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waterwolf
07-23-2012, 03:53 PM
Over the last week I have fished the lower end of the Clinch several times, and after not being on the river since mid-March I was stunned by how poor the fish over 14" look. They are in the worst condition I have ever seen them, extremely skinny and appear to be near death or recovering from a near death experience.

Has anyone else noticed this? I have probably had my hands on 40 fish in the 14"-18" size range in a couple of days in the last week and every one looked terrible.

Would love to hear opinions on what would cause this? Was it the low water for so long? Was it the sediment load in the river during the low water? Was it the lack of a large sulphur hacth? Illness in the river? Or all the above.

Just curious what other folks are seeing and opinions.

Wilson10
07-24-2012, 04:06 PM
Wish I knew, but its been FOREVER since I've been able to go. Last time I was out there was up river and fish were pretty healthy. That was over a month ago.

Your post isn't too encouraging though... :/

waterwolf
07-24-2012, 04:43 PM
Wish I knew, but its been FOREVER since I've been able to go. Last time I was out there was up river and fish were pretty healthy. That was over a month ago.

Your post isn't too encouraging though... :/

Like you, I have fished the river for longer than I can remember and have never, not one time seen the fish in such poor condition.

A buddy of mine had told me that he had been seeng this in the larger fish, and I had no idea it was so bad until I saw it first hand.

Really sad, if I return to the Clinch it will be above PO.

David Knapp
07-24-2012, 05:38 PM
Waterwolf, out of curiosity did you check any weeds or rocks or anything for insect life? Are the fish just starving from lack of food? Sounds disturbing, especially since the Clinch has fished well the past couple of years. Hope it improves and the fish are able to survive...

Flat Fly n
07-24-2012, 05:50 PM
Their stressed out from the stripers! HA! Are you talking about that black film on the scales of some of the fish?

Who knows? Not enough sowbugs and scuds in the water as their used to be when we had tremendous growth rates IMO. Too many midges overall as a dominant percentage population as there once was. My theory is, they are working too hard for the calories they are taking in. The caloric intake of a scud far exeeds that of a lowly midge.

Time for some more water testing. IF we don't police the river, who will? Norris continues to grow in housing and people, and it's all drained into the Clinch.

http://www.uwgb.edu/watershed/data/monitoring/macroinvertebrates.htm
Benthic Macroinvertebrates

The benthic (bottom-dwelling) macroinvertebrates supported by a stream are a great indicator of overall stream health due to their variable tolerance of pollution. Generally speaking, mayflies (Ephemeroptera), stoneflies (Plecoptera), caddisflies (Trichoptera), and riffle beetle larvae (Coleoptera) require a relatively pristine environment. Macroinvertebrates highly tolerant of pollution include midge larvae (Diptera), snails (Gastropoda), leeches (Hirundinea), and aquatic worms (Oligochaeta). Organisms such as scuds (Amphipoda), clams (Bivalvia), crayfish (Decapoda), cranefly larvae (Diptera), and aquatic sowbugs (Isopoda), are somewhat tolerant, and are found in a wide variety of water conditions.......High diversity and numbers of macroinvertebrates indicate good water quality conditions, whereas presence of only pollution tolerant species or absence of macroinvertebrates suggests a degraded environment

and the above bold is about all we have now in the Clinch except for a few sulphurs. Time for a good leech pattern! Oh crap, I gave that away! Back in the late 80's and early 90's the river was full of scuds, sowbugs. But maybe the upstream development is hurting the food source?

I know I have posted this before but this was taken at autopsy from a trout on the Clinch years ago. When is the last time anybody has seen "tailing" fish working a weed bed? It was common back in the late 80's. They would nose into the weeds then back up and catch the scuds and sowbugs as they floated downstream.
http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee78/tnflyfish/scudsfromONEfish-1.jpg

Rockyraccoon
07-24-2012, 10:13 PM
I've noticed some skinny fish, Not necessarily snakey, but maybe a little lighter than normal on some fish. I have seen a noticeable difference in fish from the hot access areas as compared to those found throughout the river. Some fish show obvious hand prints from handling. This is often a sign that somethings not right in the river. Healthy fish always appear slick, shiny, and vibrant. The "marked" fish often have discoloration, even a dark tint that looks parasitic and poor scales. This certainly isn't the case for all the fish....but it's apparent on others.

I've seen hand prints many times on the Hiwassee. It happens in when we see hard droughts in the watershed and see the water temps creep near 70. When this happens, Dissolved Oxygen directly correlates to higher water temps.

Tailwaters seem to cycle IMHO.

So many factors go into a healthy tailwater that it can be hard to pinpoint issues when they arise. The Clinch always seems to have a good hold on the most critical issue, that of water temperatures. As long as the water comes off the bottom of Norris Lake....water temps should not be a problem. Obviously, a spilling event over the top of Norris Dam could influence water temperatures depending on time of year etc. So far this year, I've not gotten a temperature higher than 56 degrees anywhere on the river.

