Comparison of Wild and Hatchery Brook Trout in Spruce Flats Branch, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Date of Award
Master of Science
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
J. Larry Wilson
David A. Etnier, Don W. Byerly
The brook trout of Great Smoky Mountains National Park at one time were found to inhabit many mountain streams down to an elevation of approximately 610 meters (2,000 ft.). The range of the species has since decreased at an alarmingly rapid rate in most drainages since the early part of this century. Reasons for the disappearance of the only salmonoid native to the southern Appalachians appears to be a combination of factors. Among them, improper logging practices and the widespread introduction of the rainbow and brown trout are probably the most detrimental. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of hatchery and F1 wild strain brook trout fingerlings planted in a stream devoid of trout species. It might be possible from the planting to determine which strain is the better competitor.
The results of the experiment indicated that the two strains suffered less mortality in the upper stream section where streamside cover was abundant and blacknose dace were fewer in number. Both brook trout strains had high percent mortality, but fewer F1 wild fingerlings were lost. The hatchery strain in the upper stream section had the best growth over the six-month study period, but its genetic background lends itself to this performance. If the fingerling plant was successful, a range extension for the species might be realized.
Harned, W. Douglas, "Comparison of Wild and Hatchery Brook Trout in Spruce Flats Branch, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1976.