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ChemEAngler
04-12-2010, 05:14 PM
While fishing Saturday morning on the Clinch, I witnessed three large bows clearing different redds at the tail of a sizeable pool. I have watched browns doing this before, but was quite shocked to see rainbows doing it. I realize that the trout stocked in the Clinch are triploid and sterile, but wouldn't it be wonderful if somehow they were to be successful.

I have caught quite a few brightly colored, small (6 - 8") rainbows in this area over the past year that are very similar in coloration to those in the Smokies. Could these be some potential offspring from a previous successful spawn?

fishingman62
04-12-2010, 06:13 PM
travis 2 weeks ago on wed i fished the church i caught 1 fish a rainbow 14-15 inches and he milked as i lifted him to my hand so i would say there is probably some repopulation going on unless the female have no eggs

waterwolf
04-12-2010, 11:08 PM
While fishing Saturday morning on the Clinch, I witnessed three large bows clearing different redds at the tail of a sizeable pool. I have watched browns doing this before, but was quite shocked to see rainbows doing it. I realize that the trout stocked in the Clinch are triploid and sterile, but wouldn't it be wonderful if somehow they were to be successful.

I have caught quite a few brightly colored, small (6 - 8") rainbows in this area over the past year that are very similar in coloration to those in the Smokies. Could these be some potential offspring from a previous successful spawn?


Whoever told you they were sterile is an absolute moron. The Clinch rainbows attempt to spawn every year, and most years are very successful. Tommorrow call TVA fisheries, and ask for Dennis Baxter, he and I worked for years on the spawning habits in the Clinch. Heck we raised fry at the fish lab out of eggs/milt stripped from fish attempting to spawn in Clear Creek. One year we had almost 300,000 young of the year wild Clinch rainbows we raised and released back into the river.

Also, this summer at coldwater, look along the bank around the logs in the slack water, and notice that the fish that look like 2" minnows have par marks, and are river born rainbow fry. They are there every year by the thousands.

This of course goes against the TWRA Coldwater crews entire theories, which are so inaccurate it is laughable. Maybe a little more river time, would provide them plenty of evidence to debunk their opinions formed behind a desk. Sorry for that rant, but this has been an ongoing battle for decades.

Rodonthefly
04-12-2010, 11:25 PM
If you will drive up lower clear creek past the grist mill, sometimes you can see some very nice rainbows in there spawning. This area is closed to all fishing between feb and apr i beleave.

waterwolf
04-13-2010, 07:05 AM
If you will drive up lower clear creek past the grist mill, sometimes you can see some very nice rainbows in there spawning. This area is closed to all fishing between feb and apr i beleave.
Closed from Nov through March or April.

Of course according to "some" officials Clinch trout don't reproduce. Even though those "some" have been witness to clinch fish spawning for decades.

DarrinG
04-13-2010, 08:04 AM
Closed from Nov through March or April.

Of course according to "some" officials Clinch trout don't reproduce. Even though those "some" have been witness to clinch fish spawning for decades.

I'm just curious....why would "those" officials lie about it? What's in it for them to cause them to lie about the spawn on the Clinch?
Honestly, just curious.

Rodonthefly
04-13-2010, 09:08 AM
I really don't think the lie about it, I just don't think they have much data on it. I have brought a few fish to hand that has dropped eggs or milked when I have picke them up.

As far as saying hatchrey fish can't reproduce, where dose this come from?

waterwolf
04-13-2010, 09:35 AM
I'm just curious....why would "those" officials lie about it? What's in it for them to cause them to lie about the spawn on the Clinch?
Honestly, just curious.

The only reasoning that we have been able to come up with over the years of discussing this very thing, is that if it is proven that the fish in the clinch are naturally reproducing it makes it awfully hard for them to push the idea of a "put and take" fishery. Where they stock them each year expecting them to be caught out over time. If they are reproducing in the river, it then becomes self sustaining partially, and thus has to be managed much stricter then a simple "put and take" fishery. Or it is simple arrogance, and not willing to admit they are wrong, which is also a distinct possibility.

Whatever the case, the fact remains that most years the rainbows in the Clinch spawn and are very successful. The evidence shows up each year around July by the thousands in every slackwater area on the river. This year I will see what I can do to net some of the fry and post pics for proof.
I really don't think the lie about it, I just don't think they have much data on it. I have brought a few fish to hand that has dropped eggs or milked when I have picke them up.

