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View Full Version : Caney Fork in poor shape, imo.


gutshot
07-06-2009, 04:07 PM
I have not purchased a hunting or fishing license this year in protest of the poor management by the TWRA of the Caney Fork, imo. I have several fishing friends who keep asking me to go and I turn them down, they tell me the river is doing well, but I think they are just being overly optimistic.

A colleague ask me to show him how I fly fish, I know he seldom gets a chance to go fishing, and he offered to pay for the license. So with a one day license and trout stamp in hand off I went on July 3rd.....yeah I know.

I showed up before dawn and before he arrived to work out the kinks of not having been on the river for 10 months. I had gotten some good information from a friend and off I went to scout prior to my colleagues arrival later in the morning. I was shocked to find myself alone on the water at dawn. Many small stocker rainbows and browns were jumping and I anticipated some fast action. I changed flies a few times looking for the magic one and started hooking fish. I broke off my first three not being used to 6x tippet. My last fish caught came on 80lb test.

After landing 3 stocker sized fish (2 brown, one rainbow) I started into a good stretch of water. I had several nice sized rainbows take my strike indicator and finally hooked a solid brown of about 18 inches that gave me one good jump and three nice runs.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v332/Stillinscrubs/IMGP0093.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v332/Stillinscrubs/IMGP0094.jpg



Soon after it was time to leave and meet my colleague. I had only landed four fish in two hours and placed it on the thick fog hanging around the river and my rusty skills.

In the time I waited for my colleague the water filled up with people and off we went. I wasn't bothered by the number of people and had a few guys run down river in front of me, but I was more interested in teaching than catching. Oddly most guys ran through the best water, I mean RAN.

With the fog off the water and the river at a great level for fly fishing I expected some fast action and kept waiting for it to happen. It never materialized. My colleague caught some fish and so did I, but the tailouts of pools that once held dozens of fish now held one or two and the main polls had no solid rainbows. I caught another 17 inch brown in just about the same place I caught the 18 incher, and moved my fishing partner into this section as several fish were actively feeding. He hooked several and was doing quit well.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v332/Stillinscrubs/IMGP0096.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v332/Stillinscrubs/IMGP0098.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v332/Stillinscrubs/IMGP0099.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v332/Stillinscrubs/IMGP0101.jpg



My colleague had to leave after only a few short hours but had caught fish and was rather proficient at using the strike indicator, so I felt he could go again on his own when his schedule permitted. I also left 25 flies that work on the river in various sizes for him at work this morning. I hope he gets to use them and catch fish with them. One got me three over 20 inches in one day.....it has lots of mojo.


The point of this post is my concern for the falling quality of fish in the river. In the past I could conservatively catch 40-50 fish per day from 14-18 inches without batting an eye. While I did catch around 20-30 trout for the half day all but the two browns and maybe one or two 12 inch brook trout were stockers. I saw one bait fisherman with a nice 18 inch rainbow he retained but not much else. I spent a good hour just walking through the river looking in the heads and tails of pools, I know well, for any trout. Most in the past held 30-40 fish each now I saw 1-5 fish total.

I acknowledge the rains and dam repair work are not helping the situation, but I cannot be led to believe that regulations if put in place on the Caney Fork, much like on the Clinch, would somehow limit recreation (for all users) and ruin the river. It saddens me to see this good water devoid of many decent fish. I honestly think some solid regulations could remedy this situation in one short season.

GS

white95v6
07-06-2009, 06:39 PM
although i am not a flyfisherman. i too have seen the Fishing go way down compaired to last yr.

i have been three times this yr. one time it was a half day and we did well. about 50-60 fish. and a few in the 17-20 insh range. this trip was back in the spring.

one trip about two weeks ago sucked. we did a half day and caught about 30 fish MAX and only two where 16-18 inches.

we also went on 7-5-09 and we did well yesterday a another half day float. and we caught about 50-60 fish. one bow that was 19inhes and 4 browns that ranged 15-19iches. also one brook that was 13-14 inches. we caught 7 largemouth bass 11-14inches. and 4 wallayes 11-13 inches.

the water is for sure warmer then it was this time last yr soo i know that has some to do with it. but i also agree some better regs would help the river out alot. i sent my idea to the TWRA. soo with all our ideas floating around maybe something will happen.

oh yea on all three trips i let them all go to fight another day.

Kytroutbum
07-06-2009, 08:25 PM
Gutshot- a guide in Cody, Wyo. I know ties a turck's tarantula with red and yellow bodies for when fish hit indicators.

Randall Sale
the Kytroutbum

gutshot
07-06-2009, 09:16 PM
Sounds like a great idea. I was fishing a small brown piece of yarn and had some elk wing caddis in the box, but didn't follow up with them.....I have in the past. Can be great fun.

