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View Full Version : Does Increasing Angler Participation = Better Fishing?


PeteCz
08-07-2009, 07:38 PM
There have been a few threads in the last few months that have discussed the issue of being "secretive about stream information to protect our streams" v. "increasing angler success leads to increased participation which leads to more folks seeing that our streams are protected".

There was discussion that the number of anglers has actually gone down over the years and that fewer people fish in the Park today than in years past. But there didn't seem to be any hard facts behind our discussion. I had a little bit of free time this evening and started doing some research.

In general nationally, over the last 15 years or so the number of people that fish and the number of times that each person fishes has gone down. From the period 1996 to 2006 the number of licensed anglers went down 14.8%. At the same time the number of days spent fishing went down 17.4%. The East South Central Region has seen a less dramatic drop across that same period (approximately 5% down from 1996).

The State of TN has seen drops in license sales as well since 2001. The graphs that include in the TWRA Strategic Plan indicated that there has been a slight increase in total fishing days across the state from 1996 to now, but that it has dropped off dramatically in the last 6 years. Specifically I was reviewing the statistics for stream based trout fishing, which includes the Park and most of the East TN counties.

So what does that mean? There are less people fishing now than in the past, but really there is no definitive evidence that fishing pressure has gone up or down over the past 10-15 years (with the popularity of the internet as a medium to spread good fishing stories...). And its really hard to tell if there has been a migration of anglers from tailwaters to park streams, etc.

I did find something else interesting in the TWRA Strategic Plan. TWRA is looking hard at trying to expand the number of anglers. Here is a set of specific action items that they intended to take to increase participation:IX. Problem: Many anglers and potential anglers are not aware of existing stream fishing opportunities in Tennessee. Less avid anglers need additional motivation.
Strategies:
1. Promote stream fishing in Tennessee at a local, regional, and national level using professional advertising strategies. These efforts should target new anglers and persuade existing anglers to fish in Tennessee.
2. Develop maps identifying fishing opportunities for trout and warmwater species.
3. Complete the wild trout map. Update the stocked trout waters website. Add the tailwater maps to the website. Prepare a warmwater stream fishing map to include access points, navigable waters, and access rules.
4. Promote stream and river fishing at kidís fishing events, in presentations to schools and other youth organizations, and at sporting goods shows, fairs, and public audiences.
5. Inform state and local tourism agencies about stream fishing opportunities in their area so that they can help us promote fishing.
6. Include two segments per year on Tennesseeís Wildside (television program) about stream fishing.
7. Publish two articles per year in Tennessee Wildlife magazine on stream fishing.
8. Promote the Tennessee Angler Recognition Program (TARP). Anglers targeting TARP species such as rock bass, brown trout, brook trout, and smallmouth bass will fish streams and rivers. Many of the existing TARP fish have been caught in streams and rivers.
Here are some sites/reports that you can explore and draw your own conclusions:
http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/NationalSurvey/15_year_trend.htm
http://library.fws.gov/pubs/nat_survey2006_final.pdf
http://library.fws.gov/Pubs/nat_survey2006_state.pdf
http://www.state.tn.us/twra/pdfs/StratPlan06-12.pdf

I'm not sure which side of the argument is right. Perhaps it isn't black and white, at all. Maybe some streams need to be protected while more participation would ensure that other get protected. What's your opinion?
Do you think fishing in the park is better now than in the 90's (or 80s, or 40s?). And why?

silvercreek
08-07-2009, 08:23 PM
Good research. The number of licenses seems pretty clear cut. But, how do they know the number of fishing days? I used to fish heavily and I can recall only being asked once about my days angling and my general angling habits. That was in the Smokys. I was reading a management plan about a month ago, and somewhere in that plan was a mention of the problem of stream access under current state law.

David Knapp
08-07-2009, 11:08 PM
That is hilarious...license sales have been dropping the last few years, ironically coinciding with the ridiculous price increases which make our non-resident license (with trout stamp) one of the most expensive in the entire country. If our fishing and stream access was on par with some of the great destination states (such as Montana) and had the level of fishery enhancing regs that they have, I wouldn't have an issue with the high cost of a license. If TWRA truly wanted to increase the number of anglers, they would lower the cost of the license or do a better job with our fisheries. The delayed harvest streams over in NC bring a lot of out of state fisherman in. Our delayed harvest streams (like the Tellico) are nothing like those in North Carolina. Out of state fisherman aren't going to spend $81 to come fish them for a few days a year when they could go to NC and buy a license for half the price. If it wasn't for streams like the South Holston, the number of non-resident licenses would be much fewer... When I travel out west, I specifically avoid fishing in Wyoming. The license is expensive and stream access laws are awful. I'm sure people feel the same about Tennessee. There is good fishing available, but the license is just overpriced.

