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Supplemental Stocking Program Like No Other???

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  • Supplemental Stocking Program Like No Other???

    All,

    A couple days ago I included @SwampAngel in a thread on Instagram between myself and some well known traveling fly fishers. We initially were speaking about bugs, then I had a thought. Had there ever been a bug stocking program in trout waters with success?
    Well evidently there has been on several rivers. So I immediately tagged the one known as Swampy and we discussed this back and forth. His immediate concern was the lack of calcium in the water which is true. Anyone who has done their research knows that calcium and magnesium are two important elements needed for bio-mass growth and trout growth but they are lacking in the Hooch and most Georgia waters.
    So how can we work with what we have? Well first off let's establish the fact that Buford Dam has a life cycle estimated at around 500 years from what I have read. @Natureman, since you seem to have the best depth of knowledge in the regards I default to you for the best answer on this but again, that was the estimate I read. That being said, the river from Lake Lanier down to the Gulf of Mexico is essentially a 'Petri Dish' we need to responsibly care for so here are some of my ideas in which Swampy suggested I put out there so they can be taken to the BOD and possibly get some NGTO support on:
    • Start a supplemental bug stocking program that focuses on Black Caddis, Stoneflies & Hellgrammite in the Hooch
    • Add limestone gravels & rocks around bug stocking areas
    • Work with the COE to do a riparian restoration with limestone boulders & local fauna in the top part of the river corridor where the most scouring damage along the banks has occurred as the Hooch flows
    • Have more local schools become active with 'Trout in the Classroom' along the Hooch corridor
    • Ask the DNR & State if a fingerling stocking program could be studied for use in the larger tailwaters such as the Hooch
    • See about supporting a collective outreach program with the local HOA's along the Hooch corridor showing how rip rap protection with limestone can add equitable value to their property by reestablishing a solid bank
    • Show the local HOA's how having a high rated trout stream can add equitable property value.
    • Work with local municipalities to promote cleaner runoff through doing some limestone replacement within feeders and where most runoff comes into the Hooch

    Feel free to poke holes(but be nice and offer a SOLUTION) and offer suggestions as that is what this is about. I realize the bug stocking seems out of left field but what harm could it do in trying if there have been success stories elsewhere? We will never know unless we try. What I did find interesting is that stocking bugs and then having their lifecycles occur could actually help with the cal-mag in the river. Every little bit counts. Thanks and I look forward to reading your suggestions!
    #JBNavy

    "Everyday is a new life to a wise man."
    -Chinese Proverb

    “At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear.”
    -Norman Maclean

    "We are what we hunt."
    -PH

  • #2
    You've got the start of a plan, Phil. Just a couple things (I have no solutions as of yet) that need to be taken into account though.

    Items 2 and 3 would need to be approved by the National Park Service or by legislation since by law there is a 50-foot zone adjacent to the river in which natural flora is not to be damaged. That goes for the entire 48 mile stretch of the CRNRA. This means Federal involvement. (We all know what a bear that can be.)

    The final item you mentioned regarding promoting cleaner runoff through tributaries is a brilliant idea that I think should definitely be promoted. (Just take a look at the 'Hooch immediately above Suwanee Creek and compare it to the turbidity immediately below the point where the mouth of Suwanee Creek flows into the 'Hooch after a rain like we've been having over the past 18 hours. You can actually see a sharp, distinct mud line where the two waters join and then observe how over the course of a couple hundred meters the Chattahoochee becomes full of silt and precipitate matter to the point that it looks like a college freshman's first cup of coffee.

    Keep this thread going and let's see what the various minds here on the message boards can come up with. We have all kinds of different academic disciplines represented here (including a geologist who is one of our directors). If nothing else, this would be a great study in what it takes to manage a trout stream.

    Still, we would have to continue to stock rainbows in the tail water of Lanier simply due to the fact that they require gravel beds to "nest" and the releases from Lanier move the silt around to such a degree that there are very few places that wouldn't get silted out and smother the roe.

    Thanks for posting these thoughts. There's a starting point to discuss and to build on if there's an interest that can be built.
    If you have difficulty understanding the post above, read it out loud and it should make sense. This NGTO member is known for his poor hill-billy upbringing and his affinity for all things from Louisiana (particularly if it relates to LSU). It makes for a poor mix of accents and much difficulty in translation. He was doing well for so long, but now seems to have regressed.

