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Slipstream
08-03-2010, 11:40 AM
I'm not trout fishing much this time of year, but we had a big rain Saturday afternoon, so on Sunday morning I decided to pay a quick visit to Forney Creek and see if any trout noses were pointing up.

I traveled over by boat, and met a young couple with fly rods that had the same thing on their mind. We walked upstream together and finally split up. I tried a few good riffle runs in the first mile. The water level was good, with just a bit of color, and the trout were cooperative. I had over a dozen takes in just a few hours on a small yellow stimulator, with several nice rainbows to hand. At about 11 am, I bumped into the couple, gave them a few flies that were working, and calling it a good morning headed back down to my boat.

Just at lake's edge, I was surprised by a large gathering of people, perhaps six, who had just jumped off a large boat and were making their way up the path. They were mostly men and one young lady, all holding spinning rods, with the men wearing canvas creels hung over their shoulders. More interestingly, each of them held either a cricket basket full of chirping crickets or a blue plastic tub of worms out in the open. They were gathered around the "fishing regulations" sign posted at the entrance to the creek, and laughing, probably at the marking on the sign saying "artificial lures only."

As I came up to them, they started walking quickly upstream past me. They were obviously intent on the makings of a good family fish fry. I had a few seconds to confront them and say something, but they were so numerous and brazen carrying their bait by me that I hesitated and then the moment was lost.

Once on my boat, I got angry about the situation and tried calling a few park numbers to at least notify a ranger of the situation. I called several park numbers that didn't answer and finally got a person at the Elkmont Visitor's Center. When I told him what I'd seen, he sighed and said, "Sir, we're very busy today and it's unlikely that anyone will be able to check on that, but I'll call it into dispatch."

Thinking about it later, I recognize that on any given summer Sunday in the park there are probably multiple car wrecks, children separated from parents, elk sighting traffic jams, and bear incidents, so the story of bait fishermen in some remote corner of the park doesn't even merit mention. I can easily understand why the park is unable to respond to reports like mine, especially in a back-woods location.

I've fly fished for over 20 years, and I've seen plenty of illegal and boneheaded behavior in public water during that time. Normally, it doesn't phase me. However, there was just something about the cavalier behavior of this group and the fact that it was in a cherished section of a national park that disturbed me. To me, these streams are sacred water and deserve better than our hatchery supported and delayed harvest streams that get junked up. There is no happy ending to my story. I don't know whether a ranger came and wrote tickets, or how many trout were eaten that night by those folks.

When I got home, I looked for a better number to call in situations like this on park waters. If you search the park website, they give this number for fishing violations 865 436-1294. I called this number 3 times Monday with no answer. When someone answered on the fourth try, he gave me another number that he claimed was staffed 24/7. It is the park's law enforcement number at 865 436-1230.

In a final stroke of karma, my outboard engine conked out after placing my calls in the Forney Creek channel and it took me several hours to get home. So much for poetic justice.

pmike
08-03-2010, 12:13 PM
I have had the misfortune of running into similar situations and it is anything but fun. Once after a 500 plus mile trip from Florida to fish and only get sknuked, it was especially annoying to see all the corn cans and worm tubs strewn streamside along Treemont.

Once at Elkmont I pulled off as a man and his wife were pulling in a huge Bow and went over for a look only to have the guy say, we caught a big one earlier. He opened his creel to reveal a 20 plus inch Brown. I then noticed they had a tub of worms they were using for bait. I mentioned to them, or asked them, if they realized it was illegal to use live bait in the park and they responded by saying no one had told them and they had in fact mentioned their intention to fish in the park to the gas station where they bought their bait...and no one said anything. The acted and look at me as if I and what I had said was suspect, but the wife walked over to their car for a few minutes only to return with a copy of rules and regulations. I overheard her tell her husband, "he's right" and they quickly packed up and left.

Ignorance is no excuse, but it should be a given that merchants who sell bait and licenses should say something. I know that LRO warned or informed me when we bought our first license to fish the area and the park.

jeffnles1
08-03-2010, 12:26 PM
So frequently on the fishing message boards, I read of people getting upset when a tuber floats by or some family full of children start playing in the stream as if that is some type of crime.

The thing that really makes me angyr isn't some kid skipping stones or a bunch of teens jumping in the creek. They are enjoying the public water just as I am. What really angers me is poaching of any type.

The fishing regulations are all over the place and it's the responsibility of every fisherman to know and understand the regulations on any body of water he/she is fishing (or hunting regulations for that matter).

Taking game in any way that is against the regulations is poaching regardless of the intent. Failure to read and understand the regulations is no more of an excuse than the person who does it intentionally.

OK rant over.

Jeff

Grannyknot
08-03-2010, 12:51 PM
Thanks for trying slipstream.

Some sportsmen just think that using prohibited bait/lures, taking more than the limit, disobeying slots, etc....is no bigger of a deal than speeding on the interstate.

From my perspective, the park does a decent job enforcing the fishing rules & regulations. I have been asked for my license far more times in the park than anywhere else in the U.S. I wish it were possible for better enforcement to take place in the backcountry, but its rarely feasible with the amount of personnel on hand at any given time.

Jim Casada
08-03-2010, 01:16 PM
Slipstream--Thanks for your post, although it absolutely frosts my grits. I'm basically a defender and supporter of the Park in a lot of ways (including with support dollars). But their cavalier attitude on backcountry law enforcement is and long has been indefensible. The fact that you kept failing to get an answer and were, when you finally did get through to a real person, pretty much "blown off" says far more than it should. I'd love to know what Steve Moore and Matt Kulp think about the woeful lack of backcountry enforcement. I see folks with spinning rigs and treble-hook lures pretty regularly, and periodically I see worm containers on stream banks. But what you encountered simply goes beyond the pale.

