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Wilson10
01-23-2009, 02:09 PM
With the current situation on the Clinch river(2+ generators nearly 24/7), I’m curious about the migration of the trout .
What do you all know about migration of trout in tailwaters? Do they tend to stay in one general area no matter if water is high or low OR do they tend to roam around?
I got to thinking about this on my way to work today as I drove by the river.

Varmitcounty
01-23-2009, 02:21 PM
I'll be curious to see what the response is on this post. I have thought several times over the past two plus weeks just exactly what this hard generation schedule is going to do to the trout. How long can they hunker down before they just give up and ride the wave downstream? If they are safely tucked away behind structure, they are gonna be mighty hungry when the waters subside!

~marc~

ChemEAngler
01-24-2009, 10:42 AM
I'll be curious to see what the response is on this post. I have thought several times over the past two plus weeks just exactly what this hard generation schedule is going to do to the trout. How long can they hunker down before they just give up and ride the wave downstream? If they are safely tucked away behind structure, they are gonna be mighty hungry when the waters subside!

~marc~

Hungry and strong after swimming against this current for 3 weeks.

I don't think it will have much of an impact on where the trout are located. I remember a couple other years when TVA was sluicing for over a week, and it didn't appear to affect the populations much.

2weightfavorite
01-25-2009, 01:35 PM
Im not so sure they will be tired or hungry... I'd say right now the river is a virtual smorgashboard (not sure of that spelling) with the heavy flow, and cold temperatures. Im sure some shad are being sucked through the ****, and the minnows that normally live below the dam in the river may also be swept down stream as well, not to mention all the midge larva that used to live on the moss in the rocks.

Id say the trout will be right where they were when the water was generating normally . Right now with the crazy flow I bet alot of them have just moved towards the banks, using seams and eddies. There are rivers out west that flow ridiculously fast all the time, like sections of the Snake River for instance, and people still fish them, the just fish towards the banks. But I guess its all just speculation, and if the ever stop running all that water, we'll find out for sure!

highpockets
02-03-2009, 04:40 PM
The movement of water (Hydrodynamics) is funny sometimes. Truth be known, even when the river is roaring there are lots of places under all that turbulence where the water is not flying past at 6mph. Near the bottom, behind obstructions etc. the water is not flowing fast at all. And, believe it or not, sometimes there are more negative velocity locations (where the water moves opposite the river direction) when the river is up than when it is down.

So, I don't know that the water will cause undue fatigue on the trout when they generate, but it will cause them to seek those lower velocity spots.

There is a spot on the elk that I go too when they generate, stand in one spot dunking the right fly into a whirlpool and catch a passel every time!


With that said, from what I know the trout will normally only "migrate" when their instinct convinces them too. Typically only when the water where they're located becomes warmer than they prefer, shallower than they prefer, overcrowded, too predator filled or when the food becomes scarce etc. Otherwise I'm fairly certain that the only other main reason that they will move is to make babies; nature's way of spreading the wealth!

My 2 cents ;-)

God Bless

waterwolf
02-04-2009, 03:59 PM
The fish will be spread out throughout the river as usual, they do move a ton in tailwaters, however. See Bettoli's study on trout movement for further evidence. It can be found at TTU's website under fisheries.

The clinch fish are notorious for running upstream during the winter to spawn, and in Marchish the fishing at Millers is as good as it gets. Much better there then at 61 IMO.

Food is not an issue at 2 generators, it is easy to find and plenty of places to get out of the current. IMO it makes the fish bigger and stronger. The water being off actually makes it harder for the fish in the clinch then when it is running.

Take it for what it is worth.

highpockets
02-04-2009, 04:34 PM
agree, agree! thnak for the website ref. Gonna read!

Growing up in NC I had friends who scuba dived regularly and for work and they alway stold stories of the biggest catfish living right underneath the turbine outputs catching the food as it tumbled into their mouths.

You can look at the water and tell that it has to be carry a lot of food when they generate.

