View Full Version : What's the difference between the local TU chapters?

Stana Claus
07-21-2010, 10:09 PM
I think I'd like to join one of the local TU chapters, but I'm a little bit curious as to why there are three different chapters so close together. In the little bit of poking around that I've done, I've figured out that the Little River Chapter in Maryville split off from the Great Smoky Mountain Chapter in Knoxville to work with the Park Service to improve the fishery in the park, but what does the GSM chapter do now? Was the split amicable (unlike many of the typical church splits that we won't talk about here)? And what about the Clinch River chapter. I'm really more interested in the mountain streams than the tailwaters, but I don't know that I want to focus exclusively on the GSMNP. So, what do you folks recommend? Or should I just sit in on a chapter meeting or two with each group and see which one feels better?

07-22-2010, 05:45 PM
The chapters are different, and you should go to one which suits you best. The Little River is the most active to my knowledge, ie Troutfest and meeting consistently. The Great Smoky Mountains group has some people who are active, but the chapter is not doing much these days. As for the Clinch River; similar (though someone may correct me) to GSM in that they have some active people, but as a chapter aren't doing much these days.
I would have to steer you toward Little River, though I am a member of GSM. They are active, and you will find that their members do more than just fish the park, or even trout for that matter.

07-23-2010, 09:33 AM
This could make some folks mad, so I will try to tiptoe in with what little tact I posess.

Both the Little River and GSM chapters have done some really worthwhile things in the past. Notably the GSM championed the Quality Zone on the Clinch years ago, which was overturned by pressure from another organization known as LUCRO. Both have been heavily involved in projects in the Park over the years. I have not been to a TU meetings in eons, but they used to be a heck of alot of fun and informative.

The Clinch chapter is a different story. What started as a good chapter which sponsored river cleanups, and bank restoration projects became infiltrated by LUCRO the very organization which aims to never have any sort of special management on the river. The river clean-up projects were great, except for the tire removal aspect. What none of the people understood was that by removing the tires valuable habitat was lost. When we were hauling tires into our drift boats it was amazing the numbers of sculpins and stuff which used the tires as cover. We also, reared 700,000 fingerling rainbows a year for 3 years, which were raised from fish spawning in Clear Creek.

This is my opinion, the Clinch Chapter as of late seems to do nothing for the river. There are no more river clean ups, no more bank projects, no work done on the tribs in relation to spawning assistance. Several of their members came out in serious opposition to the new Slot limits, and several of their members have been witnessed and reported violating the slot limit on the Clinch as recently as last week. Some of this is third hand info, so take it for its worth.

If I was wishing to join one of the chapters I would look at the GSM or Little River. They have their priorities right IMO.

07-23-2010, 06:02 PM
This could make some folks mad, so I will try to tiptoe in with what little tact I posess.

I'll give you props for the restraint and will use some myself. :rolleyes:

Stana Claus - like you, I fish the mountains more than the tail waters. So there is a natural draw to an organization that does so much for the park. I have attended and few LR chapter meetings and got a good feeling at each one. Seems to be a great bunch of folks.

That said, I am not currently a TU member. I let my membership expire a few months ago and need to attend a LR meeting to make sure they get credit for my membership.

Byron Begley
08-02-2010, 09:54 AM
Hi Santa,

When the Little River Chapter split off from the Great Smoky Mountains Chapter it was planned and amicable. I attended the board meetings of GSMC during the transition and served as the first President of the LRC. Both chapters still work together on the Acid Deposition Project in the Park and other projects. Our goal from the very beginning was to include both chapters in the Park projects. Members from both the Great Smoky Mountains Chapter and the Clinch River Chapter serve as volunteers at Troutfest and more are welcome and encouraged to participate. A member of the Great Smoky Mountains Chapter coordinates all volunteer efforts in the Park. A member of the Clinch River Chapter serves on the Troutfest Steering Committee.

The idea to form a new chapter to work directly with the Park came from the Tennessee Council of TU in 1992. Bill Guinn, who was Chairman at the time contacted me.

The Clinch River Chapter is heavily involved in education. They hold some great fly tying classes during the winter and hold a fly fishing school for youth in the Spring. They are also working on the new Trout Camp to be held at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. Other chapters will be involved in that. Funding will come from several chapters.


Stana Claus
08-02-2010, 11:09 AM
Thanks for the info, everyone. Follow-up question - If I join a chapter and decide that it's not the right fit, how hard is it to switch my membership to a different chapter?

Byron Begley
08-02-2010, 12:34 PM
You can call membership services at Trout Unlimited and ask to be changed. You might be able to get it done with e-mail but I know the phone call works. Be sure to know the Chapter three digit number. That might avoid mistakes.


08-02-2010, 02:40 PM
I'm also pretty sure you can attend any chapter's meeting, without actually being a member. They usually just ask if there are any new people present and if they would like to introduce themselves. I've been to meetings of all three chapters and enjoyed all of them.

If a chapter is becoming stangnate, maybe a dose of fresh blood would be good for it. I guess it depends on how much you want to contribute. We all need extra help.

Everyone can help in some way.

12-30-2010, 11:42 PM
WELL; what an interesting topic. I'll offer my unsolicited perspective if you will indulge me okay?

I moved here from Maine in July but have not yet "transferred" to a chapter here in TN.... I spoke with Rufus King from the Little River Chapter the other night and will "park" my lifetime membership with this chapter because they are a lot more than a fishing club & hold true to the original values of protecting, conserving and restoring our cold water fisheries.

IMO membership without service will not be rewarding.... kind of like joining a gym and expecting to get in fine physical shape without actually showing up and doing the hard work. Your participation will bless you 100 fold and you will find the reward no less than equal to your personal effort.

I have been a member of the Kennebec Valley Chapter (wicked famous as they have two Golden Trout awards in the last 10 years) where I served in too many ways from president, newsletter writer and most importantly the person who researched and wrote all the paperwork on more than a dozen hydro re-licensings with the Federal Energy Regulaory Commission.

National TU is a huge joke; count on them for nothing but usurping the credit for your chapter's hard work & success.

If you get "Trout" magazine you will see how National TU claims all the credit for the removal of the Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River in Maine as one of the landmark events in TU Nationals history.... the fact is they had absolutely nothing to do with the effort other than a 10K donation so I could hire to experts to offer opinions on the expense of dam removal and the "economics" of dam removal.

TU National is run by two faced snakes that will shoot you in the back if it makes them look better.

When I was asked to research and write a huge "filing" in opposition to Madison Paper Industries proposal to increase the height of their dam (which would back water natural spawning habitat) National TU decided they would not deliver the 114 copies of my written intervention to FERC because they found out that The New York Times newspaper owned more than 50 percent of the dam & paper mill.

Charlie Gauvin feared repercussions by the NEW YORK TIMES so without saying a word to me or our chapter decided to not deliver our paperwork by official courier by the deadline. Essentially Charlie Guvin feared TU would be painted as too liberal at a time when he was trying to drive up membership numbers. He told me that I was taking one for the team by screwing me and our chapter and most importantly the river we love. The dam now backwarters an additional mile of previously riverine trout spawning habitat.

TU membership is all about what you can PERSONALLY do in your own backyard to protect, enhance restor what you value and enjoy. The Little River chapter is involved in so many different activities that it appears there is something for everyone. Membership in the lame National organization that is run by enviromental global warming whackos that have a political & social agenda beyond their mission statement is unfortunate IMO but what YOU can do locally is ALL important.

You have given nothing unless it hurts; if you won't work hard to protect what you love you will loose it and unfortunately most outdoors people and fishermen are takers not givers.

I don't enjoy fishing freestone creeks like those in the park as I have a bad foot and cannot negotiate streams full of greasy boulders without hurting myself But the LR chapter is actively pursuing goals that I beleive in and that is why I would be honored to help them out in whatever capacity I may be of value.

I enjoy big tailwaters the most & wish the other chapters in this area were as involved as the LR chapter because I would really like to work tpward obtaining more public access for wading anglers on the Holston below Cherokee Dam. While such an idea may seem impossible so didn't removing a dam in 1984 against the desire of it's owners and that only took me fifteen years.

I look forward to meeting folks like Byron and Rufus and hope there is something I can do to help out....


You will be blessed and rewarded for your participation regardless of the chapter you join. If the chapter is weak be their inspiration by personal example.

BTW??? What is LUCRO?

12-31-2010, 06:44 PM
LUCRO stands for Landowners and Users of the Clinch River Organization. They were very vocal against the slot limits that were imposed on the Clinch River several years ago.

You can google lucro, clinch river, tn and you'll pull up some articles on them.


01-21-2011, 05:10 PM

Do the local chapters get the membership fee or is it split between them and national TU? I have tried to deal with TU national before and ran straight into a "piss off you maggot" type of attitude and therefore decided to just let my membership expire next time around. My present chapter is located in the northern part of my state and I live in the southern part. Not much good to me, I can't drive for three hours one way to meetings. I would just as soon move my membership to another active chapter three states away that I could at least visit a couple of times a year and get involved on a planned basis. I am retired and looking to help out!

