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Thread: Holdover trout on the Holston

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Morristown Tn.
    Posts
    394

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    No Hackle,
    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.
    Hugh
    Last edited by Hugh Hartsell; 10-21-2011 at 06:33 AM.
    Hugh Hartsell---East Tenn.
    smokymountainflyguide.com

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Sevierville TN
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    494

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    So Hugh; do most of the stocked fish in the Cherokee tailwater die due to water temperature?

    Last May people at Nance's with full stringers (fly, spin and bait) have told me they keep all they catch because the fish will die anyway by July and that any fish in the river much below Buffalo Springs cannot survive the summer heat.

    What is the truth?

    If you don't mind.... a second question:

    Most all the trout I caught at Nance's were rainbows last Spring... and the State seems to mostly stock rainbows in this tailwater.

    Brown trout seem to be able to survive warmer water than rainbows so why is the stocking regime so grossly biased toward rainbow stocking if most fish will not survive the summer?

    Up in Maine many rivers with temperatures well into the high 70's sustained brown trout.

    I have not fished the Hiwassi river but it seems totally wasteful to so richly stock a river that cannot sustain fish very well... but I really don't know much about it other than a breif reading about it in Rutters book.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Morristown Tn.
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    394

    Default Stocked trout in the Holston

    Corbo,
    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!!! This 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.
    Hugh
    Last edited by Hugh Hartsell; 10-21-2011 at 09:33 AM.
    Hugh Hartsell---East Tenn.
    smokymountainflyguide.com

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Norris, TN
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    2,113

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Hartsell View Post
    No Hackle,
    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.

    Hugh
    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Hartsell View Post
    Corbo,
    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.
    Hugh
    Hugh,
    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.
    “Every human has four endowments- self awareness, conscience, independent will, & creative imagination.
    These give us the ultimate human freedom... The
    power
    to choose, to respond, to change.”



  5. #15
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    Jan 2006
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    TWRA stocked a large number of Browns several yrs ago in the upper stretches down to Indian Cave. This was prior to Hugh guiding there & he may not remember the high percentage of browns caught. The subsequent year, they seemed to have disappeared. Yes there have been large browns caught mid river.......very few secret holes where they can survive are secret anymore . Newspaper articles w/ pictures showing a 30 inch brown being caught late July and the endless stream of internet hype & exploiting the fishery for personal profit brings on discussion never ending in a positive note. So I'll stop there.
    The amount of dollars spent in the past to make the Holston what it used to be are less. Some TWRA guys say it was sorta an experiment when they began & the drought years made it a fantastic place.
    I am more than willing to pay a larger share to fund the resource, but I know w/out the money & some "magical management" it will not be anything more than what it is......a warmwater fishery w/ marginal success for trout .

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    East TN
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    533

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    Why not just forget the trout, slot the smallies and turn the Holston into the river for big smallmouth, which is seems to be able to sustain without help from TWRA? Advertise that, and bring revenue into the area. Spend the trout money elsewhere on a more temperature consistant river.

    If the hatcheries are truly going to suffer the lack of Federal funds then put the fish in a river where they are more apt to survive other than predation, and poachers, and not worry will the trout make it if someone catches one after June 30th.
    I am a great admirer of spectator sports, especially on television; it keeps the riffraff off the trout streams.

  7. #17
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    Apr 2010
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    Sevierville TN
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    Thanks for responses to my questions!

    It would seem then that Tennessee ought to consider raising brown trout in one of it's hatcheries!

    Sadly it seems that "PUT, GROW & TAKE" or "STOCK & HARVEST" mentalities predominate in fisheries management people in too many states.

    Seems that biologists stock fish like grocery shelves when they consider the fish a CONSUMER commodity.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    East TN
    Posts
    533

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    Supply and demand economics will fix the "trout stamp is a food stamp", or "raise them, dump them" practices of the past. IF TWRA wants to keep folks paying for the right to fish for limited self reproducing species in this state, (i.e. trout), better management of the sustainable waters will have to happen.

    If not, then we will all become members of Carp Unlimited, like Great Britian, were the common man considers the carp, king of all sport fish.
    I am a great admirer of spectator sports, especially on television; it keeps the riffraff off the trout streams.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Seymour, TN
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flat Fly n View Post
    Why not just forget the trout, slot the smallies and turn the Holston into the river for big smallmouth, which is seems to be able to sustain without help from TWRA? Advertise that, and bring revenue into the area. Spend the trout money elsewhere on a more temperature consistant river.

    If the hatcheries are truly going to suffer the lack of Federal funds then put the fish in a river where they are more apt to survive other than predation, and poachers, and not worry will the trout make it if someone catches one after June 30th.
    Thinking the same thing. Instead of dumping buckets of pellet raised trout into a fishery that can only sustain them for short periods of the year, why not turn it into a place for big smallmouth and panfish for sportsman. Bass and bluegill are easy to grow. Look how well the smallmouth are doing in Douglas lake now that the Pigeon river is cleaning up and the smallmouth rearing pond on Henderson island. I would like TWRA to spend their money on securing property access areas and building and maintaining ramps on rivers like the Holston rather than providing meals of pellet trout.

  10. #20
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    Jan 2006
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    " I would like TWRA to spend their money on securing property access areas and building and maintaining ramps on rivers like the Holston rather than providing meals of pellet trout."

    It took private donations for TWRA to accomplish buying the land at Nances Ferry. I am not aware of any guide contributing to that fund. Another reason those w/ a commercial interest should consider contributing more.
    Trout get dumped where they have easy access .....one reason they get thrown in at Nances.

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