Friday, June 26, 2015

Stocked Trout the Life Blood of any Tailrace

 
I know I’ve shared with you guys on numerous occasions about the trout that is stocked in our Sipsey Tailrace here; but I’ve never really shown you the exact way the trout get released into the tailrace.
First stop after they are loaded into the refrigerated tanks for transfer to a tailrace or lake, in this case the Sipsey Tailrace at the base of Smith Lake Dam. All the trout that are released into the Sipsey are either from Dale Hollow Hatchery in Tennessee or from the Steelville Hatchery in Missouri. The best stocked trout come from Steelville, simply because of the size and health of the fish once they arrive at the Sipsey. The Dale Hollow hatchery delivers the same numbers, but a bit smaller than the Steelville Hatchery. The number of trout released vary from month to month; the most could be 3000 and the least could be as few as 1500. 
After being released from the tanks the trout travel over a 100 feet down through a 10” pvc pipe to drop 40 plus feet into the cold waters of the tailrace. You would think that this ordeal would kill most of them, but 99% survive. The water temps in the heat of the summer never get above 60 degrees and in the winter in the low fifties. Stocking occurs every month, so there is always an abundance of trout for the angler to land. A lot of trout reach the 18” mark which is considers a prize. My largest taken on the Sipsey has been a 16” who knows I may reach that 18” mark one day.
The following clip shows you the size trout that comes from the Steelville Hatchery in Missouri.   
This clip shows the size trout from the Dale Hollow Hatchery in Tennessee. This truck was going to deliver 3000 trout to the Sipsey Tailrace the following week. The clip shows the Dale Hollow Hatchery truck releasing trout at the dam at Center Hill Lake. My son-in-law filmed this segment while we were waiting on our guide to join us in his drift boat to fish the Caney that morning. This tailrace is fantastic to fish because it is stocked with browns, rainbow and brook trout. I try to fish this place at least three to four times a year.   
  


18 comments:

Mark Kautz-Shoreman said...

I think the refrigerated tank is interesting. Out here one wouldn't think that because they stock in the cold, but down in Alabama you'd have to protest them until they get into the cold water at the bottom of the dam. Good information.

Rivertoprambles.wordpress.com said...

Bill, That's an interesting stocking procedure for the tail-race and I think it's justified for a southern stream where the summer temps don't exceed 60 degrees. For northern and western rivers where there are more cold water streams for trout, one could argue the procedure, perhaps, but for your region and a river with a cold-water release, it's got to be a treat for the fisherman. Thanks for sharing the technique and good luck with the fishing!

Brk Trt said...

Again this shows that trout are not as delicate as thought.

Lester Kish said...

Hard to believe that the tailrace summer temps are lower that most of our Montana rivers. Also, if getting shot through a hundred foot tube seems tough, try getting dropped out of an airplane. That's how high mountain lakes are stocked.

Bill Trussell said...

Mark
Not many of the trout would survive if the refrigerated tanks were not used simply because of the distance and time of year. The truck from Missouri has to travel over 500 miles to get the trout to the Sipsey. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Alan
True most are tougher than most think---thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Walt
This tailrace has really improved over the last 5 years. Alabama Power has spent over a million dollars restoration of the tailrace. There is a constant flow with fast water, seams, and runs with structure which has made it an excellent place to fish for trout in the Deep South. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Lester
The reason that the water temps stay at 60 and below in the summer on the tailrace is the water is coming from the bottom of the lake at the dam. Smith Lake is one of the deepest lakes in the south at 300 feet depths in places, so water at that depth is cold.
What size trout are being dropped from planes? I would assume they would have to be very small. Thanks for the comment

Lester Kish said...

Bill, they're usually under two inches.

Bill Trussell said...

Lester
Yes I wouldn't think the larger trout would survive the long drop.

Gramps (Mel) said...

Hi, Bill. Thanks for sharing the procedure and the video. Quite interesting! I kind of agree with everyone else here on their comments. Trout are more durable than we think. But, still need our tender loving care! Also, somewhere on video, I can't remember where, I saw fish being planted by Helicopter as Lester speaks of in the high country. Simply amazing to watch.

Howard Levett said...

Thanks for posting this Bill. It's been years since I saw a trout stocking up close and personal. Alan's right, trout are tougher than a lot of people think.

Bill Trussell said...

Mel
I suspect all the mountain streams are stocked by air. As I told Lester, larger trout wouldn't survive the fall. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Howard
Are all the trout in your area stocked by plane or by truck. Thanks for the comment

Juan said...

Those are some decent sized trout! Thanks for sharing!

Justin Carfagnini said...

Very interesting. Thank you, for sharing!

I totally agree with, Alan. Trout, and every other fish are not as delicate as some might think. Very hardy and resilient.

Bill Trussell said...

Juan
I agree I am still after the 18" prize! Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Justin
Touching the trout with dry hands is more harmful than a long drop into a tailrace. Thanks for the comment