Blue skies, warm gentle winds, and trout filled waters to all!:smile:

02-09-2011, 05:01 PM

Sorry for delay.... to my knowledge National collects the membership fee and then sends a little coin back to the chapter,,,BUT I MAY BE TOTALLY WRONG.

I don't know what the fee is annually as I did the life membership thing a long time ago.... when I moved to TN I didn't give National TU my new address (perhaps I ought) but now I don't get two letters a week from them begging for money (too many "worthy" projects).

Now that "born with a silver spoon in his mouth and can't get a real job, Charlie Gauvin" has left his post at National TU I hope a non-liberal two faced whacko is not at the helm.

02-09-2011, 06:18 PM
I know for our chapter in Alabama, out of the membersihip fee, 1$ goes to the local chapter.

02-09-2011, 07:04 PM
Wow; a WHOLE DOLLAR! Most of the chapters in New England mail out monthly newsletters; when I wrote the Kennebec Chapter newsletter we mailed out over 300 per month and it cost us a bundle. Most of the time "only 50 or 60" attended the monthly meeting; many of these MYSTERY MEMBERS we never even met but as they paid dues to National we still had to spend a lot on printing and postage.

Sure do hope there are trout for you down in Alabama!

02-10-2011, 11:16 PM

Thanks for the reply! I might stay in TU just for the magazine to learn what I can about various trout species. Don't care for TU leading the charge to ban felts. I didn't sign on to have my hobby turned into a political/economic platform. Still ticked off about that one. A lot of good research put into a dubious agenda if you ask me, after I studied it all. Posted about this in another thread. Just my $.02 worth.

Anyway, I'm thinking about just sending my donations to the Little River chapter if I can get some contact informaton for that chapter. It would give me another good reason to show up in Townsend a couple of times a year to meet some folks in that area and plan ahead to help out if I can.

Anyone else, please email information to: rikwhitefeather@yahoo.com

Thanks again!

02-11-2011, 09:17 AM
TU National was all over the GLOBAL WARMING THING from the beginning; IMO they look at "threats" to trout as a means to increasing membership.... Last I read "trout" there was a deal about natural gas exploration and drilling in PA and NY. Seems they claim hydro-fracking pollutes trout streams.

IMO TU National is a joke; the real difference members make is locally not nationally and many chapters (including LR) like the Kennebec Chapter (My chaper while I lived in ME are very active environmentally and also provide aquatic education programs in schools.

I am now BURNED OUT ON TU & retired.

01-15-2012, 05:39 PM
LUCRO stands for Landowners and Users of the Clinch River Organization. They were very vocal against the slot limits that were imposed on the Clinch River several years ago.

You can google lucro, clinch river, tn and you'll pull up some articles on them.

LUCRO was very active in the rearing of trout at the TVA lab below Norris for release in the Clinch, they supported stream bank stabilization projects both on the river and the tributaries (many members put in many hours of sweat equity in the projects), they helped assist TWRA in their studies of the Clinch, they eld the fight to prevent fishing during the spawn on Clear Creek, nthey felt the river management should be based on science, etc

Yes they did and still do oppose the slot limits as the science showed the perceived problems with fish quality was do to higher than normal flows over the study period as well as excessive stocking particularly of fingerling sized fish and other things. TWRA never met with user groups as required (they held one public meetings to show their data and said at that meeting they would hold meetings with all interested groups if they felt the regs should change), they are also on record as stating and their data supports they can control what is taken out/caught by how they stock. LUCRO was in favor of a fly fishing area only below the dam, adding a couple of handicap access pts, along the river, etc

LUCRO is not the villain that some want to portray them as

01-16-2012, 11:17 AM
They are also working on the new Trout Camp to be held at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont.
The Trout Camp is a program that involves all nine Tennessee chapters and the state TU council. It consists of several volunteers who work with the kids for a few days in June. There is a full program ranging from snorkeling in the Middle Prong to flytying, stream ecology, and fishing. Last year, we fished Sam's Creek for brookies. Had a great day.
For info in the camp, click on the link:
For some reason, it won't make a link- cut and past.

01-16-2012, 12:47 PM
Anyone interested in visiting a TU chapter can find information at the following:
Again, not making a link- cut and paste.
Visit a chapter or two or three and ask questions about their projects, activity, etc.