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View Full Version : Question about keeping fish that you catch in GSMNP


HuskerFlyFisher
05-03-2012, 04:39 PM
First off, let me say I've never kept a fish, because I don't know how to clean fish. :biggrin:

But just supposing I wanted to, if every Smokies fisherman wanted to keep a few fish to eat, would this affect the overall population of the fish in the park to any degree?

I heard one fellow say one time that there are a lot of predators for these fish that are a lot more of a threat than any fisherman - snakes, raccoons, river otter, king fisher, etc.

I also get the impression that the GSMNP has a pretty liberal policy of your being able to "keep" five fish per day because they are confident that the fisherman that can actually bring 5 to hand is going to be a rare bird.

Thoughts on this?

GrouseMan77
05-03-2012, 05:13 PM
Keep a few every once and a while...I do. Have someone show you how to clean a trout so you don't waste.

tnflyfisher
05-03-2012, 05:17 PM
First off, let me say I've never kept a fish, because I don't know how to clean fish. :biggrin:

I also get the impression that the GSMNP has a pretty liberal policy of your being able to "keep" five fish per day because they are confident that the fisherman that can actually bring 5 to hand is going to be a rare bird.

Easy, best way to clean trout is to just cut the underbelly from back to front and dispose of all the entrails. Cutting off the head is optional. If you do plan to keep some trout, go ahead and do this right after catching them. This will help to preserve freshness. Also, try to keep them cool and moist for the rest of the day until dinner time if possible. Overall, keeping a few fish is not going to hurt the stream... :cool:

As far as the creel limit, not so sure if it has much to do with perceived angler skill but that definitely gave me a laugh... I get all nervous and antsy if I only manage to bring 5 to hand. Guess that makes me a rare bird... :biggrin:

Tight Lines,

GrouseMan77
05-03-2012, 05:20 PM
Easy, best way to clean trout is to just cut the underbelly from back to front and dispose of all the entrails. Cutting off the head is optional. If you do plan to keep some trout, go ahead and do this right after catching them. This will help to preserve freshness. Also, try to keep them cool and moist for the rest of the day until dinner time if possible.

There you go...I was to lazy to type it out. Make sure you leave the head on until you are home in case you are checked by the man. I leave the heads on because it gives me something to hold onto while I'm eating them.

I pop out the eyes, wash throughly, then put them in cornmeal and fry till golden brown. IMO, best keeping size is 7-8".

ifish4wildtrout
05-03-2012, 05:46 PM
The others are right on about how to gut a trout.

I am a firm believer that most of our streams are overpopulated. Keeping a few helps thin them out, allowing the remaining fish to have more food.

I rarely keep trout, simply because I am not much of a fish eater. I usually keep a few when backpacking, just because I feel like it is part of the whole experience.

I have kept 3 rainbows in the past three years that were not caught on backpacking trips, all 3 swallowed the fly and were in pretty bad shape, bleeding badly and not really able to stay upright in the water. I was confident that were going to die, so I dispatched them and brought them home to eat.

As far as fish having predators, they do and always have had predators, birds and such. Humans keeping and eating fish has been going on for thousands, possibly millions of years. The fish are still here. With that said, logging has certainly had an impact on the populations, especially the brook trout. If the biologists felt creeling a few was going to lead to their extinction, I don't think they would allow us to keep any.

Most anglers in the backcountry release their fish, or keep a few here and there. Oldman and I kept 2 trout last weekend. The waters we fished probably hold 30000 - 50000 trout, now they hold 29998 - 49998 trout. I don't think we hurt a thing. The hole that I caught the 8.5 inch brook (one of the ones we kept) from, I caught 2 or 3 smaller brooks from that same hole. I could be wrong, but I bet the one we kept out competed those smaller ones for food. Maybe now they will grown larger without his competition for food.

I don't think the limit of 5 fish is set because few anglers can catch 5 keepers. I would say there are few anglers who could not achieve this goal on just about any given day, barring freak weather, or super low water, or just a really crappy day of fishing. I am sure we all have had a day like that here and there. :biggrin:

BlueRaiderFan
05-03-2012, 07:00 PM
Personally I rarely keep a fish from the park. If you do keep fish, please be certain that it isn't of spawning age/size. On the rare occasion that I keep fish, I try and keep them that are in the 7-10" range, because I'm not certain if one that is larger is capable of spawning so I just don't keep them, just in case. I think I've kept 2-3 trout in 5 years but I never go back country so that's probably why.

No Hackle
05-03-2012, 08:05 PM
You might have to go to Matt and Steve with the fisheries dept., but some time ago they did an experiment on a stream where fisherman were to keep everything they caught no matter the size within a certain time period. The stream rebounded and the following year the numbers and the size were the same as the previous years. Eat and be merry. I bet if you kept a limit every time it would make no difference.
Lynn

spotlight
05-03-2012, 08:22 PM
A couple trout in the frying pan won't hurt the stream none. I usually fry up a couple when I backpack or camp so I can get em while they are fresh. I keep em in a ziplock baggie while fishing and change the water in the bag every 20 minutes or so.....this keeps the trout nice and fresh....enjoy

Stana Claus
05-03-2012, 08:41 PM
BTW, if you do keep a couple for the pan, after you remove the entrails run your thumbnail (or a spoon or some such) the length of the spine to remove the large blood vessel that will remain there behind a membrane. I find that doing so before cooking helps make them taste better.

duckypaddler
05-03-2012, 08:44 PM
You might have to go to Matt and Steve with the fisheries dept., but some time ago they did an experiment on a stream where fisherman were to keep everything they caught no matter the size within a certain time period. The stream rebounded and the following year the numbers and the size were the same as the previous years. Eat and be merry. I bet if you kept a limit every time it would make no difference.
Lynn

I'm pretty sure their data concluded fisherman had no impact on the fish. Hence the reason we can now catch & eat Brookies. I took the monster Brookie that I tore up when removing the hook and 4 big rainbows home yesterday:smile: My buddy ran by this morning to pick them up and feasted on them tonight for dinner.