As far as saying hatchrey fish can't reproduce, where dose this come from?

I have no idea where it came from, the only fish I have ever heard of being sterile are White Amur (Grass Carp) but even then that is only true part of the time. Many times they are reproducing as well, I know the ones in Melton Hill reproduce and have for decades.

TWRA for years has tried to sell the idea that fish in our tailwaters either couldn't spawn, or tried and were never successful because of the water conditions or river substrate conditions.

They were shown numerous times evidence which completely discredited their theory and just chose not to admit their incorrect assumptions.

Carlito
04-13-2010, 10:09 AM
Perhaps the issue is that there hasn't been any academic research on the topic? I haven't investigated that at all, just suggesting that maybe the TWRA won't stand behind something that doesn't have some peer reviewed academic research.

Carlito
04-13-2010, 10:26 AM
Ok, I was curious so I went and checked the UT Libraries databases. I won't say that I covered all my bases, but I checked the major biological databases, including EBSCO which covers all major biology journals such as the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, and there has been no scholarly research that I can identify regarding trout spawning habits on the Clinch. There is some research around spawning behavior and factors in other tailwaters, but like I said I couldn't find anything about the Clinch. That would be a great opportunity for any college students prowling the message board that are considering a masters/PhD... ****, I might just go back to school. Again. ;)

silvercreek
04-13-2010, 10:30 AM
Unfortunately, there seems to be a strong tendency among scientific types to totally disregard the observations of "lay" persons. Years ago I was fishing the Caney down by Betty's. I had taken two good bows feeding on scuds in very shallow water just covering their backs. As I made my way upstream I ran into a group of fishery folks snorkeling and researching the feeding habits of the trout. I spoke to one of them and told them of what I had just caught and asked if they had any info on that trout behavior. I got a look like I was crazy and was promptly informed that their research showed the trout did not feed in less than about three feet of water. Ok. I'm not saying conclusions should be based on radom observation. Just that it should not be so dogmatically ignored. Regards, Silvercreek

ZachMatthews
04-13-2010, 10:44 AM
There's a lot going on when it comes to spawning fish, guys. A lot of political implications, too.

I don't have any personal experience with spawning rainbows in tailwaters. I'm very experienced with spawning browns and have talked to biologists in several states about them in the course of writing various articles.

What I've been told is that brown trout fry, at least, need about 50 days of more or less slackwater conditions to successfully survive the fry/parr stage and make a substantial contribution to recruitment. On large, steep-sided tailwaters like the Cumberland, that's a real problem. Cumberland browns spawn successfully but their fry make no contribution to recruitment due to the size of the dam and the number of units of generation; basically, the river never goes 50 days at low water and the fry get blown out and die.

Let's say Clinch River fish are successfully reproducing, and their fry is surviving enough to make a contribution to the river a year later. I'm not sure we can be 100% certain about that yet, because TWRA stocks fish at 4" in the Clinch from time to time, and of course those have parr marks too. They're also free of pectoral scarring and by the time they hit 9" or so, they'd generally look like wild fish (so what I'm saying is don't assume an unscarred fish is necessarily river-born).

If the trout are reproducing, does that put the onus on TWRA to protect them? Do they need to close the river, or sections of the river, during the spawn like they do on the White in Arkansas? What impact would that have on put-and-take management, which is the primary philosophy in all Southern tailwaters?

My analysis is that closing any portion of the river to protect the spawn would quickly blow up in TWRA's face, as most river users are (at least theoretically) still bait fishermen who want to take trout home. Those bait fishermen contribute the majority of the TWRA's budget through license purchases, and thus they dominate the management philosophy discussion. Even if on any given day fly fishermen practicing catch and release might outnumber the baitfishermen on the Clinch, over the course of the year, so many *different* bait fishermen hit the water that in total, there are way more of them than there are of us.

Thus, it's a simple matter of voting with the wallet; TWRA has a mandate to manage the rivers to benefit the most people and the majority of 'the people' want stocked fish that they can take home.

I'm all for wild trout reproduction. But it sounds like TWRA has already taken some steps to support that by closing the creek by the mill. Meanwhile, they have to serve other masters too. And until I saw young-of-the-year recruitment figures (again, a study would be nice) and not just fry production, I wouldn't necessarily assume that a significant portion of the trout born in the river were surviving their first year.

