rangement outillage

Trout Unlimited Land O' Sky

Centered in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, we are an organization of anglers and conservationists dedicated to the protection of trout and their habitat. We are located within an hour's drive of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and surrounded by the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests. Many of the premiere trout streams of the southeastern United States are within easy casting distance.

Our chapter is actively involved with other resource agencies, such as the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) in decisions about best management practices for fisheries and watersheds. We assist fisheries scientists from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in stream monitoring.

We maintain an active, ongoing interest in the education of youth on the importance of trout habitat protection and catch and release angling.

We invite all conservation-minded anglers, regardless of their chosen method of fishing or level of fishing experience, to join us in protecting coldwater fisheries in our region.

Who we are

Centered in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, we are an organization of anglers and conservationists dedicated to the protection of trout and their habitat. We are located within an hour's drive of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and surrounded by the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests. Many of the premiere trout streams of the southeastern United States are within easy casting distance. We meet the first Monday of each month at Three Brothers Restaurant, 183 Haywood Street , phone 253-4971. (On the corner of Montford and Haywood Street just up from Hunter Banks.) Our chapter is actively involved with other resource agencies, such as the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) in decisions about best management practices for fisheries and watersheds. We assist fisheries scientists from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in stream monitoring.

We maintain an active, ongoing interest in the education of youth on the importance of trout habitat protection and catch and release angling.

We also manage 3 1/2 miles of the Big East Fork of the Pigeon River in Haywood County as a high quality, catch and release, private fishery.

We invite all conservation-minded anglers, regardless of their chosen method of fishing or level of fishing experience, to join us in protecting coldwater fisheries in our region.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has begun a program to reintroduce the Southern Appalachian Brook Trout , the only trout species native to the Southern Appalachians, to as much of its original territory as possible. The purpose of this program is to reestablish stable reproducing populations in healthy streams and to insure this unique genotype is protected and preserved.

This project is part of a partnership between Trout Unlimited and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. That partnership was cemented in a Memorandum of Understanding, signed in 1998 between TU North Carolina, TU Tennessee, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This was the first MOU between Trout Unlimited and a national park. That MOU stipulated support by Trout Unlimited for protection of wild trout and restoration of native trout within GSMNP. LOS TU volunteers, along with TU volunteers from NC and TN, as well as volunteers from other organizations, have assisted with various phases of this project.

Since the turn of the century, this native fish has lost approximately 75% of its range in the park. Causes of range loss include logging (around the turn of the century), subsequent stocking of non-native trout, and stream degradation from acidification. By 1975, the native brook trout population within the park had become mostly restricted to marginal headwater streams above 3,500 feet.

trousse a outils

Since 1974, studies have shown that brook trout are losing habitat from above in that high elevation streams in the park are increasing in acidity, thus reducing the viability of healthy aquatic populations. At the same time, established rainbow trout populations are encroaching on brook trout territory from lower reaches of park streams. Because of these factors, the park closed all brook trout streams to fishing in 1978, until such time as the populations become stable enough to survive.

The park's current Fisheries Management Plan has identified 12 streams (35-40 miles) for restoration of the Southern Appalachian brook trout. These streams meet the criteria of water quality and downstream barriers (waterfalls) to prevent encroachment by non-native trout. The method of reintroduction is twofold: first, the removal of all non-native trout from the waterfall upstream and second, the reintroduction of native stock from other streams within the park. The removal of non-native trout can only be accomplished by using backpack electrofishing techniques or chemical removal methods.

Five of the streams identified are suitable for electroshocking removal and two of those streams, LeConte Creek and Pilkey Creek, have been restored and are currently undergoing monitoring. Chemical removal of the non-native species in Sam's Creek was begun in the fall of 2000 and will be completed in 2001. LOS TU volunteers assisted with exotic removal on LeConte and Sam's Creeks, and helped stock brook trout on Pilkey Creek.

The remaining 10 streams will be studied to determine whether removal of non-natives and reintroduction of Southern Appalachian brook trout is possible over the next several years.

This program is a proactive approach to stabilizing native brook trout in a portion of their historic range in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and would result in a source of broodstock for other restoration work in the Southeastern United States. It would also allow for the reopening of fishing for this species within the park boundaries. If you would like more information on this program, you may contact Steve Moore, fisheries biologist for GSMNP. There are several ways you can support the brook trout restoration program. One of our fellow TU chapters in NC, Dogwood Anglers TU, sponsors a yearly raffle of fishing equipment, with proceeds going to the brook trout restoration program. Click here to go to Dogwood Anglers' website for information on the raffle.

Steven Spanger, an artist from Wear Valley, Tennessee, has created several beautiful prints of fishing scenes in the Smokies. Proceeds from the sale of these prints go to the support of a continuing endowment, which in turn supports the Fisheries student Internship program in GSMNP. Through this program, you can help support scientific fisheries research in GSMNP, including brook trout restoration research. 3 new student internships were made possible through the endowment in 2000. Click here to go to Steve Spangler's website for information on the prints.

Finally, Friends of the Smokies is a private fundraising organization, dedicated to providing resources to the Park in an age of dwindling budgets and government cutbacks. Click here to visit their website to learn how you can help support the protection of coldwater resources in the Park.

We appreciate the hard work of Steve Moore, Matt Kulp, John Hammonds and all NPS personnel in researching and protecting aquatic habitat in GSMNP.

Brook Trout is the only species of trout native to Western North Carolina. Known as "spec" or "speckled trout" by mountain folk, the brook is not a true trout, but a "char." Historically this species was found from Canada south to north Georgia. Brook trout in WNC rarely live more than 4 years, and seldom exceed 8-9 inches.

Brown trout attain the largest size of any of the game species in the area. They usually inhabit streams in lower elevations and prefer slower waters and areas with good cover. This species was brought to the United States from Europe. Brown trout can live 8-12 years. Most brown trout caught by anglers are 6-12 inches. However, fish occasionally reach a maximum size of 29-30 inches and 9-11 pounds.

This trout is native to western North America, primarily the Northwest. Logging companies began stocking rainbow trout in area streams in 1910 Rainbow trout live 3-5 years. Most rainbow caught by anglers in the area are between 6-10 inches. Fish over 12 inches are rare.