As far as the number of people fishing different types of waters, it seems to me that a lot more people are fishing tailwaters instead of venturing onto the smaller freestone streams in the mountains. For many people, once they figure out how to catch trout on the tailwaters it is hard to go back to the mountains where the average fish is much smaller. As far as overall fishing quality, the guys that have been fishing the park for a long time will tell you that the fishing was actually better back in the day when more people kept a few fish. The park biologists wish that more people would keep a few fish. The fish this year seem much healthier because nature (using the drought) thinned the fish population so that the remaining fish are all eating well. I haven't caught a skinny fish at all this year. The old timers will also tell how you could pretty much always catch a limit of 10-11 inch fish. So, in the park, I think that there might not be fewer anglers but most all of them are not keeping any fish.

On the other hand, our tailwaters have a much richer food base and catch and release fishing will definitely increase the quality of fishing (assuming that most people would consider catching good numbers of larger fish as "quality"). Personally I find it easy to think of catching big trout all day as quality fishing. In the tailwaters, there's enough food to go around and the fish will grow just so long as they are given the opportunity. Unfortunately (to my selfish mind), TWRA needs to cater to all fishermen meaning that the catch and keep crowd will be keeping those fish before they grow large.

I really like where you said that maybe some streams should be mentioned while others are kept quiet. Streams like Little River, the Clinch, South Holson, Watauga, and Caney are not some well-kept secret. On the other hand, small streams in the park are easy to poach and mentioning them on the internet just gives dishonest anglers the idea to go catch a bunch of specs. I've talked to people that have all kinds of stories about poaching brookies out park streams.

Over the years I've seen lots of people let something slip online about a small stream. They can't handle the same amount of pressure as the tailwaters and within a few months, several people are complaining about the deteriorating quality of fishing on the particular stream. Overall I try to keep specific locations somewhat vague when giving a report on fishing in the park (or other east TN small streams). For a few streams, I won't even mention what county they are in or what larger stream they are a tributary of. They simply can't handle the pressure. If I'm fishing a Little River trib somewhere upstream of Elkmont, I'll simply say I was fishing above Elkmont. This is plenty of information and if someone really wants to explore for themselves they can. Many fisherman have a misguided mentality that leads them to believe that if one person has great success, then it must be the spot and not the fisherman. Come fish the Caney with me sometime and you will see what I mean. When you're catching fish, you'll start collecting a bunch of other fisherman all inching as close as possible. They think it must be the spot. Same thing in mountain streams. If they think I hiked exactly 3 miles above Elkmont before starting to fish and then reported catching 45 fish, then it must be that the fishing is excellent 3 miles from the trailhead. No matter that I could have started fishing at the trailhead or walked 7 miles and caught 45 fish as well...they think it is that exact spot... Sad but it is the way people think...

Well, I'll quit rambling...this is all just my opinion which is constantly changing so take it with a grain of salt.:rolleyes: Great topic by the way...I'll be interested to hear other people's take on the subject...

MadisonBoats
08-08-2009, 08:33 AM
You know what is odd...

People from out of state can bring their boats to TN every weekend and pay the same launch fee as TN Boaters. However; their impact is much greater on the environment than that it would be on fishing. Tourism money talks I guess...Several even register their boats in TN...It is such a farce that I rarely go out and enjoy the area lakes anymore...:mad:

However, out of state fishermen get robbed for a 3 or 10 day fishing pass...

I have not seen a TWRA Officer on the Clinch in 20 years....

Also, every other fisherman I see is out of slow and carrying too many fish... I give them a hard time and let them know the rules. Not to be a jerk; but, these fellas are knowledgeable fishermen and know what they are doing.

