Limiting Factors on Fish Populations
Although most streams in the park are very clear, cold, and pollution free, they are not very productive in terms of growing big trout. Most rainbow and brook trout in the park grow relatively fast, live only about 3 years, and die due to a lack of food resources. The diversity of aquatic insects in park streams is quite high, but the density of each species is fairly low making food resources for competing trout scarce. However…
The exception to this rule in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is brown trout. Brown trout, when around eight inches in size, expand their menu to include a diet high in fish, crayfish, frogs, and even salamanders. Brown trout still forage on insects, but these additional protein sources enable them to attain much larger sizes than the brook and rainbow trout.
Last updated: April 14, 2015