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Thread: Slot Limit on the Clinch

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Seymour, Tn


    Soo, maybe someone can clear this up for me, maybe I’m just missing something. Is this a debate over not wanting a slot limit that could potentially help manage a public fishery at an attempt to try and maximize its potential or is it really about a minority of land owners wanting to privatize public water in that they would like to keep their hand on water that flows from a public lake, through a public dam (granted its state owned, but I drive over it, access the water immediately below it and enjoy its public parks and campgrounds) , that generates power for the public, and is stocked with fingerlings and catchables with public money?

    Or is it because some feel (landowners or not) that the fishery is not worth regulating because enforcemet of regulations is the real issue? ‘Course I would think though there are more law abiding outdoorsman out there who would abide by those regs than choose to break ‘em , so why not make the attempt to protect the fishery with regs, rather stand by and do nothing. No one saying that they can’t have a stringer of fish, but what’s wrong with creating some boundaries that will continue to ensure future stringers for ‘em and keep the C+Rer’s happy too….even with regs people are still going to be able to eat some trout.

    Or again, is it an issue about landowners and their friends - wanting have river rights and so we the public are all are considered trespassing on public water? I can understand there are those few morons out there that abuse others private property . Shouldn’t the money spent on fancy layers be directed towards those deliberate lawbreakers as they should be delt with accordingly – not penalized the general public.
    Or is it all of the above?
    I guess there is an argument as to whether there is or isn’t something wrong with the Clinch fishery and does it need tighter regs. Granted they are still some nice fish in the Clinch, but I think anyone who’s fished it the last few years has noticed there seems to be a decline in the large numbers of quality fish…I don’t necessarily think that poachers and over fishing is totally to blame – things seemed to have changed after that top water sluicing for months on end a few years back and the changing of the lake winter drawdown so that ended up pushing during the browns spawning season, then the rock would seem that taking out too many limits of nice fish exacerbates the problem…either way, what is so wrong about protecting what is there and managing the Clinch to a higher potential…
    May you find a rise in every puddle... - WATERBORN

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Northern Kentucky


    That light you are seeing ahead is not the end of the tunnel, it's an oncoming train.

    This whole thing is a train wreck looking for a place to happen.

    What a mess.

    There are enough anti-hunting, anti-fishing, anti-gun groups out there trying to take away our ability to fish, hunt, and even enjoy the parks and national forests, that we need to stand united against the ones who really mean our way of life harm.

    This kind of bickering among fishermen (or hunters depending upon the issue) divides us, causes hard feelings and makes it just that much easier for the camel to stick his nose under the corner of the tent.

    Unfortunately, it sounds like this one has gone beyond the possibility of "fixing" and the battle lines are drawn with soilders (lawyers) entrenched in their positions and ready to suck the blood out of all involved.

    It's really a shame. I'm very happy I do not live close enough to have a dog in the hunt, but watching it from afar is just like watching two trains heading opposite directions on the same track.


  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Townsend, Tennessee


    This has so far been an interesting and informative debate. I have learned a lot as many others have who read but did not post. I didn’t know for instance that the Clinch River was used by mostly people from Tennessee narrowed down to about four counties. In the last creel survey it showed that anglers from Knox County declined from 50% of the fishermen to 36% from 1997 to 2005. Anglers from Anderson County remained the same at 30%. I verified most of the data that RW had to offer and found it to be correct except for the high percentage of anglers on the Clinch River who don’t want a change. I can’t find that anywhere.

    I believe the Clinch River has the potential to be a world class fishery. I still support and believe that a slot limit would improve the perceived fishing quality to a larger number of anglers. Eventually that would bring more anglers, tourism and jobs to Anderson County. I think you would see more anglers from Knox County start fishing the Clinch River again if the management plan including a slot limit worked. I think the Clinch River fishery belongs to everyone who buys a fishing license and trout stamp including anglers who live out of state and purchase an all species license.

    I understand better now the position of LUCRO. If you are happy with the fishing now why change? It would bring more anglers to your river and maybe you don’t want that. I know you are reading this and I hope you do not take personal offense at what I say or have said. My truck is white with Little River Outfitters on the side and if you see me fishing the Clinch I hope you will be nice to me just as I would if I saw you fishing on the Little River. I think you will.

    I have not been involved in this debate because I think I will make more money if the slot limit management technique is used by TWRA. In fact, it might hurt our business. Anderson County would be more competitive with Blount County for tourism dollars. I think it would help the fishing business in Knoxville and Anderson County including the guide services who work on the river.

    I am very much involved in the Tourism Industry here. It is my hope and I’ll do everything possible to see that our county grows (and it will) in a good way where the whole community will be happy to call it their home. This is a wonderful place to live and I know Anderson County is as well. It is a beautiful place with fine residents who love where they live just like I love living here. Anderson County has a wealth of assets and too much growth, too fast would be bad.

