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Discussion Starter #21
Like Troutgirl.....I am romantically attached to the idea of Wild Trout.....traditionally spawning and following a natural life cycle. I'm not sure why the proper natural strains of wild rainbows and browns aren't stocked.....unless it's just futile on certain bodies of water. I understand the management advantages of Triploids when protecting certain species.....and the lack of liability for introducing a strain of fish into a lake. They make perfect sense for grass carp and even Muskies in some instances, where you introduce a predator, but, don't want it to overrun a body of water. I also understand they are meant for a put-and-take fishery and are just Safer for DNR and possibly the lakes overall.

So.... Triploids are here to stay. It's probably best to think of it like the weather and adapt to the conditions. As I continue to research Triploids, I see several states have actually developed Trophy Female Triploid Fisheries.....including Oregon and California. I am going to try and understand them as much as possible and adapt new fishing techniques tailored more towards them. My first thoughts are that they will hang closer to the Dams on Fontana, Santeetlah and the Gems. I'll be heading back up soon to test that idea. The fish that slammed my Rapala's were certainly no slouches ....and I welcome them.

Some other notable things I found while looking for Muskie stockings in NC.
100,000 Walleye were stocked in Fontana and 30,000 in Santeetlah last year.
30,000 Kokanee were also stocked again in Nantahala Lake last year.

I am happy to see Both of those fisheries being maintained. You can find the info under NC Warm Water? Stockings.

Good Fishing to all....D
 

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I certainly hope there's no such thing as Kokanee Triploids! ;) Wait till PETA hears about Triploids.... :D I won't be telling them!

It's great that female Triploids can get so big but I think that stocking male Triploids is a big mistake. I think that stocking all Triploids is a mistake. North Carolina has quite a few lakes where Trout should be able to spawn. Tennessee has only a scant few lakes where Trout spawning is a real possibility. It seems to me that Tennessee has more reason to stock Triploids than North Carolina when you look at it solely from the providing trophy sized fish point of view. I know that Tennessee wants Trout to spawn at several places they stock.

I've been interviewed by TRWA twice about the fishing at Chilhowee and we talked about Watauga some too. Tennessee hopes to again find Rainbows that will spawn in the streams that run into Watauga Lake. They once had that happening at Doe Creek but the, then, Game & Fish Commission didn't have the wisdom to protect the spawn and it died out in the early 70's. The strain that died off was the Steelhead strain with the extra vertebrae. That's the Steelhead strain that was stocked in Santeetlah Lake back in the late 50's to late 60's timeframe. TN and NC wildlife folks have often exchanged notes over the years. Tennessee stocked Watauga with Kokanees about the same time that Carolina stocked them but they never spawned enough to stick.
 

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Artisanthe, if you wanna catch a sizable Musky you should try Melton Hill Lake just northeast of Knoxville on the Clinch River below Norris Lake. 50" Musky are caught there regularly. If you've never fished Watauga Lake you should give it a go for the Lakers and Rainbows. You get to catch an occasional Walleye whilst Trout fishing too. In just 4 trips to Watauga last year I landed a Laker over 7 pounds and three over 6 pounds. There's some giant Lakers and Rainbows in Watauga. One of these days I'm gonna manage not to lose one of the giants. The sizable Lakers really respond to big plugs on leadcore lines. Spoons are good but the big ones like plugs more in my experience.
 

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I'm not sure if the WRC actually got any kokanee to stock but that was the plan
Assuming they can get the Kokanee going, when they do, they should continue stocking them again, at say, about every 5 years or so. This would help widen the gene pool. It's such a small lake. I would think that would help keep cousins from spawning with cousins as much.
 

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Brookfield has dropped the bottom out of Santeetlah several times lately. It's down 5.52 feet presently. Last week it was 7.85 feet down at the lowest I viewed on their website. How low is too low for the ramps, especially Cheoah Point ramp?
 

