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View Full Version : Hiwassee holding up well so far this year


tennswede
07-10-2010, 04:18 PM
If anyone was wondering, temp this morning right at 63 degrees. Spoke with some locals who I know personally. They think this year could be a good one as far as temp goes.

Knothead
07-10-2010, 06:10 PM
Good to see you again! I'm looking for a good year on the Hiwassee. Now that I am retired, I can fish during the week when it's not as crowded. I'm also looking for an excuse to fish the Park. Hopefully, the rains will help as Byron's reports show a lack of rain for this summer, so far. Maybe we can get together and exercise some wild trout!:smile:

tennswede
07-10-2010, 08:07 PM
John,

Always a pleasure to be down on the HI and seeing some familiar folks again. I will make it a point to keep in touch better in the future. Most of my fishing on the HI takes place when other areas are not in their prime, if you know what I mean. We should definitely hit the mountains when you have time. I hope we will get some more rain, it did wonders for the DH streams last year. keep in touch, feel free to email anytime.

ahlstedt@knology.net

waterwolf
07-10-2010, 10:26 PM
63 is very warm for this early in the summer IMO. There is a long way to go until things turn the other way in November, and usually the warmest water of the year arrives in September.

I don't know what happened to the Hiwassee I grew up fishing, but it certainly is not even close to being the same as it used to be. Sad, it was a wonderful place.

tennswede
07-11-2010, 02:42 PM
It's going to be a great year for you all who are interested in fishing the HI this year. 63 is very cold for this time of year. I spoke with people who knows the river very well.

Paddlefish
07-11-2010, 10:14 PM
Not only is the water cooler than normal this year, it was a little cooler than normal last year too. For the first time in quite a few years, we are taking a lot of quality fish. Isonychias are working very well right now along with nearly any nymph that is drifted in front of feeding fish. Rockfish are up from Chickamauga. Not good for trout, but for those who fish for them and catch them it is a blast. A lot being caught in the 10 to 30 lb. range.

waterwolf
07-11-2010, 10:52 PM
Here is a TWRA report regarding the Hiwassee it has a bunch of water temp graphs located in it, and for each one the water temps right now at 63 degrees are slightly higher then historic readings.
http://www.tennessee.gov/twra/fish/StreamRiver/tailtrout/Hiwassee%20Plan.pdf

In my opinion, there is a ton which goes into whether the river sustains itself from year to year. The biggest being rainfall, too much and it floods the river with warmwater run off and causes temps to spike. Too little and it causes coldwater reserves and springs to deplete. Just right and things could be all right.

It is just so touch and go the last 10+ years on that river. The reservoir is so small and relatively shallow that it just doesn't seem to have the coldwater capabilities that the Clinch or other tailwaters do on an annual basis.

It is a shame, as years ago it did not seem to have these issues, it had good holdovers and the water always seemed to stay cold enough. Now maybe my memory is fading, but that is what I recall from 15 years ago or more. Beautiful place and certainly diverse with its benthic life.

Hope it stays cool, but historically speaking it is warmer now when compared to water temps graphs from TWRA projects.

PeteCz
07-11-2010, 11:37 PM
WW, I looked at the graphs in the report and it appears that a water temp of 63F (17C) on July 10th near the powerhouse, would be in the range of the graphs for 2001 and 2002. Not sure what time of day Hans took the temp or exactly where on the river, there appears to be a few degrees variance each day that skew things a bit, but since 16C is considered optimal for Rainbow Trout growth, it appears that things are ok for right now. It also looks like the river normally gets a a few degrees warmer as the year wears on, but for the heat we have already had, it seems that the water would have been warmer.

I agree that things always seem touch and go on the HI, but for right now we seem to be at the same point temp-wise as 8-9 years ago.

waterwolf
07-12-2010, 06:49 AM
WW, I looked at the graphs in the report and it appears that a water temp of 63F (17C) on July 10th near the powerhouse, would be in the range of the graphs for 2001 and 2002. Not sure what time of day Hans took the temp or exactly where on the river, there appears to be a few degrees variance each day that skew things a bit, but since 16C is considered optimal for Rainbow Trout growth, it appears that things are ok for right now. It also looks like the river normally gets a a few degrees warmer as the year wears on, but for the heat we have already had, it seems that the water would have been warmer.

I agree that things always seem touch and go on the HI, but for right now we seem to be at the same point temp-wise as 8-9 years ago.
Agreed, and the issues which usually occur down there from my memory, seem to happen later in the Summer on into the fall.

That river reminds me of the Holston, where things click along looking great and then all of a sudden like a light switch the water temps shoot up. It is just how high they go, the Holston seems to plateau around 72 degrees which is not good but still below the threshhold for trout survival.

As before I hope the Hiwassee holds up, but looking at historical graphs of water temps and seeing that things are about normal this year, it could be assumed that water temps will push the boundaries again at a later date. I hope not however.

mcfly
07-17-2010, 10:47 PM
Rockfish are up from Chickamauga. Not good for trout, but for those who fish for them and catch them it is a blast. A lot being caught in the 10 to 30 lb. range.


