Re: Illegal fishing in park
MY reference was NOT A BILLBOARD ON EVERY THIRD TREE and should NOT HAVE BEEN taken that way. The small signs now used are VERY OLD and extremely inconspicious-I can remember these same signs from when I first came to the Smokies as a student in 1968. Replacing them with a 5X7 or 8X10 with a more attention getting pattern or coloration, a "Special Regulations Apply" type heading, etc. at the major pull offs and trail heads, would be more benefical. Above Elkmont, we have had dog walkers and bike riders constantly, cars are parked in front of the poles with the small signs. I was glad to see the NPS posted a larger more visible sign up the trail. Many of these people honestly are NOT aware, even though they should be. I've had sales personnel in the stores tell me erroneous information when I've bought a Tenn, license in the past. Many people come to the park not aware of the fishing (Believe it or not with all the publications), buy a license at a store from a clerk who may never have fished a day in their life. Check out the situation in pmike's earlier post, I think is is the rule, more than the exception.
I am not an East Tennessean, although I wish I was. I have encountered locals keeping fish only two times. Both times they were fishing a green artifical worm, and in conversation with them, I could tell they were only keeping a couple legal fish. I watch two older gentlemen (in late 70's and 80's) releasing fish after killing a couple each. I have found the people of East Tennessee GENERALLY HAVE A GREATER RESPECT FOR THE PARK than many folks around parks in other parts of the country . If I were a meat fishermen, I think I would spend more time outside the park where the fish are generally larger or Cherokee. I would venture that 90% of illegal fishing is from Tourists who are NOT AWARE and 10% from deliberately illegal.