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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Wednesday, November 4 • 11:20am - 11:40am
Bridgewater Tailrace, NC: Historical and Contemporary Approaches to Managing a Quality Trout Fishery

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C. Wood, D. Goodfred, J. Rash, D. Besler –North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Bridgewater Tailrace is a 29-km waterway extending from Lake James to Lake Rhodhiss in western North Carolina. An 18-km reach is classified as Special Regulation Trout Waters by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) and managed as a put-grow-and-take trout fishery. This reach was stocked each spring from 1996–2008 with 25,000–50,000 fingerling (25–75 mm total length) Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) in an effort to establish a high-quality tailrace fishery. Early results suggested stocking efforts were successful; however, subsequent evaluations from 2003–2009 demonstrated recruitment of stocked fish was highly variable and negatively correlated to water temperature. Recent upgrades to Bridgewater Hydro Station led to a new stocking approach by NCWRC that may ameliorate historical issues. In 2012, the NCWRC initiated a five-year study to evaluate annual stockings of 10,000 advanced fingerling (200–255 mm total length) Brown Trout. Fish were marked with coded wire tags and stocked during late fall after the threat of elevated water temperatures. Preliminary results from 2012–2015 suggest the fishery is improving: catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE; fish/hour) increased and percent contribution of stocked fish is high and consistent among survey years. Four year classes of stocked Brown Trout occur within the fishery; however, age structures indicate elevated mortality between ages one and two. Additionally, CPUE of stocked age-one Brown Trout declined between spring and fall samples within a single year, suggesting elevated temperatures during late summer and early fall continue to impede recruitment into the fishery.

Wednesday November 4, 2015 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Windsor B

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