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Will the Center Hill Dam Construction Affect Fishing on the Caney Fork? Print E-mail

From the July 2, 2008 Tennessean newspaper

Center Hill Dam work will help fish, their prey Gate will increase oxygen mixing with water


Water spurting out of the hillside beside Center Hill Dam has been a familiar sight — not so good for the aging, leaking dam, but a plus for trout and the anglers who fish for them in the Caney Fork River.

The water shouldn't spurt anymore, as a result of the five-year, $283 million rehabilitation project that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun on the dam.

But fish-lovers shouldn't worry: The Corps is taking steps to stop the spurting while helping the fish, too.

A metal gate will be placed Tuesday at the base of the dam, which not only will allow a constant, low flow to replace the seeps, but also will mean more oxygen will be mixed with the water moving through.

"It's a great idea," said Dr. Richard Davis, president of the Cumberland chapter of Trout Unlimited.

"They used this on Wolf Creek Dam" in Kentucky, "and it really improved the dissolved oxygen."

Fishes' gills extract oxygen from water. Most aquatic life doesn't do well — and can even die — if too little oxygen is in the water.

Trout — rainbow, brook and brown — that have been stocked in the chilly Caney Fork have made it a favored destination for anglers and an economic plum for the area, but low oxygen levels in the water have been a concern for years.

Traffic over the dam will be interrupted temporarily to install the metal device, the Corps reports.

Why is The Army Corp. Working on the Dam? Print E-mail

The Center Hill Dam Seepage Problem

Center Hill Dam is 57-years old and has always had seepage problems around and beside the dam. Since the dam was built, the Army Corps constantly monitors seepage. Some seepage is normal. Over the years, pressure from the water in the reservoir has eroded the soil-filled spaces in the rock and the seepage has increased.

Early Dam designers recognized the presence of openings and caves in the rock and in 1949 constructed a $10 million cement grout curtain along the alignment of the dam on the southwest side. Ten years later, grout was pumped into the right side (northeast side) to reduce seepage. In the early 1990’s, the Corps again pumped grout along these same areas.

Over recent years, the seepage levels have increased. If left untreated, seepage could become an emergency condition, threatening the integrity of the dam. Long periods of extremely high water levels stress the seepage paths and further erode soil infilling from these openings, which is the reason the Army Corps will attempt to keep the lake lower in winter and spring months during the rainy times of the year.

Caney Fork Information Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 11 August 2008 00:42

The Caney Fork river is 144 miles (232 km) long, rising in Cumberland County. and flowing NW to the Cumberland River. The Caney Fork rises in Cumberland County about six miles (10 km) west north-west of Crossville. It is crossed by U.S. Route 70 near the tiny community of Clayville, and, flowing southwest, then crosses into White County. In southeastern White County it descends off the Cumberland Plateau through a deep, steep gorge known as Scott's Gulf in a remote area west of Scott Pinnacle, a locally-known mountain. Farther downstream, near the Dodson community, the stream becomes the line between White County and Van Buren County. It receives the flow of the Calfkiller River and several minor tributaries.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 February 2010 03:35
Trout Fishing Print E-mail

The Caney Fork River is stocked with over 100,000 Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout every year by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). The river section of the Caney Fork that is stocked with the trout fish begins at the Center Hill Dam in Silver Point, TN and runs downstream to where the Caney Fork River merges with the Cumberland River. Fishing on the Caney Fork is a favorite past time of many locals as well as travelers. The trout in this river brings people from all over. The Caney Fork River is a perfect fishing river. While fishing in the Caney Fork is a great idea, swimming is not. The Caney Fork River stays about 52 degrees year-round. The river is long and somewhat narrow. A cold river is perfect for trout fishing, but not so great for taking a swim! Although Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout are the most popular types of fish in the river, there are other fish swimming around as well such as bass, stripers, stripe, walleye and other game fish.

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River Clean Up Project Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 07 July 2007 09:54

Although the Caney Fork River is well known for being a very clean river, the guys at Canoe The Caney, a large local canoe and kayak outfitter have volunteered to help perform a river clean up this spring. During this clean up the Canoe the Caney staff will travel the river between the dam and Betty's Island to pick up any trash or litter, as well as look for any hazards such as overturned limbs that need to be reported to the Army Corp. for removal. If you would like to volunteer to be a part of this project you can reach Canoe The Caney at 1-800-868-9232.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 February 2010 20:38

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