Evaluation of a Southeastern, Two-story Rainbow Trout Fishery

A stocked rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) fishery in newly impounded Tellico Reservoir, Tennessee, was evaluated through creel surveys. In 1980, the first year of impoundment, trout made up 41.1% by weight of all fish harvested declining to a mean of 9.8% over the next 4 years. Estimated annual effort for trout averaged 53,000 hours. Rainbow trout catch rate averaged 0.067 fish per hour, and the harvest return of stocked rainbow trout averaged around 69% by weight over the 5-year period. Average catch per hour was lower than observed from other southeastern, 2-story trout fisheries. Insects comprised the primary food source and fish were second, based on percent total weight of food items ingested. Coefficients of condition indicated that the upper reservoir area was superior to the lower reservoir as trout habitat during spring and summer, apparently due to cool water releases of an upstream reservoir.

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