Recreational and Economic Benefits of Tennessee’s Reservoir and Tailwater Stocking Programs
Francis C. Fiss, Timothy N. Churchill, and William C. Reeves
Abstract.—Nearly all rivers in Tennessee were impounded during the 20th century, altering aquatic habitats and fish communities upstream and downstream of these projects. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has strived to maintain exceptional and diverse fisheries within the limitations of these environments. Nine TWRA hatcheries and one U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hatchery spend about US$1.5 million annually to stock these highly altered ecosystems. In 2001, 3.6 million fish, including black bass Mictopterus spp., striped bass Morone saxatalis, hybrid striped bass (male white bass M. chrysops × female striped bass), crappie Poxomis spp., walleye Sander vitreus, sauger S. canadensis, rainbow trout Onchorhynchus mykiss, brown trout Salmo trutta, and lake trout Salvelinus namaycush were stocked into 183,675 ha of reservoirs, and 1.3 million rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout S. fontinalis were stocked into 203 km of tailwaters. Creel and telephone surveys conducted that year provided TWRA estimates of angler use and trip costs. Reservoir fisheries partially or completely dependent on stocking accounted for 309,854 trips annually (36.4% of estimated reservoir fishing effort) with anglers spending $14.1 million. Tailwater trout fisheries, solely supported by stocking, resulted in at least 131,929 trips annually and $4.6 million in expenditures by anglers. Stocked fisheries in altered habitats are an important component of sport fishing in Tennessee and TWRA plans to maintain these fisheries in the foreseeable future.