History Of Fish And Fishing In Norris A TVA Tributary Reservoir

Norris Reservoir, the first TVA tributary reservoir, completed in 1936, has a spillway surface area of 34,200 acres. Earliest fish inventory records in the basin indicate 17 indigenous families of fishes represented by 40 genera and 65 species. Four families, Petromyzonidae, Anguillidae, Cyprinodontidae, and Cottidae, were unable to cope with the reservoir environment. Several genera and species of Cyprinidae and Percidae likewise did not survive. Game and commercial species generally have prospered in the reservoir. A 14-year creel census on Norris shows considerable annual variation in catch but no trend to support the historical idea that reservoirs become "biological deserts." Harvesting or fishing mortality studies over a 14-year period show an average tag return ratio of 17.2 percent. Year to year variation from the mean indicates that the obvious increase in fishing pressure since 1940 has not increased the relative rate of harvest. Variation in harvest rate by species is also shown. The Norris data show that the offer of prizes has little influence on tag returns. Redistribution of species within a reservoir is also indicated by tag returns. Sauger and walleye in Norris travelled 0-150 miles, black basses and crappie to 35 miles.

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