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Old 05-03-2012, 04:39 PM
HuskerFlyFisher HuskerFlyFisher is offline
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Default Question about keeping fish that you catch in GSMNP

First off, let me say I've never kept a fish, because I don't know how to clean fish.

But just supposing I wanted to, if every Smokies fisherman wanted to keep a few fish to eat, would this affect the overall population of the fish in the park to any degree?

I heard one fellow say one time that there are a lot of predators for these fish that are a lot more of a threat than any fisherman - snakes, raccoons, river otter, king fisher, etc.

I also get the impression that the GSMNP has a pretty liberal policy of your being able to "keep" five fish per day because they are confident that the fisherman that can actually bring 5 to hand is going to be a rare bird.

Thoughts on this?
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:13 PM
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GrouseMan77 GrouseMan77 is offline
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Keep a few every once and a while...I do. Have someone show you how to clean a trout so you don't waste.
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuskerFlyFisher View Post
First off, let me say I've never kept a fish, because I don't know how to clean fish.

I also get the impression that the GSMNP has a pretty liberal policy of your being able to "keep" five fish per day because they are confident that the fisherman that can actually bring 5 to hand is going to be a rare bird.
Easy, best way to clean trout is to just cut the underbelly from back to front and dispose of all the entrails. Cutting off the head is optional. If you do plan to keep some trout, go ahead and do this right after catching them. This will help to preserve freshness. Also, try to keep them cool and moist for the rest of the day until dinner time if possible. Overall, keeping a few fish is not going to hurt the stream...

As far as the creel limit, not so sure if it has much to do with perceived angler skill but that definitely gave me a laugh... I get all nervous and antsy if I only manage to bring 5 to hand. Guess that makes me a rare bird...

Tight Lines,
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:20 PM
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GrouseMan77 GrouseMan77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnflyfisher View Post
Easy, best way to clean trout is to just cut the underbelly from back to front and dispose of all the entrails. Cutting off the head is optional. If you do plan to keep some trout, go ahead and do this right after catching them. This will help to preserve freshness. Also, try to keep them cool and moist for the rest of the day until dinner time if possible.
There you go...I was to lazy to type it out. Make sure you leave the head on until you are home in case you are checked by the man. I leave the heads on because it gives me something to hold onto while I'm eating them.

I pop out the eyes, wash throughly, then put them in cornmeal and fry till golden brown. IMO, best keeping size is 7-8".
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Last edited by GrouseMan77; 05-03-2012 at 07:29 PM.. Reason: Adding info
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:46 PM
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ifish4wildtrout ifish4wildtrout is offline
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The others are right on about how to gut a trout.

I am a firm believer that most of our streams are overpopulated. Keeping a few helps thin them out, allowing the remaining fish to have more food.

I rarely keep trout, simply because I am not much of a fish eater. I usually keep a few when backpacking, just because I feel like it is part of the whole experience.

I have kept 3 rainbows in the past three years that were not caught on backpacking trips, all 3 swallowed the fly and were in pretty bad shape, bleeding badly and not really able to stay upright in the water. I was confident that were going to die, so I dispatched them and brought them home to eat.

As far as fish having predators, they do and always have had predators, birds and such. Humans keeping and eating fish has been going on for thousands, possibly millions of years. The fish are still here. With that said, logging has certainly had an impact on the populations, especially the brook trout. If the biologists felt creeling a few was going to lead to their extinction, I don't think they would allow us to keep any.

Most anglers in the backcountry release their fish, or keep a few here and there. Oldman and I kept 2 trout last weekend. The waters we fished probably hold 30000 - 50000 trout, now they hold 29998 - 49998 trout. I don't think we hurt a thing. The hole that I caught the 8.5 inch brook (one of the ones we kept) from, I caught 2 or 3 smaller brooks from that same hole. I could be wrong, but I bet the one we kept out competed those smaller ones for food. Maybe now they will grown larger without his competition for food.

I don't think the limit of 5 fish is set because few anglers can catch 5 keepers. I would say there are few anglers who could not achieve this goal on just about any given day, barring freak weather, or super low water, or just a really crappy day of fishing. I am sure we all have had a day like that here and there.
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:00 PM
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Personally I rarely keep a fish from the park. If you do keep fish, please be certain that it isn't of spawning age/size. On the rare occasion that I keep fish, I try and keep them that are in the 7-10" range, because I'm not certain if one that is larger is capable of spawning so I just don't keep them, just in case. I think I've kept 2-3 trout in 5 years but I never go back country so that's probably why.
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:05 PM
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You might have to go to Matt and Steve with the fisheries dept., but some time ago they did an experiment on a stream where fisherman were to keep everything they caught no matter the size within a certain time period. The stream rebounded and the following year the numbers and the size were the same as the previous years. Eat and be merry. I bet if you kept a limit every time it would make no difference.
Lynn
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:22 PM
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A couple trout in the frying pan won't hurt the stream none. I usually fry up a couple when I backpack or camp so I can get em while they are fresh. I keep em in a ziplock baggie while fishing and change the water in the bag every 20 minutes or so.....this keeps the trout nice and fresh....enjoy
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:41 PM
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Stana Claus Stana Claus is offline
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BTW, if you do keep a couple for the pan, after you remove the entrails run your thumbnail (or a spoon or some such) the length of the spine to remove the large blood vessel that will remain there behind a membrane. I find that doing so before cooking helps make them taste better.
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No Hackle View Post
You might have to go to Matt and Steve with the fisheries dept., but some time ago they did an experiment on a stream where fisherman were to keep everything they caught no matter the size within a certain time period. The stream rebounded and the following year the numbers and the size were the same as the previous years. Eat and be merry. I bet if you kept a limit every time it would make no difference.
Lynn
I'm pretty sure their data concluded fisherman had no impact on the fish. Hence the reason we can now catch & eat Brookies. I took the monster Brookie that I tore up when removing the hook and 4 big rainbows home yesterday My buddy ran by this morning to pick them up and feasted on them tonight for dinner.

The easiest way to learn to clean a trout besides having someone show you is to simply watch a you tube video. That's what I did.
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