Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Where are the Silver Creek Hatches?

Spring flooding at Silver Creek has caused some short-term changes in the stream, but promises better aquatic conditions in the future.

Anglers have been noticing changes this summer at Silver Creek Preserve, including favorite fishing spots that have changed, different hatches, and less profuse hatches in some areas. Some have even expressed concern over what has happened to change their favorite fishing spot.

Not to worry, say Nature Conservancy staff, who monitor the stream conditions carefully each year. A spring flood did substantially change aspects of the stream, but that holds the potential for even better fishing conditions in the future.

On April 6 and 7 this year, Silver Creek experienced a flood, with measured flows of 460 c.f.s., compared to a normal spring flow of 200 c.f.s. The flooding changed the creek in many places, with areas of gravel exposed in the middle of the creek where channels and vegetation once were, and areas along the bank where silt deposited.

Such changes cause short-term population changes in mayflies and caddis flies, but these aquatic insects typically return rapidly.

The scouring of the stream bottom and the new silt deposits will create better habitat conditions in the future for insects and a variety of other species.

“Silver Creek, like other rivers, is a constantly changing system,” says Dayna Smith, Silver Creek Preserve manager. “A dramatic event like a flood can have profound effects, but in the long term it should mean better wildlife habitat and better fishing.”

The Nature Conservancy is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Silver Creek Preserve this summer. The 850-acre preserve has been recognized a model for community-based conservation. The Conservancy has worked with 22 private landowners along the stream to protect nearly 10,000 acres through conservation easements.

Last year, visitors from all 50 states and 14 countries visited the preserve.

Despite the changes, fishing remains excellent on the preserve. Trico hatches have been profuse in some areas of the stream, with many trout rising. A 33-inch brown trout caught in June has attracted a lot of attention among fly fishers.

“Silver Creek is a special place for so many people, and for so many reasons,” says Smith. “Each year, we learn more about the creek, and Silver Creek always holds surprises. The fact that it can still function as a natural river is a large part of what makes this such a special place.”

No comments: