Lower Saluda River Trout Study

The Trout Study

In order for SCDNR to better manage the trout fishery in the Lower Saluda River, a tagging study and creel survey are currently being done. These efforts will continue through 2015 and are designed to provide fisheries biologists with critical information concerning the growth and survival of the river’s trout and angler preference. Results from these efforts will be used in future decision making concerning stocking levels and harvest regulations for the Lower Saluda River system.

Tagging Study

Photograph of Trout TagsThe tagging study will involve the inserting of T-Bar Anchor Tags in 9000 rainbow and 6000 brown trout over the course of the three year study. Of these, 25% of the fish will be tagged twice to determine tag retention rates. In addition to tagging, the adipose fin will be clipped from the rainbow trout to access growth rates and natural mortality. This fin is located along the fish’s back between the dorsal fin and tail fin. Since its function is limited, the adipose fin is often clipped to mark fish for studies that evaluate the performance of hatchery produced fish.

SCDNR will collect information on tagged fish in two manners. SCDNR will rely on local anglers to return/report on the catch of a tagged fish. Each tag will be marked with SCDNR, a tag number and a contact telephone number for those fish tagged in 2012. For 2013 and 2014 tags will be marked with DNR, a tag number and the DNR web address. Additionally, Region 3 fisheries biologists will conduct electrofishing activities at several river locations. Electrofishing allows biologists to sample fish populations by temporarily stunning the fish to allow for them to be weighed and measured and then returned to the river unharmed within minutes.

Creel Survey

A creel clerk has been hired by SCDNR to conduct a creel survey of the Lower Saluda River during the three year tagging study. Fishermen will be interviewed through both roving creel and access point surveys to estimate the level of fishing activity and angler success on the river.