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Thread: Does Increasing Angler Participation = Better Fishing?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Maryville
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    Does increasing angler participation lead to better fishing? Good question. It’s kind of a double edged sword. For the way I like to fish, I would have to say yes. If I mainly fished tailwaters, I would say no.

    IMO, Even a significant increase in the number of fishermen in the backcountry wouldn’t lead to a detriment in the quality of fishing. I’m not going to hike 3+ miles back, so I can keep half a dozen 7” fish, and I feel most others willing to hike that far will either. So, an increase in the number of fishermen wouldn’t lead to a real decrease in the number of fish. I also feel that there is enough room for these streams to support a larger quantity of anglers on any given day. My wife would also enjoy the piece of mind, knowing that there is someone in close proximity if anything was to happen to me (insert smiley face).

    The increase in the number of fisherman would keep fly shops such as LRO open and would have prevented the closing of many other shops. If I’m wanting to go fishing, and don’t have something I can just swing by LRO and pick it up on the way to the stream. Increased participation also leads to more posts on web sites such as this. I’m as guilty as anyone at reading what is posted on here and using that information to better my fishing. With the lack of fisherman, shops such as LRO will continue to close and web sites such as this will continue to disappear.

    As for the tailwater fisherman, I’ve fished the Caney Fork when you had to worry about catching another fisherman on both your backcast and your drift. So, I can’t imagine how more anglers could make that any better.

    Now, how do we increase the number of fishermen?

    • TWRA needs to change the minimum age for people not required to have a license from 13 to 16. I know it’s a minimal fee for the youngster license, but when you are trying to increase the number of beginner fishermen, why burden them with a license.
    • The Park needs to rethink their “no bait allowed” law. People that aren’t required to have a license (young and old), should be allowed to use bait in the park. 25 years ago, when I was 13, it was about the quantity of fish that I could catch, not the quality of the experience. If someone was to hand me a fishing pool with a single hooked artificial bait and I caught 1 fish in 2 hours, I would never go on to fish again. Hand me a fishing pool and a bucket of crickets and I catch 15 fish in 2 hours, now we’re talking. I know that Gatlinburg has youth fishing areas, but why would I want to fish there when I can hit the arcade just around the corner. And exactly how much damage can a handful of kids do to the streams in the Smoky’s? When was the last time you saw a group of kids fishing in the Park?
    • Places like LRO needs to make it easier for beginner fishermen. I know that I could go in there and ask someone like Daniel for help, and he would send me out of there in good shape, but they have to make it easier for someone who knows nothing about fishing to get what they need. Maybe a display by the checkout with just the essentials to get started. It wouldn’t need much more than just a real cheap combo rod and reel set, a fly box, and half a dozen popular flies. That’s all someone needs to get started. If I was a beginner reading this forum, I would think that if I didn’t have a Winston or Sage rod, I couldn’t catch fish. Just read this forum for reference, http://littleriveroutfitters.com/for...ad.php?t=13185 , Beginners need to know that not everyone uses a fly rod that costs hundreds of $$$.
    • We each need to do our own part. I gave 2 spinning rods and 1 fly rod away to people this year. I did it by taking them fishing and letting them use it. When we were done, I let them keep it. We each need to make it priority to take someone new fishing each year.

    I don’t think lowering non-resident license fees would amount to much of an increase in anglers. Just look at all the out of state licenses parked at the Caney Fork, or all the bass boats from Ohio putting in at Norris Lake. When someone intends to take a fishing vacation, they don’t consider an $81 license to be too cost prohibitive. I normally take a couple out of state big game hunts a year. The last thing I consider on any of them is what the license will cost. And I’m tight with my money!!! It’s been rumored that I can turn a piece of coal into a diamond.

    Enough for now, I actually have to get some work done today.
    My posts are worthless without pictures

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Townsend, Tennessee
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    You guys all make excellent points. There is no doubt in my mind and from what I hear from those in the fly fishing industry who are a lot smarter than me, participation is dropping off. I am struggling with that right now. It is not just fly fishing but all outdoor sports are losing popularity.