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Brookfield has dropped the bottom out of Santeetlah several times lately. It's down 5.52 feet presently. Last week it was 7.85 feet down at the lowest I viewed on their website. How low is too low for the ramps, especially Cheoah Point ramp?
That’s probably to low for Cheoah point the other ramp is a lot longer into the lake and steeper so it should be fine


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I was guessing 8.75 was too low for Cheoah Point. Would 5 feet down work out? The dock might be too high but...??? The ramp might still work.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
You've got a few options on Santeetlah. It's actually better than Fontana. Massey Branch by the Ranger Station is a Good and easy option....as well as the Marina (they charge 5 or 10$ I think)....depending on when you visit. I like Avey Branch myself because of where I fish.....but, it's a bit of a haul. They're all deep water ramps.

Cheers!....D
 

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The only other ramp I've used is the one at the marina. I don't remember it much. I used it in the early 70's when it was Thunderbird Resort. My dad took us there two summers in a row for vacation. I caught a few Trout and Smallmouth Bass. I didn't really know how to fish deep lakes in the heat. I did hook a giant fish that got away.

Back in the 70's Tennessee and North Carolina stocked Northern Pike. Tennessee put 'em in Melton Hill Lake. and South Holston Lake. Carolina might have put 'em other places too but Santeetlah was stocked. The biggest lure I had was a 6" long Deer Hair spinner. I put extra weight on it and trolled it as deep as I could. I hooked a giant fish, probably a Catfish....??? It was pulling the boat around. Two fishermen saw this and came to watch.

I had a good time talking to them. They told me I must either have a Catfish or maybe snagged a Carp. I was already suspecting a Catfish. The Northern Pike couldn't of gotten too big yet, if any even lived. They didn't do very well in Melton Hill either. The Muskies in there are doing spectacularly well, as big as 43 pounds. The Pike did better in South Holston. After about an hour I decided to pull the fish up or break the line. The line broke without me ever seeing the beast. I was exhausted. My arms felt like they were gonna fall off. It was a very big fish.

I've never spoken to anybody who caught a Northern Pike in Santeetlah. I suspect that as soon as it got hot they all died.

Brookfield has run a whole lotta' water out of Santeetlah in the past few weeks. They've generated as high as 810 CFPS. The highest I've seen in years. They used to do a bit over 1000 CFPS in the past. I suspect that they're afraid to run that hot anymore...??? ...as if that might break the ancient turbines. They've also released extra water into the Cheoah River. I think that they like to send as much water as possible to Calderwood and Chilhowee where they make the most power. Chilhowee can run 12,000+ before it has to open a gate. Cheoah and Calderwood have to open a gate if their flow is much more than 10,000. Calderwood's advantage is that it must have the greatest weight of water of their dams.

Dropping Santeetlah 8.75 feet seems like it's out of bounds of their operations contract, unless there was a flood threat, which I doubt. Brookfield is more aggressive about sending water out of Santeetlah than Alcoa ever was. Last year, one day they were releasing 1400+ into the Cheoah River and generating too. Brookfield likes keeping Calderwood and Chilhowee busy.
 

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The only other ramp I've used is the one at the marina. I don't remember it much. I used it in the early 70's when it was Thunderbird Resort. My dad took us there two summers in a row for vacation. I caught a few Trout and Smallmouth Bass. I didn't really know how to fish deep lakes in the heat. I did hook a giant fish that got away.

Back in the 70's Tennessee and North Carolina stocked Northern Pike. Tennessee put 'em in Melton Hill Lake. and South Holston Lake. Carolina might have put 'em other places too but Santeetlah was stocked. The biggest lure I had was a 6" long Deer Hair spinner. I put extra weight on it and trolled it as deep as I could. I hooked a giant fish, probably a Catfish....??? It was pulling the boat around. Two fishermen saw this and came to watch.

