Re: Keep or Release????
Several years ago my young son and I were on trip to the Park before school started. I had kept several fish for a dinner and my son who was mostly spinner fishing at that time wanted to fish Gatlinburg for some of thos "big" fish. Well, he got one that was at least 12 inches long and of course he wanted to eat his fish that night. Good opportunity to teach him how to handle, clean and cook a fish. Upon cleaning the stocker I was shocked...the flesh was noticeably softer and the organs were milking and opaque compared to the wild fish's firm pink flesh and clear organs. He was happy to eat his fish but not me....now he looks at the pond raised trout in the cooler at the store and turns up his nose at them. As with any fish the younger, smaller fish seem to eat better than the larger ones. I have been sampling the trout from the Park waters almost yearly for the last 50 years and cannot tell any difference in taste. I now consider such fare a rare treat and always place the hogs back into the gene pool. More than the acid rain affecting the water is the pollution from carless hikers/campers and feral pigs. Gone are the days when I used to fish with my grandfather and remember following his lead and dipping a collapsible cup into wherever we were fishing to take a cool drink of stream water and comtemplate our next presentation.