Historical Changes in the Brown Trout Fishery in the Smith River Tailwater, Virginia: A Case History

Historical data on brown trout from the Smith River tailwater, Virginia, below Philpott Dam, from 1971-2002 were reviewed to assess changes in the fishery during the time period. Data from citation brown trout (>2268 g) and electrofishing data were evaluated for changes in size distribution and fish condition. The number of citation brown trout declined over the time period. Relative stock density also decreased. Although relative condition of citation brown trout was high in the early 1970s, values decreased and remained stable after 1980. Declines in the number of trophy-sized trout and smaller size distribution may be related to trophic interactions, overexploitation, water quality or trophic status changes, or limitations in food availablility.

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