Video Update on Lynn Camp Prong Brook Trout Restoration

Lynn Camp Prong in the Tremont section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in the middle of a native brook trout restoration. In 2008 rainbow trout were removed from the stream. A few surviving rainbow trout were removed in the summer of 2009 before native brook trout were transplanted into the stream from other streams in the park.

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Over 2000 brook trout were planted in the stream last year over some 6 miles of water. All of the fish came from streams in the Smokies and were not brought in from hatcheries. Brook trout in the Smoky Mountains are a genetically distinct sub-species and the main reason for the project is to expand their populations into more of their original habitat.

This summer fisheries biologists in the national park have continued their work on Lynn Camp Prong. Most of the work has been to keep track of the brook trout planted in the stream last year. This video shows biologists and Trout Unlimited volunteers electrofishing the stream to count the fish.

Approximately 25-30% of the brook trout found in the stream this summer are young of the year. This indicates that adult brook trout spawned successfully last autumn. As you see there are some really nice fish in the stream right now. Lynn Camp Prong is currently closed to all fishing, but the park plans to open it for fishing in a few years once brook trout populations have stabilized.

Several of the biologists in this video are wearing backpack shockers. Electrical generators are on the backpacks and create an electrical field between the two probes in the water. Any fish in the electrical field is momentarily stunned and paralyzed. Biologists can easily net them to get an accurate count of the fish in the stream. All fish are placed back in the stream where they quickly recover.

There have been a few rainbow trout discovered in the stream this year. It seems that someone may have carried a few fish in to the stream in an attempt to re-stock rainbows. It is also likely that a few fish found refuge from previous stream treatments in a very small tributary. Those fish eventually made it back into the larger stream. All rainbows that have been found this year have been removed.

Hazel Creek BAnner Fall 2010

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