I just hope the state does something to improve the quality of the fish without hurting anyone's ability to fish. I have had so many days with back to back x5 or x10 18-20 inch rainbows. They fight like all get out and are just gorgeous. I let them all go.

David Knapp
07-06-2009, 10:22 PM
The Caney definitely seems to have a lot fewer rainbows right now. There are lots of browns and they do very well in that river. I would love to see a slot on them though instead of an 18" minimum. The current regs have created a river full of fish up to 18" but not many over...

BlueRaiderFan
07-06-2009, 10:34 PM
I second that. I wisht they would just leave the browns as catch and release only.

Grumpy
07-06-2009, 10:51 PM
I think we may have a shot at getting some reg changes on the Caney, hopefully the Corp can keep the water to a satisfactory bug producing, fish growing level.
Regs aren't squat if water quality isn't there:cool:

Grumpy

Worrgamesguy
07-07-2009, 01:17 AM
Well, I used to manage maybe 4-6 fish a day with the fly, but the last trip I took on the 30th was a blast. I hooked fish left and right, and brought about a dozen to hand.

The highlight of my trip was watching these two guys, about my age, fly fish. They had all the gear, and they looked the part. They casted well, but when it came to catching fish, they couldn't. I know they're local because I've seen them twice before. Near the end of the day the older one was tossing a streamer, while talking to some bait fishermen about what it takes to catch a fish, how to do it with the fly, and so on. He didn't catch one during that talk, while I'd brought about 6 to hand. Every time they heard my line zip off the water, they stared. Made me feel like a pro :biggrin:

white95v6
07-07-2009, 08:56 AM
I think we may have a shot at getting some reg changes on the Caney, hopefully the Corp can keep the water to a satisfactory bug producing, fish growing level.
Regs aren't squat if water quality isn't there:cool:

Grumpy


yeap.








not sure if it had to do with the water temp or what. but i noticed the bigger trout we caught seemed to be wore out. we got them to boat asap. and then had to revive them more then i have ever had too. i thought we might have to keep a few this trip cause they just seemed weaker then normall after a fight.

kytroutman
07-07-2009, 09:05 AM
"not sure if it had to do with the water temp or what. but i noticed the bigger trout we caught seemed to be wore out." Water temperature affects the oxygen levels. The decreased oxygen levels will cause the fish to become lethargic and tire easily.

MadisonBoats
07-07-2009, 09:09 AM
GUTSHOT,
Contact your local TRWA Office and discuss your issues with someone that may be able to add clarity to your issues. Also, ask them who they can connect you to in Nashville that will be able to address your issues. Get an email and phone number and be persistent.

gutshot
07-07-2009, 11:14 AM
I can assure you the TWRA knows how I feel about management. I have written them about the Clinch and the Caney Fork. If they haven't heard me they can't read and are deaf.

I tell it to the agents on the river as well, most of them just come back with attitude, but I make sure they hear what I have to say in plain terms.

GS

cb76
07-07-2009, 12:33 PM
That sounds like the TWRA agents up in my area. We used to send them emails, call them, and whatever else you could to get in touch with them. People used to take fish out of the SoHo that fell in the slot limit, they would take over their limit, and they where snagging browns during the spawning period. Well, they must have gotten tired of the email as they started showing up and getting out of the truck. Well that came to an end and now if you see one of them all they do is drive around the parking lot in their truck and leave. Who knows what happened. Know I feel like I would be wasting my time to call them or email them about something. If you try to talk to them about something they start back peddling like they are in a hurry to go somewhere else. I know that they are most likely understaffed and can't cover every square inch but if they would make a showing and nail a few of the offenders for about a week or two then the word might spread and the people would be more leary to try something.

Flat Fly n
07-07-2009, 04:38 PM
With a reply from a TWRA officer on the site....."Big Game Guy"

http://www.tndeer.com/tndeertalk/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1395907&page=1&gonew=1#UNREAD

gutshot
07-07-2009, 11:18 PM
I don't disagree with harvesting the resource if it is doomed. Kentucky did make regulation changes on the Cumberland when things looked dire, it was not a bad thought IMO, they also reversed it when conditions changed.

The fish not being there at the present time is not related to future warm water. To this point the water temp has not killed fish in the upper half of the river......

sam barbee
07-08-2009, 12:26 AM
i have no problem with people taking fish in the slot limit but when i see a guy with 30 trout most above 16" i have a brief thought about picking up the biggest rock i can find and put it down thier waders.

