Originally Posted by Hugh Hartsell
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.
Originally Posted by Hugh Hartsell
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.
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.