Speckleman5
08-08-2009, 08:36 AM
I think the biggest problem is that people will not keep fish. Whether it be an elitist mentality or just the die hard opposition to keeping fish, hardly anyone keeps fish anymore. Obviously, when the park did their research and opened all closed Speck waters, they found that fishing pressure had little to do with population decline. Far less than natural selection. Personally, I could care less if the average size of fish ever went up. I can catch 5 inch rainbows until my am hurts and 4 and 5 inch Specks until it falls off. there are plenty of big fish left in the park, and everywhere else for that matter. I just caught a 19 1/2 inch brown out of probably the most heavily pressured area in Western NC a week or two ago. The same stream where there " are no fish left" since the delayed harvest opened up. I have heard it all. If and when the average size does increase how long before the rumors of that spread and everyone comes and keeps one for their wall? if you spend anytime fishing around this area you know that if you walk 2 miles or better you probably aren't going to see anyone and when you do odds are they don't have a clue in Hades what they are doing anyways. Just because you can read a fishing report doesn't mean you are going to catch fish. You still have to get your tail out of the car and walk it in somewhere even when you do read a report about a remote location. Not to mention know what you are doing when you get in there. I don't know how many people I have seen up Deep Creek in Chartreuse Swimming trunks a Neon Shirt, flip flops and a spinning rod. Stream disclosure is a personal issue and if you don't like it, then I understand. But for the majority of what I have seen on this board, People love to read a detailed report because it is going to be a while before they get back up or down to this area. This park is just as much theirs as it is mine or anyone elses, and by the many thanks that usually accompany a report you can see the appreciation of someone who can't run out the next day and go fishing. If it helps them plan a trip for one weekend next May, then who cares?
David, you are exactly right about small streams not handling the pressure. Your reports along with Pete and Craigs are ually detailed enough that there isn't a whole lot left to decipher anyway. If people can't get enough information out of one of these then they probably need to find a better way to spend their time than fishing.:biggrin::biggrin:
Best of luck out there, and look for a report Monday. Finally getting a new camera to replace the one that was ruined a few months ago. Hence no pictures posted in a while, haha. Just my 2 cents on the subject.
Also if you ever get a chance to make it this way shoot me an email at corbodiesel@yahoo.com

JoeFred
11-18-2009, 01:34 PM
...

I did find something else interesting in the TWRA Strategic Plan. TWRA is looking hard at trying to expand the number of anglers. Here is a set of specific action items that they intended to take to increase participation:
IX. Problem: Many anglers and potential anglers are not aware of existing stream fishing opportunities in Tennessee. Less avid anglers need additional motivation.
Strategies:
1. Promote stream fishing in Tennessee at a local, regional, and national level using professional advertising strategies. These efforts should target new anglers and persuade existing anglers to fish in Tennessee.
2. Develop maps identifying fishing opportunities for trout and warmwater species.
....

Good stuff, Pete.

As item 2 relates to the Park, at least, I wouldn't be offended in the least if TWRA referenced www.smokystreams.com/maps (http://www.smokystreams.com/maps) in a publication. Current and would-be anglers can view the maps for free. The agency might prefer to commission some outside mapping company to develop maps on our dime, but I think that would be difficult to sell to the legislature on any special funding during these tough economic times.

One feature of the maps is the highlighting of streams said to hold brook trout by the Fishery Biologists, et al. This gem of the species can stir far more interest than the 'bows and their pursuit would help disperse the "masses" of anglers to the farther reaches.

The maps are clearly not the best in regards to topos, etc., but are far less expensive than a stack of USGS maps. Along those same lines, a goal I have is to make the maps available on CDs, etc. through the Park Stores with proceeds going to the Great Smoky Mountains Association for helping the park.

Crockett
11-18-2009, 06:46 PM
I kind of think it isn't just fishing but being outdoors in general that is on the decline. I was looking at some of the park statistics here:

http://www.nature.nps.gov/stats/park.cfm

Backcountry camping is back down to 1960's levels but the thing that surprised me the most were some of the frontcountry stats. Front country tent camping has dropped off:
2008 - 142,849 camper nights
versus
1979 - 213,565 camper nights

What really surprised me is the huge level of drop off in RV camping inside the park:
2008 - 118,981
versus
1979 - 215,495

Now if anyone would have asked me I would have thought tent camping would be down less than RV camping. Any year you pick and anyway you look at it there just aren't as many people doing outdoor type activities in the smokies despite a rise in the population in general although the drive through in the car crowd is still going strong most just don't leave the car.