    I remember when I believed the Park should mandate catch and release in the streams. I was wrong about that. I do believe TWRA is working toward a policy of providing a true quality fishery in our tailwaters. I saw a lot of enthusiasm at the last Commission meeting from management and the commissioners. Look what they did on the Caney. I think they will do that in other tailwaters. David, maybe they will make that high priced license worth the price over time. Giving young people a price break sounds good to me. You all make a lot of sense and I know for sure that TWRA folks read what you write on this board and they are watching what is going on in other states. Keep this one going.

    Byron

  3. #13
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    Jan 2006
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    Crossville, TN
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Begley View Post
    David, maybe they will make that high priced license worth the price over time.
    Byron, I hope you are right. I know one thing, and that is they are headed in the right direction finally... I'm excited about the possibilities on the Caney. Hopefully we'll get some improvements on other rivers as well...
    "Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'" Matthew 4:19

    Guided Fly Fishing with David Knapp
    The Trout Zone Blog
    contact: TroutZoneAnglers at gmail dot com

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Lenoir City, TN
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzmcmanus View Post
    ...

    • The Park needs to rethink their “no bait allowed” law. People that aren’t required to have a license (young and old), should be allowed to use bait in the park. 25 years ago, when I was 13, it was about the quantity of fish that I could catch, not the quality of the experience. If someone was to hand me a fishing pool with a single hooked artificial bait and I caught 1 fish in 2 hours, I would never go on to fish again. Hand me a fishing pool and a bucket of crickets and I catch 15 fish in 2 hours, now we’re talking. I know that Gatlinburg has youth fishing areas, but why would I want to fish there when I can hit the arcade just around the corner. And exactly how much damage can a handful of kids do to the streams in the Smoky’s? When was the last time you saw a group of kids fishing in the Park?
    ...
    Buzz, I'm with you on making exceptions for the young, at least, for using live bait, but with the stipulation it not be carried into the park and not in buckets, which normally translates to styrofoam cups.

    My young grandson and I were on MP Little Pigeon recently. In short order, he had gotten bored with fishing and was on all fours stalking "crawdads." In no time at all he managed to snatch one of the decapods by hand without, at least to my knowledge, flipping a rock. He was absolutely thrilled! But now... what to do with the fiesty little crustacean? Rules say catch and release, if catch at all. I imagine there were many a youngster who, in the park's storied past, that would have turned him into bait.

    In a perfect world my grandson would have legally caught a keeper size trout using the resident crawdad, taken it home, cleaned it and shared it for dinner with his family, and then... gotten environmental kudos from his science teacher.
    “Joe” Fred Turner
    Southern Appalachian Stream Maps
    sasMaps.com
    Formerly SmokyStreams.com

  5. #15
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    Apr 2009
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    Mid Tennessee
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    Surely need to avoid any barrier to getting youngsters on the stream, but I would still charge some very small fee for a youth license if only to be able to track the participation of youngsters. Those statistics would be important for knowing if things are improving or not and for funding. I'm not sure how this would work for license dealers. Byron has already pointed out the costs to such dealers. The only consideration I have for letting kids use any sort of bait, is the trash that seems to accompany that practice. I would hate to see those blue bait tubs all over the place. A couple of years ago I ran into a kid whose nonfishing mom had taken him below Priest to catch some of those stockers. He was flyfishing a bugger and had done well. He knew how to use that fly rod and was excited as could be. I was happy for the both of them. Most kids tag along with the adult. Here an adult tagged along with the kid.

  6. #16
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    Nov 2008
    Location
    Beaufort, SC
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    Buzz,
    You may be getting alot of out of state fisherman who have a lot of money at the caney, but I can tell you from my own experience that I do not fish alot in TN becasue the license is just to high, particularly for the 1 or 2 trips I might make it up there. I buy a NC non-resident license every year, wheather I make it up there or not, becasue the fees are reasonable. I also choose to use the NC license for fishing in the Park because of the vast difference in price.

