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Old 09-30-15, 07:31 AM   #1
GAjohn
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Default Big rainbows...

After reading a thread about big hooch browns and the biology behind it, it made me wonder about hooch rainbows. How come we don't see too many big rainbows in the hooch? I have caught several holdover fish around 15" and biggest I've caught is ~17". Can these fish not eat enough to push them over the 15-17" mark or have I just not been fishing hard enough..?
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Old 09-30-15, 09:01 AM   #2
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Rainbows are primarily small food eaters: bugs, nymphs, eggs, and minnows. The Hooch is relatively challenged in the food department, so there just isn't enough small food to grow really big fish, especially when they have to compete with all the small stockers.

Browns switch form being small food eaters to big meat eaters as they grow through the mid-teens (inches), which allows them to grow much larger in the Hooch.

Add to that the fact that (virtually) all Bows in the Hooch were raised in a hatchery, and all Browns in the Hooch are stream born, then it stands to reason that the Bows just don't have the stream smarts to last very long in the river, as opposed to the Browns.

FM
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Old 09-30-15, 09:10 AM   #3
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I have wondered that myself over the past 15 years, always hear and occasionally catch a 20" or over brown, but the rainbows just don't seem to make it past 17". I have caught several that are holdovers and one 20"ish fish that was clearly a stocker.

Food has to be the number 1 limiter....
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Old 09-30-15, 09:34 AM   #4
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Default Biomass to Inches

The fancy term is biomass, a.k.a. fish food. Our southeastern streams due to a variety of factors do not produce a lot of biomass, hence fewer fish. All the fish compete for the available food supply so when there is heavy stocking, there is simply less food per fish. With the notable exception of bigger browns who can thrive on a different type of diet. Lisa Klein (DNR Biologist) used to promote the idea of keeping and eating skillet size browns to provide more food for the bigger fish.

Streams in other parts of the country have significantly more biomass, hence they count trout in the thousands of fish per mile, here we have hundreds unless supplemental feeding is used and/or stocking. Regardless, the food supply remains the constant.

At the end of the day, we should be very happy to even have trout in the 'Hootch! But it would be nice to have some bigger bows.
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Old 09-30-15, 09:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHNKIES View Post
The fancy term is biomass, a.k.a. fish food. Our southeastern streams due to a variety of factors do not produce a lot of biomass, hence fewer fish. All the fish compete for the available food supply so when there is heavy stocking, there is simply less food per fish. With the notable exception of bigger browns who can thrive on a different type of diet. Lisa Klein (DNR Biologist) used to promote the idea of keeping and eating skillet size browns to provide more food for the bigger fish.

Streams in other parts of the country have significantly more biomass, hence they count trout in the thousands of fish per mile, here we have hundreds unless supplemental feeding is used and/or stocking. Regardless, the food supply remains the constant.

At the end of the day, we should be very happy to even have trout in the 'Hootch! But it would be nice to have some bigger bows.
What about during times when they stop stocking the upper tailwater (Labor day through start of DH)? Is that enough time for a significant chunk of rainbows to be harvested, leaving the remaining bows a greater food supply to get slightly bigger year after year? It would be so cool to have some big feisty male bows throughout the river
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Old 09-30-15, 10:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
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What about during times when they stop stocking the upper tailwater (Labor day through start of DH)? Is that enough time for a significant chunk of rainbows to be harvested, leaving the remaining bows a greater food supply to get slightly bigger year after year? It would be so cool to have some big feisty male bows throughout the river
If it was then they would be there, but since they are not, clearly it isn't.

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Old 09-30-15, 10:58 AM   #7
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If it was then they would be there, but since they are not, clearly it isn't.

FM
We can only wish and set up pellet feeding stations every half mile
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Old 09-30-15, 12:03 PM   #8
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I've seen a couple bigger ones, generally 17 inches or so is as big as they can really get. There's alot of predators and not a whole lot of prey, which doesn't seem to be the best combination.

For the reasons FM stated, browns will always be the kinds of the Chattahoochee Castle.
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Old 09-30-15, 12:39 PM   #9
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Ive caught a few this year in the 15-17" range, all but one on streamers, some on big (4-5") streamers. i've seen one that was about 20 and a few 18", however they were near a house so idk if they were fed pellets by the people living in the house.
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Old 09-30-15, 12:55 PM   #10
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I agree whole heartedly with what others have said in terms of Biomass. Overall, due to the hooch having relatively low bug numbers it would be considered a "marginal" trout stream. These conditions usually result in lower fish numbers (not counting the stocked fish), but bigger size. Browns thrive under these conditions since they turn to carnivores relatively early in their life. All those stockers are food for the big browns allowing some to reach substantial size. This theory holds true everywhere...from the hooch to Michigan to Montana. The spots that don't have as many fish are usually just the places to look for really big brown trout.

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