Dissolved oxygen could be playing a part in the the fish health. The Clinch does not have a lot of shoals and riffles to help add oxygen to the river as it flows. So basically, the highest DO will be closer to the dam and will slowly fall off as it flows down river. This of course is debatable, perhaps some DO monitors could be placed periodically along the river to monitor this and to know if it's an issue or not.

The food base of the river will rise and fall with any water quality issues. I've noticed some really thick hatches this year, and some that are sporadic to non-existent. I think the declining scud/sow bug numbers over the years is a direct result of didymo and siltation. You can still find them in the green mosses and grasses, but those areas are few and far between anymore. I've noticed a lot less midges on the lower river this season. No clue as to why. Good news is there is a **** of a black caddis hatch happening now.

Anyway, lots of rambling here on my part....with no answers. Some of the fish look great, some don't. Obviously, they don't all look like they did in years past and there is an issue, or two out there that need addressing.

waterwolf
07-24-2012, 10:31 PM
Food base is normal from what I have seen, there are plenty of scuds, sowbugs, midges, blackflies, black caddis, and still quite a few sulphur nymphs. It isn't a lack of food.

No signs of handling damage on any of the fish I reference, they all appear to be perfect other than a massive weight loss.

DO in the Clinch is great, and will always be great so long as the water stays cold as it usually does, and the weir is still in place.

My hypothesis:
1.) The food is there, is it in the same quantities as in years prior? I have no idea and it would be really difficult for most to determine whether it is or isn't. I don't know of a biomass size study ever being done on the river. So I personally don't feel food is an issue, if it were than the effects would show in all fish, not just the larger fish.

2.) I personally feel the atrocious flows TVA ran during the spring and early summer caused water temps to spike, resulting in lower DO, increased crap in the river (sediment/didymo), and less feeding opportunities for larger fish. Those factors which did happen could easily result in what is being witnessed on the lower river. As most probably know the larger fish prefer to feed during times of increased flow as it dislodges more bugs and feeding consumes much less energy.

I personally feel it all revolves around the flows the river had thrust on it for 3 months earlier this summer. Could it be a result of an over predation on the food source? Sure, and the trash fish (brook trout) would be a good place to start looking for a cause. Forever there was not the increased pressure on the food base which is now present with the introduction of another species. However, at the same time it may have no impact, and my disdain for the trash species may be clouding my judgement.

MadisonBoats
07-25-2012, 07:05 AM
T.... My theory is, they are working too hard for the calories they are taking in. The caloric intake of a scud far exeeds that of a lowly midge.....

Phil, I believe this point is right on. The Clinch has primarily been running on low flows this year as compared to years previous. That makes the larger fish work harder to feed and maintain their calorie needs. Due to their increased size and density; they are not able to effectively utilize their "Karman Gait" while feeding. This causes them to burn more calories to feed and leads to weight loss. That is why you would see more snaky looking fish.

I've noticed some skinny fish, Not necessarily snakey, but maybe a little lighter than normal on some fish. I have seen a noticeable difference in fish from the hot access areas as compared to those found throughout the river. Some fish show obvious hand prints from handling. This is often a sign that somethings not right in the river. Healthy fish always appear slick, shiny, and vibrant. The "marked" fish often have discoloration, even a dark tint that looks parasitic and poor scales. This certainly isn't the case for all the fish....but it's apparent on others.

I've seen hand prints many times on the Hiwassee. It happens in when we see hard droughts in the watershed and see the water temps creep near 70. When this happens, Dissolved Oxygen directly correlates to higher water temps.

Tailwaters seem to cycle IMHO.

So many factors go into a healthy tailwater that it can be hard to pinpoint issues when they arise. The Clinch always seems to have a good hold on the most critical issue, that of water temperatures. As long as the water comes off the bottom of Norris Lake....water temps should not be a problem. Obviously, a spilling event over the top of Norris Dam could influence water temperatures depending on time of year etc. So far this year, I've not gotten a temperature higher than 56 degrees anywhere on the river.

Dissolved oxygen could be playing a part in the the fish health. The Clinch does not have a lot of shoals and riffles to help add oxygen to the river as it flows. So basically, the highest DO will be closer to the dam and will slowly fall off as it flows down river. This of course is debatable, perhaps some DO monitors could be placed periodically along the river to monitor this and to know if it's an issue or not.

The food base of the river will rise and fall with any water quality issues. I've noticed some really thick hatches this year, and some that are sporadic to non-existent. I think the declining scud/sow bug numbers over the years is a direct result of didymo and siltation. You can still find them in the green mosses and grasses, but those areas are few and far between anymore. I've noticed a lot less midges on the lower river this season. No clue as to why. Good news is there is a **** of a black caddis hatch happening now.

Anyway, lots of rambling here on my part....with no answers. Some of the fish look great, some don't. Obviously, they don't all look like they did in years past and there is an issue, or two out there that need addressing.