Now, I just need it to be spring!

gmreeves
02-04-2009, 06:19 PM
I went to the fly fishing expo in ATL a couple of weeks ago and listened to Dave Whitlock do a presentation on tailwater trout fishing. He had different slides of where the fish moved when the water was at different levels. His explanation was like it was stated above. The water in the top of the column is moving at a much faster pace than that at the bottom so it is actually easier for them to stay on the bottom. This also makes getting a good deep drag free drift harder because the sindicator on the surface is moving so much faster than the fly is. I don't think the generation schedule is going to make them move up or downstream large distances but they may move to a high water undercut bank or behind a log that is not normally under water.

highpockets
02-05-2009, 06:36 PM
That's one of the toughest things for me is getting a nymph down to the right depth. My Colorado guide buddy said "add weight my son, add weight!"

When I picture fast moving, semi-deep water I always picture it like a layer of ice skipping across the water. The top layer is skipping over the bottom layer at a faster rate which is why your dadgum indicator travels so much faster than your fly, and ends up dragging it on most occasions.


To get geeky for a minute: Water cannot travel over surfaces other than water very well; water can only travel over itself. When water travels over a stone in the stream the stone has water on it (of course) and the layer of water (boundary layer) on the rock is static for the most part. The water from the stream then travels over this static water that is clinging to the rock. This is the main reason faster water will travel over the top of slower water fairly efficiently. End of geekiness.

Come on Spring

stuart
02-07-2009, 09:55 PM
From what I have been told fish can simply turn there Pect fins and that will push them to the bottom. This is one thing that allows them to sit in one place. I they still have to swim but not as much as one would think. Watch how one can sit in one place and go up and down. I have watched them come from in front of say a rock or something to mark them by and get a fly and back down and loose very little if any ground even in really swift water and caming up maybe 2feet from the bottom.
STU

RuningWolf
02-09-2009, 01:59 PM
Why do you think there are so many fat stripers (rockfish) down stream? :rolleyes:

waterwolf
02-09-2009, 02:04 PM
Why do you think there are so many fat strippers down stream? :rolleyes:
Because shad schools thrive in the warmer water, because an occasional trout does end up lower down on the Clinch. Forget downstream there are 40 pound stripers all the way to the weir dam on the Clinch.

I hope you are not suggesting that the trout are washed down stream to the waiting stripers?

Current is a funny thing, there is more slack water then you could possibly imagine with 2 generators running on the Clinch. Think of all the ledges which run across the river, they are mini current dams. Just something to think of if you were implying that we lose tons of fish to was out.

The only tons of fish we lose each year are to the stringers of baitslingers.

Wilson10
02-09-2009, 03:04 PM
The only tons of fish we lose each year are to the stringers of baitslingers.


Agreed. no matter if they are in the protect slot or not! I saw a lot of fish(dead) on stringers last year that were in the slot

frustrating...:mad:

Varmitcounty
02-09-2009, 03:59 PM
I don't know which is more frustrating, the dead fish on stringers that are in the slot, or the fact that I have NEVER seen anyone checked EVER.

waterwolf
02-09-2009, 04:07 PM
I don't know which is more frustrating, the dead fish on stringers that are in the slot, or the fact that I have NEVER seen anyone checked EVER.

Agreed, the enforcement on the river is pathetic. I guess TWRA would rather waste their money promoting a worthless elk project then protecting an invaluable cold water resource.

Brian Griffing
02-09-2009, 04:37 PM
Why do you think there are so many fat strippers down stream? :rolleyes:
Being a Marine, I've seen my share of fat strippers!:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
Jacksonville, NC and Fort Knox KY come to mind.

Green Weenie
02-09-2009, 04:41 PM
Why do you think there are so many fat strippers down stream? :rolleyes:


So that's where they all went...

<reels in, heads downstream>

PeteCz
02-09-2009, 04:45 PM
Being a Marine, I've seen my share of fat strippers!:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
Jacksonville, NC and Fort Knox KY come to mind.


Ouch!! That conjures up some bad images...

MadisonBoats
02-12-2009, 11:15 AM
I have commented on the TWRA Policing of the Rivers in a few other posts. It is all about economics and economies of scale.

highpockets
02-12-2009, 02:22 PM
It is all about economics and economies of scale.


