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Hugh Hartsell 11-10-2006 09:02 PM

Pictures from the South Holston River
Good evening guys, I just got back from a trip to the South Holston River and I made some pretty interesting photographs as I was walking down the trail below the Weir Dam. I thought that you might want to see them and see what your thoughts are about them. I took these shots down thru a lot of under growth so I hope their clear enough to tell a little about after being resized. As we were walking down the trail we heard a splash just down under the bank and this is what we saw. The fish was right along the edge of the bank in water so shallow that it's back came out a number of different times. Just as I was taking the last shots, the fish rolled completely out of the water sideways and what I saw was quite surprising??? Let's hear your thoughts as to what you think is going on.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.

David Knapp 11-10-2006 11:05 PM

Re: Pictures from the South Holston River
The pictures remind me a lot of fish that I've seen spawning so that would be my guess. Can't really tell though...

RFowler 11-10-2006 11:47 PM

Re: Pictures from the South Holston River
You need to get a filter for your camera. Those shots have too much glare but it's probably making a redd.

Hugh Hartsell 11-11-2006 08:32 AM

Re: Pictures from the South Holston River
Fellas, we watched this fish for several minutes and it went thru all the motions of a fish that was preparing a redd. All the tail swishing and body arching that goes with normal preparations of cleaning silt from the gravel and so on. It was a very large fish as well (looked to be over 20in.) and since it is the spawning season for browns, that's what I thought that I was watching... until it made a wide, strong body arch and came almost completely out of the water, exposing it's whole side. To my surprise, it was a large rainbow!!! Don't know if the mating season for the browns had stirred some primal instinct in the rainbow causing it to go into an early mating posture, or if it possibly was trying to uncover a newly made bed that some brown had just made and was trying to get to the eggs or what. All the motions seemed to be the same as bed preparation. It made me wonder if we have some Fall Spawning Rainbows. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.

RFowler 11-12-2006 03:30 PM

Re: Pictures from the South Holston River

I think that may be right. Really, nothing surprises me on these tailwaters. I think it's very possible for rainbows to spawn (or try to) in the Fall.

appalachian angler 11-13-2006 10:28 AM

Re: Pictures from the South Holston River

I caught a large 18" Hen rainbow on the Tellico DH a few weeks back that looked to be a holdover (good coloration for a female and good fins all around with a full tail) She appeared to be full of eggs. Kinda threw me as it is early for a rainbow spawn. Any body else have any insight to share?

Perhaps TWRA is stocking a subspecies of rainbow with different time clocks. Stirring up the eggs to facilitate easy dinning with your fish may just be the Simple answer!


Petey 11-20-2006 05:58 PM

Re: Pictures from the South Holston River
Hugh, I wouldn't be surprised if it was rainbow. While I have found most rainbows spawn in spring, I have cleaned several rainbows on the Hiwassee and Clinch in the past that have had eggs late in the fall and early winter.

Caught a beautifully painted male bow on the Clinch in early February a few years ago. Granted that is few months after seeing this one do it's thing.

I have read a couple of different studies on streams out west where the same species of rainbow will spawn at different times of the year, (Usually these time occured between Dec. and April) according to what creek they are in. Not sure it helps here but it made for interesting reading.

Petey 8-)

sieber 11-21-2006 10:30 AM

Re: Pictures from the South Holston River
Most stocked or farm-raised rainbows have been selectively bred (genetically engineered) to spawn in the fall. True, wild rainbows normally spawn in the spring, but hatcheries have been selecting for earlier and earlier breeders for a very simple reason. Most stockings have to be ready in the spring. A hatchery fish stocked in March and spawned in October/November could be 8 inches or more by stocking time; whereas a spring-spawned fish would not be ready for stocking until summer. Notice that the instances of eggs in rainbows that are noted on this board are all on regularly stocked waters. Though truthfully, even wild fish will have eggs and milt to varying degrees from fall until spring.

Byron Begley 11-21-2006 12:10 PM

Re: Pictures from the South Holston River
I think there is a hatchery in Arkansas that uses both Spring and Fall spawners for brood stock to have different age and size classes available for stocking. Someone at a hatchery told me that or I read it. I also remember a conversation I had with Steve Moore at the GSMNP about there being both strains in the Park. But, I'm going by memory, both events probably happened between 10 and 25 years ago so don't take it to the bank.


BTW: Hi Sieber!

CanoeFlyGuy 11-21-2006 04:49 PM

Re: Pictures from the South Holston River
What Byron said is correct about the AR bows. This fish could have also been rooting for scuds, other nymphs, sculpins or crawfish. Just cause it is fall doesn't mean it had to be going through any sort of spawning motions. We're they generating? Was there any bug activity? If not I'd say he could be feeding. Did you try to fish for him?

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