Dissolved oxygen or lack there of...is a problem from PO downward due to higher water temperatures and silt issues. I have found some seriously high temperatures (mid 60s) in the river from mid-tailwater downward. The EPA really needs to spend more time up in the Coal Creek Watershed. It is continually puking fresh mud from somewhere and tons of trash. I suspect much of the runoff is from coal mining operations. With only pulses during the morning; the silt sits on the bottom and cakes under the sun. The pulse does enough to stir it back up; but, not clear it out.

The water quality from Eagle Bend down is atrocious....:frown:

Rodonthefly
07-25-2012, 09:08 AM
This is interesting, and sad to hear to say the least. I however have not fished much at all this summer. What time I have fished I have fished above the weir. The fish up there seem to be healthy for he most part, alittle on the smaller side then what I have seen in years past. I can not speak of anything on the lower side, however during the sulpher hatch all the fish down low seemed to be heathy. Again this was around the April time frame.

Lower flows I would say have an effect on things, How about the unseasonably hot days that we have had? If the water temps haven't got over 60 then I really don't see that the heat could be a problem, but if the water temp has gotten hot then it could, I guess.

I would like to hear some reports of how the fish look on the upper end of the river? Mike, or Phil have any of you guys talked to Jermey latly? I know he always catches nice fish, and I would like to hear how he has done this summer and his takes on things.

"Really sad, if I return to the Clinch it will be above PO. "
Going back to combat fishing jim? :eek:

Also how is the trout in the Holston doing, I know that river hasn't been seeing good healthy flows as well this year, and with the hot summer I woould think it's in worst shape then the Clinch.

troutmanbrook
07-25-2012, 10:13 AM
http://www.infiniteunknown.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/double-mouthed-rainbow-trout.jpg

Got this fatty last night, seemed really healthy. got into backing, healthy.

waterwolf
07-25-2012, 10:32 AM
http://i47.tinypic.com/jrs5cx.jpg

Got this fatty last night, seemed really healthy. got into backing, healthy.

That one looks great, where on the river?

troutmanbrook
07-25-2012, 12:35 PM
upper, upstream from weir

waterwolf
07-25-2012, 02:16 PM
upper, upstream from weir

I hoped it was lower.

fourx
07-25-2012, 02:44 PM
Water temps, striper, brook trout, and Obama.

4X

waterwolf
07-25-2012, 03:31 PM
Water temps, striper, brook trout, and Obama.

4X

It is Bush's fault. :biggrin:

Flat Fly n
07-25-2012, 04:12 PM
Water temps, striper, brook trout, and Obama.

4X

I'll take, "4 Worse things for a tailwater fisheries, for a $1000 Alex"

MadisonBoats
07-25-2012, 05:25 PM
upper, upstream from weir

Danny,
Sorry I missed that catch. Beto and Mihai said it was a hog. Good fish! I knew you were looking for something when I saw you in the morning fishing that hole.:biggrin:

mikebone
07-25-2012, 10:04 PM
It's pretty obvious there is a problem, and it's a recent problem because early season when the water first went off, the fish were in outstanding condition, as good as I've seen in many years. That's not to say the high water did not cause problems..it may have just taken this long for them to show up. We've had high water before, as high as 32000 cfs as I remember and the fish did ok. The one thing I dont ever remember is the water being as low as we saw this Spring and early Summer. I saw areas sticking out of the water I have never seen before. When those normally wet areas dry out whatever life they supported dies. Think of it as a cornfield in reverse. Even a few inches of water level can uncover a whole lot of acreage. TVA was leaving the river off for 11 or 12 hours at a time during a heat wave and to top it off cleaned the weir pipes so it would drain even faster. If that wasnt bad enough it was discovered that the weir dam is cracked and therefore not doing as good a job of regulating flow as it should.
Is it an oxygen problem, a water temp problem, or a benthos problem? **** if I know. But it is a problem, like one poster said, some of the fish show it and some don't, but it does seem to be worse in the larger fish and it seems to be worse in the lower end.The water has been running a fair amount lately so if it's a temp or low flow issue things should be getting better. Not being a fisheries biologist or a hydrologist I'm just taking a stab in the dark but the water flows this year have been to say the least..erratic! There are new people in charge of river operations for TVA and I doubt they are anglers, or could give a tinker's &%$# about trout or trout fishermen.
I do know when fishing declines in certain areas, fishermen move to different areas, and not all of them are dedicated to conservation. Take a ride to the upper end these days and you'll see what I mean.

Corbo
07-26-2012, 06:45 AM
Well;

I'm personally not a big fan of "big hydro" when it comes to HOW they operate OUR rivers anywhere in OUR country.

Earlier this year I really enjoyed fishing the Clinch a few times and found the fish chunky & strong with beautiful coloration.... by all accounts HEALTHY.

Now I read reports of fish appearing "starved" to an un-healthy condition.