Worrgamesguy
07-08-2009, 08:06 AM
Where's a TWRA officer when you need him... I'd love to see the citation for over 4 times your daily limit.

waterwolf
07-08-2009, 09:37 AM
Jim Habera and crew might be some of the biggest bafoons around when it comes to managing our coldwater resources. For years I listend to him and Frank Fiss spew nonsense at meetings and finally just gave up and accepted things for what they were.

The sad thing is the same folks who preached up and down slots would not work on the Clinch are now saying they are working great, and we as users of the resource are seeing the same thing.

Good luck to you all on the Caney, but you have the whole private act thing from the past to deal with in your quest.

One word of advice until regs get improved, don't spout off on-line or anywhere else about how great things are, it just draws attention to the resource and will hurt you in the long run.

BTW Flat Fly n', Big Game Guy is just as laughable as the other biologists when it comes to managing the fish and game in this state. Most of them need to find another profession. Especially the turkey biologist and him as a deer "biologist".

Flat Fly n
07-08-2009, 12:19 PM
Wolf,
I thought you would enjoy that link.......the only solution was to "increase trout on the dinner table". IF that wasn't a sad statement of "management" in this state. Shut the river down like they do out west when the water temps get up to save their resources, not "put them on the dinner table" knee jerk reaction......

waterwolf
07-08-2009, 02:25 PM
Idiots, they wouldn't know fisheries management if it hit them in the face, same goes for big game management as well.

buzzmcmanus
07-08-2009, 04:12 PM
IMO, It's one thing to disagree with an agency's policies and post it on a message board. It's another to call them out by name and then resort to name calling. Shows a total lack of class. Haven't you been kicked off other message boards for this same thing?

Maglite
07-08-2009, 05:14 PM
Good post there Buzz. What we as anglers need to do is be patient and persistent. This is not something that will change overnight. The reality is that the trout fishery is not very high on the list of priorities for the powers that be.I hate the way it is as much as anyone, but it is what it is right now. Just keep the emails and letters coming, and stay on them as a unified front.In the meantime, we can focus on cleaning the Caney up and ACTING like we as a whole care about the quality of the resource.

-Mag

bigpopper
07-08-2009, 09:59 PM
From reading this post I see alot of good points that can improve the quality of the the trout populations in the Caney Fork River. I totally agree that a slot limit would greatly increase the numbers of all the trout that live in that water system. I have seen first hand, being a marine biologist in NC, that the numbers of many saltwater gamefish increase due to the implenation of slot limits, both length and daily limits. I would love to go the Caney and catch 20-30 trout like someone mentioned above, but that just does'nt happen for me. I typically only land 2 or 3, bows and browns. If I were to land 20 -30 trout or even a third of that number, I would be the happiest guy on the river! I also saw that someone said they were catching 50-60 trout in a day last year and now those numbers are down. I can only think that they are down due to an overharvesting or that the TWRA is not stocking as many trout as they used to. Just some thoughts for what it's worth.

Grumpy
07-09-2009, 07:28 AM
I also saw that someone said they were catching 50-60 trout in a day last year and now those numbers are down. I can only think that they are down due to an overharvesting or that the TWRA is not stocking as many trout as they used to. Just some thoughts for what it's worth.

We had one of those days yesterday;) They are actually stocking rather heavily & 50 trout might make 10 lbs:redface:

Grumpy

waterwolf
07-09-2009, 07:53 AM
IMO, It's one thing to disagree with an agency's policies and post it on a message board. It's another to call them out by name and then resort to name calling. Shows a total lack of class. Haven't you been kicked off other message boards for this same thing?

I have not been kicked off of any message boards, you must be thinking of someone else. They are public officials and thus subject to public scrutiny. I guess according to your theory and views we should not speak out against politicians or any other govt officials when we disagree and just sit on our hands and watch things unfold as they may.

I have said the same to the very people I mentioned to their face and stand by my opinions that they have not and are not managing our coldwater resources in the proper manner. The warmwater guys do an excellent job, but the coldwater guys do not even come close.

I am sorry if you are one of those that believes everything the agency shows you or puts out there as gospel information, but having seen their theories on our coldwater fisheries debunked time after time, it is hard to sit back, listen, and believe.

Since you think so highly of them and their policies why don't you pose the question to Mr. Habera about natural reproduction in the Clinch and see what he tells you. Then come back and reveal what he says, I can guarantee you it is dead wrong, unless something has dramatically changed in the last few weeks with their mentality.

It took almost 15 years to get slots on the Clinch after the passing of the quality zone. The whole time we were fed the line that slots wouldn't work, that the river was fine our skills were the problem, and that no one harvested enough fish to make a difference. Then all of a sudden everything did a 180, and now we have slots and things are vastly improved in a short period of time.

