View Full Version : Smokies and Brookies in the Spotlight

05-18-2006, 11:42 AM
I was browsing at Borders the other day and looked at the latest issue of Fish&Fly. It had a lenghty article about the Smokies and brookies in particular. It had several pictures from The Greenbrier area. Then Trout Magazine (TU) had the same pictures in an article about the Brook Trout.

I guess it is inevitable, but I don't know if it is good or bad with all this publicity on smaller streams. I'm not worried about fishing pressures since the fish are starving and grunted in growth. My main concern is the crowds littering and fouling the area as well as the hardship of finding some solitude. I guess it's the kind of world we live in now. Good or Bad, the articles were interesting.


05-18-2006, 03:06 PM
your concerns are well founded.the problem with stories on fly fishing,that originate and are published in the more artsy-craftsy fishing magazines,is not the article itself.The story conveyed in the article is secondary to the richly colored photos showing a fisherman,poised,ready to cast a fly,in Eden-like surroundings.The imagry is tantalizing if not magnetic.Ultimately,it draws all kinds of folks.Many are non-fisherman,all hope to find the feeling and ambience that a picture cannot provide.Not to mention,the fish causing all the fuss,is usually so small that it would make Ernest Hemingway blush.
For most of the pilgrims,one trip will settle the curiosity about fly-fishing in the Smokies,but,as you say,what will they leave behind?More folks venturing into the park means more trash etc. to be reckoned withSome folks will behave ok, a lot of them won't.Who or What pays for trashy,vandaly,behavior?
It will be the Park that will pay.11 million/year+magazine adventurers make it hard on ecosystems
I have been coming to the Smokies for 30-some years.The streams of the park remain beautiful.The clear cold waters,that hold the Brookies,sound restless and soothing as they empty out of the mountains.The fishing is great,but you have to accept the whole package.The package being,an understanding that you are in an primeival ecosystem.It can be easily destroyed.All who enter its boundries must adopt a concience of natured-respect.

05-18-2006, 05:48 PM
While as sportsmen (no sexism meant) we appreciate the articles from a conservation standpoint, the glamorous aspects projected of the fly fisherman will inevitably draw many people to the perceived tranquilty and ability to fish. This draws abnormally large populations to fish and hopefully, they will not totally destroy or trash the area in the process.

The Preacher
05-19-2006, 10:02 AM
My boys and I used to fish the N. and S. forks of Citico regularly and rarely saw another fisherman. An article about these streams come out in a magazine, and, if I remember correctly, in the Knoxville newspaper. We finally quit fishing these streams due to the crowds we bagan to encounter there. I hope the same thing doesn't happen with these streams in the park.

05-20-2006, 07:21 AM

Forgive me for saying so, but I'm detecting a fair amount of short-sightedness here. I just don't buy into the argument that a destination piece in a niche-market publication will lead to the kind of doom and gloom I'm reading about on this board; Mainly because Joe "Treble Hook" Spinner will never pick up a copy for a number of socio-economic reasons, and As for the swarms of catch-release variety anglers destined for Greenbrier----Well let's just say I've never had a guide service or outfitter complain about my presence in their place of business (except for one near Nashville that didn't offer a Fair Game.) So who are we blaming here? It's as if we'd be happier having picked up a copy of (let's call the publication: 'American Strangler' so as not to promote another product or service) and read something along the lines of:

" Fishing for Brookies in the GSMNP is the absolute worst activity a human being can engage in. Their populations are said to be tiny if not already extinct, the streams are treacherously steep and loaded with poisonous vipers and sharp rocks. Furthermore, it is reported there are at least 2 Black bears per square mile of the GSMNP; the same species of bears that have killed over 50 people since 1945. This just in: Why risk your life to fish for a species you probably won't catch any way?"

The people that complain about the promotion of a fishing locale are likely the same ones to complain about how idiotic my previous paragraph was. We just can't have it both ways...

Furthermore, I did a quick search of the internet by entering the term " Smoky and mountain and fly and Fishing" and got-back 174,000 results on web sites containing the phrase: Smoky mountain fly fishing, and isn't it Ironic that we're having this discussion via the world wide web using resources provided by LRO? It's funny how that works.

