I can confirm that the fee increases are in place because I paid them this past weekend. I've never fished in Cherokee so I wanted to check that box. It cost me $52 for two days of fishing. Still not sure how Big Don came up with the number but was afraid to ask.
I did catch two of the big 16" stocker rainbows, one 10" bow and one 10" brown over two days (drove both days - 90 miles one way through New Found Gap). I'm glad I did it but probably won't make it a regular trip. Its a shame how much trash they let collect on the banks of that river. It really made me appreciate the park.
Thanks to the doctor I met the second day who told me where to go and what to use if I go again so I might have a little better luck.