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VDGIF Smith River Sampling - Aug 11-13

Started by Woolly Bugger, August 11, 2015, 18:45:57 PM

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Woolly Bugger

August 11, 2015, 18:45:57 PM Last Edit: August 11, 2015, 18:51:41 PM by Woolly Bugger

If you've never participated on a stream sampling you should. It's a lot of fun and you might even find out where the big boys are hanging out. The first sampling site was up towards the dam at the yellow stairs. About 10 – 15 volunteers maned the nets as the VDGIF crew manned the barges and electro shock equipment. Big fish came out of the deep holes and from under trees along the bank. Fish were measured and weighed some were returned to the river, others had their adipose fin clipped and they were moved to a location downstream, yet others had their Odilith bones removed for analysis.

I'll going back tomorrow to help with and photograph the first sampling site of the day, which is located behind the mirror plant.

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ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

Woolly Bugger

Day two of three sampling the Smith.
More of the same, a bit farther from the dam, fish were on average a bit bigger.

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Dinner for the volunteers, some trouts were also given to the reporter the other day.
They used to throw them on the bank, but Al got them to donate them to the peeps lending a hand.

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ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

Dougfish

Good stuff, guys. I'm pissed I'm missing this.  b';

Just a thought, how much disinfecting of all that equipment and gear do they do after the didymo infested Smith?


Woolly Bugger

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!


Yallerhammer

Women want me, doughbellies fear me.<br /><br />Little Debbie Prostaff

Al

Quote from: creakycane on August 15, 2015, 13:25:44 PM

Very nice photos.   Did anyone get back for the last day below Martinsville?

Last day was up near dam. We got below MV about two months ago. I've received death threats if I posted photos but suffice it to say there are fish down there. Access is the limited unless you have a kayak, canoe or small raft.

Al

There's already been a great deal written about the annual VDGIF sampling of the Smith River on 11-14 August 2015. Woolly and TF posted below. The Martinsville Bulletin also featured a story about it - link to that is below.

I've been helping VDGIF with these sampling and other matters associated with the fishery for over fifteen years. Rather then say the same thing others have already said I will just give a few observations of my own.

Lets set the stage by first reviewing the attached map showing "Smith River Sampling Sites".
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There are currently eight sites that receive an annual sampling. The site below the Martinsville Dam was sampled about two months ago so only seven locations were sampled this past week. Each site is several hundred yards in length and most coincide with known sections which are considered "good fishing".  Most competent fishermen would look at these pools and riffles and say, "If I am lucky and the bite is on I can probably catch a half dozen up through there".  What is hard to comprehend is the vast numbers of trout that are ignoring our offerings. Many of these fish would put a serious bend in your rod.

We rolled up and collected several hundred fish from each site. The lead biologist said they estimate they scoop up a little less them 50% of the fish during an operation. From a layman's perspective I'd say the river is healthy and holding it's own. The average size appears to be increasing. The largest brown trout collected was just shy of 19 1/2 inches and there were lots of fish well past 10 inches which places them in the protected slot, i.e. in accordance with current regulations ,"No brown trout 10 to 24 inches and only one brown trout per day longer then 24 inches".  In my opinion this slot limit is having a positive effect. We also saw a lot of tiny trout from this past year's spawn which is a good sign.

Unfortunately we did not start collecting a significant amount of forage fish, i.e. dace, shiners, sculpins and suckers until we moved downstream past the Bassett Library.  This lack of forage is one of the reasons the trout are not growing at normal rates. Trout do pretty well on midges and other insects until they reach 7-9 inches but need "meat" after that to reach their growth potential. The biologists clipped the adipose fin on over 800 brown trout from the upper three sites and moved them to areas below the Martinsville Dam where there is ample forage. This is the third or fourth year trout have been moved for that purposes.  When we recently sampled below the Martinsville Dam many of these fin clipped fish were collected and showed excellent health and significant increases in size. In my opinion we are well on our way to establishing a trophy section of the river.

I can't close out without giving a well deserved pat on the back to VDGIF.  Each region has only a handful of fishery biologists and a limited amount of equipment. Large sampling such as carried out on the Smith River require a lot of coordination and group effort to pull together twenty or more biologists and equipment from neighboring regions. Kudos to lead biologist George Palmer for making things run like a well oiled machine.  Everyone had a job and when someone got backed up in their particular task others jumped in without hesitation. I'm sure the lead biologists from the other regions  call on George for similar mutual help on some of their larger bodies of water.

Last but not least my heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers who rallied to my "hue and cry".  Some had helped before and for some it was a first time. I hope you learned a few things and will share your experience with others. Your interest in the fishery was evident. Thank you one and all.


gonephishin'

Hate that I no longer live there.... I was only a 10 min ride to the put in just below Martinsville dam... Big fish down there... Smallies too

"Eat, drink, and be merry....for tomorrow we die"


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