I had a good time talking to them. They told me I must either have a Catfish or maybe snagged a Carp. I was already suspecting a Catfish. The Northern Pike couldn't of gotten too big yet, if any even lived. They didn't do very well in Melton Hill either. The Muskies in there are doing spectacularly well, as big as 43 pounds. The Pike did better in South Holston. After about an hour I decided to pull the fish up or break the line. The line broke without me ever seeing the beast. I was exhausted. My arms felt like they were gonna fall off. It was a very big fish.

I've never spoken to anybody who caught a Northern Pike in Santeetlah. I suspect that as soon as it got hot they all died.

Brookfield has run a whole lotta' water out of Santeetlah in the past few weeks. They've generated as high as 810 CFPS. The highest I've seen in years. They used to do a bit over 1000 CFPS in the past. I suspect that they're afraid to run that hot anymore...??? ...as if that might break the ancient turbines. They've also released extra water into the Cheoah River. I think that they like to send as much water as possible to Calderwood and Chilhowee where they make the most power. Chilhowee can run 12,000+ before it has to open a gate. Cheoah and Calderwood have to open a gate if their flow is much more than 10,000. Calderwood's advantage is that it must have the greatest weight of water of their dams.

Dropping Santeetlah 8.75 feet seems like it's out of bounds of their operations contract, unless there was a flood threat, which I doubt. Brookfield is more aggressive about sending water out of Santeetlah than Alcoa ever was. Last year, one day they were releasing 1400+ into the Cheoah River and generating too. Brookfield likes keeping Calderwood and Chilhowee busy.
 

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Given my boredom here in the pandemic lock-down, I was watching Brookfield's releases from Santeetlah into the Cheoah River today. It was over 1,100 earlier today. Now at 6 p.m. it's 637. It's 812 going to the generator on Cheoah Lake. It will be interesting to watch how they move water when TVA starts filling up Fontana Lake, which might have already started...???
 

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Thanks for the information. I caught this trout in Nantahala last season. It certainly looks like a Steelhead if Steelhead have more vertebrae. I have also included a photo of Daphnia. This is the diet of the Kokanee salmon. When the herring were introduced they consumed the Daphnia and wiped out the salmon. Before the herring the Daphnia was thick. The flesh of the steelhead is red like a salmon because of a high crustacean diet, Daphnia.
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Not all Steelhead have extra vertebrae. It's only the Steelhead from one of the rivers in British Columbia. I can't remember which river at this point. The Steelhead with extra bones were stocked by both North Carolina and Tennessee back around 1960 or maybe a year or two earlier. I know that Tennessee put them in Watauga Lake. There was a run of them going up little Doe Creek every winter. The then, Game & Fish Commission, refused to protect the spawning run and by 1973 there was no run.

I don't know for sure which lakes that North Carolina stocked their fish into but I'm sure that Santeetlah Lake was one of them. I've caught an occasion 17"-20" Rainbow there that had the extra long body. I'm sure that the extra vertebrae genes are in the gene pool of the lake.

On my one trip to Nantahala when I was going for the Salmon, I caught a 17" Rainbow with meat that red. What makes the meat turn red is when the Trout get larger and start eating mainly smaller fish. They won't get that red color from eating insects predominantly.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Actually....it's not so much Fish, as Crustaceans in the diet..... like 1Bigfish said.....that causes the pink to red colors in salmonids (trout). Crayfish, Shrimp, Daphnia, Sowbugs, Scud, Water Fleas and any number of small invertebrates including Insects of course, make up a surprising part of a Trout's diet, They have shells that contain that contain carotenoid pigments.....that build up in the Trout's Flesh over time. This is what causes the Pink-Red color.

Stockers...fresh from the hatchery are white to ashen gray, Once they've been in the lakes and streams about a year, their flesh begins to turn more and more red....depending on their diets. There is well known incident of zoos having their pink flamingoes turn greyish white in captivity.....until they added crustaceans (brine shrimp) back to their captive diets.

You have supplied a Wealth of great info on here Troutgirl......but, I think the crustacean and pink flesh have been pretty well documented.

Fontana starts to refill quickly in April....for now they are still holding low for flood control.