More like a food problem than pollution. POOP means bigger fish unless it is "chemical"

That said WHEN TVA operates the Clinch with high flows, then YO-YO flows and then minimum flows and later on only pulse flows it stands to reason that a great many INSECTS would logically be stranded on river bottom that becomes EXPOSED to dry conditions and they die.

IMO not enough CONSTANT MINIMUM FLOW; the Clinch needs to have a HIGHER minimum flow so more of the river bottom remains UNDER WATER at ALL times.

No YANKEE comments please. BUT... In Maine I fought for years with BIG HYDRO to increase minimum flows below dams so more of the river bottom was "wetted" between generating flows. "THEY" meaning hydro and the various state & federal agencies consider this "wasting water" but in the end WE (Kennebec Valley TU) won with the FERC and higher minimums prevailed thus wetting more river bottom and restoring more habitat.

So; IF YOU want things to CHANGE you must bitch about it, raise money for INDEPENDENT experts and negotiate... You will get nowhere with the State TWRA but it is very likely you could win over the FEDS like USF&WS and NMFS as well as others in Interior & Commerce.

Just sayin.... I've personally done it many times BUT it takes $$$$$$ & commitment and a large constituency that gives a ****.... got [guts]?

MadisonBoats
07-26-2012, 07:30 AM
......
I do know when fishing declines in certain areas, fishermen move to different areas, and not all of them are dedicated to conservation. Take a ride to the upper end these days and you'll see what I mean.

Mike,
I second this point.


The upper end is getting hammered with fish mongers who are focusing on prime feeding lies. They are constantly carrying out their allotment and more daily. I see tons of fish being harvested in the slot. I have called TWRA and let the know on many occasions. I do wish they would put up some new signs about the slot. Maybe some metal or pvc-type signs.



Another issue that has not been discussed is trout stocking. I think most of the TWRA stockings were quickly snatched up at the ramps by fishing mongers within a week after being released. It would be a good idea to make a temporary no fishing zone within a 100 yards or something while this is going on.



Also; I believe it would be beneficial to see a harvest limit of one brown trout a day on the Clinch.

I think it is great to discuss river issues and to voice our opinions. The public and fishermen are the best resources for evaluating the true health of the river.

I would rather try and work with TWRA/TVA to make the Clinch a better fishery and to help them fulfill their needs. I know TWRA has been hit hard with funding issues the last few years and they are stretched super thin. It would be nice to see them get some Federal Grants.

waterwolf
07-26-2012, 10:27 AM
For once I personally won't blame twra for the problems. Granted I think some [TWRA staff] is a moron, and should not be doing the job he does currently.

I think this is a low flow issue caused by tva and can be traced back to may/June with the low flows and with the weir being cracked it made the issue worse. Getting them to change is tough and hoping for better flows is best left with mother nature for help imo.

Corbo, if you think folks like me are sitting by silent than you are horribly uninformed and don't understand how many times we have gone to bat over the past 25 years for the clinch fishery. We have balls and have certainly made our point over the years. See former quality zone and current slot limits for evidence.

TNBigBore
07-26-2012, 01:06 PM
Granted I think [TWRA staff] is a moron, and should not be doing the job he does currently.



For the 100th time, this is simply not true. [He] is a bright guy and knows what he is doing.

Flat Fly n
07-26-2012, 06:46 PM
Corbo,
Just how do you think we got slot limits on this river? Everything on this river has been fought for.

Now when it comes to the crack in the weir I say it would be awesome if they would look at puttng in a labyrinth dam like the one on the S. Holston....then watch the river explode as the S. Holston did.

waterwolf
07-26-2012, 06:51 PM
For the 100th time, this is simply not true. [He] is a bright guy and knows what he is doing.
You're right only a bright guy and someone who knows what they are doing would make these statements...

1) the Clinch fish are thin because of post spawn weight loss.
-never mind he has preached forever fish don't spawn in the clinch, so how do they lose weight when according to him they don't spawn?
- never mind that any cold water fisheries person knows that rainbows spawn in jan/feb and that by June all signs would be gone of spawning stress.

2) pressure has no impact on the quality of the fish in the clinch.
-never mind the fact that he lobbied for and spoke a year later about how a slot limit would improve the quality of the fishery due to the pressure.

Those are just two quick examples of how amazingly unqualified he is for the job. Bart Carter appears to be the only one who is worth having around.

fourx
07-26-2012, 09:59 PM
Corbo,
Just how do you think we got slot limits on this river? Everything on this river has been fought for.

Now when it comes to the crack in the weir I say it would be awesome if they would look at puttng in a labyrinth dam like the one on the S. Holston....then watch the river explode as the S. Holston did.

And throw some refrigerators, cash registers, bicycles, and didymo in the clinch so the river would fish like the Soho does.
Why are the Clinch's fish so fragile when the Soho's and Watauga's are so resilient?
I think the lower Clinch fish were born without brains. As late as July this year I've fished through dang good sulphur hatches (usually in the rain) and haven't seen many trout eating the duns/emergers. Whereas nearly every dun goes into a fishes mouth on the tri cities waters. Stupid skinny fish! There's food everywhere!
Oh yeah, I'm only catching fish skeletons above the weir so don't fish there.