Or look at it another way. Many of the people here fish the Park waters a lot. When was the last time you were checked? I've been checked twice in the last three decades and one of them was strictly serendipity. A lady ranger had stopped a speeder on 441 along Luftee, and he pulled off where I was just getting out of my truck to rig up. She wrote him a ticket and then, as she saw me putting up my rod, walked up to me. "I might as well check your license while I'm here," she said. I showed it to her and said it had been far too long since someone had checked me. She had no reply.

I know they are busy, but if speck resotration is a high priority, surely protection of Park fisheries should have some sort of priority as well. But then there is the issue of horse use, the damage horses are doing to trails, the Roaring Fork road delay, the exclusion of ordinary folks from 75th anniversary celebrations, the flat-out reluctance bordering on fear on the part of Park officials to patrol (especially at night) the national forest lands bordering the Park in the Cataloochee area, and more.

I'd love for someone to tell me I'm all wet on the above and back it up with facts, but I don't think it's going to happen.

Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

Jim Casada
08-03-2010, 01:20 PM
Grannyknot--Your experience in being checked sure runs contrary to mine. Two times in 20 years and three times in 30 years is the total I've been checked (fishing-wise, although there have been a couple of requests for my backcountry permit)--and I spend my share of time in the Park.
Talk about strange--I fished a few days ago right behind the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Not one or two but three night crawler tubs greeted me along the way.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

Crockett
08-03-2010, 03:44 PM
I have never been checked either although I see a lot of rangers drive by when I am fishing tremont, laurel creek, or the likes. One evening a ranger stopped right above where I was fishing the middle prong near tremont and he looked down at me in the water. I was pretty certain he was going to wave for me to come over and I had started to dig out my wallet then he drove on. Maybe that was all it took was to act like I was fetching my license ha (of course I really was).

Hey Jim why are they afraid to patrol the National Forest lands bordering Cataloochee at night? Is there some kind of illegal activity going on there?

Grannyknot
08-03-2010, 03:52 PM
Grannyknot--Your experience in being checked sure runs contrary to mine.

I should have clarified that I have never been checked in the backcountry, and only once was I checked while actually on a stream. All the other times have been while I was walking on a road or trail holding my fishing rod. I was checked 3 times in 2009.

Slipstream
08-03-2010, 04:54 PM
My experience in being checked is very similar to Jim's, once in 20 years, and that on a delayed harvest stream outside the park. I've never seen a ranger in the backcountry, except for the staff that makes the daily run to Hazel Creek. The Hazel Creek crew seems to be involved in maintenance and field work, and I've had them drive by me numerous times without stopping to monitor my fishing.

I believe we'd all like to see better caretaking and protection of our park. I'm concerned not only about the fishing but the camping abuse that is rampant along the Fontana shoreline. A ranger could make a good living writing tickets for weekend campers who have set up adjacent to many of the stream outlets into the lake. Many times, their motto seems to be "take it in and leave it there." I've hauled off countless camping messes, but to do it properly would take a garbage scow. This weekend, there was a group camped in the middle of the road at the Forney entrance, complete with fire ring in the road-bed.

One way for the park to stretch thin resources would be to make better use of volunteer call-in's. I have cell service in many areas of the park now, and if the rangers were responsive to calls and tip-off's, and would make an example of the perpetrators, then perhaps we could gain some traction. Just finding the call-in number on the park's own web-site is nearly impossible. I believe it shows that they don't want us to call.

Chuckwalla
08-03-2010, 05:52 PM
I've had some of the same experiences as a few of you with poachers. But over the last few years I've seen an exponential rise in illegal camping. It's seems almost everywhere I go; I see a group camped out in places other than BC sites or campgrounds.

oldhickory
08-03-2010, 09:12 PM
I have fished in the park for about 10 years, and have only been stopped once. He checked everything. That was several years ago though. Seems to be a problem without a clear solution.

Jim Casada
08-03-2010, 09:31 PM
Adam--A lot of local bear hunters, some of them apparently a pretty rough crowd, like to "train" their dogs by turning them out along the road leading from Jonathan Creek over into Cataloochee. There is a training season before the onset of actual bear hunting, and I've seen those guys at multiple pullouts during the training season and after the actual bear season opens. Apparently some of them are a pretty rough lot and rangers just don't want to mess with them.
Incidentally, if you spend much time in the Cataloochee area you are going to hear and likely see dogs. That's where most of them are coming from.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

Crockett
08-03-2010, 09:40 PM
I see Jim well I have heard of the dogs over there in Cataloochee. Believe it or not I talked about that very thing with your brother on this post a few weeks back:

http://gosmokies.knoxnews.com/profiles/blogs/newtons-bald

As far as the poachers I wonder if trout u, gsma or some other group like that could volunteer to help in some way in the park. I know they couldn't enforce regs but maybe they could take down peoples tag numbers or something.

JoeFred
08-04-2010, 08:35 AM
At the risk of opening up a cup of worms.... Since gates have most certainly curtailed poaching via wheeled conveyance, wouldn't the same be true if boat landings were restricted. For example, how about the Park Service erecting large signs within 500 yards or so of the mouths of Forney Creek, Hazel Creek, etc., making public boat landings illegal? Wait, there's more... Ferry landings would still be permitted by licensed operators who, among other things, would be required to prevent clients from carrying on bait - or lunch that could be fashioned into the same. The signs could perhaps read... NO PUBLIC BOAT LANDINGS. STRICTLY ENFORCED BY DRONES.