Thanks for breaking my boredom.....D
 

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That's interesting about the Trout food and the Flamingos too! I thought it was the minnows. The Lake Trout I've caught don't get that red color. The small ones are pasty white but the bigger ones over about 3 pounds get a light orange color and the meat is much denser than any other Trout/Salmon/Char that I've caught or had and ate.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
I wish I knew more about Lake Trout.....which aren't actually Trout....but a Char species. I imagine their diet does consist more of Fish from what I've read. Since they are still Salmonids....they may get red if they eat crustaceans too. I'm just not knowledgeable enough about them.....yet!

For Trout, it's a cumulative effect. Trout don't metabolize the carotenoid pigments,,,,,so they just accumulate over time and change the trout's flesh color. It also depends on the available forage. Some lakes and streams support more crustaceans than others I was recently surprised to learn that crayfish are a very important part of a trout's Winter Diet. The study I was reading pointed out that Large Crayfish are one of the larger Trout's Best sources of protein during the winter months. Who knew?

There's always so much to learn. Maybe a deep crawfish or crawfish scented bait will yield a Trophy next winter?

Good Fishing to all....D
 

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I eat Arctic Char on a nearly weekly basis. I've shopped at a seafood store in Knoxville that have had them most of the time for over 20 years. My brother has been working there for the last 3 years and he brings me some on a regular basis. They don't taste like Lake Trout. They taste a little different than Rainbows and Salmon but not radically. The last times I ate Brook Trout, a Char family member, they were from Calderwood Lake. They tasted somewhat akin to Char, especially the largest one that I caught, about 18". Lake Trout have very dense meat. I like them fried or smoked. I prefer most Salmonids baked or grilled but not Lakers. They are evolved away from from the rest of the Char family.

If you wanna try Watauga for Lakers, the best time is from winter till about the end of July. After July they go really deep,100-150 to get to the cold water they need. They quit feeding hard because they don't like coming up into water they find too warm to be comfortable. They hit 2-4 inch spoons very well. I've never had a strike on a spoon over 4 inches. They will hit big plugs that are 4-6 inches. I often put big plugs out on my downrigger and fish spoons on Dipsy Divers. I've caught a lot of good ones, 5-8 pounds, on Rapala Deep Tail Dancers that are 4 3/8 inches. In the early morning when the water is dark, the 3 UV colors, Orange/Pink/Green Tigers, work very well. Non UV colors work well, maybe better, once the sun gets high. Other plugs will work too but Tail Dancers are my favorite. I nearly always have one or more of 'em on lead lines or the downrigger.

At Watauga use heavier line than you're used to. You'll get more strikes using 8-10 pound line but the big ones will snap it as if it's just thread. 15-20 pound line is what you need. I use 15 pound leaders on my 18 pound lead line. I use 15-20 pound test leaders on my 30 pound test braided line. Don't use small snaps or swivels. I had a small snap ripped open on a Dipsy Diver line. There are Lakers in the 15-25 range in there. The biggest one I've managed to land was 8.1 pounds. Year before last I thought I had a 10 pound+ Laker on. It turned out to be a 6.5 pounder. It bent the Michigan Stinger Scorpion spoon I caught it on. When you have good sized Lakers on you will feel their violent head shakes. I hope to catch one over 10 pounds every time I go, maybe someday....???
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Crawdads, when I catch Browns in Calderwood, they frequently have crawdads in their gut. I caught one 14" Brown there that had 3 big Crawdads in it's stomach. I don't recall catching Trout in any other lake with a Crawdad in it's stomach. Those little Rebel Crawdad plugs are a good lure in Calderwood.....

That's a 4 3/8 inch Orange Tiger Deep Tail Dancer in that Lakers' mouth. I'st creamy on the bottom but has yellow with orange stripes on it's sides. That Laker was over 5 pounds and caught last summer.
 

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Brookfield has been sending 1645 CFS down the Cheoah River all day today. It must look like a mighty river...???
 
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