I never understood why more attention wasn't payed to the stripers being a cause for reduced quality holdover trout in the Hiwassee. It seems like there has been a direct correlation with the decrease in quality holdover trout in the Hiwassee and the increase in size and quantity of the stripers moving up from Chickamauga.

Bfish
07-18-2010, 01:04 PM
It is pretty simple, the stripers are not making it into areas where the trout can actually holdover. It is very rare for a striper to be above Reliance, while it is very rare for a trout to holdover below Reliance (actually they don't holdover upstream a good ways either). Look at water temperatures and see the squeeze, especially in low water years.

waterwolf
07-18-2010, 10:38 PM
It is pretty simple, the stripers are not making it into areas where the trout can actually holdover. It is very rare for a striper to be above Reliance, while it is very rare for a trout to holdover below Reliance (actually they don't holdover upstream a good ways either). Look at water temperatures and see the squeeze, especially in low water years.
I don't know about the Hiwassee and its striper population, but the Clinch is full of them. It is nothing to see multiple schools of 30-40 fish on any given day. I do believe they eat their fair share of trout, but if they are destroying a fishery, then the clinch should be void of life other then them.

mcfly
07-19-2010, 10:43 PM
I don't know about the Hiwassee and its striper population, but the Clinch is full of them. It is nothing to see multiple schools of 30-40 fish on any given day. I do believe they eat their fair share of trout, but if they are destroying a fishery, then the clinch should be void of life other then them.


The fact is that the stripers do frequently make it above Reliance and can be caught as far upriver as the powerhouse.

Also, the problem isn't that stripers eat trout, although I know that they do eat trout from seeing the stomach contents of a few (mostly rainbows as the browns habits probably keep them safe). The problem is that the stripers compete for the limited amount of food in the Hiwassee. Just one example, most of the big browns in the Hiwassee eat crayfish (among other things). The stripers compete with the trout for those crayfish. The crayfish are a big factor in the ability of the fish to grow in the hiwassee as the insect population in the river, although varied, is very limited.

Do the trout have food available for survival? Somewhat. Do they have enough to grow to sizes as experienced in years past? Not as much.

The difference between the Clinch and the Hiwassee is that the Clinch has a more dense insect population and a larger presence of scuds in the river (more food is available for both species in the Clinch).

I know temperature is a limiting factor and I'm not downplaying it, but the stocking of stripers in Chickamauga directly correlates with the decline of the fishery and, in my opinion, is also a major (and overlooked) limiting factor of the river along with the high water temperature during peak summer months

Bfish
07-22-2010, 05:49 PM
mcfly,

Your answer is laughable. First, Hiwassee has low alkalinity due to siltstone, sandstone, and shale. Because of the low pH and the bedrock nature of the river, crayfish are quite absent. Second, the few large brown trout in the Hiwassee are feeding on shad killed/injured as they pass through the turbines, not on crayfish. Third, it is very very rare for striper to make it into the quality zone section as there are low and high water barriers not far upstream from Reliance.

EDIT to add:
Hiwassee River. - The mean size of 133 brown trout examined for food habits was
203 mm total length. Minimum and maximum total lengths were 145 mm and 271 mm,
respectively. Empty stomachs were rare (2%); however, the number of food organisms
consumed and mean digestible biomass were usually the lowest compared to all other
rivers (Table 2). Over the entire study, Diptera pupae and terrestrial organisms were
consumed in the greatest quantity (38 and 35%, respectively). Diptera pupae were
consumed frequently in the spring and late fall to early winter. Terrestrial organisms
were consumed during all seasons, but were more frequently consumed from June to
October 2003 (Table 3; Figures 15). Only three other taxa (Trichoptera, Gastropoda and
Ephemeroptera) made substantial numerical contributions to the diet. Mean digestible
biomass was greatest in January 2004 when brown trout consumed fish, principally
entrained Clupeidae (69% by weight; Table 3). http://www2.tntech.edu/fish/PDF/BrownTrout.pdf

PeteCz
07-22-2010, 08:32 PM
Your answer is laughable...

Your delivery of a counterpoint leaves a lot to be desired. If you disagree, fine, but there's no point to making your argument personal.

I don't have a dog in this argument but since you decided to poke someone with a sharp stick, I decide to do a small bit of research, as well. I did a quick Google and found that not only do Crayfish exist in the Hiwassee, but the river has its own subspecies named for the river. Check out the two links:
http://www.ncwildlife.org/plan/documents/HiwasseeRiverBasin/PS-HRB.pdf
http://www.hiwassee.us/HiwasseeFactSheet.pdf

The fact is that Crayfish do exist in the Hi, albeit in an endangered state...

Does it prove or disprove anyone's theories? Probably not...but they do exist.

And remember the Golden Rule (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Rule)...

Bfish
07-22-2010, 09:04 PM
Your delivery of a counterpoint leaves a lot to be desired. If you disagree, fine, but there's no point to making your argument personal.

