Tennessee Aquarium Releases 255 Brook Trout

Successful Start To Restore Tennessee’s Only Native Trout

Friday, August 30, 2013 - by Shannon L. Colbert

The Southern Appalachian Brook Trout, SABT, is one of the most beautiful aquatic animals in the Appalachian Mountains. These colorful fish seem to herald the coming of autumn as their brilliant red bellies and bright golden spots appear with the change in seasons. “There’s no mistaking Southern Appalachian Brook Trout when they display their breeding colors,” said Dr. Anna George, director of the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute (TNACI). “They are the only native freshwater fish in the Southeast with a primary spawn in the fall.”

Once abundant in the mountain headwaters of East Tennessee, SABT are down to just three percent of their historical range today. Logging activities wiped out large portions of the habitat for this fish. When SABT numbers dwindled, many sites were overtaken by Rainbow Trout, a non-native species that can withstand warmer water and more direct sunlight. “Recent efforts to restore the forested areas along these streams are paying off,” said Dr. George. “So there is an opportunity today to begin recovery work for the Southern Appalachian Brook Trout which is Tennessee’s only native trout.”

The National Fish & Wildlife Foundation awarded a grant to TNACI to participate in a study to perfect captive breeding techniques for this species. There is a significant need to progress captive propagation efforts for this species before the remaining distinct populations decline further in the wild.

TNACI biologists collected 50 brood fish from Hampton Creek, located in Carter County, TN, in October 2012. These adults were brought back to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga.

Eggs and milt were collected from these brood fish with the help of trout experts from Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, TWRA, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, USFWS. Fertile eggs began developing in late October and by the end of November baby trout began hatching marking the first time this species had been successfully reared in a closed-circulation system.

Before this success at TNACI, Southern Appalachian Brook Trout had only been successfully raised at the Tellico Fish Hatchery in the Cherokee National Forest a few times. Their success, using water from the source stream, inspired the idea that TNACI scientists could do the same thing at the Aquarium using chilled and dechlorinated tap water sourced from the City of Chattanooga. Because most hatcheries operate using flow-through water systems, concern exists about the transmission of disease and escaped fish to nearby wild populations.

On Thursday, TNACI biologists returned to Hampton Creek to release 255 juvenile trout with TWRA. “Each fish was implanted with a tiny wire tag,” said Dr. George. “A graduate student from Tennessee Tech University will survey Hampton Creek in January to obtain some baseline information for this project. A handheld detector will tell us which trout were released this summer.”

This first propagation success and release has taken just under one year to achieve. Biologists will begin the whole process again in another month, inching closer to an expanded program that might one day ensure that anglers throughout the region find robust populations of these gorgeous fish. 


National Archery In Schools Program Subject For June Nature At Noontime

The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), will be the subject for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s June Nature at Noontime program. The program will be held on Thursday, June 2, from noon-1 p.m. at the TWRA’s Region II Ray Bell Building located in the Ellington Agriculture Complex. Don Crawford, TWRA assistant chief for Information and Education and the ... (click for more)

TWRA Officials To Attend Meeting In Regard To Kentucky Lake Crappie Fishery

Officials from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency are among those who will be attending a public meeting regarding the crappie fishery on Kentucky Lake. The meeting, requested by State Representative Tim Wirgau, will be held on Tuesday, June 14, from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Enoch Building at the Henry County Fairgrounds in Paris. TWRA fisheries personnel will attend to share ... (click for more)

Large Hole Develops In Lane Of I-24 Eastbound Over Chestnut Street; Emergency Repair Undertaken

A large hole developed in the I-24 eastbound bridge over Chestnut Street in Chattanooga on Sunday evening. Jennifer Flynn of TDOT said, "The hole is such that we are having to close a lane to protect traffic.  This will cause a significant backup in traffic, especially given the holiday.  "This is the same bridge, but different location that we recently did an emergency ... (click for more)

12 Lost Hikers Rescued At Rainbow Lake, Edwards Point

Eleven adults and a child were briefly lost at Rainbow Lake and Edwards Point trails on Signal Mountain on Sunday. A 911 call was made at 9:45 p.m. from one of the hikers reporting the group lost sunlight hiking out of the trails at Edwards Point. Th Signal Mountain Fire Department and the Walden's Ridge Emergency Services have responded to the scene to ... (click for more)

Parking Discrimination Downtown

Many taxpayers who reside in Chattanooga (but outside Chattanooga's core) feel left behind when it comes to neighborhood paving, sidewalks, policing, streetscaping, street sweeping, public transportation, and other services. Some think most tax dollars are spent on downtown and not in their neighborhoods. It's not as if they can't vicariously experience the largesse of downtown. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: One Nameless Ghost

One hundred years ago the United States was at war. The most intense fighting during World War I was on what was called The Western Front. The Germans wanted to invade France from the north and in order to do it, they had to push through Flanders province in Belgium. It has been described as a hell unequalled in raw hand-to-hand combat, In just four months on Flanders fields, ... (click for more)