December Meeting Minutes

On Thursday, Dec. 4, we meet at Rania’s Restaurant in Martinsville. We had two speakers, at least two guests, and over twenty members in attendance. It takes a good program to draw a crowd, huh?

The meeting was called to order by Shane and after recapping the club events (Grayson Highlands Camping and Fishing Trip, Fish With A Friend Day, Lyin’, Tyin’ and Fishin’ Weekend, Smith River Fest, River Clean-up) over the past year, he reminded everyone that we had elections to hold for new officers after the presentation.

And yes, we had a great program. George Palmer and Scott Smith from VDGIF gave us a presentation on the stream sampling that they did this summer on the Smith. It was a very entertaining and informative presentation with a lot of questions and answers throughout the session. Here are the highlights that I came away with.

Following comments are from Philpott to Martinsville Dam:

  • they samples 8 sites above the Martinsville dam. All together, they totaled about 8000 feet of river sampled.
  • 2300 fish were collected. 70% were Brown Trout, 2 % were Rainbows, 13% Darters, 5.5% Chub. and the other 9.5% were other baitfish, bass, sunfish, etc. They estimate that they only collect about half of the fish in the sampled areas using the barge technique employed on the upper river.
  • They have collected an average of 11 trout/10 meters over the last ten years. Last five years have trended higher.
  • The average fish size above Martinsville dam was 8.3″. This is also trending higher.
  • Higher numbers of trout were collected from the Mirror Plant to the Philpott Dam. Numbers collected fell of dramatically below Bassett. But baitfish numbers were reversed. The waters below Bassett become harder to samle and the sampled areas were smaller, but is something else going on?
  • No trout over 14″(I think?) were sampled above Martinsville.

1300 brown trout were moved from the upper river to the waters below Martinsville after they had their adipose fin clipped. They were released in three+ locations.

Following comments are from below the Martinsville dam:

  • They sampled 11.1 miles of river below the dam. The technique, equipment and measurements were different because of the different river conditions.
  • They used one raft with a rower, a shocker and one dipper. They could only sample the water right around the raft. They could not cover the width of the river as they can higher up. Deeper holes were also harder to shock and sample.
  • Fish sampled are measured in fish/hour, not fish/meter or feet. This is the sampling and measuring system used on most larger rivers.
  • Much more chubs, bass, sunfish, darters were sampled
  • 175 brown trout were sampled. Most fish were 12-20″.
  • 43/hour were sampled. They were impressed since it was the crews first time on this stretch of unfamiliar water. By comparison, George said that smallmouth sampling on the upper New River, a premier water, averages about 88/hour. Musky sampling is less than 5/hour.

Considerations/plans for above Martinsville:

  • More extensive testing/sampling from Collinsville/Fieldale to Martinsville Dam. Why low populations? There is more food available. No spawning habitat, high water temperatures, fish not moving down from higher water, past/current pollutant issues?
  • Relocate clipped adipose trout from Philpott area to this stretch below Bassett. Study growth and survival of these fish.

Considerations/plans for below Martinsville:

  • Continue to move more fish from Philpott area.
  • Stock sterile Brown Trout fingerlings (George has requested 11,000 for 2015). They will OTC marked so they can examined for growth in future years. Sterile fish do not waste energy on reproduction, so growth rates are higher.
  • More extensive sampling and testing. Especially of the trouts’ diet.

That concluded our program. George and Scott stayed through the meeting and talked with us more after the meeting. They were extremely generous with their time and knowledge and we are very grateful for them spending the time with us. And we’re glad to have such good guys in the positions they are in. Thanks again.

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We moved on to the nominations and elections.

We had a proposed slate prepared and Al received no new nominations from the floor. Al called for a second and then a vote to accept and it was a done deal. New officers for 2015 are: President, yours truly. Doug Jessie; Vice President, Eric Tichay; Secretary, Al Kittredge; Treasurer, Scott Griffin, for his third term.

Next meeting is scheduled for March 5, 2015.

Hope everyone has a great Christmas. Maybe Santa will bring you some new gear? And go fishing!

Notify me if you have corrections/additions, please.

Doug Jessie


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