Simple supply side economics...there is a limited supply of food...the more fish there are the tighter the competition becomes and with less food for each fish the growth rate is stunted. I fished the park about four times last year and caught bigger fish than in the last four years...and the reason everyone gives is the drought of three years ago...so you have fewer fish with the same food supply. More food per fish makes for bigger fish..In the past years there were a lot of locals that fished the park for food...never knew of the term catch and release...just by looking at the general fisherman in the park these days you can tell that they are not locals...this fishery will sustain keeping fish to eat and the result will be larger fish...if you don't practice population management then there is no grounds for you to complain about the small size of the fish...
I was reading up on Yellowstone NP's policy last night, and Yellowstone is catch and release for any native fish. Is the fear that the waters (in the GSMNP or other NPs) will get fished out unfounded?
Related to this, and borrowing from my conversations from Ian Rutter again, Ian's thoughts were that (again, paraphrasing), fishermen are the least likely to affect the fish population. There are a number of other threats to the fish (drought, flood, otters, raccoons, kingfishers, snakes, etc.) that rank far, far higher on the predator list than a fly fisherman taking a fish or two home to munch on.
That said, when Ian is your guide it is strictly catch and release.
My posts are worthless without pictures
I would add that while I recommend keeping a few fish, I also believe that the largest fish (for all species) should be put back to pass on those genes that result in larger (and dominant) fish. Keeping a few 7-10" fish will be good for the fishery in the long run...
Same length, same stream, same day
Both of the Sams brookies measured around 8.5" on Saturday. The one thing that really struck me when I caught the first one, was how disproportionate the jaw was with respect to the body length/girth. Very slender and skinny for the length, and head seemed way too big for the body. The second one looks much more proportionate. The pictures really don't tell the story as well as seeing them in person did, but anyway, that's what i noticed.
While I don't have any expertise with trout, or anything really, I have read plenty of information supporting slot limits on warmwater fisheries to help grow bigger fish and I have seen the results first hand. There are several small TWRA lakes here in West TN with very good quality of Largemouth Bass due to slot limits. Most have an immediate release rule on fish in the 14-20" range and allowing you to keep only one fish above that limit. By taking out a lot of the smaller fish, you are allowing the bigger fish to keep getting bigger.
Both of the Sams brookies measured around 8.5" on Saturday. The one thing that really struck me when I caught the first one, was how disproportionate the jaw was with respect to the body length/girth. Very slender and skinny for the length, and head seemed way too big for the body. The second one looks much more proportionate. The pictures really don't tell the story as well as seeing them in person did, but anyway, that's what i noticed.[/QUOTE]
I believe the first one may have an over-inflated ego, resulting in a big head.
I think your right on about the pictures. Oversized heads and small bodies too many fish not enough food. see same thing with bream and bass in over-populated ponds.
on the flip side. I fished **$#@ creek a few years ago maybe 3 now.. when doing research i was told would only find small fish there. I did find some smalls but was pleasantly surprized at the keeper sized specs and bows I caught. sometimes I think the generic approach is mis-used in the Smokies. just using stimulator flies and not really paying attention to what is correct food source for that time of year. Big fish didn't get that way being stupid. But I hear alot how dumb wild fish can be.. or oppurtunistic. not always true...