Playing coy and soft with these folks does not work, you will get steamrolled and nothing will change. You and anyone else that enjoys the Clinch and the new slots, owes a lot of thanks to people that will remain nameless who stood up and screamed, not whispered, to change things. It wasn't an accident that things were all of a sudden changed.

Personally I think Jim Habera is a nice guy, but we see things very differently. I have fished with Frank Fiss several times, and I do not think he is even here anymore, also a nice guy. It is nothing personal with them and it may not even be their agenda which is pushed forward. Politics plays a gigantic role in all of this stuff.

buzzmcmanus
07-09-2009, 08:32 AM
I have not been kicked off of any message boards, you must be thinking of someone else.
I hadn't seen you posting on TNDeer lately, rumor is, you'd been kicked off. I appologize if I am wrong.

They are public officials and thus subject to public scrutiny. I guess according to your theory and views we should not speak out against politicians or any other govt officials when we disagree and just sit on our hands and watch things unfold as they may.

What are my theories and views? I did not post them. All I posted is that your name calling shows a lack of class.

Jim Habera and crew might be some of the biggest bafoons around when it comes to managing our coldwater resources......................................... .......Big Game Guy is just as laughable as the other biologists when it comes to managing the fish and game in this state. Most of them need to find another profession. Especially the turkey biologist and him as a deer "biologist".

Idiots, they wouldn't know fisheries management if it hit them in the face, same goes for big game management as well.

Please respond, I would like to know what my theories and views are?

gutshot
07-09-2009, 12:42 PM
I can only think that they are down due to an overharvesting or that the TWRA is not stocking as many trout as they used to. Just some thoughts for what it's worth.

I think it is a combination of the two. The main point of my post is that the holdover fish that are really nice sized and give a great fight are critically down. As Grumpy alluded to, there are lots of tiny stocked browns, rainbows, and brooks, but it takes a good year of growth for them to reach that nice 16-20 inch range. This is my big concern. The quality fish are greatly down, these aren't even trophy fish just solid quality, backbone of the river fish.

The Caney is all about fishing technique. Find the fly the fish want and present it in the manner they like and whammo, big numbers. Lots of guys choose not to fish that way or have not been shown how to fish that way. The best way to learn is to go to Arkansas and fish with a guide......

waterwolf
07-09-2009, 02:46 PM
I hadn't seen you posting on TNDeer lately, rumor is, you'd been kicked off. I appologize if I am wrong.?

I only post every now and then you must be confusing me with someone else. Probably captain hook, who I know very well but we are two distinctly different people. The basic facts should make that rather clear, i.e. me being from Norris and him being from Miss.


What are my theories and views? I did not post them. All I posted is that your name calling shows a lack of class.

I can only assume you are the type who believe everything and every word passed down from TWRA. You seem to worship them and take up with their side when it is challenged. That is what I am referencing.

As far as my lack of class, pretty crazy thing for you to say seeing how you have no idea who I am as pointed by your earlier comments. I apologize that I speak frankly in regards to the so called biologists managing our coldwater resources, but I feel and it has been proven that they are somewhat clueless about what is reality on our rivers or just don't care. Bow down and worship their feet, but if standing up for the betterment of the resource makes you think I have no class, then rest assured I will not lose one second of sleep based on what you think of me. In fact I take it as a compliment.

Oh and while we are at it, anyone that wants to challenge the natural reproduction on the Clinch reality please let me know. I saw thousands of young of the year rainbows this morning on the river. Not fingerlings, but 1/2" or lesser fry, always a pleasant sight and one which is routine anymore.

Grumpy
07-09-2009, 04:05 PM
The best way to learn is to go to Arkansas and fish with a guide......


Or go to the Caney & hire a guide;)

Grumpy

Flat Fly n
07-09-2009, 04:23 PM
Grumpy,
Will you take me out in MY old Clacka if I hire you and let me row while you fish too? I promise not to crack the rowing seat again like I did before you got it!

Grumpy
07-09-2009, 10:34 PM
Grumpy,
Will you take me out in MY old Clacka if I hire you and let me row while you fish too? I promise not to crack the rowing seat again like I did before you got it!

More than likely, i've been entertaining selling it, i sure miss my jet sled:frown:

Grumpy

bigpopper
07-09-2009, 10:42 PM
gutshot,
Yep, i'd love to get a guided trip in Arkansas or Here in TN, or just a guided trip anywhere. I need lots of work on my presentations and just using the right dries and wets. I will eventually get there with practice.

