birth of a troutstream
Spring 2006 – Summersville, WV
The WVAngler.com campout is under a deluge of rain. Huddled under a tarp canopy a group of about 30 anglers between 18 and 60 years old consume copious amounts of alcohol and discuss women, angling plans for the following morning, beer and women. Off to one corner, Eric Ohlmstead, Cory Booth and myself discuss political issues, world economy, Watts vs. Joules…and potential new trout streams. Cory is a rafting guide and a damn good one. In addition to being an elementary school teacher he spends a freakish amount of time floating on rubber rafts down the New and Gauley Rivers. So Cory casually mentions, “Have you checked out Bucket Creek?”
What I found on this creek was fantastic pool quality within an isolated canyon. Typical pollution tolerant bug life (blue winged olives, midges, black fly larvae) but lots of it. I petitioned Ernie Nester to go check it out as Ernie has as good a handle as anyone on trout stream parameters. He checked it out and made a recommendation to KVCTU to get some fingerlings. We’ve now had two loads of fingerlings placed in the creek thanks to the help of guys like Ernie, Joe Crowder, Marcus Patrick and many other volunteers who’ve helped backpack the fish in.
Then we discovered a problem. There is a wastewater treatment plant on the creek. This isn’t normally a problem, there are several fantastic brown trout streams in southern WV that have treatment plants on them. But this one is particularly bad. Gray water belches out of the effluent. No benthic life or fish below the outfall. Then a few months ago I found a dead trout laying just below the outfall. I thought that maybe the stream was a bust. I contacted the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection and their claim was that the treatment plant was the worst around, that there were many violations, but if they forced them to pay fines then the plant would have no money at all to function at even it’s best (worst) conditions. Which I think is complete bull.
But I didn’t give up hope. Yesterday afternoon I made a quick trip over to the lower end and was greeted by lots of hungry 8″ brown trout. That’s a big burden lifted. They say the solution to pollution is dilution. Hopefully we can work together with the Whitewater Rafting Associations to push for major improvements to this treatment plant, and ultimately the cleaner water of this tributary and that of the New River National River.