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MBB
10-18-2011, 07:51 AM
Does anyone know if the trout held over on the hot months on the Holtson? Is it too early to tell yet? I recall last year a significant number of trout made it through the hot months. I hope there were several and am looking forward to next Spring.

Hugh Hartsell
10-18-2011, 08:53 AM
The trout have done well this year. This is a critical time for the next few weeks for the trout because the water temps are still high and any stress could be fatal to the trout that you might catch. Give them a few more weeks.
Hugh

MadisonBoats
10-18-2011, 08:53 AM
I would like to think that several of them do hold over. The big challenge is for enough of them to maintain or stay ahead of the depletion and take rate for them to thrive.

There are so many factors that come in to play in this equation. Additionally; many of these influences are trendy and happen under varying circumstances. So; there could be a few good years of fish hold over and then a complete drop-off due to a unique event. It seems to be a fragile ecosystem for trout habitation year-over.

I wish there would be a golden solution to help protect or improve the tail-water for trout habitat. Maybe some of the fishermen that have many years on this water will help contribute to this post and elaborate better than I have...(?)

waterwolf
10-18-2011, 10:39 PM
Thank You Hugh for posting your comments. No one needs to be fishing the Holston until after Christmas unless they plan to keep every fish they catch.

MadisonBoats
10-19-2011, 08:40 AM
Thank You Hugh for posting your comments. No one needs to be fishing the Holston until after Christmas unless they plan to keep every fish they catch.

Waterwolf; I do not understand this post. Is it because catching/handling the fish will stress them to not reproduce? I do not know the Holston River that well and I would like to learn more about its ecosystem.

NDuncan
10-19-2011, 09:59 AM
My understanding from waterwolf/Hugh's posts was that because the water temps are too high, the stress of being caught will likely prove fatal to most of the fish caught - thus if you are fishing there, you might as well be planning on keeping what you catch because if you release them they will probably die anyway... unless I am missing something

waterwolf
10-19-2011, 10:32 PM
Waterwolf; I do not understand this post. Is it because catching/handling the fish will stress them to not reproduce? I do not know the Holston River that well and I would like to learn more about its ecosystem.
NDuncan, is dead on.

The water temps get really borderline during the late summer early fall, and through lake turnover. The stress of fighting fish is enough to push them to death, and therefore folks that are determined to not leave them alone, might as well keep a mess.

The fish in the Holston do not appear to reproduce like the fish in the Clinch. Overall the quality of the fish is generally much better in the Clinch with regards to spawning behavior.

Fortunately the Holston is the only major tailwater which really has an issue with this. The Hiwassee usually surpasses borderline and goes to full on kill mode, unless something has changed recently.

MadisonBoats
10-20-2011, 08:37 AM
NDuncan, is dead on.

The water temps get really borderline during the late summer early fall, and through lake turnover. The stress of fighting fish is enough to push them to death, and therefore folks that are determined to not leave them alone, might as well keep a mess.

The fish in the Holston do not appear to reproduce like the fish in the Clinch. Overall the quality of the fish is generally much better in the Clinch with regards to spawning behavior.

Fortunately the Holston is the only major tailwater which really has an issue with this. The Hiwassee usually surpasses borderline and goes to full on kill mode, unless something has changed recently.

I see...I did some quick-online research and found a great excerpt from a study by K.R. Mathews and N.H. Berg that elaborates on this topic.

I think it would interesting to see a water temperature record for Cherokee Lake and the Holston river during the winter months over the past decade. That way we could help illustrate any climate variances with fish density or hold-over rates.

Steve Wright
10-20-2011, 11:44 AM
Glad Hugh & Jim are voicing the need for restraint on the Holston. The temps get quite warm as already stated.
Knowledge of such places isn't congenital .....the promoting and advertising the **** out of a fishery is not something someone who truly respects and appreciates the fish and fishery would ever do IMO.Unfortunately Cherokee is a shallow lake & subjected to the rigors of maintaining storage for flood control.

No Hackle
10-20-2011, 12:28 PM
What are the temps now, say from the dam to nances ferry.
Lynn

Hugh Hartsell
10-20-2011, 03:10 PM
No Hackle,
The temps last week as reported to me were 70 degrees at River Point and probably close to that at the dam.
Let's talk for a minute about the water temps in Cherokee Lake and why they are possibly higher than some of the other reservoirs at this time of the year. Also I'll mention what starts to happen right now as we are speaking on the Holston River.

