Project Fish Bugs Launches the 2012 season


Five young men with Oak Hill Academy’s Boy Scout Troop #5, accompanied by one parent, Marci Hart, and one of their hardy leaders, Buddy Halsey, headed up the Cabin Creek Trail (Grayson Highlands State Park) for a morning survey.  This amazing, oft described as pristine, stream begins in the Mount Rogers NRA, and is known to hold endangered native brook trout, protected in the park.  We owe a lot to the Department of Conservation and Recreation as well as the park for giving BRDC permission to survey.  And hats off to Kevin Kelley once again for facilitating our programs in GHSP.  

We chose the pools below the most dramatic falls for our survey, situated in a gorge full of tumbled rocks and moss covered banks.  Aaron Floyd, this year’s program director, is a seasoned fly fisherman, and has added that dimension to the Fish Bugs program.  Though we did not find many macro-invertebrates this day, we did catch enough in both the larval and adult stages to make the comparisons between living forms and the art of fly tying.  

We speculated that perhaps the relative absence of larval mayflies, stoneflies and caddis flies was the result of recent and frequent rains.  If enough water is forced through the gorge, both the volume and strong rush of the water could have dislodged our bugs, moving them downstream to calmer zones.  But, again, we are guessing.

Among our catch were a few each of mayflies, stoneflies, caddis flies, a midge, one dragonfly larva, two salamanders, and an itsy bitsy crayfish.  I find myself saying, often, that the absence of data is data, and in spite of our low numbers, the walk and visuals were thrilling.  Including the hike, our first Fish Bugs program lasted just under 4 hours.  

Scott Jackson-Ricketts