The good news is that whenever you are in the backcountry or the frontcountry in some places you will be experiencing the same number of people that were there in the 60s so overcrowding doesn't seem to be that bad. I have spent a lot of Saturday nights this year at formerly popular backcountry sites and was the only one there. I couldn't believe that there was no one at Rich Mtn cs #5 on a nice October Saturday night. Didn't see hardly anyone on the trails either. The more I see that it just amazes me...

David Knapp
11-18-2009, 06:51 PM
Front country camping is probably down because of the increasing cost of a night at a campsite. I used to camp a lot but have a hard time justifying the $20/night...just doesn't fit into my budget very well...

JoeFred
11-18-2009, 08:51 PM
What if front country campsites were scaled back in size and part of the funding to maintain them diverted to building (dare I say it) deeper penetration roads (gravel of course), so that us older types could get more out of a day fishing the upper elevations?

JohnH0802
11-18-2009, 11:05 PM
Great comments by all and very good reading. Great general information PeteCz. I think that much of the decline in utilization of our outdoor resources are do to increasing costs, access issues, and the vilification of hunting/fishing in the media.

On the main topic I agree. I really believe that one of the reasons for the size of the trout in the smokies being small is that not enough people keep fish. When I think about warmwater ponds that I have fished I realize that I knew if I went to this pond I would catch 20-30 small bass and a fish over 1 lb was a really nice fish for the pond. If I wanted to catch bigger fish I went to a different pond. I might only get 4 or 5 fish fishing for the same amount of time, but had a real chance at a 5lb plus bass. Do not take this the wrong way, I think it needs to be managed close, I don't want to see it overfished either, but I think that the lack of people keeping fish has changed the fishing in the smokies.

I myself have just changed my habits this fall. I used to never keep any wild fish. Now the fish that I do keep are wild. This is not to say that I am pulling lots of fish out, but the last two day trip I took with a buddy we ended up keeping 4 or 5 fish in two days.

I too have seen some really great/healthy looking fish in the park recently. This more than anything is what has really convinced me that it is really an overpopulation issue, as far as the size of the fish are concerned.

On the issue of sharing/not sharing fishing spots, I tend to lean towards the fact that the vast majority of the people out there are not going to go to the effort to get to most of the out of reach areas. Even I, who have no problem hiking to get to a fishing spot, have probably 15-20 spots that I want to fish from posts that I have read. So far this year I have gotten to a sum total of just one of them. I hope to eventually get to more of them, but know that I will have limitted opportunity to go. Part of the reason for this is distance I know, and I envy all that are so close to the park.

Just a few scattered thoughts from a Marine.

buzzmcmanus
11-19-2009, 11:37 AM
Does increasing angler participation lead to better fishing? Good question. Itís kind of a double edged sword. For the way I like to fish, I would have to say yes. If I mainly fished tailwaters, I would say no.

IMO, Even a significant increase in the number of fishermen in the backcountry wouldnít lead to a detriment in the quality of fishing. Iím not going to hike 3+ miles back, so I can keep half a dozen 7Ē fish, and I feel most others willing to hike that far will either. So, an increase in the number of fishermen wouldnít lead to a real decrease in the number of fish. I also feel that there is enough room for these streams to support a larger quantity of anglers on any given day. My wife would also enjoy the piece of mind, knowing that there is someone in close proximity if anything was to happen to me (insert smiley face).

The increase in the number of fisherman would keep fly shops such as LRO open and would have prevented the closing of many other shops. If Iím wanting to go fishing, and donít have something I can just swing by LRO and pick it up on the way to the stream. Increased participation also leads to more posts on web sites such as this. Iím as guilty as anyone at reading what is posted on here and using that information to better my fishing. With the lack of fisherman, shops such as LRO will continue to close and web sites such as this will continue to disappear.

As for the tailwater fisherman, Iíve fished the Caney Fork when you had to worry about catching another fisherman on both your backcast and your drift. So, I canít imagine how more anglers could make that any better.

Now, how do we increase the number of fishermen?

