As an interested spectator in this discussion, if there is one certain thing, it is that regulations have to change with the times - and they have. I remember my dad telling me that, when he was growing up, you didn't need a fishing license in Louisiana, and there were no limits on anything; you didn't need them - the resource was that good, and the boats and motors of that time were so unreliable, no one could cover a lot of water or go very far from the launch. Fast forward to when I was growing up - you only needed a license for freshwater, and it cost all of $2.50 (enshrined in the the state constitution at that). There were limits, but they were pretty liberal - 15 bass, no size limit, and in saltwater, you could take a combination of 50 speckled trout and redfish per person - a "box of mixed" as they say around here. Now, not only do you need a basic license, you have to pay extra for a saltwater stamp...however, I still consider it a bargain - mine last year ended up costing $15 - really a nominal fee. There are all sorts of slot limits and restrictions on bass, depending on where you fish, and saltwater has really changed - 5 redfish a day, with only one over 27 inches allowed, 16 inch minimum, and 25 speckled trout a day, 12 inch minimum. Over in Texas, it's 14 inches/15 a day, I believe. Guess what? The fishing is better than ever, with more quality fish landed. It's needed - more people are on the water than ever before, with boats with high-quality motors that can get out to places only dreamed of when my dad was a kid.
Now, if Louisiana, which is hardly known for enlightened policies in any area of government, can come up with regulations that most people seem to be able to live with, why can't Tennnessee in the case of this tailwater? This slot limit certainly seems reasonable, as has been pointed out on other posts on this thread...what I don't understand is what is the landowners' beef with this? Is it a case of them having the attitude that "it's my fish, since I live here on the river"? We went through that about a decade ago here, with the commercial fishermen and the gill net ban.