Originally Posted by waterwolf
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.