ē TWRA needs to change the minimum age for people not required to have a license from 13 to 16. I know itís a minimal fee for the youngster license, but when you are trying to increase the number of beginner fishermen, why burden them with a license.
ē The Park needs to rethink their ďno bait allowedĒ law. People that arenít required to have a license (young and old), should be allowed to use bait in the park. 25 years ago, when I was 13, it was about the quantity of fish that I could catch, not the quality of the experience. If someone was to hand me a fishing pool with a single hooked artificial bait and I caught 1 fish in 2 hours, I would never go on to fish again. Hand me a fishing pool and a bucket of crickets and I catch 15 fish in 2 hours, now weíre talking. I know that Gatlinburg has youth fishing areas, but why would I want to fish there when I can hit the arcade just around the corner. And exactly how much damage can a handful of kids do to the streams in the Smokyís? When was the last time you saw a group of kids fishing in the Park?
ē Places like LRO needs to make it easier for beginner fishermen. I know that I could go in there and ask someone like Daniel for help, and he would send me out of there in good shape, but they have to make it easier for someone who knows nothing about fishing to get what they need. Maybe a display by the checkout with just the essentials to get started. It wouldnít need much more than just a real cheap combo rod and reel set, a fly box, and half a dozen popular flies. Thatís all someone needs to get started. If I was a beginner reading this forum, I would think that if I didnít have a Winston or Sage rod, I couldnít catch fish. Just read this forum for reference, http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13185 , Beginners need to know that not everyone uses a fly rod that costs hundreds of $$$.
ē We each need to do our own part. I gave 2 spinning rods and 1 fly rod away to people this year. I did it by taking them fishing and letting them use it. When we were done, I let them keep it. We each need to make it priority to take someone new fishing each year.

I donít think lowering non-resident license fees would amount to much of an increase in anglers. Just look at all the out of state licenses parked at the Caney Fork, or all the bass boats from Ohio putting in at Norris Lake. When someone intends to take a fishing vacation, they donít consider an $81 license to be too cost prohibitive. I normally take a couple out of state big game hunts a year. The last thing I consider on any of them is what the license will cost. And Iím tight with my money!!! Itís been rumored that I can turn a piece of coal into a diamond.

Enough for now, I actually have to get some work done today.

Byron Begley
11-19-2009, 08:25 PM
You guys all make excellent points. There is no doubt in my mind and from what I hear from those in the fly fishing industry who are a lot smarter than me, participation is dropping off. I am struggling with that right now. It is not just fly fishing but all outdoor sports are losing popularity.

I remember when I believed the Park should mandate catch and release in the streams. I was wrong about that. I do believe TWRA is working toward a policy of providing a true quality fishery in our tailwaters. I saw a lot of enthusiasm at the last Commission meeting from management and the commissioners. Look what they did on the Caney. I think they will do that in other tailwaters. David, maybe they will make that high priced license worth the price over time. Giving young people a price break sounds good to me. You all make a lot of sense and I know for sure that TWRA folks read what you write on this board and they are watching what is going on in other states. Keep this one going.

Byron

David Knapp
11-19-2009, 11:52 PM
David, maybe they will make that high priced license worth the price over time.

Byron, I hope you are right. I know one thing, and that is they are headed in the right direction finally...:cool: I'm excited about the possibilities on the Caney. Hopefully we'll get some improvements on other rivers as well...

JoeFred
11-20-2009, 06:53 AM
...

• The Park needs to rethink their “no bait allowed” law. People that aren’t required to have a license (young and old), should be allowed to use bait in the park. 25 years ago, when I was 13, it was about the quantity of fish that I could catch, not the quality of the experience. If someone was to hand me a fishing pool with a single hooked artificial bait and I caught 1 fish in 2 hours, I would never go on to fish again. Hand me a fishing pool and a bucket of crickets and I catch 15 fish in 2 hours, now we’re talking. I know that Gatlinburg has youth fishing areas, but why would I want to fish there when I can hit the arcade just around the corner. And exactly how much damage can a handful of kids do to the streams in the Smoky’s? When was the last time you saw a group of kids fishing in the Park?
...


Buzz, I'm with you on making exceptions for the young, at least, for using live bait, but with the stipulation it not be carried into the park and not in buckets, which normally translates to styrofoam cups.

My young grandson and I were on MP Little Pigeon recently. In short order, he had gotten bored with fishing and was on all fours stalking "crawdads." In no time at all he managed to snatch one of the decapods by hand without, at least to my knowledge, flipping a rock. He was absolutely thrilled!:smile: But now... what to do with the fiesty little crustacean? Rules say catch and release, if catch at all. I imagine there were many a youngster who, in the park's storied past, that would have turned him into bait.

