Trout Population and Temperature Monitoring within Nantahala River Bypass Reach, North Carolina, in Response to Recreational Flow Releases

Recreational flow releases were established within the Nantahala Bypass Reach through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing of Duke Energyâ??s Nantahala Project. In 2012-2013, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, in conjunction with other resource managers, attempted to monitor the influence of recreational flow events on wild rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) populations within Nantahala Bypass Reach and Nantahala Tailwater. Monitoring included temperature loggers and fish population sampling. Temperature effects of release events were most pronounced during late summer and fall. Densities and standing crop estimates of wild trout > 100 mm TL did not vary substantially among the sample dates; however, rainbow trout ≤100 mm TL were not present during the last sample date at either site. Although recreational releases have the potential to affect wild trout populations and further wild trout monitoring is warranted, stocking trout in the bypass reach remains a viable management approach.

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