The Ancients Among Us
Quite possibly the oldest indegenous organism living in Western North Carolina streams is the Hellbender. Wild Rainbow trout found in remote streams don't even compare to how special this large salamander is. Fly Fisher's especially, should pay close attention to the success or livlihood of the so called "mud puppies".
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has designated Hellbender's as a "Species of Special Concern". The reason Fly Fisherman in WNC should pay attention to the mud dog is because it serves as an indication of water quality. According to researchers (links below) rivers and streams that are fast moving, highly oxengenated, low in silt, and generally free of contaminates, are most suitable for Hellbenders. Just so happens that mountain trout love the same!
This spring Hellbenders have been spotted in nearly every area stream here in the Swain, Jackson, and Macon county waters. This is great news because the sightings typically are few and far between, until recently. Conservation groups like WATR, LTLT, Trout Unlimited and others have been working hard to serve as watchdogs for our streams.
CALL TO ACTION!!
What we can do to keep up this momentum in sustaining the aquaculture of WNC is do our part in volunteering. April 25th is a day of action. We all love to fish the waters of Swain, Jackson and many more of WNC, so why not devote one day to clean up?! Groups such as Swain Clean and Pristine, and WATR and even students from Western Carolina Univesity will invade streams in search of trash throughout the month of April. We have all seen this garbage when wading...styrofoam, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, monofiliment, and more! I even found a drift boat anchor in the Tuck (made of lead) which now serves as the shop door stop... So I challenge everyone reading to pitch in a few hours and fill a garbage bag. I don't care where anyone stands politically on climate change, but at least lets be good stewards of what God has blessed us with here in WNC. Call the shop if you want more info on how to help.