The easiest way to learn to clean a trout besides having someone show you is to simply watch a you tube video. That's what I did.

ifish4wildtrout
05-03-2012, 09:11 PM
Some people really don't like for anyone to keep a wild trout, especially a brook. I got some pretty "heated" feedback at another forum for eating a wild brook. :smile:

Knothead
05-04-2012, 07:24 AM
I don't have a problem with someone keeping a couple for the skillet. Personally, I don't like the taste of trout so I don't eat them. My wife has a great recipe for oven-fried bluegill.
I can understand some getting upset at eating wild trout- someone once said fish don't grow any more while doing the backstroke in Crisco. Maybe that is what they were thinking.

duckypaddler
05-04-2012, 07:38 AM
Some people really don't like for anyone to keep a wild trout, especially a brook. I got some pretty "heated" feedback at another forum for eating a wild brook. :smile:

People seem to get heated pretty easily on that board:eek:

LRO Board is so much kinder and gentler:smile: - unless you have to hear from the "Arm & Hammer";)

tnflyfisher
05-04-2012, 11:17 AM
BTW, if you do keep a couple for the pan, after you remove the entrails run your thumbnail (or a spoon or some such) the length of the spine to remove the large blood vessel that will remain there behind a membrane. I find that doing so before cooking helps make them taste better.

I was trying to give the easy peasy lemon squeezy version but Mr. Claus is correct. I do this as well but figured that a newbie might not want to... :biggrin:

People seem to get heated pretty easily on that board:eek:

You don't say... :rolleyes:
I very rarely keep any fish whatsoever but if I do, you can bet it's going to be a couple of fat brook trout. Sorry but they just taste the best especially with some lemon and butter... however, I feel that I now need to also experience the Southern style 'cornmeal special' as well... :biggrin:

Tight Lines,

No Hackle
05-04-2012, 03:00 PM
I'm pretty sure their data concluded fisherman had no impact on the fish. Hence the reason we can now catch & eat Brookies. I took the monster Brookie that I tore up when removing the hook and 4 big rainbows home yesterday:smile: My buddy ran by this morning to pick them up and feasted on them tonight for dinner.

The easiest way to learn to clean a trout besides having someone show you is to simply watch a you tube video. That's what I did.


That's right Ducky and that data is probley 12 to 15 years old. Just shows you that our fisheries dept. in the Smokys want to get it right. They make sure their data backs up everything. Not just a shot in the dark.
Lynn

No Hackle
05-04-2012, 03:04 PM
I think the wild rainbows are the best eating fish. I really don't care for the Specs. IMO.
Lynn

Rog 1
05-06-2012, 09:11 PM
In my 50+ years of fishing in the park I know they have tried to "fish" our the waters of Tremont at least twice...the last time they poisened the stream after the fishout days...years earlier they were trying to rid the stream of bows by requiring that all fish no matter what size but brook trout were to be kept and brought out....the next year was the best fishing number wise and size wise that this stream had seen...the biologist will tell you that these streams do no have an over abundance of food and there is only a specific amount that is available to these fish....without some harvesting of the locals the result is a large number of small fish fighting for a limited amount of food....the average size right now is up due to the effects of the recent droughts on the number of fish....with less fish there is more food available to the remaining fish which allows for more growth per fish...and last but not least the smaller fish do taste the best.

g022271
05-06-2012, 09:51 PM
I keep a few on infrequent occasions and when I do , they go into my smoker. Really tasty!!

Mike

dropper
05-06-2012, 10:01 PM
People seem to get heated pretty easily on that board:eek:

LRO Board is so much kinder and gentler:smile: - unless you have to hear from the "Arm & Hammer";)

I call some of them over there pouncers. They usually do not have much to say then they pounce on you for saying that the Atlantic Ocean has fish in it.

adirondack46r
05-07-2012, 08:32 AM
Where is this other board you all speak of?

dropper
05-07-2012, 09:09 AM
I am not a fish eater so i put all mine back but if someone wants to keep a fish or two that is their choice and i do not have a problem with it. I do think that with all the efforts of the park to restore the brooke trout population i might would toss those back. I have started catching specs in streams that is getting the spill over of specs.
Friday there was two good ole boys who were locals pulled up beside me in cataloochee. Nice fellas with long white beards and i could hardly understand their language. (MOUNTAIN LANGUAGE). They wanted to make sure they were not getting in my way and off they went wearing overalls. I bet they kept a few.I think they were the same ole boys that came driving all thru the campground at about 5 am one morning. Must of go into the shine.