What we're really discussing is the dissemination of information and who has access to it. For instance, give me a TN county and street address, and I can tell you (91.2 % of the time) the Identity of the property owner and how much he or she paid for it. My point is, the information is out there for those who seek it. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've not yet had the pleasure of gently landing a treasured Brookie but I can (with a little research) get to at least 10 streams in which to fish for them. It's simply a matter of which variety of angler wants to put forth enough time and effort to speculate on smoky mtn brookies.

There's about 12 million different angles <no pun intended> one could take in this debate dealing with any topic from, The affects of fishing pressure on a certain fishery, to the economics of trout fishing, to the affects of destination journalism, to government fishing regulation, to how popular is too popular? Don't get me wrong, I've been known to complain on any number of topics in the past, some of which have been noted in this forum, I'm only human, but for the most part, I try not to feel guilty about having beautiful places in which to go fishing.

In closing I'd like to add that the fisheries division of the TWRA publishes a guide to Brook Trout ......well nevermind, I think I'll just keep that information to myself.


Fish on!

05-20-2006, 12:14 PM
lol@rainshaker ;). Yeah, I didn't know information about brookies was so hard to get that one would worry about a little publicity. You guys shouldn't worry so much. Catching tiny brookies isn't everyones idea of a good day of fishing.

BTW, do you guys ever pick up trash in the Park? You'd be surprised at the impact you may have if you'd pick up a can here and there. I do.

David Knapp
05-20-2006, 06:12 PM
This is definately a topic that people will feel strongly about. Selfishly, I wish that articles would NOT highlight the small mountain streams I love to fish and consider my home waters. On the other hand, I have been introduced to some very nice places through such magazine articles, rivers that were someone elses home waters and I have enjoyed fishing those places. Unfortunately, often when a destination is brought to the attention of many other anglers, the fishing quality deteriorates. The list of examples could go on and on and I believe that it is a valid concern. Thankfully, our streams are overpopulated so I'm not going to worry yet 8-).

David Knapp

05-20-2006, 07:54 PM
Rainshaker. I would like to begin with the following: For all the people that know me personally and from this board as well as numerous other boards over the years, I am not shortsighted and definitely not one to hide or not help others out. In fact I used to be the one who freely gave out streams locations as well as other pertinent information. I began however to limit this to pm only and then only to people I felt a certain connection to or who I felt was genuinely interested in the outdoors and the careful enjoyment of such. I began limit my information not becauase I felt that the fishing would deteriorate but because of the enormous amount of garbage on streams. Yes Mr Fowler I have been using a plastic bag in my backpocket to pick up trash on streams since at least five years back. You be amazed how many people look at me like I'm some kind of fool. I pick up trash from everyone and there are much trash coming from fly fishers pocket also. More so in the park than anywhere else due to it being a fly fishing destination of sort. I don't have a problem with sharing the streams and I know we all have a right to fish but I do feel it is not in anyone's interest to see these articles over and over especially on small streams. As for the comment on Greenbrier. I fish Greenbrier about ten to twenty times in a season and I have to say that I see at least one or two fishermen using illegal methods on that stream about every other trip I make. I have even picked up nightcrawler containers on that stream. Again it's not that I fear that they will fish out the stream, it's just that I am SICK AND TIRED OF PICKING UP TRASH ON THESE MOUNTAIN STREAMS.

The Preacher
05-20-2006, 08:16 PM
I stand by what I said about the huge increase in fishing pressure on the N. & S. forks of Citico after the publicity. I really liked Tennswede's paragraph and would not complain about it at all. The biggest garbage that bothers me along the park streams are the worm cartons and corn cans. But keep in mind I'm the guy who is planning to start a nat'l organization like NWTF except our goal will be to discourage people from beginning turkey hunting rather than promoting the sport. ;D

05-20-2006, 09:00 PM
I appreciate your point of view, but we seem to be on two different subjects. I was speaking more to the first post (i.e the effect a single article has to it's specialized audience i.e fly fishers). You guys are commenting on bad behavior, irresposible and inconsiderate people. Until we can identify that class or group of people that illegally use treble hooks and leave worm buckets on the stream, we'll never know how often they read Fish&Fly magazine, and certainly won't know which article brought them to Greenbrier (or your favorite secret hole). My belief is that unfortunately, these certain few will continue to show up, dump trash, net fish, whatever, regardless of what is written in a destination article.

Btw, thanks for picking up trash along the streams. I think we should all do the same.