JF

Rog 1
08-04-2010, 09:16 AM
I have fished in the Park for 50 years and can count the number of times I have been asked for my license on one hand...only once have I had a ranger ask to look at my creel and that was only after I volunteered that I had caught my limit....after verifying that my smallest fish was in fact legal he offered up his reason for wanting to see my fish..."Don't usually have a "flat lander" from Florida have such good luck up here"...my grandfather who was with me and who had taught me the ways of fishing for trout took exception to that remark and pointed out that I had outfished him that day and he was a local...

Trip
08-04-2010, 10:00 AM
I always thought an annual pass/day pass system for the park would be well worth it to get the funding up to support a larger ranger force. I know a friend lost her job as a ranger on the NC side last year due to budget cuts.

Donations and federal money is just not cutting it, I would fully support a paid entry fee to use the park to keep the rules enforced and the park pristine. I would also expect more than traffic enforcement from this type of approach though. If they just doubled the amount of speeding ticket writers, that would be a waste.

Crockett
08-04-2010, 10:07 AM
What you say is very much frowned upon by most locals and I used to have the same opinion but recently have changed my mind. I now think that having an entrance fee would be a good thing but it will never happen. Locals and others could still get a yearly pass for like $35 which isn't that much but the small fee itself I think would definitely send most of the bad apples, joyriders, poachers and bait slingers elsewhere.

Streamhound
08-04-2010, 10:34 AM
I have paid to visit the parks out west as I know many others have. Would this really be a solution?
All we would need to do is change federal policy but that is not a big task

Trip
08-04-2010, 10:48 AM
I have paid to visit the parks out west as I know many others have. Would this really be a solution?
All we would need to do is change federal policy but that is not a big task

I don't think it would be a fix it all solution. I think it would keep some of the bad apples away, but not all of them. If they will ignore the rules of fishing bait and licenses, they will ignore the pass rules as well.

Maybe we will catch more of them though and actually could get some kind of response from the park when we do report such problems.

I donate more to the park than a standard park pass out west and would be happy to continue to do the same and get a pass in hopes that someone who didn't care about the condition they leave the park in when they leave didn't visit the park.

I think it will never happen. Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville would make sure of that because it would have a large potential impact on their tourist dollars.

BlueRaiderFan
08-04-2010, 11:17 AM
I don't like the idea of poor families/people having to pay to spend time in the park. It's there for everyone and a fee would keep them from enjoying the park.

Streamhound
08-04-2010, 11:28 AM
BRT the idea of paying is the conundrum of policy. I seem to recall the tragedy of commons lecture, which is usually invoked when discussing privatization of a public good.

I would guess a question might be how prevalent is this problem?

Rog 1
08-04-2010, 11:40 AM
Won't happen....when the GSMNP was created there was a provision that prohibited an entrance fee being charged

BlueRaiderFan
08-04-2010, 11:48 AM
BRT the idea of paying is the conundrum of policy. I seem to recall the tragedy of commons lecture, which is usually invoked when discussing privatization of a public good.

I would guess a question might be how prevalent is this problem?

I wouldn't care about prevalence unless it was an extreme problem and then I still couldn't advocate a fee.

Jim Casada
08-04-2010, 01:23 PM
Trip--While that approach is used in many parks, it won't happen in the Smokies. Part of the agreement when the Park was created (and unlike many out West it involved a great deal of land seizure) was that it would always be free to the people. Trying to change that would create a huge firestorm, and it is worth noting that thousands of mountain people, during an extraordinarily rough time in our country's economic history, donated pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters to help make the Park a reality. Their donation, of course, is dwarfed by the sacrifice made by people who actually lived in the Park.
Don't get me wrong, it's creation was a wonderful development, one from which everyone on this forum benefits. But as someone with roots in the area (my father grew up in the Park), I also know just how deeply the sense of injustice runs. Anyone who doubts this needs to read Hattie Caldwell Davis's writings on Cataloochee. There was literally wailing and gnashing of teeth when a preacher, trying to stave off a flat-out rebellion against the government, told folks they would have to leave all they loved, cherished, and had worked for over the generations.
So your proposal, while seemingly a logical one on the surface, would fly directly in the face of history and government promises.
Of course, cynic that I undoubtedly am, I would note that the government has broken promises before.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

Jim Casada
08-04-2010, 01:26 PM
Rog 1--Precisely. You said in a few words what it took me, in my verbose way, several hundred to say.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Trip
08-04-2010, 02:56 PM
Trip--While that approach is used in many parks, it won't happen in the Smokies. Part of the agreement when the Park was created (and unlike many out West it involved a great deal of land seizure) was that it would always be free to the people. Trying to change that would create a huge firestorm, and it is worth noting that thousands of mountain people, during an extraordinarily rough time in our country's economic history, donated pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters to help make the Park a reality. Their donation, of course, is dwarfed by the sacrifice made by people who actually lived in the Park.
Don't get me wrong, it's creation was a wonderful development, one from which everyone on this forum benefits. But as someone with roots in the area (my father grew up in the Park), I also know just how deeply the sense of injustice runs. Anyone who doubts this needs to read Hattie Caldwell Davis's writings on Cataloochee. There was literally wailing and gnashing of teeth when a preacher, trying to stave off a flat-out rebellion against the government, told folks they would have to leave all they loved, cherished, and had worked for over the generations.
So your proposal, while seemingly a logical one on the surface, would fly directly in the face of history and government promises.
Of course, cynic that I undoubtedly am, I would note that the government has broken promises before.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

I knew of the history of people chipping in to get the park created, I thought The National Parks: America's Best Idea did a decent job of showing how much the surrounding area contributed to getting the park created.