David Knapp
07-09-2009, 11:37 PM
More than likely, i've been entertaining selling it, i sure miss my jet sled:frown:

Grumpy

Selling huh...I'll start the bidding at $10.00... :rolleyes: :biggrin:

TNBigBore
08-07-2009, 11:34 AM
[quote=waterwolf;69256]Jim Habera and crew might be some of the biggest bafoons around when it comes to managing our coldwater resources. For years I listend to him and Frank Fiss spew nonsense at meetings and finally just gave up and accepted things for what they were.



If you honestly believe this to be the truth and are not just stirring up trouble, then you sir are obviously ignorant. Jim Habera, Bart Carter, Rick Bivens and Frank Fiss know more about Tennessee's coldwater resources than anyone else in the state except maybe Phil Bettolli.

While it is true that they can and do learn things from laypersons like you, I am sure you could learn far more from them if you were willing to listen. What are your credentials that qualify you as an expert? There is any number of us here with many years of fishing experience. That does not qualify us to make management decisions regarding the resource. I can assure you that the TWRA coldwater bunch does not make any of their management decisions based on a whim or their intent to ruin a particular fishery. Sure they make mistakes, everyone does. I am certain that you could do no better.

waterwolf
08-07-2009, 02:29 PM
I think we all can speak for the poor management decisions that crew made in the past regarding the Clinch. Same is now true for the Caney, which shoe will drop next?

Same crew said fishing pressure had no impact on fish survival in the Clinch, proven to be false a couple of years ago which led to the slot limit. Once again, TWRA coldwater crew proven wrong.

Same crew said the Holston below Cherokee could not support trout year round, proven wrong now every year since its inception. Hat's off to them for actually stocking the river, but laughing in their face for their lack of knowledge of the river itself.

Same crew swears there is no natural reproduction in the Clinch. Can be proven wrong every year by observing redds and/or opening ones eyes and noticing the millions of 1" rainbows in the river this time of the year.

Same crew said slot limits would not work, only to do a complete 180 years later after proven wrong and shown that they do work.

Please help me understand the greatness and wiseness of this crew which has managed our coldwater resources so well. I would be willing to bet that the majority of experienced Clinch anglers who are educated somewhat would agree that things have been managed horribly over the years, and if it weren't for shear luck things would have never improved.

I have worked with all 4 of the aforementioned in the past and they are good folks, however they really do not appear to have the best idea of how to manage our coldwater resources. Maybe they have some agenda which is not know to the public which makes them make the decisions they do rather then their knowledge and best management practices taking precedent. I know the LUCRO crowd loves to gripe in their ears, and for once the LUCRO crowd was crushed under a steel plate of silence with the implementation of the slot limits.

I ask again, please provide some examples of their masterful grasp of managing our coldwater rivers. I seriously would love to hear facts rather then your jaded opinions.

Jswitow
08-07-2009, 03:12 PM
You may not like WW's approach, but he's right about the Clinch and the Holston. We were met with arrogance and indifference for years, and it went on for years before and after my involvement. Politics (and just maybe egos) was the biggest factor. Conscensus building does not work either, there will always be those who will not listen to fact or rational discussion. The height of classless behavior is deceit. I think I know who Water Wolf is......
Best,
John

waterwolf
08-10-2009, 07:56 AM
You may not like WW's approach, but he's right about the Clinch and the Holston. We were met with arrogance and indifference for years, and it went on for years before and after my involvement. Politics (and just maybe egos) was the biggest factor. Conscensus building does not work either, there will always be those who will not listen to fact or rational discussion. The height of classless behavior is deceit. I think I know who Water Wolf is......
Best,
John
Switow, you do know me and well, and if it weren't for folks like Buxbaum, Dan Pitts, Craig Harned, Larry Rogers, and many others who stood up for the Clinch and to TWRA we would have never moved forward with better regs for the river.

We got bamboozled with the reversal of the quality zone by a bunch of folks who had no basis and we just didn't present our case well.

That will not happen again, far too much political power on our side, and I would say in the next few years regs will tighten even more, and hopefully we can get TWRA to wake up and see what the TVA biologists see on the Holston. Hard for me to understand how one group of biologists say that the water is too warm, yet an entirely different group says it is just fine.

Maybe we can also finally get TWRA to reverse their jaded views on natural reproduction in the Clinch. Afterall, all it takes is opening ones eyes and looking to see that it is happening and on a large scale.

silvercreek
08-10-2009, 08:12 AM
Waterwolf, Is that David Buxbaum? Last time I saw him was on the banks of the Henry's Fork where he was guiding during summer break from colllege where he was pursuing a law degree. Just curious.

waterwolf
08-10-2009, 08:29 AM
Waterwolf, Is that David Buxbaum? Last time I saw him was on the banks of the Henry's Fork where he was guiding during summer break from colllege where he was pursuing a law degree. Just curious.


Same Buxbaum.

