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  #21  
Old 08-17-2007, 03:27 PM
snaildarter snaildarter is offline
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I think, ultimately, it is not that big a deal. That's why I think I'll not worry about it much.

I've got an idea. We can do our own, extremely unscientific study. I'm sure that there are plenty of people fishing the park right now, just like there will be this weekend. And I'm sure that anglers are hitting the Smokies this summer just like they do every year. The idea is this: Byron says that this is the worst summer he has ever seen in his entire 15 years here (that tells me that maybe he wasn't around when things got really bad in 1987, but that is unimportant for this discussion). If, come Fall and Spring, Byron reports the fishing as "good" or "great" in most areas, we'll know that the high temps and low waters never really mattered. If the fishing is poor, we'll at least know that some combination of angling, temps, and low water probably caused it.
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  #22  
Old 08-17-2007, 04:11 PM
Jack M. Jack M. is offline
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I've been in these discussions before and did some research on the topic. I'm not a biologist and memory serves me only so well, but one thing to keep in mind when considering how water temps effect trout is the effect of fluctuation of temps over time. Most streams will fluctuate 10-12 degrees or more in a 24 hour period. If you find water temps peaking at 4:00-6:00 PM at 72, chances are from 800 PM through 10 AM, they have been under 68, a very comfortable temperature for trout. Several hours in the 70s, even if the peak is mid-70s probably causes very little stress, except if there is a low dissolved oxygen issue as well (oxygen dissolves easier in cool water). Then again, if the water is above 72 degrees for 16 hours and only drops slightly below 70 for a few, even if you fish at the coolest hour of the day, you are going to find stressed fish.

Similarly, have the trout been under temperature stresses for several days or weeks, or is this the first day water temps peaked above 70? If it is the first day they got above 70, fishing for them even with a water temp at 74 will probably not do a lot of harm. Fish that are stressed will not magically become healthy when the water breaks back below 70, though recovery will begin. Likewise, fish that are healthy will not be weak and vulnerable as soon as water temps break 72, but they will begin feeling some temperqature stress. In summary, it helps to consider and factor into your decision the amount of time that temperatures stay above the optimal.
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  #23  
Old 08-18-2007, 02:29 PM
Byron Begley Byron Begley is offline
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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.
http://www.nps.gov/yell/parknews/0739.htm

This is a good thread. Keep it up.

Byron

Last edited by Byron Begley; 08-18-2007 at 04:38 PM..
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  #24  
Old 08-18-2007, 04:35 PM
pineman19 pineman19 is offline
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Hello all,

I guess I will join this interesting discussion. I fished twice in the Smokies last weekend, at Road Prong and Walkers Prong. The temps were 62 and 63 on Saturday and Sunday on those streams. The water levels were pretty low though, and the fishing was moderate. I can't imagine how bad it is on Little River right now at lower elevations and other lower waters. I think it's a good thing Byron that you are suggesting that people check the temps and only fish if conditions are appropriate. I guess one could argue that higher fish mortality from catching trout under stressful conditions might create conditions that allow for larger fish the follwing year, but that not seem to be very conscientious way to look at the ecosystem. The best thing that can come out of a severe drought situation like we're encountering in TN is that people become more aware of the environment and understand better how to adjust to its changes. Hopefully, the drought doesn't roll into next year, and things will get back to normal in the Smokies and in the southern U.S.

I will be quiet now, LOL.

Neal
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  #25  
Old 08-18-2007, 05:11 PM
Byron Begley Byron Begley is offline
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There is a book that is out of print called "Trout Biology". I had a copy and loaned it to someone years ago. I would love to have it back. Of course, I can't remember who I loaned it to. If anyone posting on this thread could find a used one you would enjoy it. Obviously we are all interested in this discussion. I don't write a lot of long posts on the board but this one is very interesting to me, especially since part of my job is to write the morning report. If any of you can find some of these books let me know. I want one. I think it would answer many of our questions. And, like Snaildarter said, this is a fun discussion. I can't wait to see where it goes.

Byron
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  #26  
Old 08-18-2007, 05:36 PM
Byron Begley Byron Begley is offline
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I'm glad this thread started. I found Trout Biology by Bill Willers used on Amazon and bought one. There are three left.

Byron
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  #27  
Old 08-18-2007, 05:44 PM
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kytroutman kytroutman is online now
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Bryon, there is a companion book related to Trout Stream Management that also list many of the environmental factors that also affect the trout's physiology, including structure cover, water levels, etc. After spending so much time working on stream restoration and creation, including hauling trout on horseback to remote streams, a little patience now will preserve trout for more ameniable conditions in the future.
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  #28  
Old 08-18-2007, 05:51 PM
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Barbara Barbara is offline
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Here is a very unscientific observation...In my little fish pond at home, on cooler days when I throw in the fish food the fish come from all directions, under rocks, shallow end, deep end, etc. On hot days they are almost all hanging out by the waterfall...to get the higher oxygen levels caused by the cascade?

Also the larger fish are more likely to be by the waterfall than the tiny ones. Do the larger ones stress quicker and need the higher oxygen levels? Or do they just chase the little ones away?

I've often wondered why they are by the waterfalls when I expected them to be in the deep end where I assumed the water was cooler.
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  #29  
Old 08-18-2007, 06:14 PM
Byron Begley Byron Begley is offline
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Kytroutman, Is the book called "Better Trout Habitat". If it is I've got that one.

Barbara, I hope you are feeling better after your fall. I hit my leg on a table here at the store yesterday and I'm still limping. I've got to learn to walk without wearing my reading glasses. I don't know but I'd say the big fish need more oxygen.

Byron
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  #30  
Old 08-18-2007, 06:46 PM
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kytroutman kytroutman is online now
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Byron, yes sir.
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