05-20-2006, 09:14 PM
Rainshaker, yes you are right I got off subject a little but mostly because the two issues are related. Yes, a lot of people that trash the streams don't read fly fishing magazines, but some of the flyfishers are to blame for littering also. I think we need to realize that not all fly fisherman are as considerate as we might think they are. I believe that the issue is not if a single article in Fish&Fly will have an impact on Greenbrier. I noticed a trend lately. It is not merely a single article. It was several pictures in both Fish&Fly and TU's Trout Magazine. I have noticed that there are much more people on certain streams in latter years than say mid nineties. This is a result of the Internet and again I'm not so much opposed to sharing the stream. I just wish people will obey the law. I know this is nothing we can solve or do much about but I believe we can make a difference by showing others. Begin by picking up trash along the streams and tread lightly. I'm ending this by a funny sidenote: I'm guilty of littering myself today. How is that possible you may ask? Especially after my preaching. Well. I foolishly tried to reach a rock which was out of my proper reach on Abrams today. Result: Took a forced shower in 50 degree water and lost my water bottle, I looked at it for at least five minutes as it was sailing down the river. In a couple fo weeks some guy or gal at the other end of Abrams will shout. I"M SICK AND TIRED OF ALL THIS TRASH ;D

05-21-2006, 02:27 PM
I have noticed that there are much more people on certain streams in latter years than say mid nineties. This is a result of the Internet and again I'm not so much opposed to sharing the stream.

I just think they're are more people using the public resources because there are just more people. Not because of something they read. Rural areas are disappearing rapidly and people have no where else to go to fish and such. I know there are some ignorant people that can't find anything without the internet but the Park Service has been offering maps for years. Besides that, finding water inside the Park is obvious.

I'm afraid that the trash is always going to be there because the smokies is the most visited National Park with over 12 million visitors a year. It's up to us to be the stewards. I don't mind caring for that beautiful place by donating my time. Maybe we should get a trash detail started though the Park Service.

05-22-2006, 08:45 AM
I have been flyfishing for nearly 35 years. I can honestly say, anytime these articles come out, there is a significant increase in fishing pressure on the streams noted. If anyone remembers a few years back when the movie, "A River Runs Through It" came out, the number of fly fishers exploded, albeit, temporarily when everyone thought of the serenity of flyfishing (or thought they would be the next Brad Pitt ;). When I first started fly fishing, I was a four year old who's father started us on the NC side of the Smokies flyfishing. We also practiced in the streams of Cherokee, NC. There was scarecely any pressure then, and hardly the occurrence of trash that we now experience. A previous post was correct in this sense; there are flyfisherman (sportsman) and there are people who flyfish. They should not be confused as one usually respects the surroundings they are fishing in and works to ensure the long-term survivability of these surroundings for future generations. The other simply wants to wet a line for a day or a weekend and could care less what happens to the streams when he is not around. In the last year of fishing the smokies, I have managed to accumulate a number of garbage bags of nothing but fly line and tippets that people have broken off and left on the banks. This stuff is not bio-degradable and does not come from the "other" fisherman who drown worms and for some reason think its acceptable to sow canned corn in the streams. This is from our fellow flyfishermen who for some reason, see no need to practice picking up their own trash, let alone, someone elses'. As with Tnswede, I also carry a garbage bag or a Wal*&%^ bag in my waders just to pickup the trash I experience on the stream side. I don't do this for any accolades, I just want to preserve the streams for my children who are now flyfishers in their own right.

05-22-2006, 01:51 PM
I guess we could all be in trouble:

I read American Angler and they constantly publish *"Top 10 fishing Hot Spots" type articles. This month they had a blurb about Nantahala. About a year ago "East Tennessee Free stone streams" was included in their Top 50. Last month the South Holston got a blurb. This month they named The Tennessee River behind Neyland Stadium as the best place for Carp fishing. ;D

The Preacher
05-22-2006, 11:10 PM
I'm thrilled to hear the news about the Neyland Stadium hotspot! I'm tying up some dough ball imitations right now.

05-23-2006, 01:27 AM
Be careful.....Crowding could be a real issue; extremely so on weekends Sept - Nov. Strange phenomenon, ever since that article was published, boats by the hundreds crowd that one spot.

05-23-2006, 03:30 PM
I too read the article. I thought it was well done, and especially liked the quotes from Paula in the article. I find it a bit far fetched, however, that the throngs will be headed some 3,000 feet or more to catch a 3-4-5-or 6 inch fish. I liked the article because it reminds me when I am in the Smokies, that is exactly what I like to do. I know that you who do fish this area know how difficult it is (or can be). I have been to Townsend now 4 times and truly enjoy the fishing there, but have also seen the same type articles for the Au Sable in Michigan. This type of fishing in the Smokies is difficult, and I would venture a guess that first timers would be a bit disappointed. As far as the trash issue goes, I have picked up my share of it as well.

