The Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will continue to provide funding for trout production and stocking in TVA dam tailwaters and reservoirs in Tennessee and Georgia. TVA has committed approximately $900,000 per year to support trout stocking for Tennessee anglers, according to Ed Carter, TWRA Executive Director.
“We had no reason to believe that TVA wouldn’t continue its support,” said Carter. “But you never really know if their budgets and leadership will continue their support until they sign on the dotted line.”
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources are included in the partnership which began in 2013. The agreement provides funding for TWRA’s trout stocking programs through fiscal year 2021.
Since the partnership began, TVA has been funding trout production by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service at three national fish hatcheries, Dale Hollow and Erwin in Tennessee, and Chattahoochee Forest in Georgia. The trout are then provided to the tailwaters Apalachia (Hiwassee River), Blue Ridge, Boone, Cherokee, Fort Patrick Henry, Normandy, Norris, South Holston, Tims Ford, and Wilbur. Trout-stocked reservoirs include Fort Patrick Henry, South Holston, Parksville, Watauga, and Wilbur.
“Thousands of trout anglers who fish TVA tailwaters and reservoirs can celebrate the renewed commitment from TVA to continue to help fund the federal trout hatcheries,” said Carter. “Without their assistance, the production of trout for 17 different fishing locations would be in jeopardy.”
Last year, the partnership provided more than 1.1 million brook, brown, lake and rainbow trout to TVA waters. More than 256,000 anglers are estimated to fish for trout in Tennessee and Georgia waters each year, spending about $73 for every $1 invested in the hatchery program, and producing an economic impact of about $45 million.
“This partnership is critical to TWRA’s management of trout fisheries,” said Frank Fiss, TWRA Fisheries Division Chief. “Each year up to 80 percent of the trout stocked at TVA projects come from federal hatcheries. These fisheries include some of the best in the Southeast.”
“Tennessee fishermen already enjoy fishing on TVA lakes, and this announcement means that federal fish hatcheries in Erwin, Dale Hollow, and Georgia will stay open and continue to provide Tennessee rivers and lakes with millions of fish that make our trout fishing some of the best in the country,” U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said. “This is good news for the 900,000 Tennesseans and visitors who have fishing and hunting licenses and for the businesses that create jobs and depend on fishing in Tennessee.”
The federal trout raised in Tennessee and Georgia are provided to TWRA and GADNR for stocking in the colder water of the reservoirs and tailwaters of the TVA dams. TVA has worked to improve water quality and enhance aquatic habitat by adding dissolved oxygen, foregoing hydroelectric generation and maintaining minimum water flows through its dams. However, in most of the waters the trout cannot naturally reproduce, requiring regular stocking to maintain fishable populations.