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drmnbig

Shenandoah Valley fish kills update

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The fact that they only this year isolated the bacteria that "potentially" the cause of the fish kills tells me that they are not trying all that hard. Likely because they already have a pretty idea regarding what is causing it, and they don't want to endanger the economy of the area--or perhaps the problem is going to be expensive to fix if it is a general environmental issue such as run-off from the urban areas of the several town in the watershed.

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Honestly, I'm pretty much in the same opinion as you.  I've lived here my whole life and there were never any problems with the quality of the rivers until all the turkey farms started popping up.  I have nothing to back it up but when you see something as big as this and that's the only change you've noticed in the area then it's natural to associate the two.

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I was under the impression that the turkey industry has been in the area for a very, very long time. Why would it become a problem all of a sudden?

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It has been around for a long time but the number of turkey houses is probably 10x what it was 10 years ago.  Add to that all the nutrients they feed the birds now and who knows what happens.

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I have personally seen the destruction over the last five years and am deeply saddened by it.  The fish left now are so fewer in numbers and smaller.  I also find it hard to believe that after all this time the cause has not been identified.  I now fish the Potomac but really miss the beauty of the Shenandoah.

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You can bet that if it was some disease killing off poultry they would have figured out what it was and implimented a plan within a month to solve the problem. Hell, the government is freaked out about bird diseases that haven't even shown up in this country yet--and it's not because they are deeply concerned for the yellow bellied sap-sucker. It is because poultry is a huge industry with a lot of lobbyists paying a lot of money to politicians to make sure it stays that way.

Because this disease concerns fish, which belong to the public with no commercial interest in their survival, who cares.

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Vekol, I agree with what you are saying, but I wouldn't say there is "no commerical interest" in fish. I have heard that the fish kills have hurt the valley's economy because tourism has gone down. Also guides have been pretty much shut down on what was once a premier smallmouth fishery.

Other than that, I do think there is some negligence on the issue based on a lack of financial interests.

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The one thing that also supports my theory of it being the turkey houses is the fact that the Maury river which runs from Goshen to Beuna Vista has very few turkey houses in the areas it runs through and there have been no problems in the Maury.  Another little known river is the Middle river which originates in Verona and empties out into the South river which is basically the headwaters for the Shenandoah river.   The Middle river is FULL of smallmouth and has had no problems and honestly I can't think of a single turkey house near it.  

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Do you know of any near the North River? I fish the North quite often when I'm at school. I have caught a few smallmouth there but most of the fish I catch are largemouth.

I also used to fish where the North and South meet to make the South Fork Shenandoah. I have noticed a drop in catch rates there.

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Oh ok. It meets with the South River in Port Republic to make the South Fork. I believe it is the larger of the two.

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Yeah, it's definatly the larger of the two.

If you can find access to the Middle river you should definatly take a trip there to fish sometime.  The only access I have is through my brother in laws buddy and we take a couple wading trips each summer.  I'm not kidding when I say that a 4-6 hour trip you will catch 100+ smallmouth.  It's unbelievable how many are in that river.  Most are small but you'll catch your fair share of 3+ pounders.  My brother in law caught the biggest one last year that weighed 4lbs 5oz!  

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Wow, what town is it near? I've heard of it but never fished it.

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Verona is the area it's in.  If you google it you'll see all the areas it covers.  The place I have access to is off Rife Ford's Road near Verona.  

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Of all the Virginia governmental entities, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries employes some of the best people you could find, anywhere.

Give them a call and listen to what they tell you all about the fish kills.

If any governmental agency can find the cause if is the Virginia DGIF.

Please keep us posted on anything you find out.  ;)

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