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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: 2018 Smith River Study

Started by Woolly Bugger, December 07, 2018, 10:25:03 am

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Woolly Bugger

December 07, 2018, 10:25:03 am Last Edit: December 11, 2018, 07:54:37 am by Woolly Bugger
George Palmer gave us an update on the Smith River Fishery based upon this year's samplings. The more constant flows may be helping growth rates in the upper river, but higher temperatures on the lower fishery have led to a lower catch rate.

Here are all the details,



and to answer the final question, stay-tuned for next month's Smith River TU meeting where the next presenter will be addressing those issues in detail.


Al

Thanks for posting this Woolly - makes my job of summing it up much easier.  As he says upper river seems to be doing well. Lower river not so well. Stay tuned.

FYI - Assuming the flows remain constant, ie 750 cfs most of the time, anyone who would like to accompany the DGIF crew as they sample is welcome to do so. I will get a heads up when they plan to sample and post it somewhere here on the board - all you need is your own float, ie a kayak or canoe. Don't worry about a shuttle - we'll figure that out at the ramp.

Woolly Bugger

here is a PDF of the presentation; slides and notes...



streamereater_101691

Pulled these graphs of both last year and this years summer temps and flow. Interestingly enough the temps at the dam were lower this year until the hurricane hit and mixed the lake water. The exact opposite of what I would of thought since the sluice gate is much lower than the generator intake. Crazy that consistent 300-350cfs flows kept basset below 66 degrees all summer last year and pulses of(at lower temperature) 750cfs let the gauge top 70 degrees.  So I did more investigating. Surprisingly, 2014 generation showed similar temps with 2 generators running as did 2017 with consistent sluicing. I would of liked to heard george's opinion given his years of findings on the smith river trout condition. Understanding these graphs probably show no statistical significant evidence, I'm still reminded we are dealing with a man made artificial fishery.

I urge someone to find another 30+ mile tailwater with the smith size drainage with our climate. Seems to be a double edge sword. A healthy, natural reproducing tailwater above martinsville at ~650cfs, or bigger fish down low at ~1500cfs with the upper river fish not having enough food as its been ever since walleye were introduced into the lake.

Maybe the corps would sluice some during the summer to keep temps down in the lower river if the guide curve allows?..food for thought..

Nevertheless I'm excited to see what happens to the upper river the next few years at 650cfs. Is it too early to pray for a variable speed turbine?

Philpott Gauge
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Bassett Gauge

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2014 was normal generation

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Dougfish

The Smith tailwater is an anomaly. 30 miles of trout.
The Jackson, 18 miles.
South Holston, 14 miles.
Watuga, 17 miles.
All have there individual challenges. All artificial.
Is there a longer tailwater trout fishery in the east?
"Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change? " <br />-Oddball, 1970

Mudwall Gatewood 3.0

Quote from: Dougfish on December 11, 2018, 13:49:15 pm
The Smith tailwater is an anomaly. 30 miles of trout.
The Jackson, 18 miles.
South Holston, 14 miles.
Watuga, 17 miles.
All have there individual challenges. All artificial.
Is there a longer tailwater trout fishery in the east?

Dougfish

Considerable, Sir. The Delaware is a beast.
But, lets concentrate on one branch. The drainage of each branch of the Delaware probably dwarfs the rivers I listed. (Where is Ken when you need him?)
And lets consider the Smith is in the warmer Southeast.
The Delaware is in the cooler northeast. 
Lets not confuse the drinking water of NYC for the drinking water of Henry County.
"Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change? " <br />-Oddball, 1970

Mudwall Gatewood 3.0

What about the Cumberland tailwater in KY?  --- over 70 miles.   All trout water?

Yes Ken, give us some figures.


Big J

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." Hemingway

Big J

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." Hemingway

Mudwall Gatewood 3.0

If Fin was in the audience, I bet he asked about diet.  Doug was drinking/ingesting, Al was napping, the Boss was well-oiled, over-oiled  ----  so, I may never get a response.
   
The synergy of an impending first grandson, the encircling of conservatives whom all have made a Faustian bargain with our chief, the unwelcomed holiday gobbledygook, and a Mrs. begging for a new floor has dampened my resolve.

Thank you J, for opening the wound even more, with the recap of my now unattainable retirement dreams.  Santa does not think you are naughty or nice.  He just thinks you are a peckerwood.   

Big J

Quote from: Mudwall Gatewood 3.0 on December 12, 2018, 07:35:02 am

Thank you J, for opening the wound even more, with the recap of my now unattainable retirement dreams.  Santa does not think you are naughty or nice.  He just thinks you are a peckerwood.   


Any time pal!
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." Hemingway

Fin

Quote


I don't think I've met a retiree yet that didn't nap half the day away.  Take a look at the 34 minute mark of the presentation.  Diet discussion.  You must have drifted off for a minute.  My take away is that the crawfish seem to be doing better (higher temps?).  Many of the browns sacrificed in the name of science had crawfish in their gut.  This is a big change from the past.  Still not many baitfish showing up though.  If I remember correctly, aquatic critters #1 food source, #2, neck and neck were terrestrials and crawfish.  Sound right Dougy?