I think it IS taken very seriously by all of us who are part of the LRO Forums. I think what the original post was getting at, was trying to determine what the exact conditions are so that we can better decided when to stay away from fishing.

I think the two variables that we've discussed are temperature and water level. Obviously there are others, but the others (hopefully) don't change as rapidly. What seems to be a very valid set of questions are: at what point do the GSM Trout start to get stressed? and for what reasons? With better information, more people can make better decisions. Right now, the temps are high and the water is low, so we all know its not the time to fish. But what if the water level was at a good level and it was 70 degrees. Would it be ok to fish? If the temps are in the low 60s, how low does the water need to be to cause stress. It would be nice to figure out what those boundaries are, and then stay away from the stream at the proper times.

If we knew that temps at 68 and above degrees caused stress in the trout, I know that most all of us would not fish. But it doesn't look like there is any data to back that up. In fact, water temperatures in the upper 60s seem to actually support good growth in some species of trout (according to most research). So if the water levels come up and the temp stays in the upper 60s, should we fish?

The diversity of elevation and stream characteristics should prevent us from making blanket statements, as well. There are places in the park where the temperature has remained at almost optimal levels. If we got some more rain, it might be fine to fish again. While at the same time, its going to take a much more dramatic change in weather to make the lower parts of the Little River fishable.

Also, based on evidence from fish harvesting on some streams in the park (as part of the Brookie reintroduction), fishing is a very poor contributer to fish mortality. I can't remember the exact percentages, but when fishermen were instructed to harvest all of the fish they could over a two week period, they made a minuscule difference in the number of fish still in the stream. So even if people were fishing in less than optimal conditions (which I don't condone), its questionable how much stress they could really cause. Obviously tramping around in a stream cause stress in fish, even in optimal conditions, so how do we get all the little brat kids in the park to stay out of the water and stop throwing stones into the water. What about tubers? Surely they would cause stress, as well. At Metcalf Bottoms is looks like some highly intelligent individuals decided to create a channel to move what little water there is more swiftly through a section of the river. The "redevelopment" of the stream bed cannot be good for a large number of fish in that section of the stream. The list of stress factor is rather lengthy.

But more than anything else, the environment and the weather seem to shape fish mortality. We have a wonderful resource that I want my great-grandchildren to cherish someday. We all need to be good stewards of our fisheries and the park in general, but all that we do, should have some scientific basis.

I guess thats more than $.02 worth. Sorry for such a long post...