From the time the South Holston and Watauga Rivers leave Ft. Patrick Henry Reservoir, they have to pass the generating plant at Tennessee Eastman and then they are met by the North Fork of the Holston River. I'm not sure of what order that falls in but the river warms enough to become Smallmouth water from that point to the John Sevier Steamplant. Part of the river is diverted here to cool coal fired and now natural gas generators. I think the coal fired generators have been placed in an emergency situation as of now. This causes the water which flows into Cherokee Lake to be warmer than it would if it flowed freely. It is also the biggest reason that Cherokee Lake heats up too high in the summer after all the held over cold water has been sent downstream. This is further aggravated by the heavy drawdown that takes place every year to put the reservoir lakes back to a "winter level". All this being said we find ourselves every year wanting to get back to water that usually takes until at least Mid November to cool down enough to support trout. That can also vary some each year. Another little factor is that the very opposite takes place as the air temperatures begin to cool the water in the late Fall and early winter. The water that warmed up the quickest in the later summer is the water that cools off the quickest because of exposure to the air. All in all, the river has managed to hold trout over at least to the mid sections of the river for several years and to have really good fishing in the winter and early spring it is best to let the trout have the time they need for things to get back to normal. The first stocking usually take place at this time as well. Everyone have a great time on the river during this coming year.
Hugh

Corbo
10-20-2011, 10:39 PM
So Hugh; do most of the stocked fish in the Cherokee tailwater die due to water temperature?

Last May people at Nance's with full stringers (fly, spin and bait) have told me they keep all they catch because the fish will die anyway by July and that any fish in the river much below Buffalo Springs cannot survive the summer heat.

What is the truth?

If you don't mind.... a second question:

Most all the trout I caught at Nance's were rainbows last Spring... and the State seems to mostly stock rainbows in this tailwater.

Brown trout seem to be able to survive warmer water than rainbows so why is the stocking regime so grossly biased toward rainbow stocking if most fish will not survive the summer?

Up in Maine many rivers with temperatures well into the high 70's sustained brown trout.

I have not fished the Hiwassi river but it seems totally wasteful to so richly stock a river that cannot sustain fish very well... but I really don't know much about it other than a breif reading about it in Rutters book.

Hugh Hartsell
10-21-2011, 02:33 AM
Corbo,
It is not exactly true that most trout placed in the Holston die. It could be said that most trout in the lower part of the river die, especially down as far as Nances Ferry. Last year for example, the fish survived for a mile or two below Indian Cave. It is usually about half way down the river that fish get enough oxygen to survive through the summer and fall. I have not heard of anyone catching fish any farther downstream this Fall than Indian Cave. We'll know as people get back later in the year to fishing these lower sections.
You asked about brown trout , You heard in the Tailwater License Permit discussion about some of the bad decisions that TWRA makes in stocking fish. This one is a dilly and one that I have talked with TWRA about several times at their Regional Office in Morristown. I beg for them to stock more browns and this is what I always get back from them. They tell me that they don't raise any browns in the State Hatcheries and they have to get them whereever they can,ie. Dale Hollow Federal Hatchery or Wolf Creek Hatchery in Kentucky. They tell me they have to wait and see if they have any leftover and they get whatever is available. Since I have already talked about how we lose fish at Nances Ferry because of the water getting too warm and how it is so hard to get brown trout, this takes the cake!!! This year they did a stocking at Nances Ferry in June of several thousand fingerling browns. This would have been a great asset to the upper part of the river, but every last one of the fish were lost due to pure ignorance on someone's part. These browns would be getting close to 12inches long by May of this coming year if they had been stocked in a part of the river where they might have survived. As a guide, and a person who loves this river, you can imagine how I felt at seeing this kind of mismanagement and waste. The Holston is like any other tailwater. It has good points and bad points, but good management would help tremendously in the long run.
Hugh

MadisonBoats
10-21-2011, 07:59 AM
No Hackle,
The temps last week as reported to me were 70 degrees at River Point and probably close to that at the dam.
Let's talk for a minute about the water temps in Cherokee Lake and why they are possibly higher than some of the other reservoirs at this time of the year. Also I'll mention what starts to happen right now as we are speaking on the Holston River.

From the time the South Holston and Watauga Rivers leave Ft. Patrick Henry Reservoir, they have to pass the generating plant at Tennessee Eastman and then they are met by the North Fork of the Holston River. I'm not sure of what order that falls in but the river warms enough to become Smallmouth water from that point to the John Sevier Steamplant. Part of the river is diverted here to cool coal fired and now natural gas generators. I think the coal fired generators have been placed in an emergency situation as of now. This causes the water which flows into Cherokee Lake to be warmer than it would if it flowed freely. It is also the biggest reason that Cherokee Lake heats up too high in the summer after all the held over cold water has been sent downstream. This is further aggravated by the heavy drawdown that takes place every year to put the reservoir lakes back to a "winter level". All this being said we find ourselves every year wanting to get back to water that usually takes until at least Mid November to cool down enough to support trout. That can also vary some each year. Another little factor is that the very opposite takes place as the air temperatures begin to cool the water in the late Fall and early winter. The water that warmed up the quickest in the later summer is the water that cools off the quickest because of exposure to the air. All in all, the river has managed to hold trout over at least to the mid sections of the river for several years and to have really good fishing in the winter and early spring it is best to let the trout have the time they need for things to get back to normal. The first stocking usually take place at this time as well. Everyone have a great time on the river during this coming year.
Hugh

