"After a tour of the hatchery by members of the Saluda River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, it became apparent that a desire to assist the hatchery was very much in the hearts of those who attended the outing," said Keith Cloud, chapter outing coordinator and former president. "The Saluda River Trout Unlimited members had a first-hand look at the behind-the-scenes operation, and having had that look could see how hard the staff of the hatchery has to work. Quite simply, it is time consuming, and the margin of error is very thin. Managing a cold-water hatchery in the Deep South is a labor of love."
One of the needs addressed was the need for a shelter for the brood trout of the hatchery. The shelter could provide much-needed protection from the sun and provide protection from birds of prey. Saluda River Trout Unlimited members discovered that the exposure of direct sunlight on the brood trout, especially during the summer months, creates added stress on the fish. With stress comes disease and possible death of trout of all sizes.
Saluda River Trout Unlimited members obtained measurements necessary for construction of a new shelter. After a successful banquet and fundraising year, funding was approved by Saluda River Trout Unlimited leadership. Board member Bob Williams contacted Whitten Building Systems in Seneca to construct the project. The recent completion adds to a long list of Saluda River Trout Unlimited accomplishments in assisting conservation partners.
"Saluda River Trout Unlimited is grateful for the hard work of the hatchery and its staff," Cloud said. "The behind-the-scenes tour was a wakeup call, and we know what effort it takes to get those much appreciated trout to come visit our beautiful Saluda River in Columbia."
Aspiring S.C. trout fishermen should take note that Robby Lowery, of the Walhalla State Fish Hatchery, will address the Saluda River TU Chapter's Jan. 12, 2009, monthly meeting.
For more on the Saluda River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, visit www.saludatu.org.