    As far as young angler's and licenses, I think that the age for a license ought to be increased. If there is concern about tracking numbers, issue a free permit to them. I know in SC that a migratory bird permit is required for duck hunting, dove hunting, and I forget what else. All it is is a survey letting them know what you hunted for, how often you hunted, and what you bagged. The permit itself is no charge. I think that something like this would be good for the younger anglers.

    I do not think that the anglers that have the money to make several trips to the "Caney" with a guide, etc. is the answer to increasing the number of fisherman. You will always have some folks that have and can afford that kind of fishing. I think you need to have a bigger base than that to really grow the sport.

    My take on it is that TN looses some of the tourism tied to fishing because of the higher cost of non-resident licenses. They may not be loosing the affluent ones, but you need alot more than that class keep our outdoor fishing/hunting/heritage alive.

    John

  7. #17
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    Jun 2008
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    Positives:
    -Increased numbers increase the voices who can stand together to protect the resource.

    Negatives:
    -Increased pressure always has a negative on a fishery. Poor handling of fish, causes increased mortality, as evidenced by the Clinch this year. More crowds equals more bait slingers whose only goal is to fill the stringer.
    -Increased crowds brings more misery as fishing space becomes limited.
    -Increased crowds brings tougher access because of landowner use problems.
    -Increased crowds bring more trash and more damage to stream bed.

    Overall the problems associated with more anglers far outweigh any benefits IMO. The main issue is the increase in pressure which results in higher fish mortality. Even with C&R practices there are so many who handle fish horribly that it results in death, i.e. taking pictures of fish on dry land, rocks, etc. Netting fish in general, poor fighting techniques etc etc.

    From what I have seen no stream in this area has benefited from an increase in fishing pressure. It killed the Clinch years ago, and killed the Caney two years ago. I am sure it will kill again, as it is just the nature of things.

    However, if it weren't for some interest and knowledge we wouldn't have the support to get regs which could ultimately benefit a river such as the Clinch.

    Personally, I would love to see things return to the the way they were in the early 90's on the Clinch where there was no one hardly fishing the river, and the fishing was great.

  8. #18
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    Jan 2006
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    Townsend, Tennessee
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    Hi Guys,

    Joe Fred, We don't see many kids fishing in the Park. Some teenagers and college students do. During Spring Break our shop is loaded with older kids. But, we don't see what we would call children. That is a shame.

    I remember fishing the Caney in the 70's abd 80's. Silvercreek remembers that too. Our friendship goes back decades. The Caney was not crowded at all back then. I have not fished there in 20 years but I've heard about the angler population problem. I have also heard the fishing is much better now than it was in those days. Why? Maybe my friends and I didn't have the skills anglers do now. Silvercreek has and had the skills back then. Is it better trout and habitat management? Is it more dissolved oxygen? Is it more concerned anglers? I really don't know.

    Byron

  9. #19
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    Townsend, Tennessee
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    Buzz,

    We could do what you say and make it easier for people to come in our store, buy conventional tackle and get the kids out there. We can do that. We will do that. That strategy would be good for our business and our sport.

    I would agree too, that raising the age for licensing would be a good thing. Tennessee charges a lot, maybe too much for a license. Kids can fish in Townsend almost all year with bait. Anyone can for that matter. I encourage that.

    Tennessee TU is planning a youth trout camp and I think it is going to be held at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute. It will be similar to the one in North Carolina. There was a meeting there this week. Maybe the Park Service will make an exception for bait fishing on the Middle Prong for that. If not, I'll stock some trout in the creek on our property and turn the kids loose down there with worms, crickets and lots of adults to keep an eye on them. I could buy the trout at the trout farm which is about 300 yards away for not much money at all.

    Any ideas any of you have should be brought to the attention of the Park Service (Steve Moore and Matt Kulp) or our region's TWRA wildlife Commissioner (Mike Chase). Anything to do with kids and fishing would be well received by all three of these guys.

    Byron

  10. #20
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    Byron, I believe that is a very proactive step towards our future generations. I really applaud you for that very way of thinking. The children are our future and our hopes. As always Byron you are a leader in an area of proactive changes. Another reason why I like supporting LRO and you.
    Romans 10:9-10 KJV

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