I would love it if we are able to turn the Caney into something other than what it is. But it is what it is. We can change the regulations to suit a naturally reproducing fishery if it actually becomes that some day. Till then, regulations are only about how to make the most people happy with limited hatchery resources.
If you bothered to actually fish the Caney or even look at it in the fall, you would know that there is at least some natural reproduction and would be more if people would leave the fish alone...
If the numbers are down it's from greed. Last fall on a website called tndeer.com in the fishing section a guy was posting the maps with all the spawning sections and how to fish them. He was obviously stupid and probably did alot of harm to the river by doing so. Needless to say he caught alot of grief over this. Did his stupidity and greed of others hurt the Caney, who knows.
IF there were a lot of big fish harvested in the fall and the river is down, AND the baitfishermen and flyfishermen get together to complain, then maybe TWRA will see the the advantage of controlled harvest or closed sections during the spawn on the Caney as it should be. They close the S. Holston, and Arkansas closes the the White. Surely TWRA can the the advantages to closing a section during a spawn or even a false spawn. These fish are the most in danger of greed on the part of some "fishermen", whether it be from cooler fishermen to guys playing a big fish too long that dies in the end, or worst yet, those that practice snagging over fish on redds.
I am a great admirer of spectator sports, especially on television; it keeps the riffraff off the trout streams.
I don't mind fihsermen keeping stockers. It's the larger fish that it would be nice to leave in the river. It would also be nice to leave the beds off limits during spawning season. They can repoduce under current conditions if left alone. No flow changes are neccessary. Some flow changes would be nice. If we had a catch and release section and left the fish alone during the spawn, people could keep some fish if they want and fly fishermen could catch more large fish. Both sides win. As far as who gets what section, any section of catch and release would be better than none. Just pick a half mile or so within 3-4 miles of the dam.
It's easy to make things difficult and compromises hard to reach, if one side decides they don't want to cooperate.
What I do know is that the TWRA considers trout reproduction in the Caney to be "extremely rare," and that trout must be stocked for there to be any in there. Combine that with the tons of pressure that it gets, I feel quite comfortable thinking that the amount of wild born fish in there is about zero. For any who want to understand why the TWRA has this view, you could look at this:
Just seeing some trout on redds doesn't mean anything. Most stocked trout will *try* to reproduce; it's the succeeding part that's hard. A nest full of fertilized eggs still isn't going to survive the winter and spring in the Caney. If you believe that your seeing trout on redds methodology is better than what the biologists come up with, I invite you to make your case.
Getting back to the regs, if pretending that trout are successfully reproducing in there helps you to make your case that the fishing regs should change, then OK, that is your belief, and I encourage you to spread it to all that will hear.
But I think maybe what you are really trying to say is that since yanking a stocker off a redd is so easy, that the benefit that the yanker gets from doing it is far less than the benefit you get from trying to fish for it over the following months (maybe years). That to me is a good argument. Maybe you are saying that you feel entitled to fish for large browns vs. Yanker Joe's entitlement to take large browns home to eat (small trout taste just as good or better). That also seems like a good argument. But in the end, it is not about natural reproduction; it is about making the most people happy with the stockers that the TWRA puts in there.
If we are want to make trout reproduce naturally in the Caney, then we need to engage the entity responsible for that: The Corps of Engineers. If we then succeed at getting trout to reproduce naturally, we can then come up with correspondingly appropriate fishing regulations. That's all I'm trying to say.
Maybe they could start periodically checking people's licenses and stamps?
After spending the past 2 weekends on the clinch, I can't believe there is any fish left in that river from the number of crowded stringers I saw.
Just having a catch and release section will allow the stocked fish to survive long enough to grow to a nice size.
I am sure the same problem exists on the Caney as well.