I also can understand the sense of injustice. As a TVA employee and I am not unaware of the issues we caused when did the same. That's why I don't mention who I am employed by in some areas of rural Tennessee, LOL.

Hopefully the Smokies are not in the same financial situation as a lot of other small parks. I know California was actually considering shutting down some of theirs. For the amount of people and tourist traps that greatly benefit from this park, it's a shame the place is having any funding issues whatsoever.

Crockett
08-04-2010, 03:18 PM
The park is facing financial problems like most of the others. The government seems to find a way to stick it to you one way or another. At one of the public meetings last fall park officials including the park superintendant discussed the fact that they cannot do an entrance fee and it was brought up that they were not at all barred from other "miscellaneous" fees such as backcountry camping fees, etc. It was tabled for now (as it has been in the past) but I wonder if it won't happen in the future. Selfishly I would rather pay the $35 a year entrance fee than $15 or more each time I went to the backcountry but thats just because I backpack a lot.

jeffnles1
08-04-2010, 03:28 PM
How about a free or very inexpensive ($5.00 for the year) Park Fishing License? In Yellowstone, they do it that way (I forget the charge but it wasn't that high).

In the Smoky's a Tennessee / NC license and a yearly Park Fishing Pass.

I'd gladly pay it, especially if it improved enforcement and fisheries work.

Of course, administering such a thing could cost more than the revenue generated and it could even lead to harrassment by rangers (I could see getting checked multiple times a day by every ranger who drove by).

Doubt if there is one simple answer to the poaching question but perhaps a lot of little things (more volunteers, more involvement by us when we see something, more money through fees for enforcement, more awareness in local businesses, better sinage in the park, ???).

Jeff

Jim Casada
08-04-2010, 03:57 PM
jeffnles1--While I wouldn't mind paying an annual fee, even up to $50 or so, rest assured it would be greeted with howls of protest from folks on both sides of the Park. Their argument would be (and it would have considerable validity) that they were promised free use of and access to the Park in perpetuity.

Another side of this issue, and it goes to poaching as well as other matters, is the pervasive feeling, especially on the N. C. side of the Park, that Park bureaucrats have consistently failed to live up to their promises. There's more than a little truth in that, and a key example comes with maintenance of and access to cemeteries. While the North Shore Road agreement never mentioned cemeteries, both TVA and the Park assured folks that loved ones buried in the Park would be properly remembered and respected. Yet in recent years in particular the Park has done anything but a stellar job in getting people to the more remote sites (huge problems on Hazel Creek, for example). They also do not maintain sites very well, IMO.

Just last week I walked up to the Mingus Cemetery as I returned to my truck after an evening's fishing on Luftee. It was badly in need of weeding, mowing, and a general clean up (and this is a site that is very easily accessible). The last time I visited it the cemetery which lies just a bit downstream from the Bone Valley campsite on Hazel Creek was a mess. Sam Macdonald, a regular visitor to this forum, may be able to offer more insight. He probably knows more about graves in the Park than anyone.

My point is simply this. A certain portion of locals feel a lingering sense of grievance in connection with the Park. It doesn't in any way justify poaching (and that involves far more than using bait to catch trout and keeping too many trout; namely, game and things like "sang"), but it does give n'er do wells a sort of backdoor justification for shameful behavior. In other words, not only through neglect connected with lack of funding but through outright failure to do what has promised, the Park is sometimes its own worst enemy.

To be sure, there's reason aplenty to expect folks to do their share to look after the graves of their ancestors, but even if fully willing there's the issue of access. Maybe the great poet of the Yukon, Rovert Service, put it best in a rew words: "A promise made is a debt unpaid." The Park has log had unpaid debts.
I don't know whether this will make sense to many of you, but the lingering sense of being wronged is very real in small communities on the edge of the Park as well as with some descendants of those who were forcibly removed. Incidentally, my father, who will celebrate his 101st birthday this weekend, does not feel at all aggrieved. He thinks the Park was a great blessing, although he also feels that Park officials have often created public relations nightmares for themselves.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Trip
08-04-2010, 04:08 PM
Park bureaucrats have consistently failed to live up to their promises.

Not surprising considering the current state of our government. Not going to get political, but I am disatisified with all parties and affliations running the country which trickles down into the way the parks are being run.

Streamhound
08-04-2010, 04:17 PM
Question for Crockett and other who make it to the local meetings

Did any discussion come up about poaching?

Crockett
08-04-2010, 04:22 PM
Question for Crockett and other who make it to the local meetings

Did any discussion come up about poaching?

Hey streamhound I have a friend name Kevin who covers the meetings for wbir and he is an avid hiker/backpacker too which is why I know the details of that particular meeting. I don't know if poaching was talked about but will ask him. He said the same idea of a backcountry camping fee was discussed back in the late 90s and they got some heat over the idea which is why it was dismissed back then. The thing that is concerning is that they would be bringing stuff like that up again so recently.

jeffnles1
08-04-2010, 04:30 PM
Jim,
I wasn't talking about an entry fee. I'm aware of all the issues and past promises about that. I was thinking specifically of a park fishing permit type of thing with the funding going to fisheries and enforcement.

No way would I expect a person to have to pay to visit a cemetary. I do like the fact access to the park is free (which I think all National Parks should be free because, after all, the parks belong to us.)

I don't think a fishing permit would cause unnecessary howling and could be beneficial to the park fisheries department. I'd gladly pay a nominal fee for a park fishing permit and outside of poachers, I don't see where it would be a problem for the people who's ancestors once lived on the land.???