    But, I guess that I am most influenced by working with the Fisheries Staff in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I have done that for fifteen years. I have always worked with them as a volunteer to help them achieve their goals. Our company has donated thousands of dollars directly and indirectly to the Fisheries Department in the Smokies. We ask for nothing in return. I would never think that I had the insight, education, vision and skills to tell them how to do their job.

    The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency was formed to manage fish and wildlife in Tennessee. One of my old friends, Eddy George was on the committee that founded what would eventually become TWRA. Eddy is gone now but I think he would agree with me. By the way, Eddy loved to eat trout. I have a picture of him here in my office holding a big dead one.

    We have some of the finest people working for our agency in the trout program. I’ll mention Frank Fiss, Rick Bivens, Jim Habera, Carl Williams and Bart Carter. I believe it is their job to decide how the trout program should be managed and I will support them no matter how they decide to go. I think they want this proposed slot limit or it wouldn’t be up for discussion. Of course, I’m friends with them and I respect them all.

    So, I am still sticking to my opinion and support TWRA.

    “Let the Agency decide and we shall all abide!”

    Thanks to all who have participated and taken the time to read these threads. It's not over yet I'm sure.

    Last edited by Byron Begley; 09-28-2007 at 07:46 PM.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Crossville, TN


    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Begley View Post
    I didn’t know for instance that the Clinch River was used by mostly people from Tennessee narrowed down to about four counties. In the last creel survey it showed that anglers from Knox County declined from 50% of the fishermen to 36% from 1997 to 2005.
    I've got to say, the river obviously isn't as good as it used to be or could be. Any top-notch trout stream is not going to see that large of a decline in river use from people that are basically local users. Special regs produce great fisheries, just go to the South Holston to find out. I would take a day on the SoHo over the Clinch any day right now...
    "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

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    byron ; i am with you on this issue, been fishing the clinch , before the weir dam days. i don't fish it much anymore the quality of fishing has droped over the years . something needs to change i would support slot limits it seams to me where their is rivers with slot limits fishing has improved for all type fishing.
    lucro seams to be anti fishing group or must be funded by a like group.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re Byron


    I will get back to you latter on most of this.

    The people I know that know of you have respect for you for a variety of reasons some of it is the way you conduct yourself even when you disagree. You have never exhibited a look down your nose attitude. You have been a big help in the past with education projects that the chapter was involved in in the watershed and that was made known. I don’t think anybody that knows who you are would have any problems with you anywhere. There is also two guides I know of, both who are in favor of special reg’s who have the respect of other fishermen on the river mainly for the manner in which they conduct themselves. Sad I cannot say this to be true of others.

    If you read the reports you will see that the agency said that they expected a shift away from Knox County users due the trout fishery on the Holston. As it has developed many former Clinch users from Knox County have gotten access on private property they have stopped coming to the Clinch as TWRA predicted.

    The numbers of people using the Clinch has stayed relative constant. I can and will try to post that data latter. If I find where the other comes from I will send it to you. There is so much that I have seen from my involvement with the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the State Council of TU that I am not able to put my hands on it all. There is to much data to look through and relook through for some details. I have 10-12 CD’s full of data, meeting notes, presentations from various users, research from others, etc. That is before we consider the written reports we discussed and some of the raw data I have that those reports are generated from. As you know I took very seriously my positions with TU and tried to learn as much as I could about the river that went beyond personal observations and experiences, as did my wife. I also a have a good memory for details of issues that concern me and as much as I tried to forget about this once when we left TU I still recalled most of it. I am not infallible, but I try and give as honest of facts and data as I know them, We did discuss the logic as well as to why it would fit. I did find some that corresponded to another river that fit the same pattern this evening. I am not going to lose sleep over it and as soon as this is over I plan on storing everything again.

    As I have said early and posted the data the fish are there in more numbers than at the end of the quality zone. The fishery is very dependent on those 4-5 in fingerling trout, the hundreds of thousands of fry the agency dropped in where a waste they rarely if ever find any of them, the catchables are pretty much a waste as well IMO as most of them disappear from the fishery in a very short time and no one knows why. I have a theory. But that is for another day.

    However as the agency has noted some sizes of trout cannot survive long in the Clinch with extended flows of 12,000, 15,000 and 17,000 CFS and those flows happened for weeks.

    We don’t know for sure how long the average trout lives in the Clinch tailwater, I do believe that is a study that is currently going on. However there is no way to pass a regulation that is based on a natural occurrence that is unpredictable and is ludicrous IMO to do so. The data shows the fish are there in better numbers than in the past especially in the larger sizes, the quality of the fish and river is still good. I have had no problems catching a wide variety of sizes and larger fish, I do not see others having that problem either. In fact the last creel survey shows the Clinch had the 3rd highest catch rate ever recorded in Tenn.