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    • #3
      Swampy thank you so much for the kind words and response. The items that you denoted would need legislation or NPS approval were actually part of the reason I posted this thread specifically in here. It would make BOTH the COE and the NPS aware that we would like to talk with them about these suggestions. I also realize the timeline here... Rome was not built in a day and neither were other streams that have had similar programs.
      It will take time and I along with others whom I have spoken to (who happen to be professors of Biology, Ga. Environmental Planners, geologist and biologist of both the state and the USGS) realize this and that it will take proper planning and lots of communication. Let's see what unfolds on the thread. There could be an idea that is so ingenious and simple that someone may suggest that we have not thought about yet!
      #JBNavy

      "Everyday is a new life to a wise man."
      -Chinese Proverb

      “At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear.”
      -Norman Maclean

      "We are what we hunt."
      -PH

      Comment


      • #4
        BUG STOCKING!!!? What a neat idea!
        And I've thought about limestone supplementation a lot, particularly in small streams. I mean if that sort of thing is rally viable, why not test it on a stream that is currently listed as catch and release only and also as a trophy stream - Duke's Ck? What if dukes could become a self-sustaining (no more pellets) trophy fishery!!! Wouldn't that be way way cooler... and if that were to work, it's a proof of principle for use in other streams.
        I cannot imagine the magnitude of limestone needed for the hooch versus say a small stream, but I am sure others could.

        Comment


        • #5
          Excellent post, Phil. I had never even heard the term "bug stocking". All of your ideas in total would have a great impact. I'd be glad to load my TroutMobile full of limestone rocks for delivery along the Hooch, or a WMA stream.
          "A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined..." George Washington

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by splatek16 View Post
            .... I mean if that sort of thing is rally viable, why not test it on a stream that is currently listed as catch and release only and also as a trophy stream - Duke's Ck? What if dukes could become a self-sustaining (no more pellets) trophy fishery!!! Wouldn't that be way way cooler.?.. .
            Yes, you'd have fish more appropriate for the stream size, rather than the 30" submarines that have no room to run when hooked, they just dart to the nearest deadfall or brush pile and you break off.
            Last edited by 3-wt; 05-23-18, 02:16 PM.
            "A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined..." George Washington

            Comment


            • #7
              I will chime in on what I know. As dams age, they become more prone to failure. From what I have read in design documents Buford Dam's life cycle is 50-100 years. I know that figure is kind of vague but there are a lot of variables in play such as erosion, sedimentation, settling of the structure, geologic events and material failure. There are two steps to take once dam failure is eminent. (1) is to lower the reservoir to take the stress off of the structure. (2) make repairs to the structure and extend its life expectancy. Due to the location of Buford Dam being upstream of millions of people and their dependency on it for flood protection and water supply action would be pretty swift.


              Seems like the best course of action may be to try the bug stocking first on a small controlled stream and go from there.
              Last edited by natureman; 05-23-18, 03:48 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                So in the interest of the organization's mission statement should someone in charge organize a stream project that involves limestone and bugs?
                Do we have a party planner?
                Imagine the draw to a stream like dukes with real wild trophies....


                Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                • #9
                  The limestone idea was bounced around a while back reguarding a river in North georgia if I am not mistaken. I believe it was concluded that for the limestone gravel to have a noticeable impact it would have to be a prohibitively large amount of limestone.
                  Jackson Dockery
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                  Unicoi Outfitters

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                  • #10
                    What I would love to see, is average stocked fish sizes being lowered, and numbers being increased, or perhaps a healthy medium.

                    Smaller fish, at higher numbers would be awesome, IMO.
                    I am *NOT* a fisheries biologist but here are the advantages I can see.

                    Each inch a trout reaches is much more difficult to attain than the last, and therefore requires much more resources than the last. That is why it is such an accomplishment that the DNR is now stocking bigger fish. However, if we stocked fish at say, 6". We could stock them in much larger quantities, and with much less resources.

                    1) catch and keep fisherman would have a much smaller impact on fisheries if more fish were stocked. If you typically stock a stream with 500 fish, and 400 are taken out, imagine if you stocked it instead with 1000 smaller fish. 400 would still be taken, but it would leave many more fish to holdover.

                    I also think 8 fish per person for day is a bit too liberal, and many go to waste. I have no problem with keep fisherman, but this way you would have a similar impact to fisheries without actually lowering creel limits. I keep fish once in a blue moon, and have never by myself eaten 8 trout.

                    2) smaller fish would be able to grow up in the stream, hopefully holdover, and become more wild fish like.

                    3) (my favorite) 6" fish are fantastic forage for bigger fish. From my experience it takes a very substantial fish to be able to eat normal stocked trout (think browniez fish) if fish were stocked at 6 inches, a fish may only have to reach 14-16 inches before it could take advantage of this forage. This would lead to (hopefully) some very large fish, even in our smaller streams. In GA we just don't have the natural biomass to create many large wild fish.