I don't have a dog in this argument but since you decided to poke someone with a sharp stick, I decide to do a small bit of research, as well. I did a quick Google and found that not only do Crayfish exist in the Hiwassee, but the river has its own subspecies named for the river. Check out the two links:
http://www.ncwildlife.org/plan/documents/HiwasseeRiverBasin/PS-HRB.pdf
http://www.hiwassee.us/HiwasseeFactSheet.pdf I guess you don't share the same humor as I do. When something is amusingly ridiculous, I'll state it as such.

The fact is that Crayfish do exist in the Hi, albeit in an endangered state... Never said they don't occur, kind of hard for crayfish to burrow/hide under a rock when a stream is all bedrock so very low numbers of crayfish. Both your links are related to the Hiawassee in NC, which has different geological characteristics than the Hiwassee in TN between the Apalachia powerhouse and say highway 411. In the 15 miles of river below Highway 411 there is like 40 different crayfish species but that is way outside the range of brown trout. Do a few thousand kick net samples and see how many crayfish turn up, very few.

waterwolf
07-22-2010, 10:17 PM
The fact is that the stripers do frequently make it above Reliance and can be caught as far upriver as the powerhouse.

Also, the problem isn't that stripers eat trout, although I know that they do eat trout from seeing the stomach contents of a few (mostly rainbows as the browns habits probably keep them safe). The problem is that the stripers compete for the limited amount of food in the Hiwassee. Just one example, most of the big browns in the Hiwassee eat crayfish (among other things). The stripers compete with the trout for those crayfish. The crayfish are a big factor in the ability of the fish to grow in the hiwassee as the insect population in the river, although varied, is very limited.

Do the trout have food available for survival? Somewhat. Do they have enough to grow to sizes as experienced in years past? Not as much.

The difference between the Clinch and the Hiwassee is that the Clinch has a more dense insect population and a larger presence of scuds in the river (more food is available for both species in the Clinch).

I know temperature is a limiting factor and I'm not downplaying it, but the stocking of stripers in Chickamauga directly correlates with the decline of the fishery and, in my opinion, is also a major (and overlooked) limiting factor of the river along with the high water temperature during peak summer months
I am pretty sure that TWRA ceased striper stockings a few years ago. I have no proof, or evidence but thought I remember hearing that. I could be completely wrong however.

Stripers also do not feed on crayfish. I forget the fancy fisheries term for them, but I think they are almost strictly fish eaters when they reach a certain size. I also firmly believe our bigger brown trout make their living feeding on fish (mostly trout and shad), and eat a handful of crayfish at most. The Clinch has a significant population of large brown trout, and a relatively low crayfish population. The bottom substrate just isn't conducive for large crayfish populations. They eat 99% trout in the Clinch, with some shad during the heat of the summer and dead of winter. I can say with 100% certainty that the stripers are not feeding on scuds and neither are the big brown trout. Both the stripers and large browns feed primarily on other fish, and that leaves the most numerous as their focus, the most numerous of course is other trout.

Like I said I am sure the stripers have an impact, but if they were the devastating machines people assume, then the CLinch would be dead. The Hiwassee suffers from water temps issues, and nothing short of a miracle will ever change that IMO.

David Knapp
07-22-2010, 10:17 PM
mcfly,

Your answer is laughable.


You any relation to waterwolf?

Rockyraccoon
07-23-2010, 12:32 AM
I've refrained from comments so far, and seeing how its late and I'm on the river again tomorrow....I'll keep it short.

Three times this week, I've (my sports) had three typical 'Was bows eaten off of tight lines. Once was at the scum line at Fox's. Another below Towee Shoals, and today below the steps. We've also had plenty of slashes and chases from them.

Another guide who throws plugs at them killed (thank goodness ) a 30lb stripe two days ago.....He showed it to me at the trestle and it bottomed out my 30lb boga. He caught it in a very popular and well known striper hole.

I've seen them all over the upper river, and in large numbers throughout the Quality Zone.

These facts are from personal observances and not from an old drought year study. I won't discount said study, I'm just not sure it would always be the definitive answer to every situation seeing how the 'Was is so extremely weather dependent.

So far, this year has been pretty darn good. We are riding a year and a half of good to very good rainfall in the watershed and it shows. Some, some mind you, very nice browns are scattered throughout the river. Nowhere near the amount on the Clinch, but nevertheless, some are present. They usually go unnoticed until the occasional rapala pic at the corner market.

Anyway, it's late and my short and sweet response is cutting into much needed isonychia vise time.

I do think the stripers definitely affect the fishery. Nowhere near as much as flow issues can and do. I agree with Waterwolf on the miracle comment. IT will take the hand of God to bring plenty of rains year end or year out, or to get TVA to address the minimum flow issues.

Yada yada yada....good night.

waterwolf
07-23-2010, 07:50 AM
You any relation to waterwolf?
Thanks for the passing shot...

tennswede
07-31-2010, 03:59 PM
Good fishing today on the HI, water temp at the stair steps 64 in the morning, 68 at noon. Better quality fish are showing up even on low water now.