Photo of the Month: Red Adipose

Photo of the Month: Red Adipose

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Absolutely HUGE Opportunity To Improve the Caney Fork River Tailwater



I'll try to keep this as short as possible. The water control manual for Center Hill Dam is up for revision/renewal. This is a very real opportunity for trout anglers in middle and east Tennessee and beyond to help bring this river back to life.  Above is an example of what this river is capable of if we have good flows consistently to grow these big fish. 

Prior to the work on Center Hill Dam to address leakage around the dam structure, a good minimum flow was maintained in the river due to seepage around the dam. Now, that minimum flow is all but eliminated and the Caney Fork River is in real danger of completing the switch from cold water trout fishery to cool water fishery where trout are no longer as healthy nor as large a portion of the number of fish in the river. That can be largely fixed if we can get a reasonable minimum flow requirement enacted on the river. Currently, the water can be shut off for sometimes entire days. The whole river begins warming up. In fact, even under "normal" flows with daily generation, the daily water temperatures just a few miles below the dam are pushing 70 degrees before the generation water hits each day. 

A better minimum flow could prevent this and greatly enhance and extend the trout fishery downstream from Center Hill Dam. Prior to the dam repairs, trout did well on the entire river all the way to Carthage. Now, TWRA has ceased stocking at the Gordonsville boat ramp (Stonewall) because the water is generally too warm for trout.

So, what can be done? Simply this. Broad public support for minimum flows and a good turnout at the public meeting addressing this situation. 

You can find out more at https://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/3018981/nr-22-12-public-meeting-set-to-revise-center-hill-water-control-manual/ and plan to attend the meeting which is 5 to 7:30 p.m. (Central time) Thursday, May 26, 2022, at the Smith County Agricultural Center in Carthage, Tennessee. 

You can also read the notice requesting public input for this project at https://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Media/Public-Notices/Article/3018969/corps-seeks-public-input-for-revision-of-center-hill-dam-and-reservoir-water-co/ which includes contact information to send your comments to. Specifically, you can send your comments to: Cody.A.Flatt@usace.army.mil

Please note that the current operations manual only requires ONE HOUR of generation every 48 hours. That is absurd and a death sentence to all of the trout in the river during hot weather. Even if you cannot make the public meeting, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE send in your comments to let them know that lots of people value the trout fishery below Center Hill Dam. 

Unfortunately, since word about this meeting just came out, I am already booked in east Tennessee that day and likely won't be able to make it back for that meeting. If there is anyway to get it done, I'll be there, but that might be optimistic of me. I WILL most definitely be sending in my own comments and hope all of you will also. The Caney Fork River can be a great trout fishery again, but it needs a little help to get there. 

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