Fish story | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Fish story

Posted By on Thu, May 3, 2007 at 6:02 AM

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A reliable correspondent passes along a note making the rounds about a huge brown trout found dying in the White River for lack of oxygen in  unusually warm water, a result perhaps of a failure to maintain regular water releases from the Bull Shoals dam. This one could have been a record contender.

Letter on jump.

Just to let you know, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission confirmed today the brown trout that died yesterday in front of Rainbow Drive Resort most likely died due to hot water and low dissolved oxygen.  The fished weighed in at 32 lbs dead.  These fish lose weight when they die.  The world record is 40 lbs.  The fish was 37.5" long with a 28" girth.  The fisheries technician confirmed that the fish had no evidence of hooking or in other ways harmed.  The estimated age of the fish in 30-40 years old.  She was a phenomenal beautiful fat perfectly healthy fish that would have survived if minimum flow was in place.  Bull Shoals dam had generate 1 unit of water for a very brief time on April 25, 2007.  The next time they generated was 4:00 pm on April 30, 2007 after I placed a call to the hydropower department at the Little Rock district COE.  While I was on the phone with Kevin, he commented that they had noticed the water temps on the White River were in the 70's. 
 
We were lucky to have found this fish barely alive.  After much effort to revive this fish, the water was too warm to do any good.  I'm wondering how many other trophy trout also died that were not found.  Fortunately, not many rainbow trout were found dead. 
 
The United States Congress has ordered Minimum Flows on the White River.  To my knowledge, it will cost less that $500,000 for minimum flows to begin on Bull Shoals Dam. The annual economic value of this river alone is $90 million.  The Corp is stating the best guess for water releases to begin will be late 2009 to 2010.  Will killing world record trout and possibly an entire fishery justify the wait for the beaurocratic red tape from the Corp so they can continue to "Study" this project.   I would certainly hope the Corp could use some common sense and at least make an exception when the anticipated air temperature is to be warm, could begin  minimum flows.  After all, the Members of Congress have ordered them to do Minimum Flow.

Heather Crunkleton

Rainbow Drive Resort


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