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Old 01-22-17, 10:06 AM   #471
GAjohn
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Any updates Stony?
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Old 01-23-17, 08:07 PM   #472
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TVA was up to some weirdness Friday: the river flow rose and fell a couple of times during the day, more than baseline non-release flow but less than a full release, then followed by the river turning pea soup green???
Was still opaque and greenish Saturday morning until rains came and it turned muddy.
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Old 04-25-17, 01:21 PM   #473
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It seems like it's been a while since any info has been mentioned about the old river. While my work schedule has kept me from fishing much at all, the last 3 or 4 times have been less than horrible. The last 2 times produced no fish at all and not even the site of a fish. Granted I am wading just one area and only been in the water for an hour or two.

This was case as recently as yesterday (12/26). I saw only 1 boat come through with a long-time guide on the river that mentioned his last few trips have produced very, very little. I'm just wondering if there are any updates from John Damer and the status of the "dam repairs", as I like to call them.

I miss the old river.
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Any updates Stony?
I'd like to think no news is good news but based on history, I'm no so convinced. Here we are rapidly approaching warmer days and still no mention if the dam is even fixed or not from last October.
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Old 04-25-17, 05:01 PM   #474
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TVA was up to some weirdness Friday: the river flow rose and fell a couple of times during the day, more than baseline non-release flow but less than a full release, then followed by the river turning pea soup green???
Was still opaque and greenish Saturday morning until rains came and it turned muddy.
Alarm went off at the dam just before dark Friday evening but I didn't stay around to see if there was a release. The water was pretty cloudy at horseshoe Saturday morning but clear again later in the day.
The river could use a good flush as wading stirs up lots of mud from the moss on the water.
I caught rainbows and browns at Curtis, Horseshoe, and above Curtis. Some on top and others on the dropper.

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Old 02-28-18, 12:50 PM   #475
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Default Rumors of more bad news!

So as the crickets continue to chirp in this section about the Toccoa, the dam problems, etc.,etc., now there are rumors of a bad bacteria that is affecting the fish in Lake Blue Ridge that has a very good chance of making its way into the river and affecting the trout. One source even suggests it could wipe out the trout population in the river. I'm not here to say any of this is accurate or even credible (even though my source is a reliable source) but I was wondering if any one else has any information about this potential problem? Ah, heck! Why sugar-coat it; potential catastrophe!
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Old 02-28-18, 01:25 PM   #476
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I haven't heard anything about Blue Ridge but Southern Trout Mag sent a Newsletter Feb 18 saying that Whirling Disease has been found in the Wautaga and South Holston Rivers. First ever appearance in Tennessee.
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Old 02-28-18, 01:40 PM   #477
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I haven't heard anything about Blue Ridge but Southern Trout Mag sent a Newsletter Feb 18 saying that Whirling Disease has been found in the Wautaga and South Holston Rivers. First ever appearance in Tennessee.
I have ZERO expertise here, but doesn't whirling make skeletal formation issues. I recall a few months back folks posting pictures of strange looking, short, stout, rainbows that seemed like they might have had a chunk taken out of them, but in hindsight...perhaps, disease?
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Old 02-28-18, 02:05 PM   #478
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I have ZERO expertise here, but doesn't whirling make skeletal formation issues. I recall a few months back folks posting pictures of strange looking, short, stout, rainbows that seemed like they might have had a chunk taken out of them, but in hindsight...perhaps, disease?
I believe the pics of strange, short trout we've seen posted here a couple times is due to genetic anomalies that Darwin usually thins out early on but occasionally some of those fish survive. At least that is what I was told, or something along those lines, when I asked a DNR rep a couple years ago after catching one myself.
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Old 02-28-18, 03:01 PM   #479
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So as the crickets continue to chirp in this section about the Toccoa, the dam problems, etc.,etc., now there are rumors of a bad bacteria that is affecting the fish in Lake Blue Ridge that has a very good chance of making its way into the river and affecting the trout. One source even suggests it could wipe out the trout population in the river. I'm not here to say any of this is accurate or even credible (even though my source is a reliable source) but I was wondering if any one else has any information about this potential problem? Ah, heck! Why sugar-coat it; potential catastrophe!
Hi Jeff. I don't have a whole lot of knowledge on this but it's my understanding is that this bacteria is always in our lakes. The determining factor as to what impact it has on the fish is correlated to the weather and the amount of stress spawning fish may be under. Has anyone reached out to John Damer for an explanation? He's the biologist for the lake as well as the river.
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Old 03-18-18, 08:30 AM   #480
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Default John Damer's Response

I did reach out to John Damer by email and he provided some very helpful information and clarification. John has always been a great friend and benefit to the Toccoa. Here is his response:

To address your first question about dam repairs, yes, there was a problem with the small generating unit that provides minimum flow to the tailwater. It has been out of service for a long time now, and last time I checked TVA had not been able to fix it. They actually did not seem hopeful they would be able to fix it anytime soon. However, they did find a way to release water through the unit without generating power. This means they can use the main deepwater intake to draw water from the lake during the hot summer months when temperatures could be a problem (same as if the unit was functioning normally). So, to answer your original question, no they have not fully repaired the unit. However, it should theoretically have zero effect on the river, because the water source and quantity should be the same as before. Nonetheless, I will check with TVA and see if they have made any progress on repairing the unit, and make sure nothing has changed with their ability to release water despite the unit being out-of-service.

There is a little bit of truth to your second question about disease, but it has been blown way out of proportion by the rumor mill. We did document a widespread outbreak of "red-sore disease" (RSD) on Blue Ridge Lake last fall. RSD is caused by infection of a bacteria called "aeromonas" together with a parasitic ciliate called "epistylis". The disease presents as reddish sores on the fish's body, and is something that has been noted almost routinely at other north Georgia lakes, but never to this extent at Blue Ridge (to my knowledge). We collected and sent samples of sick fish to the disease labs at Auburn University, and they made the diagnosis. They said the sores were only superficial and did not affect the fish internally. We have not documented any fish kills as a result of the infection, and don't expect any major population level impacts. The condition seems to have improved with cool winter water temperatures.

It is very important to note that aeromonas and epistylis are already present in any water body in north Georgia. They are not new introductions. The question is, what stressor(s) weakened the fishes' immune systems to let the RSD take hold? To be honest, I don't have a great answer, and neither do the real disease experts. The exact cause for this disease outbreak is not understood, but it seems to have affected the invasive spotted bass the most. Numbers of these illegally-introduced spotted bass are at an all-time high and this high density surely contributed to the outbreak.

This is a disease that is very easy to spot, even by the untrained eye. I have not had a single report of diseased fish from the tailwater, including trout, bass, suckers, sunfish, etc. I have also done some limited sampling on the tailwater up near the dam, and did not see anything of concern. If this disease spread to the tailwater and started killing fish, we would know about it. I will let you know if we see or hear anything troubling for the tailwater.
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