Jeff

jeffnles1--While I wouldn't mind paying an annual fee, even up to $50 or so, rest assured it would be greeted with howls of protest from folks on both sides of the Park. Their argument would be (and it would have considerable validity) that they were promised free use of and access to the Park in perpetuity.

Another side of this issue, and it goes to poaching as well as other matters, is the pervasive feeling, especially on the N. C. side of the Park, that Park bureaucrats have consistently failed to live up to their promises. There's more than a little truth in that, and a key example comes with maintenance of and access to cemeteries. While the North Shore Road agreement never mentioned cemeteries, both TVA and the Park assured folks that loved ones buried in the Park would be properly remembered and respected. Yet in recent years in particular the Park has done anything but a stellar job in getting people to the more remote sites (huge problems on Hazel Creek, for example). They also do not maintain sites very well, IMO.

Just last week I walked up to the Mingus Cemetery as I returned to my truck after an evening's fishing on Luftee. It was badly in need of weeding, mowing, and a general clean up (and this is a site that is very easily accessible). The last time I visited it the cemetery which lies just a bit downstream from the Bone Valley campsite on Hazel Creek was a mess. Sam Macdonald, a regular visitor to this forum, may be able to offer more insight. He probably knows more about graves in the Park than anyone.

My point is simply this. A certain portion of locals feel a lingering sense of grievance in connection with the Park. It doesn't in any way justify poaching (and that involves far more than using bait to catch trout and keeping too many trout; namely, game and things like "sang"), but it does give n'er do wells a sort of backdoor justification for shameful behavior. In other words, not only through neglect connected with lack of funding but through outright failure to do what has promised, the Park is sometimes its own worst enemy.

To be sure, there's reason aplenty to expect folks to do their share to look after the graves of their ancestors, but even if fully willing there's the issue of access. Maybe the great poet of the Yukon, Rovert Service, put it best in a rew words: "A promise made is a debt unpaid." The Park has log had unpaid debts.
I don't know whether this will make sense to many of you, but the lingering sense of being wronged is very real in small communities on the edge of the Park as well as with some descendants of those who were forcibly removed. Incidentally, my father, who will celebrate his 101st birthday this weekend, does not feel at all aggrieved. He thinks the Park was a great blessing, although he also feels that Park officials have often created public relations nightmares for themselves.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Jim Casada
08-04-2010, 08:44 PM
Trip--I totally concur. I follow national affairs quite closely, but right now I am thoroughly disgusted, more so than any time in my life, with our purported "leaders" in both parties.
Jim Casada

Jim Casada
08-04-2010, 08:55 PM
jefnless1--Gotcha. I misinterpreted what you wrote, although it was clear enough. However, I can assure you that the howls of protest I mentioned would still come, because folks would say they had already paid to fish North Carolina (or Tennessee waters) and that those waters were part of the respective states long before they were a national park. Personally, I wouldn't mind.

Incidentally, I am happy to report I was actually checked this afternoon. But there's a big BUT. I originally headed up to Luftee about 4:00 intent on fishing for a few hours. I hadn't been in the creek five minutes when it came down muddy--not dingy but flat-out muddy. It wasn't coming from Bradley Fork or Toe String (I drove up to see), so it must have absolutely poured up around Newfound Gap.

I headed back to Bryson City and decided, at the last minute, to spend an hour or two in the state part of Deep Creek. I did, although at 73 degrees is is way too warm. I only caught five or six fish in an area I'll often catch 40 or 50 in the springtime. As I was leaving the creek I saw a state game warden on the bank. I climbed out to him, showed him my lifetime license, and we talked about Park poaching problems a bit. In a diplomatic fashion (he's a local fellow) he said that it obviously wasn't a Park priority and that it wasn't like in was in the 1960s and 1970s.

He also said something very interesting. As some of you may know, North Carolina Wildlife Resource Officers have authority in the Park, and this fellow often checks anglers in the area around the Deep Creek campground. He said he would venture to guess he checked more people in the Park on Deep creek than any Park rangers. I found that quite interesting.

Incidentally, I didn't know about this authority until a year ago, and when the same fellow told me he had it I was sufficiently dubious to contact folks in Raleigh. I knew the right contacts thanks to work writing on the NCWRC in the past. Sure enough, a state wildlife officer has full authority, at least when it comes to fishing matters, in the Park.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

BlueRaiderFan
08-04-2010, 09:16 PM
The rangers love to check people at the Y. Don't have to walk far to get some tickets written.

Rog 1
08-05-2010, 09:42 AM
The Park is federal land....its waters are exempt from trout stamp fees from both NC and Tenn....I would much rather pay a standard, flat fee for fishing these waters to the Park for use in its fishery than pay it to either of the states...

Jim Casada
08-05-2010, 10:16 AM
Rog 1--When it comes to fees for trout stamps, so would I (although I hold a lifetime N. C. non-resident license and am, in effect, covered from now on), but when it comes to certain aspects of jurisdiction the dividing line between state and federal, in this case, is blurred. Federal land, yes, but if you haven't done so check my previous post about N. C. game wardens having full authority in the Park. I don't really understand this but there's no doubt such is the case.
Jim Casada

Rog 1
08-05-2010, 11:54 AM
Jim...I understood what you said about the game wardens...and that is not the only line that is blurred...the vendors at the campgrounds are now charging state sales tax on purchases...again this is federal property...a sales tax is not charged on campsite rentals and there is no sales tax on military bases...you can fish in the Park cheaper with a NC license than with a TN. license....for years now I have been purchasing an annual NC license than having to pay out more money for several short term non-res. licenses from TN....that's why I think a single permit for the park that would benefit the fishery would be OK....