05-24-2006, 11:34 PM
tennswede is right--his concerns are right--his concerns are like most enviromental concerns in this part of the country--they are judged by sarchasm--and as you boys probably don't know--sarchasm is the defender of the lazy and "the not too smart".In the years ahead,the Smokies will be visited more than any park in the usa--the park is an easy vacation spot for almost everyone in the east--as the number of visitors increase--the number of fly fisherman will increase--the various fishing magazines will be there,taking pics,writing atrticles--maybe your right,no one will pay any attention--YEAH RIGHT

05-25-2006, 01:14 AM
In spite of the crowds, the trash, the noise, inconsiderate, irresponsible, intolerable people, and the all-out media blitz, I say we all head-out, do some fishing regardless--- because, this just in:

none of us are getting out of here alive

Fish on!

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<*)))>< <*)))>< <*)))><

05-25-2006, 01:59 AM
I don't think there's a person on this forum that doesn't care for the Park. And, FYI, the Smokies already gets more visitors than any other park in this country. 10-12+ million a year. For that much traffic and being in such close proximity to a small city, I think it's in pretty good shape. Stewardship from its users is the only way to keep it that way. If all the users don't believe in this then people like us will just have to pick up the slack. Me, I'm just very thankful that I have the opportunity to enjoy such a beautiful place. Regardless of some of the people junkin' it up! BTW, I noticed I got no responses from anyone concerning the "clean up" idea. Take, take, take, but no give.

On a far less serious note, Rainshaker..I love you, man. You kill me! ;D U be havin' sum wisdom ;).

05-25-2006, 10:01 AM
I'm all for cleaning the park. I have carried a plastic bag with me since at least 1999. I volunteer most years for TU's Hiwassee cleanup so I do my part. I don't necessarily believe that an organized clean up en masse is going to do more than if everyone just carried a plastic bag with them while fishing. I have preached this for deaf ears for a few years now. I know there are some who do the same but we are in the minority and unfortunately that is the way it will stay. I write this from experience and the fact that on my corner lot in Knoxville, it is like walmar's parking lot with trash. Yet have I seen anyone besides myself cleaning the street I live on. I do get a lot of strange stares though. I guess they think I'm on DUI detail or something. I jsut don't get it. I am frustrated and tired of the trash. I have visited at least 30 U.S. states and lived in 3 diffferent one's and none are as littered as Tennessee.

05-25-2006, 11:37 AM

You words weren't entirely unnoticed. I will be packing a plastic grocery bag in my fishing vest for just that reason from now on, and not for just for GSMNP either.

05-25-2006, 01:15 PM
I have visited at least 30 U.S. states and lived in 3 diffferent one's and none are as littered as Tennessee.

I take it you've never been to Georgia, then ;)

I don't think you guys are getting my drift here. I'm talking about working with the Park service. Not only to physically help them with removal but to help them educate people. It's all marketing man. People are like cattle, they just follow the herd. What if more of the herd thought badly of litterbugs? I'll just bet if the Park sevice saw a group of people working hard to take care of the Park then they would be more likely to listen to those people and their ideas. Now are you catching my drift?

I do get a lot of strange stares though. I guess they think I'm on DUI detail or something.

I've been thought a fool by fools many times. I consider it a compliment.

05-25-2006, 07:53 PM

I see your point but I respectfully disagree. I don't see any hope in educating people who don't have an interest in keeping it clean. The only thing that works is not democratically possible. You probably know what I mean? Singapore and gum comes to mind. Anyway, I appreciate you thoughts on this. Let's just agree that If more of us would carry a bag it will help. Forget about trying to educate people who doesn't care. If it does not have an economic incentive to do something or not do something Joe Public won't respond. I guess I'm getting bitter in my old age.

As for Georgia being littered, yes it is everywhere, but I believe the reason why Tennessee stands out is the fact that the politicians doesn't prioritize litter clean up in our state. Anyway, ANYONE GOING FISHING THIS WEEKEND? I HOPE WE DON'T GET TOO MUCH RAIN.


05-26-2006, 01:52 PM
You're probably right, Hans.