    The Clinch is one of the more difficult fisheries for people to fish especially if you do not fish it regularly; we got that comment from many fishermen who have fished all over the country. In fact some of my former chapter members say if you can catch fish regularly on the Clinch you can go anywhere and catch fish. We have fished some of the more difficult waters in Pa and had no problem much to the dismay of some locals.

    It is a technical beast most of the time anymore. I can’t begin to count the number of fly fisherman who appear to be make presentations to birds more than they do the fish and who have scared off entire pods by their style. But then, I am as I have been told I am one of those dumb boys, (as I fish downstream, don't use a bobber, rarely false cast, etc.) who don’t know the proper way to fly fish. That’s ok too, I have never been happier with the amount and size of fish I catch and for the most part anymore don’t care if I catch any or not. It is peaceful to be out there except for when the snide remarks start and that had tailed off to tolerable levels latley. However, I expect that to increase again as well as more and more people find out about the proposal and tensions rise between the various user groups.

    As a note Byron isn’t it sad that the Milton Hill Reservoir most likely plays a key role in the trout fishery in the tailwater and noone has done any studies on that resource and its effects

    Got to run sorry if this is some what of a ramble and poorly worded but after my wife’s Dr.’s appt.’s, having a wisdom tooth pulled, other dental work, other Dr.s appt.’s, meetings etc.this week I am beat and feel worse than I did after working 7 days a week 16 hrs a day during one of our refuel cycle’s
    Last edited by RuningWolf; 09-29-2007 at 01:43 AM.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Clinch Proposed Slots

    Where do these numbers come from? I have never been asked any questions on the Clinch and there was a time I fished it often and well. I left (as have the tourists who used to travel to fish it often) when it became a dink hole.
    It used to be routine to see Nashville, Ky and Ohio tags parked there. Now those people go to the Cumberland, Caney, Watauga and the South Holston. Slot limits have worked everywhere they've been tried, reference the Caney, Cumberland and South Holston. Sure there is still the rare brown in the river that grows up, they are more and more rare. The bows grow faster and live a shorter life typically, but they can grow, my best rainbow from the Clinch was 24", probably caught in 1996 or 1997, that was probably a 2-3 year old fish.
    The slot would still allow the meat hunters to harvest their take, I don't mind keeping a trout, (they taste pretty good with some hot sauce in the rib cavity) just don't keep them all. That river is a resource for all Tennesseans and license holders, not just the landowners on the river, they don't own the waterway.
    There will have to be some enforcement on the river though, without it this point is mute, the meathunters don't abide by the current limits as it is.
    It is time to put a slot in and watch what happens, if the enforcement is there, it will show improvement.
    Other than that I'm a pretty open minded guy!

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Meat hunters on the Clinch???!!!

    Tell me it isn't so. There are people on the Clinch who do not follow the regs. I have seen this behavior as well while there. I actually saw one man cleaning his limit of fish just to take them to his car and return to the river to catch another limit. He said that he was catching the limit that his buddy should have caught had he been there that day.

    Some people just don't get it. It is not a bait/spin vs. flyfish dilemma, it is a decline in water quality problem. Keeping trout for personal consumption is not a problem, I keep a couple of fish every few trips for my wife and myself. What these land owners don't understand is that they have access to very lightly pressured water where it is easier to catch your limit of quality fish. The average fisherman though is limited to fishing in the highly pressured public access areas. As embarrasing as it is to say the largest fish I caught on the Clinch in the past 3 years was about a 9" bow.

    I keep records of all my fishing trips just for personal use, and I had back to back trips in 1995 to the Clinch where we caught 38 and 51 fish respectively. The 38 fish day actually came while inside the quality trout zone after gaining access to a piece of private property. And just for the record the other day was just below the weir dam. Each trip lasted 3 and 4 hours and the sizes ranged from 7" to 18", so they were not all dinks like what I have seen lately.

    LUCRO, give the slot limit a chance. All it can do is improve the quality of fish you are also catching. I don't see how people can complain about that. Honestly, how many fish do you need to have in your freezer at one time. I would much rather eat trout that is fresh over one that has been kept in my freezer for 3 months.


  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re

    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Begley View Post
    Let's discuss the proposed slot limit on the Clinch River. I am very much in favor of this regulation change.....

    As promised I got back to you on the rest of this post

    “Many of our customers fish on the Clinch River and I've heard for a few years from them that the fishing quality has declined. “

    the shocking data from the end of the quality zone shows 1.5 CPUE/(fish per hour over) 18 inches and the 07 shows around 11 CPUE/(fish per hour over) as to those over 14 inches data from the end of the quality zone shows 10 CPUE/(fish per hour over) and now about 15 CPUE/(fish per hour over). The 14, I find remarkable since the high flows of 03-05 washed a lot of the fingerlings out of the river that would have grown into this size range of fish. A fact that TWRA admits as part of the cause or the problem with what the agency it self said was a “ambitious objective “ in the 02-07 plan

    The shocking numbers show other wise. I also know many anglers who will tell you the Clinch fishes better than ever.