                    I love streamer fishing, so this may be skewed towards my viewpoint. I am also a trophy hunter, I would much rather catch a single big fish than numbers any day.
                    Jackson Dockery
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                    My Instagram
                    Unicoi Outfitters

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                    • #11
                      Love the idea! The mention of federal engagement slightly puts a damper to my optimism though, but then again when does it not haha. Can't think of a suggestion or a solution as way more qualified people have already commented, kudos for the idea Phil

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ferrulewax View Post
                        The limestone idea was bounced around a while back reguarding a river in North georgia if I am not mistaken. I believe it was concluded that for the limestone gravel to have a noticeable impact it would have to be a prohibitively large amount of limestone.
                        There’s far more supporting evidence on the net than none. In fact in West Virginia they created a mill that was river powered that ground limestone into powder and was released into the river. It was shown to be effective.
                        The over use of limestone sands has shown to be less effective because it can cover gravel easily. When limestone of various size introduced the issue was mitigated. Bug stocking and a fingerling stocking program though, just really excited bout those ideas!
                        #JBNavy

                        "Everyday is a new life to a wise man."
                        -Chinese Proverb

                        “At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear.”
                        -Norman Maclean

                        "We are what we hunt."
                        -PH

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Philhutch80 View Post
                          [I]n West Virginia they created a mill that was river powered that ground limestone into powder and was released into the river. It was shown to be effective.
                          The over use of limestone sands has shown to be less effective because it can cover gravel easily. When limestone of various size introduced the issue was mitigated.
                          Here's a link that's related to that story, Phil:
                          NGeo Story: Limestone Added to WV Streams to Mitigate Effects of Acid Rain
                          If you have difficulty understanding the post above, read it out loud and it should make sense. This NGTO member is known for his poor hill-billy upbringing and his affinity for all things from Louisiana (particularly if it relates to LSU). It makes for a poor mix of accents and much difficulty in translation. He was doing well for so long, but now seems to have regressed.

                          Comment


                          • #14


                            Phil, in our text chat didn't I ask why they aren't already doing this in brook trout restoration streams...?

                            This is a cool resource



                            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                            • #15
                              Maybe this idea ain't 'zackly as nuts as I first thunk it was. Here's the text from another brief article found while perusing the interwebs:



                              Project brings trout back to small stream
                              By Mark Taylor
                              981-3395 May 17, 2012 (0)

                              SALTVILLE - It is not unusual for trout hatchery trucks to draw followers as they roll through Virginia's countryside on delivery runs to the state's trout streams and ponds.

                              So it was hardly unusual that the tanker truck bouncing along a road deep in the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area early Tuesday afternoon had two other trucks in tow.

                              Had the riders in those tailing vehicles not been in on this nonfishing mission, they would have been disappointed had they expected quick limits of plump trout once the stocking began.

                              The trout in the tanks were only 3 to 4 inches long.

                              The participants in Tuesday's stocking effort are hoping that those little fish eventually pay off handsomely for fishermen and prove worthwhile an ambitious restoration project that has been in the works for years.

                              The 4,000 fingerling brook trout were eventually released into Little Tumbling Creek, a chilly mountain stream that rolls down a rugged valley between Clinch and Flat Top mountains in Smyth County.

                              At its upper elevations Little Tumbling Creek has been devoid of fish for years, the creek's clear water too acidic to support fish.

                              But this winter, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries loaded the stream with tons of crushed limestone to buffer the acid.

                              The trout stocked Tuesday represent a small first step in plans to eventually restore a self-sustaining population of brook trout in the creek.

                              If the project unfolds as hoped, the creek will not only become a viable trout fishery, but it also could serve as a model for other restoration projects.

                              Long time coming

                              To monitor fish populations in small streams, state fisheries biologists and technicians periodically don special backpacks outfitted with motors that send electrical current through hand-held probes into the water.

                              The electrical current temporarily stuns fish, which can be scooped into nets and studied.

                              Electroshocking surveys help the biologists track the health of fisheries by monitoring fish population trends.

                              The trend in Little Tumbling Creek in the 1970s and 1980s was clear.

                              According to Bill Kittrell, a DGIF biologist who oversees the fisheries programs in the agency's Marion office region, trout numbers fell steadily.

                              "The last collected brook trout we saw was in 1990," Kittrell said Tuesday.

                              The culprit was natural and man-made acid depositions, including from acid rain, which has been linked to emissions from coal-fired power plants.

                              The Little Tumbling Creek watershed is lacking in natural buffers, such as surface limestone deposits, to reduce the effect of the acid on the stream.