TNBigBore
08-10-2009, 12:49 PM
I think we all can speak for the poor management decisions that crew made in the past regarding the Clinch. Same is now true for the Caney, which shoe will drop next?

Same crew said fishing pressure had no impact on fish survival in the Clinch, proven to be false a couple of years ago which led to the slot limit. Once again, TWRA coldwater crew proven wrong.

Same crew said the Holston below Cherokee could not support trout year round, proven wrong now every year since its inception. Hat's off to them for actually stocking the river, but laughing in their face for their lack of knowledge of the river itself.

Same crew swears there is no natural reproduction in the Clinch. Can be proven wrong every year by observing redds and/or opening ones eyes and noticing the millions of 1" rainbows in the river this time of the year.

Same crew said slot limits would not work, only to do a complete 180 years later after proven wrong and shown that they do work.

Please help me understand the greatness and wiseness of this crew which has managed our coldwater resources so well. I would be willing to bet that the majority of experienced Clinch anglers who are educated somewhat would agree that things have been managed horribly over the years, and if it weren't for shear luck things would have never improved.

I have worked with all 4 of the aforementioned in the past and they are good folks, however they really do not appear to have the best idea of how to manage our coldwater resources. Maybe they have some agenda which is not know to the public which makes them make the decisions they do rather then their knowledge and best management practices taking precedent. I know the LUCRO crowd loves to gripe in their ears, and for once the LUCRO crowd was crushed under a steel plate of silence with the implementation of the slot limits.

I ask again, please provide some examples of their masterful grasp of managing our coldwater rivers. I seriously would love to hear facts rather then your jaded opinions.





You do make some good points about the failures on the Clinch especially. You have to realize though that the recommendations of the biologists often go out the window in the face of political pressure or lack of interest from the law enforcement arm of the TWRA. I was not supporting all of the decisions made by TWRA, just the knowledge and judgment of the coldwater biologists.

You sound like a knowledgeable fellow, but you have to understand that the coldwater crew are bombarded with calls, letters etc from people who "know how to manage to resource better than they do". Most have no clue. A few actually do. You or someone else mentioned a fellow who lives near the South Holston earlier in this thread. He was always there when the crew was sampling on the S. Holston, and was always free with his advice about how the river should be managed. He was taken seriously for a time I believe. However, one day when he wanted to show Jim Habera a picture of a "brook trout" he had caught several days earlier on the river our interest was piqued. He did provide a picture of a young dark colored stream reared rainbow trout with white fin margins. Obviously, he was not taken seriously after this. This type of scenario repeats itself over and over.

Obviously, they have to base their recommendations on hard science they can prove. This is based on sampling and creel surveys for the most part, but I know that they do research leads provided by reputable local sources. Undocumented brook trout streams have been discovered this way. New tailwaters and lakes have been stocked based on information gathered this way as well. I know that they will listen, but the manner of presentation mean alot.

Having read your posts regarding the three tailwater rivers you mention, I have no doubt that you have put your time in and are knowledgeable about them. You have to realize though, that the coldwater guys are responsible for every tailwater, lake and stream in East TN. They cannot be on all of them on a daily or weekly basis. I can assure you that these guys are not pushing some hidden agenda. They are doing the best they can to manage the entire resource based hard science. Sometimes their recommendations are implemented. More often they are not based on the political realities of the situation.

I know three of the four mentioned very well, and the fourth pretty well. They are all intelligent, hard working biologists who only want what is best for the resource. They are human though, and I know they are prone to tuning people out after awhile. If you have proof of the "millions" of young of the year rainbows on the Clinch, then provide them with some evidence. I have a hard time believing that they would not investigate. If they will not listen to you then send the evidence to me and I will bring it to their attention.

waterwolf
08-10-2009, 02:19 PM
Bigbore,

You are right about the political pressures they receive. In fact, we probably do not know what they really think or feel as they could be cornered into a position and not able to budge because of pressure from some politician rather then a biological reason.

I have pretty much given up on getting Habera to change his views on natural reproduction. He has all the evidence they need to prove it, but always come up with an excuse as to why it may or may not be reality. 1" fish in August only come from one source, and it certainly isn't a hatchery. I can try to capture some next time the water is down and post the pics here for proof for all to see.

I have respect for the TWRA guys, I just wish they would have more logical basis for their positions then they do, and I really wish we could get some enforcement on the Clinch. The slot is being abused severly by many now, and there is no one around to keep things in check. One gentleman in particular better be careful, his name and boat number have been passed on to TWRA and they will nail him soon.

TNBigBore
08-10-2009, 04:57 PM
Waterwolf,

Sorry if I came off a bit cranky in my initial post. I have a great deal of respect for Jim and the rest of the crew and have personally seen what they have to put up with. You are right though. They should revisit the natural reproduction on the Clinch issue if there is good evidence to support it.