4X

Corbo
07-27-2012, 06:22 AM
Not trtying to upset anyone; yes everything fought for over the years BUT fighting for a change in flow regime does take a lot of [guts].... TVA would be WASTING WATER... and that means no money and that is a really tough sell.

waterwolf
07-27-2012, 06:46 AM
Not trtying to upset anyone; yes everything fought for over the years BUT fighting for a change in flow regime does take a lot of [guts].... TVA would be WASTING WATER... and that means no money and that is a really tough sell.

Anytime the generators are running water isn't being wasted, TVA only wastes water when they spill or sluice, and at those times they are happy to waste water because of flood control.

Again, you speak out when you fail to realize that during the 90's there was a very vocal group of fly fisherman who pushed for higher minimums on the Clinch, then again in the late 90's we pushed for more more water above the weir after some adjustments were made by TVA resulted in the weir pool basically drying up after an hour of no generators.

You do not understand how many battles have been fought and won with regards to the Clinch.

MadisonBoats
07-27-2012, 01:34 PM
Anytime the generators are running water isn't being wasted, TVA only wastes water when they spill or sluice, and at those times they are happy to waste water because of flood control.

Again, you speak out when you fail to realize that during the 90's there was a very vocal group of fly fisherman who pushed for higher minimums on the Clinch, then again in the late 90's we pushed for more more water above the weir after some adjustments were made by TVA resulted in the weir pool basically drying up after an hour of no generators.

You do not understand how many battles have been fought and won with regards to the Clinch.

Jim,
I have met Corbo and we have discussed the topic of pro-active conservation. I do not think he was alluding to a lack of activism in the past. I believe he was only trying to relay some of his experience with these type of issues. I may be wrong. Corbo; please clarify if I misspoke. He is a recent transplant to East Tennessee and I am sure unaware of all the activism it took previously to better the Clinch fishery. Also, I think he would be a good asset and well versed with these type of issues to help with improvement issues.

Hopefully; the people that care and are willing can pool resources for voicing needed changes.

Also; I for one appreciate all the hard work and dedication in the past from activists that have worked hard on these type of issues. I say THANKS!

waterwolf
07-27-2012, 01:46 PM
Jim,
I have met Corbo and we have discussed the topic of pro-active conservation. I do not think he was alluding to a lack of activism in the past. I believe he was only trying to relay some of his experience with these type of issues. I may be wrong. Corbo; please clarify if I misspoke. He is a recent transplant to East Tennessee and I am sure unaware of all the activism it took previously to better the Clinch fishery. Also, I think he would be a good asset and well versed with these type of issues to help with improvement issues.

Hopefully; the people that care and are willing can pool resources for voicing needed changes.

Also; I for one appreciate all the hard work and dedication in the past from activists that have worked hard on these type of issues. I say THANKS!

The wording of [snip] pretty much implies that he believes that none of us who have spoken up have the [guts] to do anything other than speak out here and aren't willing to take on the powers such as TVA and TWRA.

I am not upset by any means, and just wanted to make it crystal clear that many of us have been extremely vocal over the years and will continue to do so when issues arise.

Corbo
07-27-2012, 11:54 PM
WATERWOLF

I am aware of the previous battles and appreciate your efforts and those of all who have tried to improve the Clinch River fishery.

I would like to see a higher constant minimum flow... 24/7. This would be wasting wasting water.... of course all Dam operators "waste" when they sluice but that's for lack of unlimited storage.

As to "my own battles".... well I have intervened in a great many hydro re-licensings on behalf of Trout Unlimited.... (Kennebec Chapter) and wrote ALL the paperwork on most.

Flat Fly n
07-29-2012, 10:49 PM
And throw some refrigerators, cash registers, bicycles, and didymo in the clinch so the river would fish like the Soho does.
Why are the Clinch's fish so fragile when the Soho's and Watauga's are so resilient?
I think the lower Clinch fish were born without brains. As late as July this year I've fished through dang good sulphur hatches (usually in the rain) and haven't seen many trout eating the duns/emergers. Whereas nearly every dun goes into a fishes mouth on the tri cities waters. Stupid skinny fish! There's food everywhere!
Oh yeah, I'm only catching fish skeletons above the weir so don't fish there.

4X

Actually the word was out among the trout that your duns were dead on imatations and they were running scared of feeding on the surface. PS. They are born with brains but they hang out with the carp in the lower river. You know how stupid carp can be.

waterwolf
07-30-2012, 07:18 AM
On Saturday there was a meeting where TWRA attended and discussed was this very issue.

[TWRA staff] offered the brilliant synopsis that the abnormally thin fish in the lower river was a result of the fish being at the end of their age cycle, in other words dying. Which is an amazingly laughable theory, considering the fish above a certain point in the river that are the same size and age are in perfectly good health.