Slipstream
08-05-2010, 02:59 PM
Jim. Based on your discussion with the NC warden, what you are saying is that if we witness a fishing violation in the park we need to call the respective state's wildlife division for enforcement, rather than call the park?

Jim Casada
08-05-2010, 06:29 PM
Slipstream--I hadn't thought of things in that context, but it's certainly an idea.

Speaking of the non-presence of Park law enforcement on streams and in the backcountry, my brother just shared a really telling anecdote with me. I picked him up on lower Noland Creek a few hours ago and drove him back up to Clingman's Dome (where he started his hike early this morning). In the last two years he has hiked over 2,000 miles in the Park. His comment on rangers was: "In that time and all those miles I've seen exactly one ranger anywhere more than two miles from a road, and I've seen very few, period." It's clear the backcountry simply isn't a priority, and that leads to illegal camping (lots of it) and poaching. A sad situation.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

nvr2L8
08-05-2010, 07:02 PM
While my first 30+ years in the park were not very frequent, my last 3 1/2 years have been. In all that time, I have only been asked for my license and what I was fishing with once. And it was on a rainy day in February when I was still spin fishining. I had to have been the only person fishing within miles and I guess the Ranger was bored.

When I renewed my license this year, I realized that I did not have my 2009 license in my pack - don't know where it was and I'm glad I never was asked.

jeffnles1
08-05-2010, 09:48 PM
jefnless1--Gotcha. I misinterpreted what you wrote, although it was clear enough.

Jim,
No worries.
Jeff

Knothead
08-06-2010, 09:18 AM
I have fished the park a number of times and have never been checked. Same with fishing in Tennessee; never been asked for my license in 26 years.
When you go through Cades Cove, how many of you stop at the donation box just before the end of the road and drop in some folding money? I do. It is well worth a few bucks. I'm sure that the park would accept donations from private individuals.

Fly Fisherman 1
08-06-2010, 09:57 AM
I have been checked only once in eleven years. It was right in front of the Rangers quarters. He was headed in and I was walking along side of the road back to my truck.
Another thing I hate to see is people daming up the creeks with rocks. It seems like if they are not tubing they have to haul rocks and pile them up. If I understand trout behavior correctly, this can effect repopulation.

Plunker
08-06-2010, 03:49 PM
Checked and Interrogated...
April '10. Sitting on one of the big rocks above the rock wall bend below Elkmont Campground...munching on a pack o 'nabs, sipping on a bottle of water, waiting for signs of a hatch at the end of a long day of fishing.

Elves pull up, I waved..went back to watchin the water and eating my snack. Good Elf hops out exchanges pleasantries, asks about the day, questions what was on the days menu...nice guy... on exchange program from Mt.Rushmore.

Bad Elf hitches up gun belt, adjusts hat down over Her eyes, walks around behind me and without a hello, how are you, kiss my butt, nothing... PRONOUNCES:
"SIR! I WILL NEED TO SEE YOUR LICENSE....ALSO, I REQUEST TO SEE THE CONTENTS OF THE BACK POUCH OF YOUR VEST!"

Says I to "BAD ELF", certainly 'Mam please bear with me while I dig it out. I remove my vest and handed it to her, inviting her to inspect the questioned pocket as I stripped the waders down to get to my billfold. She acted as though it was a suicide bombers IED. "Place it ON THE GROUND SIR" says Bad Elf. (Good Elf is standing right beside me with a quizzical expression).

I empty the contents of the back pouch, which happened to be:
Rainjacket, Bottle of water, a busted blue worm tub, a piece of styrofoam cooler, and an empty Mountain Dew Bottle (that contained about 300 feet of monofiliment, three cigarette butts, a broken ball point pen, and the rolled up lid of a Vienna Sausage Can) Only the water and the jacket were mine.
Good Elf says, "Looks like you had quite a haul today...sorry you spent more time collecting trash than fishing...I appreciate you doing that!"

Bad Elf says..."SIR! ARE YOU AWARE THAT BAIT FISHING IS AGAINST PARK REGULATIONS!?!?!
I replied that I understood that and wished that others knew that as well as I. Still intent on asserting her authority, she, "Bad Elf", required that I deposit the trash in a bag as she watched to make sure that I did it.

Good Elf says thank you, good luck, and gets back in car.

Bad Elf reviews my license, hands it back to me, nods and gets in car. NOT ANOTHER WORD.:eek:

Simple proof...NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED.:mad:

Rog 1
08-06-2010, 05:21 PM
I was camping with my fishing buddy in June and was paid a visit by two such elves...in full combat dress...was informed that there had been a food container violation at our campsite....had left dishes and pots and pans on the table and one of those camp volunteers had spotted a small empty cooler under our camper...neglected was the generator across from us that went until after 10 and the cooler in the back of the pickup next to us whose owners were dumping their gray water in the woods each night...wonder when was the last time either had been up the trail to the forks of the river...I believe I met your evil elf on NC side a couple of years ago...she had me climb a 10 ft. bank to show me my license....

jeffnles1
08-06-2010, 07:21 PM
Fortunately, I've never had a encounter with a bad ranger. The ones I've met and talked with were professional and courteous. I did run across a Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officer once who thought he was Dirty Harry (including weapon drawn from holster as he walked up to me), but that was a long time ago and maybe my long hair (with no gray yet) and unshaven face (again with no gray patches) made him think I was a rough customer or something.

Hope I never run into your "bad elf".

Jeff

Plunker
08-06-2010, 09:43 PM
Perhaps I should start wearing my waders down around my knees, and replace my lanyard with a Platinum Chain and BLING out my tippet spools with some diamonds...unh...unh....unh...