In a perfect world my grandson would have legally caught a keeper size trout using the resident crawdad, taken it home, cleaned it and shared it for dinner with his family, and then... gotten environmental kudos from his science teacher.

silvercreek
11-20-2009, 09:41 AM
Surely need to avoid any barrier to getting youngsters on the stream, but I would still charge some very small fee for a youth license if only to be able to track the participation of youngsters. Those statistics would be important for knowing if things are improving or not and for funding. I'm not sure how this would work for license dealers. Byron has already pointed out the costs to such dealers. The only consideration I have for letting kids use any sort of bait, is the trash that seems to accompany that practice. I would hate to see those blue bait tubs all over the place. A couple of years ago I ran into a kid whose nonfishing mom had taken him below Priest to catch some of those stockers. He was flyfishing a bugger and had done well. He knew how to use that fly rod and was excited as could be. I was happy for the both of them. Most kids tag along with the adult. Here an adult tagged along with the kid.

JohnH0802
11-20-2009, 10:52 AM
Buzz,
You may be getting alot of out of state fisherman who have a lot of money at the caney, but I can tell you from my own experience that I do not fish alot in TN becasue the license is just to high, particularly for the 1 or 2 trips I might make it up there. I buy a NC non-resident license every year, wheather I make it up there or not, becasue the fees are reasonable. I also choose to use the NC license for fishing in the Park because of the vast difference in price.

As far as young angler's and licenses, I think that the age for a license ought to be increased. If there is concern about tracking numbers, issue a free permit to them. I know in SC that a migratory bird permit is required for duck hunting, dove hunting, and I forget what else. All it is is a survey letting them know what you hunted for, how often you hunted, and what you bagged. The permit itself is no charge. I think that something like this would be good for the younger anglers.

I do not think that the anglers that have the money to make several trips to the "Caney" with a guide, etc. is the answer to increasing the number of fisherman. You will always have some folks that have and can afford that kind of fishing. I think you need to have a bigger base than that to really grow the sport.

My take on it is that TN looses some of the tourism tied to fishing because of the higher cost of non-resident licenses. They may not be loosing the affluent ones, but you need alot more than that class keep our outdoor fishing/hunting/heritage alive.

John

waterwolf
11-20-2009, 03:55 PM
Positives:
-Increased numbers increase the voices who can stand together to protect the resource.

Negatives:
-Increased pressure always has a negative on a fishery. Poor handling of fish, causes increased mortality, as evidenced by the Clinch this year. More crowds equals more bait slingers whose only goal is to fill the stringer.
-Increased crowds brings more misery as fishing space becomes limited.
-Increased crowds brings tougher access because of landowner use problems.
-Increased crowds bring more trash and more damage to stream bed.

Overall the problems associated with more anglers far outweigh any benefits IMO. The main issue is the increase in pressure which results in higher fish mortality. Even with C&R practices there are so many who handle fish horribly that it results in death, i.e. taking pictures of fish on dry land, rocks, etc. Netting fish in general, poor fighting techniques etc etc.

From what I have seen no stream in this area has benefited from an increase in fishing pressure. It killed the Clinch years ago, and killed the Caney two years ago. I am sure it will kill again, as it is just the nature of things.

However, if it weren't for some interest and knowledge we wouldn't have the support to get regs which could ultimately benefit a river such as the Clinch.

Personally, I would love to see things return to the the way they were in the early 90's on the Clinch where there was no one hardly fishing the river, and the fishing was great.

Byron Begley
11-20-2009, 09:06 PM
Hi Guys,

Joe Fred, We don't see many kids fishing in the Park. Some teenagers and college students do. During Spring Break our shop is loaded with older kids. But, we don't see what we would call children. That is a shame.

I remember fishing the Caney in the 70's abd 80's. Silvercreek remembers that too. Our friendship goes back decades. The Caney was not crowded at all back then. I have not fished there in 20 years but I've heard about the angler population problem. I have also heard the fishing is much better now than it was in those days. Why? Maybe my friends and I didn't have the skills anglers do now. Silvercreek has and had the skills back then. Is it better trout and habitat management? Is it more dissolved oxygen? Is it more concerned anglers? I really don't know.