Back in the 90s I do remember a few obvious young of the year rainbows turning up in the sampling, but they were isolated and did not turn up in every sampling run. We did reason that some natural reproduction was going on, but that it was very limited. Bettoli found the same thing in the late 1990s. The only successful redds documented were in Clear Creek and we all know about them. I know conditions change on rivers over the years and based on what you are finding, things have obviously changed on the Clinch. To what would you attribute the spawning success of the rainbows in the main river when there was very little as of ten years ago? I am just curious?

Byron Begley
08-10-2009, 07:50 PM
From what I remember about the slot limit on the Clinch is it was presented to the Commission by Frank Fiss and Jim Habera. At the Commission Meeting in Gatlinburg where this proposal was discussed and authorized I sat next to Jim and Frank. When the debate was opened to the public there was some opposition, only two people. And there were maybe three people who stood up and supported the proposed slot limit. One of them was me. George Lane was another. I can't remember the third person. Maybe it was one of you folks posting on this thread. Or maybe you were not even there that day.

In my opinion, to be critical and calling our coldwater fisheries professionals names in a forum is no way to establish a working relationship and proceed for the mutual benefit for all in our fisheries program. I spoke to, one on one, with Commissioners and Biologists during that whole process in a friendly non-confrontational way for months prior to the Commission meeting. I probably had little to do with the success of this. I am not taking any credit. But, at least I stood up in a public meeting and supported it!

I consider Frank, Jim, Rick, Bart and Carl to be as good as any fisheries team we could hope to have. I talked to our Wildlife Commissioner, Mike Chase a couple of weeks ago and said the same thing to him. I stand by my opinion in any forum, public or private and to anyone though open to debate and with an open mind.

Byron

David Knapp
08-10-2009, 09:15 PM
I think the biggest thing that we need to remember as FLY FISHERMAN is that we probably want things managed a lot different from other users of the various cold water resources. Yes, I think that catching a bunch of big fish (and releasing them) would be fun so I support stricter regs on all our tailwaters that are capable of growing large fish. However the biologists are supposed to cater to all fisherman so even if they want to do what we would consider "right," they still are stuck between a rock and a hard place. We complain on one hand for more regs while the catch and keep crowd are complaining about any further restrictions on their "rights" to fish as they please. Do the cold water guys always do the right thing? I'm not going to even speculate on that other than to say that we are all human and prone to making mistakes. Still, the best way to improve our fisheries is to work respectfully with those in charge to try and make things better...this past spring I sent in my ideas on the Caney during the public comment period. If and when they propose any regulation changes on the Caney, I'll do my best to attend any public meetings and support the positive changes they try to bring about.

donwinn
08-10-2009, 09:32 PM
I am no expert on fish habitat, and I know nothing about the management of rivers in east Tennessee. I do fish a lot in middle Tennessee tailwaters. Last Friday, a biologist was at the Caney as I was launching my boat. He helped me get it in the water. I asked him about the brown vs. rainbow population. He told me that they thought the heavy water release this year has had a negative impact on the rainbows. I believe they are doing the best they can, and they are educated trained professionals. Unfortunately, they do not have total control of the environment they are trying to manage. Furthermore, I agree with both David and Byron. First, there are a lot of people that support put and take who vote. Second, calling a person incompetent probably will not accomplish a lot.

I have been watching this thread for several days. I am glad the tone has improved somewhat. So honestly, I really hate to see it continue, but one question is really bothering me, and it will just confirm my own lack of understanding. What difference does it make if the biologist acknowledge that the fish are reproducing natrually? Are you suggesting that they should stop the stocking program?

waterwolf
08-11-2009, 07:52 AM
To what would you attribute the spawning success of the rainbows in the main river when there was very little as of ten years ago? I am just curious?
I think it is a direct relation to the lower water flows during the winter the last couple of years. The fish have always tried to spawn all up and down the length of the river, but 2 generator flows continuously running over them limits the success. If the right conditions are available I firmly believe the Clinch could sustain itself with natural reproduction, from what I have seen over the years.

waterwolf
08-11-2009, 08:01 AM
Byron and others,

Over the years the diplomatic pandering to TWRA did not work and more then likely will not work now. The way the system works is the loudest voice in the room usually wins. For example, the over turning of the quality zone was brought to a head by ridiculous yelling, griping, and vapid language. We (TU/Fly Fisherman) tried the calm and educated approach and got steamrolled.

The real way to make changes is sway commissioners as politics plays a bigger part in TWRA's decisions then anything else.

