Re: Illegal fishing in park
I hope I did not start an argument or open a can or worms (no pun intended) about the problems in the park. I myself hated to cite boaters on Fort Loudon and these were locals. Most TWRA officers and game wardens do not look for problems, but believe you me there are profiles performed. I would chase the teenagers in a ski boat well before the grandma and grandpa in the pontoon. Typically it also led to more boating under the influence. I would have to admit though. It is more common that fly fisherman would be legal in the park, it seems we are more apt to conservation than some of the spin fisherman. I don't mind people fishing with equipment other than fly rods, heck I enjoy seeing young children learning how to catch wild trout, and most children do not have the patience for fly fishing. As long as the hook is single and there is no live or processed baits at the end of the line I don't care if people use a cane pole. Rooster tails come in single hook and so do other famous trout lures for spin fisherman.
I would be all for placing larger signs in the park areas. These could be posted at the major campgrounds like Tremont and Elkmont Metcalfe, and at Sugarlands Visitors center. How hard would it be to post a sign near major pulloffs like Meigs Falls or the Sinks? These areas receive a lot of tourist traffic and the signs could be made so as to not distract from the beauty of the park surroundings. I have donated hundreds of dollars to Friends of the Smokies, TU and other wildlife organizations, so if money or time is the problem to build these signs or post them I would be willing to offer a hand if for nothing else than to educate someone. The number one excuse I got as a TWRA officer was "I didn't know that was illegal", this would at least cut out that excuse. I hate to think our national park would have to go to a pay per day use like Gatlinburg, Tellico, or Citico, but maybe it would provide more funding for wildlife and fisheries.