Trout Return To The Green River

By Sandy Schenck

The Green River is one of the finest trout streams in Western North Carolina. The cold, pure and un-silted stream is a perfect habitat for Rainbow and Brown trout and Green River tributaries still hold Brookies, North Carolina’s original “trout”. (Brookies look like living jewels and are actually members of the Char family.) Green River trout have been self-sustaining for over 100 years.

My family has fly fished in the Green River for three generations. Boy, can we tell fish stories! In recent years, however, over 50% of Green River trout have disappeared. To find out why, we did some research and installed trail cameras along the river. We discovered that otter, after over a 100 year absence, have returned to the Green River. Unfortunately these beautiful, playful creatures often hunt in packs, have huge territories and eat up to three pounds of fish per day. Otter are apex predators that love to eat trout.

This summer, we will work with Davidson River Outfitters to try to restore Green River trout populations. We will stock the river with hatchery raised fish. At least once each week, we will hand feed these fish by throwing “trout chow” into the river. We will watch for otter tracks and carefully, with the help of our campers, monitor trail cameras. If and when otter visit our section of the Green River, the Davidson River folks will use live traps to capture and remove them. If just a few are captured, we are told that the entire pack will be scared out of the valley. For the trout’s sake, let’s hope so!

by Sandy Schenck