This thought is so absurd it is almost impossible to believe that a biologist would make it, and be the one running the show.

MadisonBoats
07-30-2012, 07:57 AM
On Saturday there was a meeting where TWRA attended and discussed was this very issue.

[TWRA staff] offered the brilliant synopsis that the abnormally thin fish in the lower river was a result of the fish being at the end of their age cycle, in other words dying. Which is an amazingly laughable theory, considering the fish above a certain point in the river that are the same size and age are in perfectly good health.

This thought is so absurd it is almost impossible to believe that a biologist would make it, and be the one running the show.

I am not trying to blame TVA, TWRA, or any one else for some of the negative issues I have witnessed on the Clinch River. I am glad we have them and I know many of their employees who work passionately at their jobs to make the Clinch a better fishery. My only intent is to voice suggestions and recommendations that I think would help the fishery with minimal cost and effort involved. I think they enjoy getting feedback and it helps them be aware of what is going on in each region. However; I know they are constrained by budget allocations, priority issues, and limited resources. *So here are a few of my tips that I think would help the Clinch and cost minimal if anything; plus be easily implemented with the same amount of physical resources.

Stress:
I have fished the Clinch in the past few years quite often some would say. So; I feel I have a pretty good mental picture of recent changes. I am one that subscribes to a cause and effect theory. First; you look to the obvious and most apparent environmental factors. Those are the dismal flows early in the year, lack of rain, and one of the hottest summers on record. Also; there were heavy flows all winter and the fish grew to fit their habitat. During the low flows; they were stressed and had to work harder to maintain their food needs. Additionally; they were not able to fully utilize the fluid dynamics of hydrology (Karman Gait) to assist them with feeding as in higher flows. The result would be a negative gain in calorie intake and would result in skinny/snake looking fish. I believe this is a resilient issue and it will correct itself once water flows become more consistent at a higher flow rates. The problem is that they must make it through the summer and high-stress times.

Stocking:
A bigger issue to increase the fishery would be to change the stocking procedures and sluice the fish or to put temporary no fishing zones around stocking areas. I see numerous people deplete the recent stocks by hole fishing around the ramps after a stocking. It is ridiculous. I heard one guy say to a friend that he had caught 80 and had to take them home and get another cooler.

Brown Harvest Limit:
I would love to see a harvest limit on one-brown per day and more browns stocked in the Clinch. Brown trout are an extreme minority on the Clinch compared to other types of fish and it is only apparent that they should be protected to increase their numbers.

Education:
Also; some better slot signs posted at the upper end of the river. It would probably be good to post a summary of fishing laws that pertain to the Clinch as well. I know the metal road signs are pretty expensive, but; I would expect Trout Unlimited or another organization may contribute to getting some vinyl plastic signs. Some tips on how to wet handle fish, use barb-less hooks, catch & release, etc. Signs or Us may donate to TWRA if asked. It would be a tax deductible donation and they could still put their logo at the bottom and get great advertisement.

Pro-Active Enforcement:
I think a fabulous idea would be for fishermen to have to wear a visible fishing license on a lanyard or in a placard on their vest. This would help enforce licenses and create a sense of following rules subconsciously enforced by the public. If you were not wearing one; you would look around and wonder why others were wearing them. Also; you would wonder what else you may be neglecting that you should address. I know many old timers would raise a hoot at the beginning; but, after a year or two; it would be second nature. Heck; you pay nearly $50 for it; why not show it off and be proud that you bought one....

waterwolf
07-30-2012, 02:25 PM
Shawn those are all really good ideas and points, and I do not disagree with any of them. I would love to see them implemented and watch the river react to the changes.

With regards to TWRA/TVA. TVA has done far more good than bad for the river, situations are going to occur with river operations that can be challenging for the fisheries. I understand that and am fine with it, but do wish to try and work with TVA amiably to make sure those issues can be prevented if possible.

TWRA is fine as well as a whole, but their coldwater fisheries group is a travesty and probably the worst managers imaginable for our resources. Over the years they prove time after time that they are essentially clueless about how to manage coldwater fisheries, and constantly demonstrate their lack of knowledge about coldwater fisheries as a whole.

Here is another gem from [TWRA staff] from this past Saturday...Apparently he was adamant that the fish in the Holston below Cherokee never survive and all die every year due to water temps. Anyone who has ever spent much time over there knows just how false this statement is, and that only an uneducated bafoon would preach this stuff.

Corbo
07-30-2012, 10:05 PM
Well; interesting observations fellows.

I believe most biologists OFFER "OBSERVATIONS" OR OPINIONS to justify the need for their job.... most spend less time on any given water than those who fish it regularly.

The notion that there are no "holdover trout" in the Holston is Bull$h!+; I caught an enormous number of plus 20 inch fish at Nance's this year fishing my "secret weapon fly">

I LIKE FACTS!

That said it is perhaps time to get the FACTS from an independent source who has no horse in the race, meaning not TVA or TWRA.