Corbo,
It is not exactly true that most trout placed in the Holston die. It could be said that most trout in the lower part of the river die, especially down as far as Nances Ferry. Last year for example, the fish survived for a mile or two below Indian Cave. It is usually about half way down the river that fish get enough oxygen to survive through the summer and fall. I have not heard of anyone catching fish any farther downstream this Fall than Indian Cave. We'll know as people get back later in the year to fishing these lower sections.
You asked about brown trout , You heard in the Tailwater License Permit discussion about some of the bad decisions that TWRA makes in stocking fish. This one is a dilly and one that I have talked with TWRA about several times at their Regional Office in Morristown. I beg for them to stock more browns and this is what I always get back from them. They tell me that they don't raise any browns in the State Hatcheries and they have to get them whereever they can,ie. Dale Hollow Federal Hatchery or Wolf Creek Hatchery in Kentucky. They tell me they have to wait and see if they have any leftover and they get whatever is available. Since I have already talked about how we lose fish at Nances Ferry because of the water getting too warm and how it is so hard to get brown trout, this takes the cake!!! Last year they did a stocking at Nances Ferry in June of several thousand fingerling browns. This would have been a great asset to the upper part of the river, but every last one of the fish were lost due to pure ignorance on someone's part. These browns would be getting close to 12inches long by May of this coming year if they had been stocked in a part of the river where they might have survived. As a guide, and a person who loves this river, you can imagine how I felt at seeing this kind of mismanagement and waste. The Holston is like any other tailwater. It has good points and bad points, but good management would help tremendously in the long run.
Hugh

Hugh,
Excellent information and insight! I appreciate you taking the time to elaborate on this topic and to share your insight with others. Hopefully; with the proper information-we can all assist our resource agencies and addressing any issues that could hinder trout propagation.

Plus, this kind of information helps UN-aware fisherman too be mindful of this type of specie vulnerability.

Steve Wright
10-21-2011, 09:40 AM
TWRA stocked a large number of Browns several yrs ago in the upper stretches down to Indian Cave. This was prior to Hugh guiding there & he may not remember the high percentage of browns caught. The subsequent year, they seemed to have disappeared. Yes there have been large browns caught mid river.......very few secret holes where they can survive are secret anymore . Newspaper articles w/ pictures showing a 30 inch brown being caught late July and the endless stream of internet hype & exploiting the fishery for personal profit brings on discussion never ending in a positive note. So I'll stop there.
The amount of dollars spent in the past to make the Holston what it used to be are less. Some TWRA guys say it was sorta an experiment when they began & the drought years made it a fantastic place.
I am more than willing to pay a larger share to fund the resource, but I know w/out the money & some "magical management" it will not be anything more than what it is......a warmwater fishery w/ marginal success for trout .

Flat Fly n
10-21-2011, 11:42 PM
Why not just forget the trout, slot the smallies and turn the Holston into the river for big smallmouth, which is seems to be able to sustain without help from TWRA? Advertise that, and bring revenue into the area. Spend the trout money elsewhere on a more temperature consistant river.

If the hatcheries are truly going to suffer the lack of Federal funds then put the fish in a river where they are more apt to survive other than predation, and poachers, and not worry will the trout make it if someone catches one after June 30th.

Corbo
10-22-2011, 03:48 PM
Thanks for responses to my questions!

It would seem then that Tennessee ought to consider raising brown trout in one of it's hatcheries!

Sadly it seems that "PUT, GROW & TAKE" or "STOCK & HARVEST" mentalities predominate in fisheries management people in too many states.

Seems that biologists stock fish like grocery shelves when they consider the fish a CONSUMER commodity.

Flat Fly n
10-23-2011, 11:43 AM
Supply and demand economics will fix the "trout stamp is a food stamp", or "raise them, dump them" practices of the past. IF TWRA wants to keep folks paying for the right to fish for limited self reproducing species in this state, (i.e. trout), better management of the sustainable waters will have to happen.

If not, then we will all become members of Carp Unlimited, like Great Britian, were the common man considers the carp, king of all sport fish.

Troutman
10-23-2011, 02:27 PM
Why not just forget the trout, slot the smallies and turn the Holston into the river for big smallmouth, which is seems to be able to sustain without help from TWRA? Advertise that, and bring revenue into the area. Spend the trout money elsewhere on a more temperature consistant river.