Same with the "fat strippers". Sorry, I couldn't resist.

MadisonBoats
02-13-2009, 12:09 PM
Yeah, the fat stripers too...:)

I think that was a TN Tech Grad Student's Project gone horrible wrong...

I remember all the signs along Hwy 61 that said 'Welcome to Norris Lake - The Dead Lake' - or something like that...

highpockets
02-14-2009, 10:17 PM
Funny you should say something about road signs. I went to Ferris Creek yesterday and in the water under the bridge was over 10 street signs that had been broken off of their poles. Walker creek road, Corders cross roads, Rush road (which I have, Rush fan) all lying in the water. I got all of the ones that I could fish out (pun intended) and threw them away.

RuningWolf
06-11-2009, 10:37 PM
Numerous reports by Bettoli discuss that high flows result in deceased populations of certain size ranges of fish. There is minimum holding structure for smaller fish in the Clinch River (per Betolli) where there is not competition; the ability to feed becomes a problem, the fact that they become more of a food source, etc. No one knows for sure what happens to this size range of fish. This is the fish that grows into the 14-20+ in fish without which the fishery as far as size goes looses that part of the population that becomes next years 12-16 in fish and the subsequent years 16-20+ in fish.


As with most large tailwaters, discharge patterns in the Caney Fork and Clinch Rivers increased daily by as much as 80-fold, sometimes within a few hours. Habitat that provides a hydraulic refuge in these two systems was limited (particularly in the Caney Fork River) and stocking large numbers of trout exacerbates the problem.


There is also a problem with the inverse relationship between survival and stocking rates has been observed

Schools of shad in the clinch!!!???! My my my I know of no one who has seen them.

Rock bass eat how much of their weight each day? Betolli only found a few however the Rock Bass fishermen sure love the Clinch when the river is up

waterwolf
06-11-2009, 10:44 PM
Betolli's Clinch study had so many errors and flaws there is no where to even begin dissecting the rag.

My favorite was pressure had nothing to do with the survival rates of fish, of course proven wrong by TWRA and thus the reason we now have a slot limit, many years after Betolli left the scene.

Stripers have an impact, no question. There is no large shad population in the Clinch to sustain their growth, and having zipped open 50 or so in the last couple of years, I assure you that everything in them was a salmonid of some description. Not a single shad to be found.

RuningWolf
06-12-2009, 12:13 AM
TWRA said the excessive high flows impacted the fishery (numbers of fish) per their biologist prior to implantation of the slot limit. Their biologist have also publically stated that they can control what comes out by controlling what goes in. Study their stocking regimes starting about 1985 forward by size, numbers, TWRA’s shocking data and then compare what happens in years after high flows until now. Thee is some interesting correlations to flow and survivability.

The slot limit was because a bunch of people whined that they could not catch fish while complaining that the bait fishermen where catching them by the boat loads, all the while posting photo’s of their catches. That is in the archives here if you care to go back in read it

So document for us with reliable references/studies where Dr. Betolli was wrong if you would there Dr. Waterwolf

As a note No one has ever said slots will not produce higher numbers of bigger fish.

Let me also add that most of the Clinch receives minimal fishing pressure. In shocking samplers for those areas the data has shown essentially the same percentage changes by both numbers and size as the heavily fished areas every year that the data is available for, except for the area going up stream ~ 3 miles above 61 bridge. That change has occurred simultaneously with the new flow release schedule by TVA which has caused higher water levels in that area for longer periods of time. Rock bass is the logical cause for the increased decline in numbers there

waterwolf
06-12-2009, 08:01 AM
TWRA said the excessive high flows impacted the fishery (numbers of fish) per their biologist prior to implantation of the slot limit. Their biologist have also publically stated that they can control what comes out by controlling what goes in. Study their stocking regimes starting about 1985 forward by size, numbers, TWRA’s shocking data and then compare what happens in years after high flows until now. Thee is some interesting correlations to flow and survivability.

