Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Brookies on the Brink ...

A new post in the Open Spaces blog from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service examines how climate change might impact brook trout habitat and populations in Appalachia. As an aside, the post quotes from my book, "Shin Deep: A Fly Fisher's Love for Living Water."

Author Jeff Fleming was kind enough to call me and ask me about the attraction brookies offer the dedicated backcountry angler, and he was even more kind to cite my book as a resource.

Rapidan River brookie.
Make no mistake about it. Brookies are, indeed, on the brink in their native range, and you can't argue with the climate change models that predict significantly greater stress on their habitats, even if you disagree with the causes of climate change in general.

The Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, also mentioned in Fleming's post, is a large collaborative that is rightly taking into account the challenges facing not only brook trout recovery, but the steps necessary to ensure long-term brook trout survival in this unique char's native range. The post is worth a read–especially if you're a die-hard creek freak who values small water and the gorgeous little creatures that swim in them.


  1. Excellent Post! Your blog is doing an excellent job to raise awareness to help protect this beautiful animal.

  2. Good job EMBT. I'm glad someone is keeping on eye on things. Thanks!

  3. The Brook Trout is something special. Way to put the word out there and let people know whats going on with them.

  4. Here's the thing that gets me: They(meaning USF and WL ) thought fishing "might" harm the brook trout population in the GSMP. They thought acid rain "might" harm the brookies over a ten year study. They were mighty wrong on both counts. Neither fishing for brook trout, nor acid rain/climate change over a ten year study period showed any adverse affect on the brook trout or it's range. This info was just released a couple of years ago. But as always, someone somewhere is going to be in the business of predicting what "might" happen, based on computer "models" of what "might" happen based on data input to create the preictions.
    "might" is a mighty big word.

  5. I caught my first brookie in North Carolina tour this spring and what a gorgeous fish, even though it was about 4 inches! Ha. I'm ready to see a few more now! Hopefully, the brookie isn't affected as predicted.

  6. Owl... I am not familiar with the fishing impact on brookies in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, but I can see where they would predict an impact on brook trout populations from acid rain. Already, scores of once-habitable streams up and down Appalachia are now sterile and not able to hold brookies (or any trout, for that matter). Streams that are artificially limed to balance out the pH of the water can hold fish, but the effort is expensive and must continue in perpetuity, or until air pollution levels decrease enough to allow for less acidic precipitation. I'd rather have the experts base their predictions on science, as I'm sure you woud, too. Tough to argue with the acid rain prediction. Like I said, I have no background on how fishing impacts brookies in the park, so I'll defer to your experience there.