If the hatcheries are truly going to suffer the lack of Federal funds then put the fish in a river where they are more apt to survive other than predation, and poachers, and not worry will the trout make it if someone catches one after June 30th.

Thinking the same thing. Instead of dumping buckets of pellet raised trout into a fishery that can only sustain them for short periods of the year, why not turn it into a place for big smallmouth and panfish for sportsman. Bass and bluegill are easy to grow. Look how well the smallmouth are doing in Douglas lake now that the Pigeon river is cleaning up and the smallmouth rearing pond on Henderson island. I would like TWRA to spend their money on securing property access areas and building and maintaining ramps on rivers like the Holston rather than providing meals of pellet trout.

Steve Wright
10-23-2011, 03:23 PM
" I would like TWRA to spend their money on securing property access areas and building and maintaining ramps on rivers like the Holston rather than providing meals of pellet trout."

It took private donations for TWRA to accomplish buying the land at Nances Ferry. I am not aware of any guide contributing to that fund. Another reason those w/ a commercial interest should consider contributing more.
Trout get dumped where they have easy access .....one reason they get thrown in at Nances.

Corbo
10-24-2011, 09:42 PM
Oh Lord...... here I go.

Fellas; I don't know if you are members of Trout Unlimited or not.....

BUT

I am more than able to get you all the access you want below Cherokee and have TVA pay for it!

Up in Maine I'm sorta famous for my exploits when it comes to Hydro issues ( I have intervened in the re-licensing of a great many dams including what eneded up being the ordered removal of the Edwards Dam in Augusta Maine which National TU takes all the credit for even though I and a few others did all the reall work and paperwork with FERC).

Anyway.... TVA must submit a recreational plan every two years to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It is very possible that I could get you "intervenor status" so that you have a say in what this plan should include on a TAILWATER.

Historically "project owners/operators" only needed to consider "recreational planning on the impoundments & and at the tailwater immediately below a dam if the owned that land. This is why you see boat ramps and facilities below some dams.

THE ARGUMENT that needs to be illustrated is that "operation of the dam, peaking flows and generating flows and minimum flows as well as the times they occur" is considered "a taking" and that the river is no longer enjoyable as a free flowing natural river. THUS TVA should make "rrecreational enhancements throughout the tailwater section to increase the opportunities of the public to use the river below the dam even though the conditions of an un-naturally flowing river do not exist.

I was the first person to win this argument belor FERC up in Maine and boy or boy did the utilities have to include TU and other groups in future "Form 80 recreational planning! And yes I got lots of improvements like boat ramps for drift boats and ccanoe carry in access and parking areas etc.


So gang, it is possible to make a big differenc in the future of the Holston River below Cherokeee.... I can guide you as how to do it if you have the resolve and can raise the funds.... but it can be a lengthy process. It took us 15 years to convince FERC to order an operating dam to be remove4d, first time in history and the Kennebec Chapter became famous for it.

What is your interest? Hugh and any of you who want to learn more give me a call... sometime all you need to do is ask for something and you get other times you need to fight for it (lotsa passionately written paperwork) but you don't know if you don't try and as for me I miss my Kennebec River in Maine especially the 17 miles I liberated from being a putrid impoundment.... so maybe I get to love a new river down here in TN with others who feel the same way.

Richard 865-255-4840 ring me up some time and leave me a message if I cannot answer.

Hugh Hartsell
10-25-2011, 12:29 AM
I'm sure that several will be in touch.
Hugh

waterwolf
10-25-2011, 10:26 PM
Phil (Flat Fly N'), there is already a slot on the Holston for smallmouth. I can't remember exactly but I think it is 14-20 with only one over 20". I can't think of any of our smallmouth waters which aren't managed with a slot of some type. TWRA has done a good job of implementing these slots, but there is zero enforcement, as usual.

MadisonBoats
10-26-2011, 06:57 AM
Phil (Flat Fly N'), there is already a slot on the Holston for smallmouth. I can't remember exactly but I think it is 14-20 with only one over 20". I can't think of any of our smallmouth waters which aren't managed with a slot of some type. TWRA has done a good job of implementing these slots, but there is zero enforcement, as usual.

Jim, zero is an absolute number and I sure hope there is more than that...:eek: I know TWRA has been super busy on the Clinch this year and they are addressing most access points. I just wish they would get the majority of the ticket/fine revenue instead of the county.

In the end; It is not about catching everyone; it is about keeping them honest!:smile:

Flat Fly n
10-26-2011, 12:37 PM
WW,
Thanks for the update. I never keep freshwater fish anyway. However, saltwater, if it's in the slot, it's in the cooler!