First 2013 Anglers Fund Trip: Saluda River, SC
Our 2013 Anglers Fund trip schedule got off to a great start this week with a very successful trip to the Saluda River in Columbia, SC. Anglers Fund member, Davis Knox, Jim Gillis and Walker Hopkins, owner of River and Glen Outfitters in Augusta, GA, fished with Steve White, manager of the Anglers Fund, on the section below the Lake Murray Dam for rainbow trout in the 14-16” range.
The Saluda has greatly benefited from the work of Gerrit Jöbsis, American Rivers’ Southeast Conservation Director, who brokered a 2004 agreement with SC Electric and Gas Company to improve the river’s dissolved oxygen levels by changing hydropower dam operations.
Prior to that, the oxygen would plunge during summer and fall dam operations to levels that suffocated and killed trout. Due to Gerrit’s work on behalf of American Rivers, dissolved oxygen has greatly improved. Coupled with improved flow releases from the dam, the Saluda now sustains robust fish populations. Trout not only survive the hot summers, but have healthy growth rates. There are common reports of fish over 20” in the system, as well as indications that trout reproduction is now occurring on a limited basis.
In addition to catching the trout, we also saw several otters, herons, kingfishers, and 3 small mayfly hatches during the day – all signs of a healthy river. Check out a great video about our work helping the Saluda.
Walker, whose Rivers and Glen fly shop is a new member of our River Ambassador program, hosted us at a wonderful riverside residence, cooked a fabulous stack of steaks using lump charcoal from Davis’ Fire & Flavor business, and helped lead us to the rainbows. One of the highpoints at dinner was Gerrit’s description of how his work helped breathe new life back into the river, knowing that we would benefit from that work both on this trip and any other trips we take to this beautiful Southern river. We’re already talking about a return trip in October.
If you would like to join us on this or any other Anglers Fund trip, you can join the fund and see the trip schedule at www.AmericanRivers.org/AnglersFund, or contact Steve White at swhite@AmericanRivers.org.
Thanks to Gerrit for his work on the river and to Davis, Jim, and Walker for a great trip. Hope you’ll join us on one soon.