Bottom line: I think there are some missing pieces of the discussion here before the TWRA gets taken out behind the woodshed.

Zach

waterwolf
04-13-2010, 12:52 PM
Ok, I was curious so I went and checked the UT Libraries databases. I won't say that I covered all my bases, but I checked the major biological databases, including EBSCO which covers all major biology journals such as the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, and there has been no scholarly research that I can identify regarding trout spawning habits on the Clinch. There is some research around spawning behavior and factors in other tailwaters, but like I said I couldn't find anything about the Clinch. That would be a great opportunity for any college students prowling the message board that are considering a masters/PhD... ****, I might just go back to school. Again. ;)
Like I said earlier in a post call Dennis Baxter with TVA he has all the info you need. Read the posts!!!!:biggrin:

waterwolf
04-13-2010, 01:02 PM
There's a lot going on when it comes to spawning fish, guys. A lot of political implications, too.

I don't have any personal experience with spawning rainbows in tailwaters. I'm very experienced with spawning browns and have talked to biologists in several states about them in the course of writing various articles.

What I've been told is that brown trout fry, at least, need about 50 days of more or less slackwater conditions to successfully survive the fry/parr stage and make a substantial contribution to recruitment. On large, steep-sided tailwaters like the Cumberland, that's a real problem. Cumberland browns spawn successfully but their fry make no contribution to recruitment due to the size of the dam and the number of units of generation; basically, the river never goes 50 days at low water and the fry get blown out and die.

Let's say Clinch River fish are successfully reproducing, and their fry is surviving enough to make a contribution to the river a year later. I'm not sure we can be 100% certain about that yet, because TWRA stocks fish at 4" in the Clinch from time to time, and of course those have parr marks too. They're also free of pectoral scarring and by the time they hit 9" or so, they'd generally look like wild fish (so what I'm saying is don't assume an unscarred fish is necessarily river-born).

If the trout are reproducing, does that put the onus on TWRA to protect them? Do they need to close the river, or sections of the river, during the spawn like they do on the White in Arkansas? What impact would that have on put-and-take management, which is the primary philosophy in all Southern tailwaters?

My analysis is that closing any portion of the river to protect the spawn would quickly blow up in TWRA's face, as most river users are (at least theoretically) still bait fishermen who want to take trout home. Those bait fishermen contribute the majority of the TWRA's budget through license purchases, and thus they dominate the management philosophy discussion. Even if on any given day fly fishermen practicing catch and release might outnumber the baitfishermen on the Clinch, over the course of the year, so many *different* bait fishermen hit the water that in total, there are way more of them than there are of us.

Thus, it's a simple matter of voting with the wallet; TWRA has a mandate to manage the rivers to benefit the most people and the majority of 'the people' want stocked fish that they can take home.

I'm all for wild trout reproduction. But it sounds like TWRA has already taken some steps to support that by closing the creek by the mill. Meanwhile, they have to serve other masters too. And until I saw young-of-the-year recruitment figures (again, a study would be nice) and not just fry production, I wouldn't necessarily assume that a significant portion of the trout born in the river were surviving their first year.

Bottom line: I think there are some missing pieces of the discussion here before the TWRA gets taken out behind the woodshed.

Zach

Zach,

These fish which can easily be found late summer are around 1.5-2" long, they are not in any way related to the fingerling stockings from April/May. Those fish by July are around 6"-8", and easily distinguished from the fry produced through river reproduction.

There is no way to really tell what the long term survival rate is on the Clinch because it is a mish mash after about November each year, and I don't really know how you could monitor the success or failures of the wild fish. Unless you stopped stocking now, and made the river totally C&R for a period of 10 years, you could monitor the overall population and see how it fluctuated (down I am assuming) and where it leveled off to see what the production value might be. It still would be hard, but it might give some idea of how many fish are coming into the system each year which are hatched in the river. I am not for that proposal BTW.

TWRA has gotten better, but to say they are doing the best for the health of the fishery is far from reality. There is zero enforcement, and the slots are pretty rough IMO. It could be much better, but is better then nothing. My suggestion would be to have a no kill on fish under 12", and only one over 20". B/w 12"-20" limit 5 fish per person per day. I do not think the wild fish are impacted to a large degree by fishing pressure, the river chickens take the brunt of the abuse from the baitfisherman IMO.

