Stream survey reveals TIC brookies thriving in Wildcat Hollow

In April, we wrote about how local TU chapters, TU National, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) were seeing potential for brook trout restoration in Wildcat Hollow, located in the Thompson Wildlife Management Area in northern Fauquier County. The stream has been a popular release site for Trout in the Classroom projects for several years, and it appeared that the trout were not only surviving, but also reproducing.

Now, we have visual evidence.

Steve Owens, John Odenkirk, and their electro-shocking crew from the Fredericksburg DGIF Office surveyed Wildcat Hollow on June 17. To everyone’s delight, two brook trout in the 9-10 inch range were caught, as well as numerous smaller fish that represented this year’s releases and some that appeared to be carryovers from last year.

So, to answer the question asked by students and teachers if TIC trout really do survive, it appears that, at least in Wildcat Hollow, the answer is “Yes!”

To improve in-stream habitat, several deep holes and log structures were installed by Shenandoah Stream Works this spring, in conjunction with DGIF and TU National. The partners will continue to restore and survey the stream, so we hope to report even more progress in the future.

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The Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited is made up of representatives of the state’s 16 TU chapters.