                              Interestingly, the nearby Big Tumbling Creek watershed has natural limestone buffering, so that creek is able to support fish.

                              Acidic waters can be successfully treated by introducing ground limestone to buffer acid.

                              The St. Mary's River is an example of a stream that is able to support trout because of recurring liming treatment.

                              Laurel Bed Lake, a small reservoir near the headwaters of the Little Tumbling Creek watershed, also is periodically limed.

                              Kittrell said discussions about a possible liming project on Little Tumbling Creek started in 2000, at which time the DGIF began stockpiling ground limestone for the effort.

                              Reaching the water

                              As project planners looked at how to get to the creek for liming and for eventual trout stocking, the geography of the region proved challenging.

                              The upper reaches of Little Tumbling Creek run through rugged country, with much of the 4-mile-long section cutting through a steep, heavily timbered gorge.

                              DGIF biologists thought an abandoned road in one area could provide access to the creek, but it turned out that the road was not suitable or safe for heavy vehicles.

                              The project got a boost this winter when Appalachian Power Co. built a road to access transmission lines for service.

                              The road didn't go to the creek, but Appalachian officials agreed to build a half-mile-long spur from its service road to the creek.

                              In January, the creek got a heavy dose of 30 to 40 tons of crushed limestone, the granules slightly larger than play sand.

                              Initial water tests showed that the creek had responded, with PH levels immediately improving.

                              The PH levels still need additional improvement, so additional lime treatments in the near future are likely.

                              A $20,000 grant from the AEP Foundation will help fund regular water quality tests, which will be conducted at James Madison University.

                              The state's Department of Environmental Quality will monitor the creek's aquatic insect populations.

                              Now, for trout


                              Because the creek was devoid of trout, it seemed an ideal location for re-establishing a population of a Southern Appalachian strain of brook trout, which tend to naturally occur south of a dividing line that roughly runs through the New River Valley.

                              "It's a perfect laboratory," said John Ross, a volunteer with Trout Unlimited, an active partner in the venture.

                              Getting the fish was another issue.

                              "The only problem is we don't have a good source for them," Kittrell said of southern strain brookies.

                              Virginia's hatcheries produce only Northern Appalachian strain brook trout.

                              A hatchery at Tellico Plains in Tennessee is developing a program to raise southern strain brook trout, but fish are not yet available.

                              Rather than wait, the Little Tumbling Creek project team decided to get fish into the creek.

                              To ensure the purity of eventual creek-spawning trout, the brook trout stocked on Tuesday were sterile.

                              Because so-called triploid trout can not spawn, they tend to grow faster than nonsterilized trout because they don't put energy into spawning. So the trout should grow large enough to provide recreational fishing in a couple of years.

                              When southern strain trout become available, the stocking will shift to those fish with hopes that the population will eventually become self-sustaining.

                              Stakeholders used buckets and nets to transfer the little trout from the hatchery truck into the chilly, clear water.

                              In their new environment, the fish swam together in pools in tightly packed schools.

                              High-water events will help the fish spread throughout the 4-mile section, Kittrell said.

                              Aquatic insect populations, which will recover as the lime continues to work, will rebound, providing a food source for the fish. In fact, insect populations are already on the rise.

                              As American Electric Power, Trout Unlimited and DGIF personnel transferred fish to the creek, a few bugs buzzed above the water.

                              When one bug ended up on the water, a little trout quickly rose to swallow the insect.

                              The restoration was well under way.


                              Now, keep in mind that these West Virginia streams were all naturally trout streams to begin with, and that low pH was caused by rain and other factors. They were in the process of rehabilitating natural waterways. Here in Georgia we would be altering the natural geologic balance of our state's hydrology. It would be a mighty undertaking to say the least, and would require a lot of legislation on both the state and federal level. All of us know the story of how Kudzu was imported to the southern states to combat erosion along our newly built roadways, and then that God-forsaken plant took over the entirety of the region. So, while we take this under consideration, let's also consider the long term biological ramifications such an endeavor might have in the region. (Of course, I'm not trying to say that CaCO3 can germinate and reproduce to the detriment of our state. But let's just consider whether it is wise or prudent to try to force an issue. This is just an admonishment to temper our thoughts in this consideration.)
                              Last edited by Swamp Angel; 05-23-18, 08:36 PM.
                              If you have difficulty understanding the post above, read it out loud and it should make sense. This NGTO member is known for his poor hill-billy upbringing and his affinity for all things from Louisiana (particularly if it relates to LSU). It makes for a poor mix of accents and much difficulty in translation. He was doing well for so long, but now seems to have regressed.

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