ZachMatthews
04-13-2010, 01:32 PM
Waterwolf -

I think your slot limit suggestion is a very reasonable proposal. I believe biologists do have means of determining whether a given fish is river-bred or stocked, but I don't know enough about the science to know how expensive it is.

In certain rivers in Arkansas, which is generally a lot more progressive about its trout regs than Tennessee, they've done survival and impact studies on C&R areas and slot limits both. C&R sections work best when they dead-end at the dam; this keeps some fish in the section year round and it protects larger fish making spawning runs from being caught out. On the Clinch, I could see a strict C&R section to the weir dam being very effective (but probably unpopular).

Slot limits in my opinion are a way better management tool. They've been very effective in helping redfish stocks bounce back nationwide. My only change to your suggestion would be to push the single upper keeper out to 24". A 20" fish is not really a proper trophy (certainly not a wall mounter), yet the 20-24" slot is really the window that most people would begin to get excited about.

If Tennessee banned the use of trout as live bait for stripers, instituted the slot, and somehow cleaned up the didymo, the Clinch would probably become a nationally famous trophy fishery. Honestly that goes for a great many of our Southeastern tailwaters (even the Hooch here in Atlanta).

Unfortunately, the state DNRs across the south have to respond to the will of the people. Probably 80% of "the people" are casual fishermen hoping to catch dinner (thus put-and-take). The remaining 20% of us who are dedicated do a LOT more to contribute to the fishing economy. But, the DNRs don't draw their funding from that pool; instead they are influenced by what would generate the most license sales.

If you really wanted to get the DNRs to pay attention to management for trophy trout, the way to do it in my opinion would be to drop license fees entirely (honestly, why should a citizen need to pay to fish state water? Yet license fees and the need to go get a license are a major detriment to getting people, especially kids, into fishing). Instead of funding the DNRs through license fees, they should derive funding from (1) a healthy percentage of the sales tax assessed by sales of fishing-related goods and services and (2) from fines assessed through enforcement.

You know why small towns always have a speed trap? Because it makes them their money. You force the DNR to survive based on its performance in enforcing the game laws and you'll see a lot better enforcement real quick.

Zach

pineman19
04-13-2010, 01:47 PM
Waterwolf,

I was talking to a fellow fisherman at the Church parking lot in Clinton on Sunday and said he had went to a recent presentation on Brown trout reproduction on the Clinch, I below it was a TWRA meeting. They claimed that browns didn't reproduce much on the Clinch, partly because the water was too cold for the eggs too hatch. Just curious if people have seen Browns trying to spawn. I have caught a couple of rainbows this year around Millers that were very dark and one (12") that squirted milk when I released it.


Neal

waterwolf
04-13-2010, 02:59 PM
Zack- A couple of corrections to your post. Didymo by all accounts is doing anything but hurting the tailwaters. Especially the Clinch, the sulphurs were nearly gone until Didymo showed up. Now they are as prolific as I can ever remember. Bottom line, Didymo seems to be a problem with fisherman more so the fish or the benthics.

Pineman- I have never seen any evidence of browns spawning or attempting to spawn in the Clinch. I am not saying they don't, but the population of browns is fairly small overall and they just don't seem to even try. I do not however, buy into the theory you posted below that the water is too cold, that certainly doesn't add up when you look at the success in Arkansas, Cumberland, and South Holston which all have successful brown trout reproduction.

To highlight how inaccurate that theory is, one must take into consideration that when browns spawn would directly coincide with the lake turnover and the warmest water temps of the year on the Clinch, which is Oct-Dec. Water temps usually range in the high 50's to near 60 for that period, which is far warmer then any of the western rivers would be during that same period. Which brings up another point. How can brown trout naturally reproduce in Montana in rivers which are running around 40 degrees in Oct-Dec, yet can't in our tailwaters which are certainly never any colder then that? Total BS theory, conjured up by TWRA who really seems to have no idea as to why. Which I will add, I don't have any true idea why the browns in the Clinch don't spawn or attempt. The only thing I can think is it is a population issue.

afoshie
04-13-2010, 03:56 PM
i dont fish on this river much but with the quote being said that the brown trout dont reproduce as much because of the cold water kinda goes againt the mountian streams. If im not mistaken brown trout start the pawn in or around November. That being said mountian streams have been subjected to freeezing temps by that point and could be frozen over depending on the weather. Never seen a tailwater frozen that i can remember. Just a thought.