Byron

Byron Begley
11-20-2009, 09:33 PM
Buzz,

We could do what you say and make it easier for people to come in our store, buy conventional tackle and get the kids out there. We can do that. We will do that. That strategy would be good for our business and our sport.

I would agree too, that raising the age for licensing would be a good thing. Tennessee charges a lot, maybe too much for a license. Kids can fish in Townsend almost all year with bait. Anyone can for that matter. I encourage that.

Tennessee TU is planning a youth trout camp and I think it is going to be held at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute. It will be similar to the one in North Carolina. There was a meeting there this week. Maybe the Park Service will make an exception for bait fishing on the Middle Prong for that. If not, I'll stock some trout in the creek on our property and turn the kids loose down there with worms, crickets and lots of adults to keep an eye on them. I could buy the trout at the trout farm which is about 300 yards away for not much money at all.

Any ideas any of you have should be brought to the attention of the Park Service (Steve Moore and Matt Kulp) or our region's TWRA wildlife Commissioner (Mike Chase). Anything to do with kids and fishing would be well received by all three of these guys.

Byron

flyred06
11-20-2009, 10:18 PM
Byron, I believe that is a very proactive step towards our future generations. I really applaud you for that very way of thinking. The children are our future and our hopes. As always Byron you are a leader in an area of proactive changes. Another reason why I like supporting LRO and you.

WVBrookie
11-21-2009, 10:10 AM
One program WV and TU has to get the youth interested in the outdoors is the Trout in the Classroom program.

http://www.troutintheclassroom.org/

IMO, it is the best program TU has ever developed. It is a coordinated effort of industry (grants), TU (support/coordination), WV DNR (eggs), and of course the schools/children.

Three years ago we had 4 schools with TIC, it has spread like wildfire and this year have ~25 schools with 4 TU chapters supporting the program.

Earlier this year I hauled the fish to the stream for two of the schools. It is the best feeling I have ever had working within TU; to see these kids with posters, poems, cheers, etc. It is amazing!

How many of these kids will continue to maintain there enthusiasm for the outdoors, I don't know, but it has to start somewhere.

As for me, I'm doing my part with my son. :biggrin:

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v220/shocchris/?action=view&current=SANY0246.flv

As for the cost of license, up until about 5-6 years ago I would buy an annual out-of-state TN license. When things were "froze up" here in WV, I would fish the TN tailwaters. Tennessee jacked there license by ~65% in one year and I haven't bought a TN license since. I buy the NC out-of-state and restrict my fishing to the park...not that that is a bad thing!

Chris

JohnH0802
11-25-2009, 04:50 PM
Byron,
I was reading your fishing report this afternoon, and wonder if you may have overlooked something. There is another way to catch trout on a fly, and sometimes depending on the situation it is easier and you can reach fish with a spinning rod and a fly better than you would with a fly rod.

One method that I have used years ago, was a clear bobber (just to give the weight for casting) and a fly below it. Now back when I was utilizing this method I didn't know anything about dropper flies, or using more than one, but it worked, and sometimes suprisingly well.

Another method that I have used to catch trout on a fly with a spinning rod is the "golden bow" method. This is something that I read about in a book about fly fishing. The golden part comes from using a highly visible line, so that you can see the bow in the line that indicates a natural drift. You rig the flys on a peice of tippet and everything else is basically the same. It does require a little more weight for casting, but in many regards I find that flyfishing I normally do not use enough weight anyway.

These are just some thoughts about possible ways to still bring in the younger fisherman, utilizing spinning gear, but keeping flies as bait. It would probably take a little experimenting on one of your guys part so that he could instruct people in it, but I think it could work fairly well.

Just some thoughts.

Have a great Thanksgiving

JoeFred
12-09-2009, 08:55 AM
...
On the issue of sharing/not sharing fishing spots, I tend to lean towards the fact that the vast majority of the people out there are not going to go to the effort to get to most of the out of reach areas.
...

7/21/10 Update:
I decided to forgo this idea indefinitely.

John, I very much agree with your assessment. Seeing very little downside and perhaps some benefit to the Park I want to facilitate interested fellow anglers logging fish on the "back of beyond" streams. To that end I've just now launched a new page at smokystreams.com/bob. There are protocol issues to work through before soliciting input, however, since in some circles, simply divulging a stream name is considered a "contentious" matter.

