14 pm 

Joined: August 27th, 2010, 2:00 pm
Posts: 248
Location: eastern bank of the 'Hooch
This post was amazing. Never seen something that made me so eager to wet a fly.


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: November 4th, 2010, 7:26 pm 
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Joined: July 30th, 2010, 10:48 am
Posts: 518
Location: KY: Fayette Co.
Thanks everyone! The water was chilly but seeing the fish made me forget all discomfort.

Andy - You're right, there are several salmonids in the east - maybe I meant southeast? Great job on your dace hunt. We get healthy rosy pops in some small to medium streams here in KY. I saw a big school of blacksided in a stream this morning...

Brad - Fish hatcheries didn't consider genetics when they began. Southern strains are now being stocked in at least a few streams. Some agencies are even poisoning out the established 'northern' pops before restocking the 'historic' strains.


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: November 6th, 2010, 5:49 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
Posts: 1686
Location: Unicoi, TN
Very neat post.

We lived in that area in '84 - '85 and fished (and herped) those Brook trout streams
extensively. They were great with ultralights.The Rapidan was the best, but busiest with other anglers.

One creek (in the National forest, not the National Park) was memorable because the trout species altitude striation seemed bass ackwards:
. The lower water to the marginal areas had naturally reproducing Browns. - normal
. The mid-waters had naturally reproducing Brooks.
. The upper-waters had naturally reproducing Ranbows.
Seemed like the Brook/Rainbow relationship should be reversed!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: November 8th, 2010, 6:48 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:22 am
Posts: 431
Location: Athens, OH
Nice post. Sweet spring salamander. I fished the Shenandoah NP streams a few times, and the NC mountain streams many times. I miss them.

BillMcGighan wrote:
One creek (in the National forest, not the National Park) was memorable because the trout species altitude striation seemed bass ackwards:
. The lower water to the marginal areas had naturally reproducing Browns. - normal
. The mid-waters had naturally reproducing Brooks.
. The upper-waters had naturally reproducing Ranbows.
Seemed like the Brook/Rainbow relationship should be reversed!!!


I've noticed this as well -- in NC and to a lesser extent in CA. However, I think rainbows may actually be better adapted for the tiny tumbling brooks than brook trout are... Here's one thing I think is interesting: When brook trout are planted in the West, they tend to overpopulate and only grow to a small size. However, in their native streams that is not the case. In the Appalachian streams which have a mix of brook and rainbow, it is often the case that the biggest fist are brook trout (still not very big, of course).


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: November 8th, 2010, 7:40 am 

Joined: August 23rd, 2010, 3:26 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Is that a Rappahannock drainage Phoxinus oreas? It doesn't seem to display the heavier black spotting I am used to seeing in the James drainage.

It's interesting, but I can usually tell the difference just from looking, which is especially weird since the Rappahannock population was supposedly introduced from the James like 30 years ago. Noticeably different though, if you have both in the same tank they are easy to spot.


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: November 8th, 2010, 11:03 am 
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Joined: July 30th, 2010, 10:48 am
Posts: 518
Location: KY: Fayette Co.
Carl - I think your right, the upper stratification is largely do to the barrier differences between the species. I've seen some tiny streams meandering through valleys that were chock full of dwarfed brookies in Wyoming while streams of the same size high on a mountain would only have bows. At the end of one of our study sites in VA we reached a large cascade where trout are not found upstream. I thought a bow or cut could make its way up.

Kanus - Impressive, it is a Rappahannock P. oreas.


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: November 10th, 2010, 8:11 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:05 pm
Posts: 809
Location: So Cal
Looks like some awesome habitat.... love the photos showing the fish and the outside habitat.


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: May 31st, 2012, 12:07 pm 

Joined: March 19th, 2012, 8:04 pm
Posts: 16
Just awesome! I remember when I just started fly fishing, I rented a video from the library about Fly Fishing for Brookies on the East Coast. It lookd just like that stream I enjoyed some similar fishing in the small Streams around Kingscanyon when I Backpacked the Rae Lakes Loop In Kings Canyon National Park a few years ago.

It makes me miss Fly Fishing!


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: June 1st, 2012, 3:58 am 

Joined: June 10th, 2010, 11:57 am
Posts: 133
I love lure fishing. I really do. and it's not like I have enough time or opportunity to do that but awesome posts like these are making me want to a) learn to flycast; and b) travel the world as an itinerant fisherman. You guys are seriously not helping my life choices. :lol:

That first flank shot is beautiful.


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: June 4th, 2012, 9:04 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:11 am
Posts: 5234
Location: Los Angeles County
I LOVE this photo... :shock: :shock:

Beautiful Trout.. Thanks for sharing..

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Fundad


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: June 5th, 2012, 6:30 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
Posts: 1686
Location: Unicoi, TN
That is the best, isn't Brian?
If you get the opportunity to watch Jason set up, you can't help but be impressed by his "attention to detail", tenacity, and his results.


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 Post subject: Re: Shenandoah Brook Trout
PostPosted: June 6th, 2012, 11:27 am 
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Joined: July 30th, 2010, 10:48 am
Posts: 518
Location: KY: Fayette Co.
Thank you for the compliments fellas. I'm pleased this post was revived; brought back some great memories. Makes me want to head back up that way this fall.

Jb


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