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Thread: Tailwater Trout Migration

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Clinton, TN
    Posts
    325

    Default Tailwater Trout Migration

    With the current situation on the Clinch river(2+ generators nearly 24/7), Iím curious about the migration of the trout .
    What do you all know about migration of trout in tailwaters? Do they tend to stay in one general area no matter if water is high or low OR do they tend to roam around?
    I got to thinking about this on my way to work today as I drove by the river.
    Adam
    awilson1010@gmail.com

    My Blog: Fly Fish East Tennessee
    www.flyfisheasttennessee.blogspot.com

    ><>

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    92

    Default

    I'll be curious to see what the response is on this post. I have thought several times over the past two plus weeks just exactly what this hard generation schedule is going to do to the trout. How long can they hunker down before they just give up and ride the wave downstream? If they are safely tucked away behind structure, they are gonna be mighty hungry when the waters subside!

    ~marc~

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Knoxville
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    1,168

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Varmitcounty View Post
    I'll be curious to see what the response is on this post. I have thought several times over the past two plus weeks just exactly what this hard generation schedule is going to do to the trout. How long can they hunker down before they just give up and ride the wave downstream? If they are safely tucked away behind structure, they are gonna be mighty hungry when the waters subside!

    ~marc~
    Hungry and strong after swimming against this current for 3 weeks.

    I don't think it will have much of an impact on where the trout are located. I remember a couple other years when TVA was sluicing for over a week, and it didn't appear to affect the populations much.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    maryville
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    547

    Default

    Im not so sure they will be tired or hungry... I'd say right now the river is a virtual smorgashboard (not sure of that spelling) with the heavy flow, and cold temperatures. Im sure some shad are being sucked through the ****, and the minnows that normally live below the dam in the river may also be swept down stream as well, not to mention all the midge larva that used to live on the moss in the rocks.

    Id say the trout will be right where they were when the water was generating normally . Right now with the crazy flow I bet alot of them have just moved towards the banks, using seams and eddies. There are rivers out west that flow ridiculously fast all the time, like sections of the Snake River for instance, and people still fish them, the just fish towards the banks. But I guess its all just speculation, and if the ever stop running all that water, we'll find out for sure!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Fayetteville TN
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    218

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    The movement of water (Hydrodynamics) is funny sometimes. Truth be known, even when the river is roaring there are lots of places under all that turbulence where the water is not flying past at 6mph. Near the bottom, behind obstructions etc. the water is not flowing fast at all. And, believe it or not, sometimes there are more negative velocity locations (where the water moves opposite the river direction) when the river is up than when it is down.

    So, I don't know that the water will cause undue fatigue on the trout when they generate, but it will cause them to seek those lower velocity spots.

    There is a spot on the elk that I go too when they generate, stand in one spot dunking the right fly into a whirlpool and catch a passel every time!


    With that said, from what I know the trout will normally only "migrate" when their instinct convinces them too. Typically only when the water where they're located becomes warmer than they prefer, shallower than they prefer, overcrowded, too predator filled or when the food becomes scarce etc. Otherwise I'm fairly certain that the only other main reason that they will move is to make babies; nature's way of spreading the wealth!

    My 2 cents ;-)

    God Bless
    "even Jesus had a 12 man recon team"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    1,331

    Default

    The fish will be spread out throughout the river as usual, they do move a ton in tailwaters, however. See Bettoli's study on trout movement for further evidence. It can be found at TTU's website under fisheries.

    The clinch fish are notorious for running upstream during the winter to spawn, and in Marchish the fishing at Millers is as good as it gets. Much better there then at 61 IMO.

    Food is not an issue at 2 generators, it is easy to find and plenty of places to get out of the current. IMO it makes the fish bigger and stronger. The water being off actually makes it harder for the fish in the clinch then when it is running.

    Take it for what it is worth.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Fayetteville TN
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    agree, agree! thnak for the website ref. Gonna read!

    Growing up in NC I had friends who scuba dived regularly and for work and they alway stold stories of the biggest catfish living right underneath the turbine outputs catching the food as it tumbled into their mouths.

    You can look at the water and tell that it has to be carry a lot of food when they generate.

    Now, I just need it to be spring!
    "even Jesus had a 12 man recon team"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
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    I went to the fly fishing expo in ATL a couple of weeks ago and listened to Dave Whitlock do a presentation on tailwater trout fishing. He had different slides of where the fish moved when the water was at different levels. His explanation was like it was stated above. The water in the top of the column is moving at a much faster pace than that at the bottom so it is actually easier for them to stay on the bottom. This also makes getting a good deep drag free drift harder because the sindicator on the surface is moving so much faster than the fly is. I don't think the generation schedule is going to make them move up or downstream large distances but they may move to a high water undercut bank or behind a log that is not normally under water.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Fayetteville TN
    Posts
    218

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    That's one of the toughest things for me is getting a nymph down to the right depth. My Colorado guide buddy said "add weight my son, add weight!"

    When I picture fast moving, semi-deep water I always picture it like a layer of ice skipping across the water. The top layer is skipping over the bottom layer at a faster rate which is why your dadgum indicator travels so much faster than your fly, and ends up dragging it on most occasions.


    To get geeky for a minute: Water cannot travel over surfaces other than water very well; water can only travel over itself. When water travels over a stone in the stream the stone has water on it (of course) and the layer of water (boundary layer) on the rock is static for the most part. The water from the stream then travels over this static water that is clinging to the rock. This is the main reason faster water will travel over the top of slower water fairly efficiently. End of geekiness.

    Come on Spring
    "even Jesus had a 12 man recon team"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    88

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    From what I have been told fish can simply turn there Pect fins and that will push them to the bottom. This is one thing that allows them to sit in one place. I they still have to swim but not as much as one would think. Watch how one can sit in one place and go up and down. I have watched them come from in front of say a rock or something to mark them by and get a fly and back down and loose very little if any ground even in really swift water and caming up maybe 2feet from the bottom.
    STU
    CPR= catch, photo, & release!

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