TWRA did not say anything of the sort in relation to the slot limit. I was at the meetings, and they said it was due to fishing pressure. High flows have only one time shown a negative impact on the fishery, and there has been numerous times over the last decade plus of high flows, yet only once did it seem to effect the fish population and that was a result of the timing rather then the water heigth. I was on the boat for many of those shocking samples so I know what was turned up, where, and when.

1994-1995 saw the highest flows on record in the last years, same years that the road to Tremont got washed out. The fishing following the flows was as good as it has ever been on the Clinch, and the shocking data backed that up as well. I know I was on the shocking crew and touched most of the fish which were recorded. Of course, the quality zone was still having an impact on the fishery, but naturally according to you that had no imapct.

Then in the late 90's we had another round of massive water flows, this one, once again had no negative impact.

The one in ~2004 had little impact as the year following showed super high catch rates and super high fish populations. And it was a massive flood event which lasted for a month or more with flows higher then anything we had seen.

This year, we saw again ultra high water on the Clinch for a period of time, and the fish are not only there, but thriving the likes of which I haven't seen since the mid 90's. The benthics are higher this year then in anyones recent memory, and the overall health of the river is fantastic.

Your theory does not hold water, Betolli claimed the same thing and was wrong as well. If high flows were the cause then slots would have been implemented long ago, but that of course is not the case. Also they would be temporary and not permanent.

The slot limit was because a bunch of people whined that they could not catch fish while complaining that the bait fishermen where catching them by the boat loads, all the while posting photo’s of their catches. That is in the archives here if you care to go back in read it

This statement is laughable, TWRA came up with the slot all on their own, there was no pressure from anyone. It surprised all of us when they announced the proposal. No one whined, and I assure you that myself or anyone I fish with have no trouble catching fish on the Clinch.

The bait fishing crew has a serious impact on the resource, there is no question. And that impact is much greater on years with low flows versus high flow years. Hence the downfall of the Clinch benthic and fish population wise, came in 2002-2003 when abnormally low flows were the norm. Pressure was out of hand and silt choked out the weed beds. The years following led to the slot being implemented. The fish are not being beemed up on a space ship, and the gut piles at the ramps each day explain where they go.


Let me also add that most of the Clinch receives minimal fishing pressure. In shocking samplers for those areas the data has shown essentially the same percentage changes by both numbers and size as the heavily fished areas every year that the data is available for, except for the area going up stream ~ 3 miles above 61 bridge. That change has occurred simultaneously with the new flow release schedule by TVA which has caused higher water levels in that area for longer periods of time. Rock bass is the logical cause for the increased decline in numbers there

There is no where on the Clinch that is not heavily fished. Sure there are areas which are fished more then others, however even the furthest points from public access have an incredible number of people utilizing the resource. The only predator taking huge numbers of trout out of the Clinch is humans, either through consumption or poor handling. Stripers eat some and Big browns eat a ton as well, however their impact is nothing compared to the hordes which descend daily on the river with rod in hand.

The higher flows at 61 are because of the weir dam, the new flows instituted by TVA are for recreation purposes only, they have nothing to do with minimum flows down stream. If that were the case then why has the water been off in recent weeks for 12 hours at a time, yet 61 bridge still has plenty of water even that long after the generators have been shut down?

You want specific examples? How about the fact I was there along with others who use this forum. I have been on the shocking crews, myself and a TVA employee are the ones who started the fingerling program in the river which was handed over to TWRA, along with a handful of other members of this forum we witnessed and watched as the fishing went up and then crashed down and how natural events and human intrusion effected the river.

I don't need a biased and flawed study to reference, I was there.

waterwolf
06-12-2009, 08:14 AM
By all accounts, trout fishing on the Clinch River was excellent in 2005. The catch rate (fish perhour) was very high and the numbers of fish caught and harvested per trip were among thehighest observed in any Tennessee tailwater. These observations of good fishing are alsonoteworthy given that electrofishing sampling in February 2005.

Allright running wolf, the above quote should quell your theories and pontifications regarding water and fishing pressure. 2004 saw one of the longest periods of high flows ever on the Clinch. Almost a month with sluice or flood gates open.