I will read these posts tonight and would be glad to give my opinion on all of them. I am not a scientist. Just a fisherman. I've been fishing here over 30 years and I've not seen the water this low as far as I can remember. It has been lower I've heard during at least three droughts since the 1930's. I did spend a lot of time here in the late 80's and I remember that drought.
I do know that when we lose an age class of fish in a flood the perceived fishing the next year is better. Less trout, more food.
Also, I understand that the temperature affects the amount of disolved oxygen. The warm water loses it's ability to hold oxygen and the parts per million drop. I think that is an important factor in trout mortality. I bet some streams have more disolved oxygen at the same temperature as others with less ppm. For instance, the Little River may hold more disolved oxygen at 70 degrees than the upper Gibbon in Yellowstone because of the water churning in the riffles. Just a guess.
Maybe I'm being too sensitive about this issue. But I would rather error on the conservative side. I moved here because I love the mountains and the trout fishing. If I am wrong, I'll change my view on the fishing report. Believe me, I hope I am wrong.
I don't believe all the trout in the Smokies are going to die. I don't expect to see a fish kill. I think my problem is I hate to see them suffer. I kill and eat fish though I have only done it a couple of times in the Smokies when I'm backpacking. I just feel bad about putting the trout under more stress than they are already under. I know people are fishing in the Park right now and I think that is fine. I would probably go now and catch a couple up high early in the morning and not feel bad about it at all.
I have had some experienced Smokies anglers tell me that they could go out and catch a lot of trout right now and many of them would die. These are guys who have fished here all their life and would be capable of catching fifty or more in a day right now. Those guys are staying out of the streams until the conditions improve. They know the damage they can do.
The Fishing Report is published to give reliable information to people who might drive here from a long distance and expect good fishing only to find out it isn't. On the other hand when the fishing is excellent I want them to know so they get over here and enjoy it when it is at it's best. If the fishing is bad or good I want them to know then they can make their decision. I've been on too many fishing trips expecting the best and getting the worst. Now, thanks to the internet you can get good information fast. You can also get bad information fast.
As far as Yellowstone is concerned you can go to the official National Park website and they have posted which streams and specifically where on those streams the 2:00 pm closure is mandated.
This is a good thread. Keep it up.