JohnH0802
12-11-2009, 10:32 AM
JoeFred,
I look forward to seeing your new page when it is ready, and I think that many of the posts here contain some good information on ways to grow the sport.

John

JoeFred
12-15-2009, 05:41 PM
The "Back of Beyond" streams web page now has a form for submitting requests to log the results of angling trips to the selected remote waters. There are certain to be some bugs that will have to be worked out, but please give it a look see.

12/17/09 Update:
I've posted a formal annoucement in another thread.

2/1/10 Update:
I've decide to postpone this idea indefinitely.

Byron Begley
12-29-2009, 07:53 PM
Hi John,

Sorry I missed your post about the clear bobbers until now. They do work great on a spinning rod and would be a good addition to our young anglers department. We are moving in a different direction (maybe temporarily) right now because of recent online sales growth. Paula and I will be attending a conventional tackle show in about two weeks and items like this will be shown to us. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I forgot all about this tackle item.

Byron

JoeFred
01-08-2010, 02:13 PM
...I really like where you (PeteCz) said that maybe some streams should be mentioned while others are kept quiet. Streams like Little River, the Clinch, South Holson, Watauga, and Caney are not some well-kept secret. On the other hand, small streams in the park are easy to poach and mentioning them on the internet just gives dishonest anglers the idea to go catch a bunch of specs. I've talked to people that have all kinds of stories about poaching brookies out park streams....

...If I'm fishing a Little River trib somewhere upstream of Elkmont, I'll simply say I was fishing above Elkmont. This is plenty of information and if someone really wants to explore for themselves they can...


Having re-read David's and others' posts, I'm having some misgivings about continuing my Back of Beyond Streams Log project as-is if this type publicity might lead to increased poaching. Take, for example, the Little River tribs I list upstream of Elkmont (Fish Camp Pr, Grouse Cr, Kawahi Br, Meigs Post Pr, Rich Br & Rough Cr). If I were to log someone having caught a spec, etc., on one of them, would that increase the risk of the stream being poached? Should perhaps certain of these steams be omitted from the log? (My policy is to not include in the log the reported number or size or fish caught nor to divulge any particular stretch of a stream fished.)

2/1/10 Update
I've decide to postpone this idea indefinitely.

tennswede
01-09-2010, 04:37 PM
Mention all the streams you like, no problem, very few people will walk 7.2 miles rt for a spec. Most poachers are interested in bigger fish and hatchery stocked streams. The real issue is, we need a regulation change. Let people take out some of the dinks out of the mountain streams.

BlueRaiderFan
01-09-2010, 10:41 PM
No doubt. I know about these places and won't go! :biggrin: I stick to within two miles of the road, but that will change in March! ;) Gonna do my fist back country fly fishing trip where I stay overnight.

JoeFred
01-27-2010, 08:53 AM
I've decided to postpone the Back of Beyond streams logging indefinitely and to instead focus on adding valve to the maps.

JF

Knothead
02-07-2010, 09:43 PM
Let's see....it is mentioned that the Tennessee non-resident license is $81. To compare, call up at least six public or semi-private golf courses and ask what the greens fees are, weekends and weekdays, with and without a cart. 81 divided by 12 equals $6.75 per month. Two cocktails can cost more that $6.75! I'm a resident of Tennessee and don't mind paying the licensing fees when I figure what I get out of it. I don't fish other states because they have lower license rates. By the time I figure travel time, gas, etc., it's cheaper to stay close to home. I have trout one hour from the house. And I'm cheap! I'm so cheap, they have my picture next to the word in the dictionary. From my house to Townsend is two hours drive. I would rather fish the park and enjoy the wild trout and the beauty of the park. Thanks for allowing me my 3 cents worth (everything costs more now).

JoeFred
07-21-2010, 11:30 AM
Based on the unlikelihood, in my opinion at least, that any resulting increased participation would be a significant detriment to the fisheries, I included color-coding of waters of all game fish species on the new printed Little River system map. (Itís now available at LRO and some other outlets). The bass waters noted are based on my personal research. The trout distribution is based roughly on data provided to me in May by Matt Kulp of the National Park Service from research by Fishery Management biologists. It was only this week, as I was visiting with Matt and Steve Moore, that I learned that funding is no longer available for additional distribution research. That is very unfortunate.

JF