In Maine WE (Kennebec Valley TU won a lot during the re-licensing of many Dams with FACTS from real experts.

My thoughts are that it's a ****ed shame that outside of the TU effort in the Smokies (great thanks to Byron & company) the TU effort on other rivers in East TN is not so good (just my observation as a newbie to these waters).

SHAWN; I love you man and all of you who are passionate fly fishers who love and enjoy rivers..... but are you a members of TU? Do you bust your butt for the protection, enhancement and conservation of our cold-water fisheries or wish only to complain that the biologist is an idiot (I won't argue that one).

I ask this of all of you?

If you want to CHANGE the situation on the Clinch what are YOU prepared & willing to do?

IMO I've never given anything until I felt I have suffered for it physically, emotionally or financially or spent a lot of my time giving.

Jeezum; I really wished I lived closer to the Clinch instead of freaking Sevier County...... I'm jealous of those who can casually run down to this river any time they have a free moment and enjoy a really great fishery. If I lived in the neighborhood I would likely fall in love with the place and in short order become one of it's greatest advocates.

I could show you how to get everything you want but none of you ever want to join me. bummer.

waterwolf
07-30-2012, 10:59 PM
Corbo, TWRA tried to "unbiased" approach however they hired a shill for them to do a study, which years after the fact, is still a good comedy piece for those with much knowledge of the Clinch fishery. That study was [snip] a complete waste of resources.

The TU chapters that work on the Smokies streams have done some great work over the years, and I participated for 10+ years with the Acid deposition stuff before becoming too busy guiding to have time to help anymore.

With that said (and this will piss some off, but oh well), The Clinch Chapter which my father, myself and a handful of other started deteriorated into nothing more than an extension of LUCRO. Which is the bane of quality trout fishing in the CLinch, they were the group who fought vehemently to overturn the Quality Zone and many of the members seem to ignore the current slot limits out of spite. Once the 2 organizations became intertwined, any hopes of having a local TU voice for the Clinch was gone.

They did some good projects in their minds, but for the health of the river probably hurt a lot. The tire removal efforts removed hundreds if not thousands of tires which provided much needed habitat and bottom structure. Sure they are ugly, and may not be ideal to have in the river, but they provided isolated cover for insects, invertebrates, and fish. I actually helped several times with the aid of my drift boat in removing these tires, so I am a little guilty.

I will leave with a positive thing the Clinch Chapter accomplished, they were able to persuade Donnie Scruggs to allow them to fix his bank and stabilize damage done by years of cattle entering and exiting the river. What was done worked and worked well, and for that they deserve credit.

Corbo
07-31-2012, 01:18 AM
Waterwolf;

I have not yet "transfered" my lifetime membership to a TN chapter.... while I admire the folks at LRO and those who work so hard for the PARK I'm sort of hooked on big rivers and tail-water fisheries hence I would rather participate in a chapter that needs to rebuild or reinvigorate itself than a group that doesn't need my energy and is focus on a water where my big back cast doesn't land in a tree..

Watcha wanna do brother? Perhaps me, you and Shawn eat lunch together on the river bank; dream big dreams and make them happen in our lifetimes?

duckypaddler
07-31-2012, 08:35 AM
The notion that there are no "holdover trout" in the Holston is Bull$h!+; I caught an enormous number of plus 20 inch fish at Nance's this year fishing my "secret weapon fly">

I LIKE FACTS!

Wow Corbo, you should really share some pictures. They can be just of the fish, and don't have to be your secret weapon fly:smile:

While I agree there are some holdovers, I would hate to fish that stretch without stocking

Paula Begley
07-31-2012, 10:56 AM
I am temporarily closing this thread while I go back and read it. I've had numerous complaints about it and I need to figure out what's going on here before I decide what further action needs to be taken.

Paula

Paula Begley
07-31-2012, 02:10 PM
Okay. I've edited the thread. I am reopening it for now.

Please note:

1: TWRA personnel are our friends. We will not tolerate them being named/shamed/slandered on this site. I have removed any reference to individual persons and I would appreciate it if you don't do that in the future on this site.

2: You guys all know when you call into question someone's 'balls' you are questioning their manhood. Quite honestly, I don't want to hear about your balls and whether anyone on this board has them or doesn't. And that type of comment is inflammatory and creates unnecessary drama. Please find some other way to word your challenges.

3: Stating your opinion as fact generally makes people angry. Just sayin'.

Discussion of this issue is great otherwise. Carry on.

Paula

waterwolf
07-31-2012, 03:47 PM
While I agree there are some holdovers, I would hate to fish that stretch without stocking
By no means do I wish to see stocking rates slashed, they are vital to the Holston, and Clinch. Unfortunately that is reality here, and even with a large amount of natural reproduction in the Clinch I question whether it could sustain itself without stocking given the current regs.