What's next? getting arrested for drug paraphenalia? "Sir!!! is that a Roach clip hanging from that zinger?" Dang good thing I wasn't holding a container of shake -n- float powder.

I understand the need for caution...which is why I'm respectful, and hyper co-operative...I have nothing to hide, but really! the road into Elkmont isn't the "LBC".
The Good Elf from Mt. Rushmore was really cool, and I venture to say that he was genuinely interested in getting to know me and learning about Fly Fishing GSMNP.

I am forced to wonder if the extra X chromosome had something to do with the chip on "her" shoulder.

Badges????, Badges????....we don't need no stinkin Badges!!!

millerdvr
08-06-2010, 10:20 PM
Checked and Interrogated...
April '10. Sitting on one of the big rocks above the rock wall bend below Elkmont Campground...munching on a pack o 'nabs, sipping on a bottle of water, waiting for signs of a hatch at the end of a long day of fishing.

Elves pull up, I waved..went back to watchin the water and eating my snack. Good Elf hops out exchanges pleasantries, asks about the day, questions what was on the days menu...nice guy... on exchange program from Mt.Rushmore.

Bad Elf hitches up gun belt, adjusts hat down over Her eyes, walks around behind me and without a hello, how are you, kiss my butt, nothing... PRONOUNCES:
"SIR! I WILL NEED TO SEE YOUR LICENSE....ALSO, I REQUEST TO SEE THE CONTENTS OF THE BACK POUCH OF YOUR VEST!"

Says I to "BAD ELF", certainly 'Mam please bear with me while I dig it out. I remove my vest and handed it to her, inviting her to inspect the questioned pocket as I stripped the waders down to get to my billfold. She acted as though it was a suicide bombers IED. "Place it ON THE GROUND SIR" says Bad Elf. (Good Elf is standing right beside me with a quizzical expression).

I empty the contents of the back pouch, which happened to be:
Rainjacket, Bottle of water, a busted blue worm tub, a piece of styrofoam cooler, and an empty Mountain Dew Bottle (that contained about 300 feet of monofiliment, three cigarette butts, a broken ball point pen, and the rolled up lid of a Vienna Sausage Can) Only the water and the jacket were mine.
Good Elf says, "Looks like you had quite a haul today...sorry you spent more time collecting trash than fishing...I appreciate you doing that!"

Bad Elf says..."SIR! ARE YOU AWARE THAT BAIT FISHING IS AGAINST PARK REGULATIONS!?!?!
I replied that I understood that and wished that others knew that as well as I. Still intent on asserting her authority, she, "Bad Elf", required that I deposit the trash in a bag as she watched to make sure that I did it.

Good Elf says thank you, good luck, and gets back in car.

Bad Elf reviews my license, hands it back to me, nods and gets in car. NOT ANOTHER WORD.:eek:

Simple proof...NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED.:mad:


It is clowns like her that give all of them a bad name, it is a shame that you have to be treated like a.) an idiot b.) a criminal c.) an idiot d.) a criminal when you are obviously just trying to enjoy a nice day on the water. You should file a complaint about this officer and keep complaining about her, it is people like this that will keep tourists away.

Plunker
08-06-2010, 11:22 PM
Does Amnesty International have a Fly-Fishing Division? or Maybe the ACLU?
Never thought about gettin profiled while fly fishing....

*click* ah Dispatch...we got ourselves a 7X-RAY, 5 Whiskey Tango, 9'foxtrot on Elkmont Road...come back! *click*

*click* Affirmative dispatch, that would be a middle aged fat guy in waders, wearing a funny hat, and brandishing a 9' 5 weight flyrod with 7x tippet...over *click*

*click* 10-4 dispatch, he has been harassing trout, and the perp is currently eating an Oreo...request weapons release....please send back-up...he tied on a #22 Adams...need FBI HRT. DIspatch we gonna have to take this one down...deploying Tasers...over*click*:cool:

jeffnles1
08-07-2010, 09:09 AM
*click* ah Dispatch...we got ourselves a 7X-RAY, 5 Whiskey Tango, 9'foxtrot on Elkmont Road...come back! *click*


Now, that is funny stuff. :smile: Thanks.

Jeff

Plunker
08-07-2010, 11:01 PM
Now, that is funny stuff. :smile: Thanks.

Jeff

Thanks Jeff...gotta laugh about these things, otherwise I probably WOULD be Tazed.

Probably a good thing I deflect with humor...helps me deal with airport TSA...not going any futher there otherwise the Department of Homeland Security may take an interest in regulating FLY FISHING:biggrin:

jeffnles1
08-08-2010, 08:46 AM
...helps me deal with airport TSA

Aaahhh, yes, TSA searches - been there, done that.:smile:

JoeFred
08-08-2010, 09:49 AM
My supervisor at (let's call it) Acme Chemical enjoyed his quarter horses. Once while exiting the plant his vehicle was searched by one of our more conscientious security guards, know affectionately as Barney. When asked where the saddle in his truck bed came from, my boss replied with a grin, "off one of Acme's horses, of course."

JF

duckypaddler
08-08-2010, 10:15 AM
I am forced to wonder if the extra X chromosome had something to do with the chip on "her" shoulder.


