Braving Frigid Waters

Secretive Brook Trout // Photo Credit: Ryan Hagerty/USFWS

It was a brisk fall day on Seneca Creek when the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) Creative Imagery video team arrived near Seneca Rocks in Pendleton County, WV. Videographer Doug Canfield and photographer Ryan Hagerty braved frigid 50-degree water for a chance to capture images of the secretive brook trout in full spawning colors.

These diminutive fish, often less than 9-inches long, are a true Appalachian species, inhabiting clear, cold mountain streams. The crew chose this time of year to catch the brook trout resplendent in its fall spawning colors, which mimic the beauty of our regional autumn foliage. Brook trout have olive backs with yellow bellies, red spots with blue halos, and orange fins set off with white and black stripes. These colorful native fish rival any tropical species one could find in a pet store.

Over the course of several hours of intense swimming and stalking, the crew captured video and still photos of several other species as well. Rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, daces, and suckers all made for a glimpse into a fascinating underwater community. "I’m always amazed by small streams." said videographer Canfield. "They don’t look like much from above, but after exploring them underwater, I find it’s a completely different world."

Video and photos from the trip will be used in several NCTC courses, including "Fish Identification" and "Coldwater Fisheries Culture." Watch the video on YouTube.

 -- published --  November 6, 2012
 -- photo credit --  Ryan Hagerty/USFWS

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