LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fish Tales

The sight is almost like a mosaic as you peer down into the vats.  Lots of fish shimmer in the sunlight.  Where can you see such a sight?  At the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education.

The Bobby Setzer Fish Hatchery is located there.  Three varieties of trout are bred and released from this hatchery.  Trout eggs are stripped from the females and fertilized by mixing the eggs with the fluid containing sperm which has been stripped from the males.  The eggs are protected at the fish hatchery and allowed to grow into fingerlings about five months later.  At that stage, the fingerlings are moved to very large outside vats called raceways.

Walking past the raceways is amazing.  One raceway might hold really small fish and another may hold fish large enough for dinner (or breakfast).






Informative signs are all along the raceways.  This one explains how the trout are bred.




The mountain streams of North Carolina are well known as excellent trout waters.  Every year trout fishermen and women come here to fish from all over the country.  Local fishermen and women also love to catch these fish.

 Larger fish in a raceway



The Davidson River is a favorite among trout enthusiasts.  It runs through our county and the water is perfect for trout.  Another big bonus of the Davidon River is that the Bobby Setzer Fish Hatchery is on a branch of that river and regularly stocks the river with trout.

 This one was quite large.



Each year this particular fish hatchery stocks about half a million trout in fifteen counties in western NC.  The stocking waters include eighty streams and lakes.  We have three different trout species in our area.  The most popular is probably the Rainbow Trout.  It is not native to North Carolina but was brought here in the late 1800s from the Pacific Northwest.  The Brown Trout is also a favored one and it is not native either.  It was brought here from Europe in the late 1800s as well.

Is there a native trout in our mountains?  Well, sort of.  The Brook Trout is indeed native to western North Carolina.  Except...well...the Brook Trout is not really a trout.  It is a char.

We travel to the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education quite often.  It is located in Pisgah Forest where a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) camp once stood.  The scenery is beautiful and John Rock rises above the area with trails to the top.  It is fun to wander around the raceways and see the various types and sizes of trout.  The parking lot is adjacent to the river where lines of trout fishermen and women hope to catch a big trout.  In summer we can watch fly fishing lessons for a new group of trout fishers.  Some of the early casting is rather funny to watch.  Thank goodness they don't have any hooks at the end of the lines.

Another draw for us is the usual presence of Turkey Vultures.  We have seen dozens of them roosting in two large trees near the raceways and flying above.  We did not see any on this particular trip, but we did see a very large black bird.  It was either a raven or a really large crow.  Since both are found in the area, we weren't sure which it was.  I'm sure a real birdwatcher could look at the tail and immediately recognize whether it's a crow or raven.

 Too bad I had the wrong lens on the camera.



We are indeed lucky and blessed to live around here.  Really, it's true...Life is better in the mountains.



15 comments:

Rudee said...

I love the fish and his shadow. Beautiful photograph!

You're right...life is better in the mountains!

Rae said...

Your life in the mountains sounds wonderful. I've considered moving to that area many times. Enjoyed your narrative about the fish hatchery. That would be an interesting place to visit.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I love when I can visit a place and be entertained and educated at the same time.
I am a bit confused though; can't the trout reproduce on their own?
We have turkey vultures here...they scare the bejesus out of me!

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I enjoy your blog, though I rarely comment. We enjoyed our trip across NC and the BRP in 2010 so I'm able to sort of picture the type of mountains where you live. My husband would miss the MN snow, so I know we'll never move there. We may be in Greenville in May for daughter in laws graduation, as we were last May for Son's masters degree. But nk mountains on those trips.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I enjoy your blog, though I rarely comment. We enjoyed our trip across NC and the BRP in 2010 so I'm able to sort of picture the type of mountains where you live. My husband would miss the MN snow, so I know we'll never move there. We may be in Greenville in May for daughter in laws graduation, as we were last May for Son's masters degree. But nk mountains on those trips.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I enjoy your blog, though I rarely comment. We enjoyed our trip across NC and the BRP in 2010 so I'm able to sort of picture the type of mountains where you live. My husband would miss the MN snow, so I know we'll never move there. We may be in Greenville in May for daughter in laws graduation, as we were last May for Son's masters degree. But nk mountains on those trips.

Taradharma said...

We, too, have a hatchery close by, which annually produces 4,000,000 Chinook salmon and 430,000 Steelhead trout. (I looked it up!) In our case, we have two damns that prevent the fish from reaching their old spawning grounds, to man is giving the fish a little leg up (least he can do after messing with their water). We used to take the kids up there a lot when they were little -- guess I'll be taking the grandson up there in a few years.

Ms. A said...

Wish I was up there. I've always felt like I was born in the wrong place. I love the Carolina mountains!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Interesting how they 'milk' the fish to gather the eggs. I always thought trout were some of the prettiest fish.

Vicki Lane said...

I learned something -- about the brook 'trout.' Nice post!

troutbirder said...

It's always fun to visit the hatcheries. I'm a regular visitor wherever we go. Also zoos, arboreteums, science museums, nature preserves..... etc. Well you get the ideal. :)

Arkansas Patti said...

We have one of those hatcheries here also. Interesting.
I love fly fishing. The process is almost more fun to me than actually catching a fish. Such a graceful sport.

Ginnie said...

Yes, North Carolina has such a variety of interesting areas and I love living here too. I also loved that you mentioned the Turkey Vultures (or Turkey Buzzards as I was taught to call them.) They visit me too and I will picture that soon on my blog.

animal lover, quilt lover said...

We have no hatchery around here. We use to have a customers of Tom's who would bring us Grouper fresh caught every once in a while but of late he has not been able to catch any!! THEY SAY they are dieing out!!! It is too bad!!!!!!!!! I wonder why??
Zoie is my pride and joy!!!

George said...

Thanks for the tour of the hatchery. I know the hatcheries here in Tennessee keep fishermen in the Smokies happy.