View Full Version : Video: Water Rising at the Weir Dam

04-13-2011, 08:25 AM
Sorry for the poor quality of the video. My digital camera does not shoot video that well. I wanted to capture the water rising at the Weir Dam in hopes that it will help keep someone from getting stranded or worse. The water rises very quickly and is misleading below the dam. It can take about 25-30 minutes for noticeable changes in water levels below the weir dam after the generator has been turned on. Once it spills over the top; the water rises very quickly and becomes un-wadable very fast.

Please do not use this timeline as a gauge to extend your fishing trip. This will only give you a false sense of comfort. The spill rates vary with the water conditions and I filmed this with the support of having a boat at hand. Additionally; it is very challenging to navigate the water when the levels are changing. From my experience; this transition is when most boat accidents occur on the river.

The video is in fast speed to help illustrate the water rising at the Weir Dam. After the water spilled over the top; it took about 7-minutes to make the lower area un-wadable. Please not; this rate changes depending on down time, retention pool levels, etc.


04-13-2011, 03:30 PM
That's quite an eye opener, Shawn. Thanks for recording and sharing.


04-14-2011, 08:17 AM
It's weird how it can sneak up on you.

I remember my 2nd ot third time at Holston below Cherokee, my buddy kept saying watch for the water - it rises real fast!

He wasn"t kidding, in 2 minutes it went from nothing to over 15,000 cfs:eek:

We barely landed his fish of the day before getting washed away.

Another time, at Soho, TVA was testing (not on webpage - they did apoligize) water came up leaving me just an extra minute to barely get out. In fact if it wasn't for my understanding od whitewater, I might not have made it. My buddy got stuck on the wrong side of the river (He had keys and car was on opposite bank island that day. There were two others on the island below him, and if you can believe it, he called TVA from his cell & they shut off the dam to let them get out:eek:. Me not knowing this, got a ride with another flyfisherman stranger that helped my out, drove me to cul-de-sac, and waited 40 minutes for me to find my buddy, only to find out that when I got there TVA shut off dam again, and my whole effort was in vain.

Bottom line watch your *** - and like the bumper sticker says, "TVA schedules are determined daily" ansd don't count on them to do what they said the day before

04-14-2011, 09:08 AM
Oh, I have pushed my luck a few times as well and it really scared me! What I remember frightening is how immobile you become when the water rises just a few inches and increases in force. A simple crossing can turn in to a struggle for every step in just a few seconds.

Remember; if you get caught in rising water to just wait it out in the closest area of safe ground. It may be an inconvenience; but, it will help you avoid a catastrophe. This will happen to many fisherman and it is best to stay calm and get to a safe spot ASAP! Do not try to cross the river if you have a closer option of safety.

I have heard that the freestone streams in the mountains can be very treacherous if they get thunderstorms upstream.