Norris Reservoir Walleye
Until the late 1990’s, the Norris walleye fishery was virtually self sustaining and the annual spawning runs on the Upper Clinch and Powell River Arms of the reservoir were very popular with local anglers. Soon after the TWRA learned of the introduction of alewife into the system, an initial study was contracted with Tennessee Technological University (TTU) to look into the status of the walleye fishery. The study was designed to determine if alewife were having the same detrimental effect as they had on the Dale Hollow and Watauga walleye fisheries.
Unfortunately, the research conducted by (TTU) from 1996-1997 documented a serious decline in recruitment which if left unanswered would threaten the population. An aggressive walleye stocking program was initiated by the TWRA in response. Two additional studies also were contracted with TTU in the late 1990’s to determine the possible reasons for the recruitment failure. The results of these studies were inconclusive, however the leading theory remains that alewife effect walleye recruitment via predation on/or competition with walleye fry.
There are many examples of a correlation between alewife introductions and walleye recruitment failures. Walleye fisheries have declined in several south-eastern reservoirs soon after their introduction. Although the exact cause of the recruitment failure is not fully understood, the TWRA continues to maintain a quality walleye fishery within the reservoir via stocking.
The TWRA stocked Norris with an average of 7.4 walleye fingerlings per acre per year from 1998 to 2010. The number of walleye stocked from 1998 to 2010 was 3,281,250.
Initially the TWRA attempted to obtain Greer’s Ferry strain fingerings which are a “river-run” type walleye. Not enough of this strain has been available so brood fish are collected from Norris Reservoir in the hope that they will eventually return to the rivers to spawn.
Although the number of walleye making the “river-run” has declined, the overall number of walleye in the reservoir is outstanding. The TWRA conducts angler, gill netting, and electrofishing surveys each year to closely monitor the status of the walleye fishery. This data is posted on this web site in the form of technical reports and survey summaries.