New Article: The Loneliest Brook Trout in the World

Blog Forums Fly Fishing New Article: The Loneliest Brook Trout in the World

This topic contains 14 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Zach Matthews Jan 22, 2014 at 6:28 pm.

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  • #75933

    Zach Matthews
    The Itinerant Angler

    Some of you may recognize this one from the Fall 2012 issue of The Drake.

    ATLANTA GOT ITS start in 1836, when a railroad engineer pounded a stake into the ground near the Chattahoochee River, and then turned to write the word “Terminus” in his notebook.

    It is nearly always hot in the spot he chose, and I am certain his sweat dropped to the ground as he wrote it. The city that would one day sprawl itself across the southern roots of the Appalachian mountains was originally an endpoint of a new railway being laid south from Chattanooga. General William Sherman would follow the line of that same railroad on his way to burn Atlanta out of existence 29 years later.

    Species sometimes have an end, both physically, like on a map, and temporally, which we call extinction. Sometimes extinctions come suddenly, but more often they are the result of attrition–the long, disappointing and inevitable outcome of a losing war fought against climate, mankind and time…

    Read More…

    #75934

    This and the Arkansas bird piece – both solid pieces of writing. Nice work!

    #75937

    Great story Zach ..

    A bit sad as well.
    I wonder can places like that survive ?

    www.dsaphoto.com

    A picture is thousand words that takes less than a second while a thousand words is a picture that takes a month.

    #75940

    Zach Matthews
    The Itinerant Angler

    David I went back up there last summer with Tracy. A major windstorm had almost covered over the creek with downed trees. That’s actually good news — it will dissuade other anglers from fishing it too much and in the mean time the shade will cool the creek for the brookies.

    But yes, it is sad. I happen to live on the very tip end of the tail of multiple thousands of square acres of brookie habitat. They will never be endangered as a species–their range extends all the way into Canada–but as a local anomaly and relic of the last Ice Age, they may be almost done.

    Zach

    #75944

    Nice article Zach. Nothing EXTREME!!, or RAD, or Siiicck. Just fly fishing, the wonderful places it takes you, and the fish. Just like it should be.

    #75945
    Roy Conley
    Roy Conley
    Member

    Good read Zach.
    Keep in mind that is a younger man’s game. Before you know it you will be checking to see if the knees will handle the trip.

    #75952

    Dave N.
    Member

    Great article on some really cool fish!

    One comment though — our southern App brookies aren’t just relicts of this last glacial cycle — they’ve been doing their own thing and genetically separated from their kin to the north for hundreds of thousands of years. There’s a decent argument to be made for recognizing the southern populations as a distinct species (and there’s a surprising amount of variation between river drainages down here as well).

    #75990
    Tom Hazelton
    Tom Hazelton
    Member

    Great article on some really cool fish!

    One comment though — our southern App brookies aren’t just relicts of this last glacial cycle — they’ve been doing their own thing and genetically separated from their kin to the north for hundreds of thousands of years. There’s a decent argument to be made for recognizing the southern populations as a distinct species (and there’s a surprising amount of variation between river drainages down here as well).

    That’s very interesting. I would love to read more about it if you have a link or two. The changing post-glacial genetic landscape is a fascinating study, especially where fish are concerned. I wonder if the southern muskies are following a similar course.

    #75993

    Zach Matthews
    The Itinerant Angler

    That is cool Dave – I meant to follow up on this the other day. Are you saying that the brookies didn’t necessarily move down here during the last glacial cycle per se, but rather at some point during the several glacial cycles prior to that? That would be interesting because it would also mean, assuming they are genetically distinct, that these particular brookies’ ancestors had survived earlier interstitials like the one we are in now. (Although I don’t think any of the past gaps between ice ages have been as warm as the one we’re in right now).

    Zach

    #76015

    Dave N.
    Member

    Zach, sorry for the delayed response. Yes. Late-1990s RFLP data and more recent mtDNA and microsat datasets suggested that southern pops are more distinct than would be expected from a ~18Kya colonization event. There’s some evidence that there’s been several independent waves of fish moving into the area, but all of them were more closely related to Mississippi/Ohio Basin fish than fish from the mid-Atlantic Slope drainages (and northward) or some nearby watersheds. Recent microsatellite work generally supports long periods of isolation between populations inhabiting major drainages in the Smokies, with individual watersheds often having fish with unique haplotypes. This is the major impetus for the watershed-scale augmentation/restoration work (nano-hatcheries!) that the Forest Service, TWRA, TU, TN Aquarium, et al. are pursuing.

    If you want some papers on this I can provide a few PDFs (a guaranteed cure for insomnia!)… drop me a PM.

    As for southern muskies, some of the state folks are convinced that their stocking programs have obliterated any of our native fish. I’ve been slowly accumulating fin clips from TN and KY. We’ll see…

    #76016

    Zach Matthews
    The Itinerant Angler

    Very, very interesting. Thanks Dave. Now about that podcast interview…

    Zach

    #76065
    Joao Mota
    Joao Mota
    Member

    Hi!

    This is my first reply/post here, saw this article online and just love it!! I’m from Portugal and living in Madeira Island, only moutain streams over here, most of them beyond reach because of the geography of the island and I just hope that my rainbows are hanging in there just like that lonely brook trout.

    And i tottaly agree when you say –

    “There is a certain magic in fishing small streams. You lose the size-ism we are all accustomed to as anglers. Your expectations are recalibrated, fitted to appreciate the best the water has to offer, and this is a good thing.”

    Thank you so much for the post!

    jmota

    #76066

    Zach Matthews
    The Itinerant Angler

    Joao –

    You live on Madeira?! That’s amazing. Do you speak Portuguese as your first language? Do they still make the Madeira wine there? And are there really trout?

    Please start a new thread if you can trout fish on Madeira and tell us about it.

    Zach

    PS For the curious: https://goo.gl/maps/1kgs9

    #76071
    Joao Mota
    Joao Mota
    Member

    Hi Zach!

    Yes I live in Madeira, and yes my first language is Portuguese. They do still make Madeira wine and still as delicious as before…eheheheh

    The government introduced in the 50’s both rainbows from the US and brown trout from Portugal mainland, the brown trout only was repopulate for some times and its very hard to find one now(just like that lonely trout), the rainbows are repopulate every year with 10cm individuals, but I’ve seen numerous times small ones with less than 5cm, that made me thinking, as others, that the rainbows has found some way to mate and reproduce. What I think is
    rare outside the US…

    They are not very big in the streams, can reach a max of 300/500g, in some reservoirs they grow to over a kilo.

    I can do as you ask and start a thread with Madeira trouts and some pics.

    #76072

    Zach Matthews
    The Itinerant Angler

    So awesome. Thanks Joao. I would love to go to Madeira.

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