June 2nd Meeting Minutes

Smith River Trout Unlimited, Chapter 264

Bassett / Martinsville, VA

www.smithrivertu.com

 

Minutes of meeting held at Rania’s Restaurant in uptown Martinsville, on Thursday, June 2, 2011, at 6:30 pm

Meeting called to order by SRTU President Darrin Doss

Twenty two  members and guests

Reading of previous meeting minutes suspended in the interest of saving time – minutes previously emailed to those on secretary’s distribution list.

Treasurer Paul Fogle reported the Chapter check book balance is  $832.49. A full accounting can be obtained from Paul.

Old Business:

SRTU Website  is still evolving with many new features being added by Darrin Doss.  Site can be found at http://smithrivertu.com/index.html

Weekend Generation: Since last meeting DRBA Program Manager Brian Williams has held meetings and talks with key players at COE, Dominion Power, VA Senator Warner’s Office,  DGIF,  Henry County, EDC, Smith River TU, paddle groups and outfitters to discuss summer weekend generation.

The most recent meeting was last week where decisions were made. Since that meeting Brian received a letter from Senator Warner’s office  announcing  the COE and Dominion Power have agreed to the following:  “the Smith River is scheduled to receive weekend water generation from Philpott Dam beginning Saturday July 2 and lasting through September 3.  This schedule can change dependent of course on flood control, drought, and other mitigating factors.  The water generation will last from 1pm-5pm each Saturday and will be at a flow of 650cfs ( one unit)”.

 

Since receipt of that news I have corresponded with Brian Williams (DRBA) and Scott Smith (DGIF) and both agree this is not a perfect plan and will not make everyone happy (paddlers would like more water, fishermen would like less). Neither is sure what the long-term impact will have on the fishery – it may be positive, negative or no impact at all.

In my opinion Brian is to be applauded for moving things beyond the usual “we need another study” response that has stymied just about every initiative in the past. For sure it will bring more people to the river, which from a fisherman’s viewpoint is not good. But it will give more folks “ownership” of the river, which again in my opinion is good. The more folks who see the recreational and economic value of the river the more influence we will have when calling for tweaking of fishing regulations and making changes at the dam which previous studies have documented as essential if the river is live up to its full potential.

Crime Stoppers & Enforcement Issues: At our March 2011 meeting David Jones reported he was in discussion with the local Crime Stoppers organization  and they agree that poachers are stealing from all of us and they are going to make up some  signs offering rewards of up to $1000 for the reporting and successful prosecution of poachers and DGIF Regulations violators.

Those signs have been made and will be placed alongside DGIF decals announcing the recent Brown Trout slot limit.

Nat Greene Flyfishers (Greensboro) member Laura Kennerly thanked SRTU members who helped with two Boy Scout events where her chapter introduced scouts to fly fishing. These were on  April 16th and April 30th

 

Gateway Smith River Clean Up: Several SRTU members helped with this clean up on March 19th at the  South Martinsville Canoe Access, south of the Martinsville dam in Ridgeway. The water was running but we still picked up several truckloads of trash.

Friends of Philpott Annual Expo – Saturday April 16th:  This event was cancelled due to weather.  (Smart call on someone’s part)

SRTU River Clean Up & Cook Out – Saturday, August 6th, 8:00 am – 2:00 pm: Meet at the Fieldale Trail Canoe Ramp – Cook Out for all participants at end of clean up. Bring your waders, gloves and canoes.

We need help – good chance to meet like-minded folks and maybe even go fishing after the cook out. (Don’t forget the weekend generation from 1-5 pm will be in effect – good chance to learn to work around it)

4th Annual River Fest, Friday Aug 12th – Saturday, Aug 13th @ Smith River Sports Complex –  We will set up a table  with SRTU info and use a fly tying and casting  demonstration to draw them in. Contact Darrin Doss if you are able to help.

New Business:  No new items other than the River Clean Up and River Fest which are listed above under old business. Please take note and contact someone in the leadership to let them know you are available to help on these activities.

Meeting Theme and Feature Presentation:

 

Steve “Bugman” Hiner, aquatic entomologist from VA Tech, gave a very informative presentation on aquatic insect life of the Smith River. Steve is a long time Smith River fisherman as well as an aquatic entomologist so he was able to bring it down to our level. He started out by congratulating all the various local groups for coming together for the benefit of the river. Steve said  that short of major funding for changes at or near the dam, i.e. mixing tower, new turbines, and weirs to augment flows,  we are doing the right things.

He went on to say he is seeing a lot more bugs, i.e. mayflies on the river which is indicative of clean water. He also said that as much as we hate Town Creek for all the brown water it pours into the Smith right after a rain, it really does the river and its aquatic insects a lot of good due to the rich nutrients that accompany the flow.

We asked Steve to comment on the effect of Didymo (rock snot) on aquatic life. His assessment was that “the jury was still out” but in his opinion there was a danger that Didymo would crowd out other vegetation and mayflies and caddis flies would suffer. He also thought it would stimulate an increase in midges.

Steve was accompanied by Bob Jenkins, retired entomologist from VA Tech and long time Smith River fisherman. Bob gave a “history lesson” on the decline of aquatic insects from the mid 70s up to present time. Bob also passed out a very good handout which documented his findings.

Brian Williams, DRBA Program Manager rounded out the evening by showing several video clips of nymphs as they crawled and drifted along in various sections of the Smith. (Good stuff – now if we can make our offerings look like that we will get a hit on every cast!)

Next regular SRTU meeting scheduled for Thursday, September 1, 2011. Program to be announced as soon as we receive a confirmation from our proposed guest speaker.

Any errors or omissions in these minutes are entirely mine. Please refer any comments or questions concerning these minutes to the SRTU Secretary aakitt@earthlink.net or telephone 910-868-6235

Al Kittredge

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