    “My question is, do the local people who live near this river understand that fishing is big business? “

    Yes they do. You should hear what some people have been offered for their property and read what some properties have sold for.

    “Fishing means tourism, tourism means revenue and revenue means jobs.”

    Anderson County is not hurting for jobs. I also do not see anywhere in the mission statement of TWRA it is to manage our wildlife for tourism. One would hope that they would use good science instead of what feels good for some people or else they may wind up the Penn and be facing lawsuits over mismanaging a resource. I do hear that the commercial fisherman here are looking into that possiablity.

    “It seems to me that the opposition to this proposal (not you RW) are folks who live close to the river and may not be looking out for the best interest of all the citizens in their county and their state. Could it be that they don't want anglers fishing their river? Could it be that they know that better fishing will attract more fishermen and they don't want that?”

    Most people seem to forget that LUCRO is more than a landowners organization it is a users organization as well. There are nearly 800 members. That is a lot more people than who are landowners.

    Another point the river fishing pressure has remained fairly constant over the years. I have seen over crowed conditions regularly at Millers Island and up river and on more than one occasion at Clinton. As most of the access is on and across private property and you know that even then only about 4.5 miles of river is readily accessible where are you going to put more people? Are we going to displace users who are the core group? Those who pay taxes (which are some of the highest in the country) and spend their most if not their entire paychecks in the local fisheries counties?

    “It is not a step toward mandated catch and release.”

    You know as well as I do that once you start it is a progressive step towards more restrictive regulations which is mute most of the anglers do not want them. One survey I am sure you read showed only modest support for a minimum size limit and slightly more support for closed seasons. The management objectives state that TWRA is to provide a wide variety of angling experiences to the public. The Clinch is the last quality fishery in the area without them. It is a local fishery and the regulations are against the desires of mot of those who use it. The other tailwaters if memory serves me correctly got a substantial buy in from the various user groups. That has not happened here and does not appear to be likely to for some time unless the unfiltered science data supports it. In fact the management outlines tell you that at times those who wish to experience a more specialized fishery that they may need to be directed elsewhere. The minority who are pushing this have over 1000 miles of water with special regulations that they can pursue to their hearts content what they want. The users of the Clinch have 4.5 miles of publicly available water to purse their desires. Hardly seems equitable IMO and you know my wife and I are primarily C&R anglers and have kept virtually none in the past unless it was obvious the where not going to make it. I will now keep more browns as I need the vitamins as well as a fw atsy recipes for 14 in and up Browns.

    “It is simply a management tool to improve the perceived quality of fishing to a larger group of anglers who buy a license to fish the river, visit Tennessee and provide jobs in the counties near the resource.

    perceived is a good word. We all long for the good old days when all things where better.

    Quality per TWRA is used man ways. Quality has nothing to do with size. Quality is a healthy fishery and a watershed with adequate numbers to allow for all inhabitants to mature and grow in what it will sustain.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Begley View Post

    I would say that most of the anglers I talk to who fish the Clinch River are from East Tennessee. Anderson County is not a large tourist destination yet. But, if Cabellas does open there hold on because it will be and Anderson County will become a strong competitor of ours here in Blount County for tourist dollars. The infrastructure will build, more hotels, lodges, campgrounds, rental cabins and restaurants. Land prices will increase and with two wonderful resources, Norris Lake and the Clinch River tailwater I think residents of Anderson County have a bright future ahead for them. I just hope the leaders have the vision to deal with the growth in a good way like we are trying to do here in Blount County.


    I would like to see the numbers too. I doubt if the local landowners could support the fishery but apparently residents of East Tennessee do.

    I have answered a lot of this in other places already so I won’t repeat my self. Norris Lake cannot hold much more boat traffic during boating season. I use to walleye fish on the lake a lot in the summer. You cannot do that now. The boats that are on there are oversized. I keep hearing people talking about some restrictions like they have in other states on the size of wake a boat may throw, etc. IMO it is needed as it is eroding the shoreline. As you know the health of the river depends a lot on Norris lake. It as well as Melton Hills affects are little know and little understood

    We have already discussed land prices. I own acreage on Norris that is my own private hunting place. However due to encroachment by transplants it is getting less usable. Somewhere down the road I will sale it but not for a few years.

    Growth is not always good or beneficial. However as this is a fairly well educated area I don’t think both sides of the coin is lost on them. The orange route corridor will spur some growth as well as the bypass that is planed to go to Sevierville. But again where is it in TWRA’s mission to manage a resource for tourism?

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