2: You guys all know when you call into question someone's 'balls' you are questioning their manhood. Quite honestly, I don't want to hear about your balls and whether anyone on this board has them or doesn't.
Paula
Sorry Paula, but I found this funny. :biggrin:

Paula Begley
07-31-2012, 04:11 PM
Sorry Paula, but I found this funny.

Good. It was meant to be. ;)

Paula

Cane Pole
07-31-2012, 08:27 PM
Wow Corbo, you should really share some pictures. They can be just of the fish, and don't have to be your secret weapon fly:smile:

While I agree there are some holdovers, I would hate to fish that stretch without stocking

I think it must be a carp fly! :rolleyes:

Rodonthefly
08-02-2012, 10:27 AM
I will leave with a positive thing the Clinch Chapter accomplished, they were able to persuade Donnie Scruggs to allow them to fix his bank and stabilize damage done by years of cattle entering and exiting the river. What was done worked and worked well, and for that they deserve credit.

I agree, that it has helped but have you noticed where TVA has ran so much water over the past 3 winters the water is starting to eat behind the rock cages that they put in? Next time you go by there look where the spring enters the river next to the picnic area. You'll see what I'm talking about.

Also spot on about the tire removal, ever year the Sulpher hatch gets worse.

I have one other question about the Clinch TU chapter, Why is so much effort put into Coal creek and cane creek trying to restore and clean up these waters? They aren't going to stop the mining going on up on the mountian, so whats the point? Why not focus time and effort else where? Might I recomend placing tires back into the river :biggrin:. Just saying.

MadisonBoats
08-02-2012, 04:56 PM
I.......

Also spot on about the tire removal, ever year the Sulpher hatch gets worse.

I have one other question about the Clinch TU chapter, Why is so much effort put into Coal creek and cane creek trying to restore and clean up these waters? They aren't going to stop the mining going on up on the mountian, so whats the point? Why not focus time and effort else where? Might I recomend placing tires back into the river :biggrin:. Just saying.

Please tell me you are joking...Coal Creek is probably the most crucial influence on the Clinch Tail-water right now...As for the tires; I hope you are joking about that too...Please fellas; lets keep these suggestions serious and not put out silly points to side-track things...

waterwolf
08-02-2012, 08:02 PM
Please tell me you are joking...Coal Creek is probably the most crucial influence on the Clinch Tail-water right now...As for the tires; I hope you are joking about that too...Please fellas; lets keep these suggestions serious and not put out silly points to side-track things...

I have no issues using money and other resources on the feeder creeks. After all the fish do use them as spawning areas and they pour huge amounts of sediment into the river each year.

I am not so sure about the tires, they are unsightly for sure but do the negatives outweigh the positives? I don't know the answer to that, but would be surprised if a 20 year old tire affected water quality by a great amount.

Joe Congleton
08-03-2012, 05:13 PM
There is virtually no active coal mining in either of the Coal Creel or Cane Creek watersheds. With the reclamation laws on mining and water discharges today blaming the Clinch issues in mining waste or mine water influences is an error

Grannyknot
08-03-2012, 07:34 PM
There is virtually no active coal mining in either of the Coal Creel or Cane Creek watersheds. With the reclamation laws on mining and water discharges today blaming the Clinch issues in mining waste or mine water influences is an error

You are correct about there being no active mines, but a lot of research has been done that discovered tailings from abandoned strip mines around Vowell Mtn, that by all accounts drain into the headwaters of coal creek. This was to the best of my knowledge independent research, done mostly by groups with an agenda...something to keep in mind.

I'm not going to say if this affects the quality of water that enters the clinch, but my guess would be that agricultural & sewage run-off, as well as trash dumping affect the water quite a bit worse.

Sedimentation of the river is another issue. Strip Mines, active or not, would be a big factor in this regard.

waterwolf
08-03-2012, 10:52 PM
I'm not going to say if this affects the quality of water that enters the clinch, but my guess would be that agricultural & sewage run-off, as well as trash dumping affect the water quite a bit worse.

Sedimentation of the river is another issue. Strip Mines, active or not, would be a big factor in this regard.

The biggest water quality issue facing the Clinch IMO is basic rain water sediment run off. There is very little agriculture in either water shed, very little sewage impacts as both run through somewhat rural areas, even with Lake City being nearby it is small considering how much larger populations centers can be. The sediment is simply picked up in normal non disturbed areas during times of heavy rain. This sediment is a non-issue when TVA runs enough water to move it through the system without settling. However, in years like this past year when extended low flows exist the sediment becomes a major issue.

I personally do not feel the coal mining in the headwaters of the Clinch tribs are having any negative affects at this point. I have Grouse hunted in those areas and those mines are so ancient and settled that the streams adjacent to them run clear and from the minnow populations appear to be pretty healthy. Now a trip further north and west can find streams that run orange with sulfuric acid, but they drain an entirely different watershed.

The issues facing the Clinch are low flows like this year, over harvest, and stripers. Each are equally bad, and some like the stripers and harvest are easily controlled.