I stand by my comments about the coldwater crew though, they have been wrong so many times in the past and refuse to admit it, that I have a difficult time grasping the idea they are the solution to our problems. Afterall they still believe the Holston can't support trout year round, most know that is an absurd statement from a biologist. Especially since the TVA biologists have an entirely different opinion. Who do you want managing your resources? Folks who refuse to listen even when wrong, or folks who are right, and more amiable to public opinion?

One other thing on the TWRA guys, many moons ago while shocking clear creek one night with Dennis Baxter of TVA to gather eggs for pseudo-stocking projects the TWRA crew said our project would not work. How wrong they were, for 4 years we provided an additional 100,000 fingerlings to the river, which were semi-strean reared fish. Then the project was cancelled.

If you want change speak up and speak up loudly. The Gatlinburg meeting was the end of a long and rough road. And the drive sucked for many that fought for years to get to the end.

gutshot
08-11-2009, 08:36 PM
I asked him about the brown vs. rainbow population. He told me that they thought the heavy water release this year has had a negative impact on the rainbows.

I would love to hear his explanation of that since the only difference between the two populations is the creel and size limits. Did he think that they were poorer swimmers?

The rainbows have been falling off for two years (long time prior to the high water) I think caused by the huge increases in pressure and NO protection by the TWRA.

I also wonder about the stocking numbers this year compared to years past.......

GS

David Knapp
08-11-2009, 08:53 PM
Predatory fish like stripers and even large browns are probably much more likely to eat rainbows as compared to browns. The rainbows are not nearly as structure oriented as the browns and thus are easier targets. It doesn't entirely make sense that the high water hurt the rainbows but from my own observations something associated with the high water definitely did something to the rainbow population...

I think the observation about lack of protection is right on though. Wish we could get a slot on the rainbows...

Worrgamesguy
08-11-2009, 09:47 PM
I would love to hear his explanation of that since the only difference between the two populations is the creel and size limits. Did he think that they were poorer swimmers?

The rainbows have been falling off for two years (long time prior to the high water) I think caused by the huge increases in pressure and NO protection by the TWRA.

I also wonder about the stocking numbers this year compared to years past.......

GS

I'm no expert by far, but I do know that rainbows have the least temperature tolerances of the 3 species in the Caney. When I first made it out after the months of nonstop generation, I immediately noticed all I was catching was browns and brooks. The generation wasn't cold water from the bottom of the lake anymore, it was rainwater.

Grumpy
08-12-2009, 07:05 AM
Regs aren't squat w/o enforcement:mad: if a creel or size limit was enforced & more importantly penalized as heavily as a deer poacher, then & only then, we might see some better results. Then there's that other agency(CORPS) that has to be dealt with, for years, they haven't been held accountable for downstream water quality:confused:
Steps are being taken for both of these problems, trouble is, at some of our ages, will we see the results?

Grumpy

waterwolf
08-12-2009, 08:09 AM
I'm no expert by far, but I do know that rainbows have the least temperature tolerances of the 3 species in the Caney. When I first made it out after the months of nonstop generation, I immediately noticed all I was catching was browns and brooks. The generation wasn't cold water from the bottom of the lake anymore, it was rainwater.
I actually think brook trout are the most water sensitive of the 3, and by far the dumber of the three. Rainbows seem to fall victim to bait slingers faster then the rest, and if the rainbow population shows a sharp decline in conjunction with an increase in pressure, then the answer is crystal clear.

Grannyknot
08-12-2009, 08:53 AM
Regs aren't squat w/o enforcement:mad: if a creel or size limit was enforced & more importantly penalized as heavily as a deer poacher, then & only then, we might see some better results.
Grumpy

Couldn't agree more. I have never been checked on a Tennessee tailwater. Last time I was leaving the clinch, saw one guy with a dead slot fish, and one kid holding a stringer of 12 fish. We talked to the guy with the slot fish, he said he was unaware of the new regulation.

Speaking of educating the sportsmen, here are my two favorite pictures from kids fish for free day....

http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh256/CodyEdrington/Brownie20SMALLEST.jpg
Nice trebble hook in the gills.
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh256/CodyEdrington/big20brown1.jpg
I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

silvercreek
08-12-2009, 09:02 AM
It would be good if they would throw a boat in the water and float the river checking folks out. I have seen them checking out folks fishing for the stockers below Percy Priest dam in the winter. They glass them from the opposite side and then go over and check them out. This year I was one of about 8 folks fishing there when the TWRA startd checking licenses. By the time they were through, only me and one other guy were left. Everyone else packed up and left after the TWRA checked them out. I can only surmise those folks did not have the needed license.

MadisonBoats
08-12-2009, 09:17 AM
This is funny and becoming trite... :)