Rodonthefly
04-13-2010, 08:26 PM
In regars to the comments about closing the clinch uring spawning times. Why not put a delayed harvest in during this times? Also to help with fish population why not put a no fishing day in place on the days that TWRA stocks. So many times i have seen poeple stand there and catch their limits after the TWRA truck has dumped fish in. Why don't they just give these poor bastards 7 trout and send them on their way?

As far as TWRA maniaging the clinch i think they do a good job. But I would like to see them out there more checking lic and such.

mcfly
04-13-2010, 08:26 PM
Waterwolf -


If you really wanted to get the DNRs to pay attention to management for trophy trout, the way to do it in my opinion would be to drop license fees entirely (honestly, why should a citizen need to pay to fish state water? Yet license fees and the need to go get a license are a major detriment to getting people, especially kids, into fishing). Instead of funding the DNRs through license fees, they should derive funding from (1) a healthy percentage of the sales tax assessed by sales of fishing-related goods and services and (2) from fines assessed through enforcement.

You know why small towns always have a speed trap? Because it makes them their money. You force the DNR to survive based on its performance in enforcing the game laws and you'll see a lot better enforcement real quick.

Zach

I think something that you are missing is that license fees, especially the trout stamp, are a deterrent to a certain demographic that will literally wipe out the fish population in certain streams should the license fee be dropped. There are some who ignore these fees altogether, but they are still a deterrent to many. I'm confident most rivers in Tennessee could not be managed as with wild trout regulations without being decimated, even with strict enforcement and license fees.

waterwolf
04-13-2010, 09:24 PM
Why don't they just give these poor bastards 7 trout and send them on their way?

.

That is funny, I have said for years a big tin watering tank filled with trout and just let the rednecks dip them out with nets would satisfy these folks.

I have never seen people so **** bent on catching a limit of something which really isn't that good to eat. You would think they had gold under their skin and diamonds for eyes.

MadisonBoats
04-14-2010, 10:26 AM
That is funny, I have said for years a big tin watering tank filled with trout and just let the rednecks dip them out with nets would satisfy these folks.

I have never seen people so **** bent on catching a limit of something which really isn't that good to eat. You would think they had gold under their skin and diamonds for eyes.

You better not visit the Miller's Island Ramp. The fish mongers have nestled in around the ramp to bucket fish some of the stockers. One guy told me a man had just left with over 80 fish. The fish are so raw that they swim right up to your feet. I really wish TWRA would patrol that spot more frequently right now. I voiced my opinion to these fisherman-mongers and went on...:mad:

ChemEAngler
04-14-2010, 10:38 AM
You better not visit the Miller's Island Ramp. The fish mongers have nestled in around the ramp to bucket fish some of the stockers. One guy told me a man had just left with over 80 fish. The fish are so raw that they swim right up to your feet. I really wish TWRA would patrol that spot more frequently right now. I voiced my opinion to these fisherman-mongers and went on...:mad:

Shawn,

That is part of the reason I started searching for other places on the river to fish three years ago. I always left Miller's Island angry because of something I saw somebody doing whether it be over harvesting, snagging, or just being plain rude.

Rodonthefly
04-14-2010, 11:28 AM
So I take it they jst stocked there and there's alot of lil guys swiming around?

GrouseMan77
04-14-2010, 02:15 PM
That is funny, I have said for years a big tin watering tank filled with trout and just let the rednecks dip them out with nets would satisfy these folks.

I have never seen people so **** bent on catching a limit of something which really isn't that good to eat. You would think they had gold under their skin and diamonds for eyes.

CR Outfitters used to have a cap and on the back it said "It's a trout stamp, not a food stamp!"

Someone needs to contact Cal and see if he will run off another batch.

waterwolf
04-14-2010, 09:50 PM
CR Outfitters used to have a cap and on the back it said "It's a trout stamp, not a food stamp!"

Someone needs to contact Cal and see if he will run off another batch.


Nevertheless it is a great slogan and glad the tradition is being carried on. Kudos to Cal for having the wheels to put it out there.

fourx
04-14-2010, 09:55 PM
Let 'em eat the miserable little finless socks! I don't have a problem with people that chase the stocking truck. I personally absolutely hate stocked "catchable" trout!

4X