This has so far been an interesting and informative debate. I have learned a lot as many others have who read but did not post. I didn’t know for instance that the Clinch River was used by mostly people from Tennessee narrowed down to about four counties. In the last creel survey it showed that anglers from Knox County declined from 50% of the fishermen to 36% from 1997 to 2005. Anglers from Anderson County remained the same at 30%. I verified most of the data that RW had to offer and found it to be correct except for the high percentage of anglers on the Clinch River who don’t want a change. I can’t find that anywhere.
I believe the Clinch River has the potential to be a world class fishery. I still support and believe that a slot limit would improve the perceived fishing quality to a larger number of anglers. Eventually that would bring more anglers, tourism and jobs to Anderson County. I think you would see more anglers from Knox County start fishing the Clinch River again if the management plan including a slot limit worked. I think the Clinch River fishery belongs to everyone who buys a fishing license and trout stamp including anglers who live out of state and purchase an all species license.
I understand better now the position of LUCRO. If you are happy with the fishing now why change? It would bring more anglers to your river and maybe you don’t want that. I know you are reading this and I hope you do not take personal offense at what I say or have said. My truck is white with Little River Outfitters on the side and if you see me fishing the Clinch I hope you will be nice to me just as I would if I saw you fishing on the Little River. I think you will.
I have not been involved in this debate because I think I will make more money if the slot limit management technique is used by TWRA. In fact, it might hurt our business. Anderson County would be more competitive with Blount County for tourism dollars. I think it would help the fishing business in Knoxville and Anderson County including the guide services who work on the river.
I am very much involved in the Tourism Industry here. It is my hope and I’ll do everything possible to see that our county grows (and it will) in a good way where the whole community will be happy to call it their home. This is a wonderful place to live and I know Anderson County is as well. It is a beautiful place with fine residents who love where they live just like I love living here. Anderson County has a wealth of assets and too much growth, too fast would be bad.
But, I guess that I am most influenced by working with the Fisheries Staff in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I have done that for fifteen years. I have always worked with them as a volunteer to help them achieve their goals. Our company has donated thousands of dollars directly and indirectly to the Fisheries Department in the Smokies. We ask for nothing in return. I would never think that I had the insight, education, vision and skills to tell them how to do their job.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency was formed to manage fish and wildlife in Tennessee. One of my old friends, Eddy George was on the committee that founded what would eventually become TWRA. Eddy is gone now but I think he would agree with me. By the way, Eddy loved to eat trout. I have a picture of him here in my office holding a big dead one.
We have some of the finest people working for our agency in the trout program. I’ll mention Frank Fiss, Rick Bivens, Jim Habera, Carl Williams and Bart Carter. I believe it is their job to decide how the trout program should be managed and I will support them no matter how they decide to go. I think they want this proposed slot limit or it wouldn’t be up for discussion. Of course, I’m friends with them and I respect them all.
So, I am still sticking to my opinion and support TWRA.
“Let the Agency decide and we shall all abide!”
Thanks to all who have participated and taken the time to read these threads. It's not over yet I'm sure.
Last edited by Byron Begley; 09-28-2007 at 07:46 PM..