Re: Illegal fishing in park
Interesting post! I came up to the park from NE Florida and fished the park a year ago last March. On that trip I was fishing along Treemont and over in Elkmont. In both places the fish had never been more scarase. I stopped at the "Crusher Pool" in Elkmont and usually there are numerous trout along that wall, but I only saw one or two. I noticed as I drove up that a couple was already fishing the pool with spinning tackle and as I was watching the man was throwing a nice 18 or so inch bow back in. I commented on what a nice fish it was and he said, "We kept the big one!". He walked over and picked up a creel that he opened to show me a 20 plus inch Brown.
I want back to my car to gear up and as I was putting my rod together I noticed the man pull out a container of night crawlers to bait his rig. I then walked back over and explained that I hated to "rain on their parade" but wondered if they understood what they were doing is/was illegal? The man looked at me in disbelief and said they had no idea, he explained that when they bought their license, they also bought baith and asked about fishing in the park. They said no one ever indicated that bait fishing was not legal. I told him it was and that if they were caught the fines were quite large along with possible confiscation of their gear. I walked of and a few minutes later his wife walked over to their SUV which was parked 50 or 60 yards away. She drove it back over to where he was and exited while holding a fishing regulation brocure. I could hear her tell him, "He's right, it says in here that no live bait may be used in the park!" A few seconds later they drove off.
The fishing on that trip sucked for me and I started noticing corn cans, worm tubs, and even a found a plasrtic work with a treble in it caught in some brush. I saw this debree along Treemont as well as in Elkmont and it disgusted me.
I also noticed and recalled that not once have I ever been checked out by any park personel while fishing the park waters. I'd love to have them ask for my license and check my box to make sure I am legal...cause that might mean they were checing on some of these other folks who aren't.
You know what, the truth be told I don't want folks to suffer great penalties for ignorance but would like for some educational type of enforcement. Maybe they could assign them a couple of days of public service like picking up their empty beer and worm cans out of the streams or off the trails. Then if they are caught repeatedly offending or breaking the laws, sock it to them.
"Fly-fishing has many attributes, but none more pleasing than it's ability to liberate the young boy that still hides within me and to let that boy live again without embarrassment or regret, sorrow or anguish." Harry Middleton