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Old 05-23-18, 10:55 AM   #1
Philhutch80
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Default 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!
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Old 05-23-18, 11:51 AM   #2
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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.
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Old 05-23-18, 12:00 PM   #3
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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!
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Old 05-23-18, 12:04 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 05-23-18, 12:18 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 05-23-18, 12:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
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.
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Old 05-23-18, 12:38 PM   #7
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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 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 05-23-18, 02:47 PM   #8
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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....


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Old 05-23-18, 05:39 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 05-23-18, 05:55 PM   #10
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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.
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