The 2 lady rangers (different occasions) I have had the pleasure of dealing with were very nice & completely professional. In fact one was a situation where should could have easily made a misjudgement, and not only made a good call, but also followed up and made sure nothing else happened. With proper training the differences between a man & woman are microscopic at best. While you will always get a few bad apples, I think the Park does a great job of recruiting the best around. Sorry if I sound like a feminist:eek:

The rest of your post was hilarious. I remember asking a ranger right when I first started fishing if it was OK to use a yellowhammer. Without even thinking (although I doubt he knew what one was) he started quoting the line on every fishing sign in the Park about artificial lure single hook blah blah blah. So then I said it is an artificial lure single hook so I'm legal right. He nodded his head, made a frustrated face, and walked off:rolleyes:

Knothead
08-08-2010, 02:22 PM
As far as the poachers I wonder if trout u, gsma or some other group like that could volunteer to help in some way in the park. I know they couldn't enforce regs but maybe they could take down peoples tag numbers or something.

It would be a good idea if everyone would write down license numbers, etc. and turn them in to the proper authorities. As long as people get away with illegal activities, they will continue to do them.

Rock dams: I got this off the NPS website regarding GSMNP-
Disturbing and moving rocks to form channels and rock dams is illegal in the park!
Moving rocks is harmful to both fish and aquatic insects that live in the streams. Many fish species that live in the park spawn between April and August. Some of these fish build their nests in small cavities under rocks and even guard the nest. When people move the rock, the nest is destroyed and the eggs and/or young fish die.
Aquatic insects need rocks for cover as well. Some aquatic insects can drift off or move when disturbed, but many species attach themselves to the rock and cannot move. When a rock is moved, aquatic insects fall, are crushed by the movement, or dry out and die when the rock is placed out of water.
One of the fundamental policies of the National Park Service is to preserve natural resources in an unaltered state. Consequently, it is against the law to move rocks in the stream. Please abide by these rules so that future generations may enjoy the park as well.

Interesting, huh? I was surprised to learn of this as when I fish my home waters, one of the first things is to check rocks to see what is under there.

Crockett
08-08-2010, 05:19 PM
This is my official notice to park officials. My son and I move rocks looking for salamanders quite often. In fact we did it yesterday.

Also I would like to report two 5 year old girls I saw this morning at cs 18 with one minnow bucket containing 3 salamanders and a crawdad. I am quite certain they moved rocks in order to capture those creatures and I didn't get their names but I can describe them and their parents to the rangers if requested.

BlueRaiderFan
08-08-2010, 05:40 PM
I don't think moving rocks would be a big deal, but taking salamanders and crayfish is.

silvercreek
08-08-2010, 08:37 PM
Doesn't seem equitable that you can drag a brookie from his home and eat him, but your not allowed to terrorize a salamander or two.

Plunker
08-08-2010, 11:10 PM
The 2 lady rangers (different occasions) I have had the pleasure of dealing with were very nice & completely professional. In fact one was a situation where should could have easily made a misjudgement, and not only made a good call, but also followed up and made sure nothing else happened. With proper training the differences between a man & woman are microscopic at best. While you will always get a few bad apples, I think the Park does a great job of recruiting the best around. Sorry if I sound like a feminist:eek:



I am ABSOLUTELY fine with the LADY/FEMALE/XX'rs Park Persons, LEO's, Service Women, etc... and am grateful for their Service and Protection of this Great Country...Furthermore, I am Nothing if not respectful, and deferential to their authority...often going out of my way to be completely transparent in my encounters with any LEO.
THAT being said; I rarely have kind things to say about ANYONE who takes that "You WILL Respect My AUTHORITI" attitude (In Business or Law Enforcement), when I have dislayed NOTHING but respect.

This is the 21st Century....early in the last century She wouldn't have had that job... and I would not begin to question her right or ability to do that job well today.:redface:

duckypaddler
08-09-2010, 07:50 AM
I am ABSOLUTELY fine with the LADY/FEMALE/XX'rs Park Persons, LEO's, Service Women, etc... and am grateful for their Service and Protection of this Great Country...Furthermore, I am Nothing if not respectful, and deferential to their authority...often going out of my way to be completely transparent in my encounters with any LEO.
THAT being said; I rarely have kind things to say about ANYONE who takes that "You WILL Respect My AUTHORITI" attitude (In Business or Law Enforcement), when I have dislayed NOTHING but respect.

This is the 21st Century....early in the last century She wouldn't have had that job... and I would not begin to question her right or ability to do that job well today.:redface:

I didn't mean to discount your experience, which I believe wholeheartly, just wanted to point out where my experience was 180 of that. :smile: Just not wanting to give the "Good" ladies a bad name. :biggrin:

It makes me think of this new bodybuilder type ranger (I forget his name sorry) that started about 2 years ago. It was pretty funny on how he was trying to convince some of my more experienced kayakers that they were going to die if they ran the Sinks waterfall. While this drop does occasionally grab a touron or 2 and would be very dangerous for someone who was not experienced with whitewater, it's just a Class 4 that gets run thousands of time per year without incident (well the pile of rocks at bottom is a paddle breaker though).

3 weeks later, when he saw us there, he was smiling as we ran the drop and wasn't the least bit concerned:rolleyes:. Well that is except for one of the long haired kayakers in the parking lot was getting the evil eye, and he walking over to his car making sure there wasn't anything suspicious going on:eek:

Crockett
08-09-2010, 08:42 AM
Does the body builder guy have a bald head and look and sound like Vin Diesel? I like to walk around cades cove at night sometimes after the loop is closed and one night in february i was walking it with my girlfriend when a truck pulled up behind us. I knew it was a ranger because there were no cars in there at nighttime. He just pulled up rolled down the window and asked if we were having a nice hike. I said yeah. He said it sure was a nice night for walking the cove then left.

Knothead
08-09-2010, 09:34 AM
Just posting the park regulations. Follow them if you want. I'm sure there was a reason for having them in place. Read the regulation again, please.