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Thread: Happy Birthday Trout Unlimited 1959

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2021


    I am another "younger" generation fly angler. I have been actively fishing the river for roughly the last 8yrs along with Robinryder2. I have been active in TU on and off over the last several years in various capacities. One of the primary reasons that I no longer participate in any of the local chapters is the lack of initiatives that directly positively impact the fisheries. As previously stated, I think getting kids and women on the water is great, but not directly impacting the resource positively if we simply just teach them to fish and thats the end of it.

    I think one of the primary reasons that these chapters do not involve themselves in larger issues is lack of education on what a "great" trout fishery really is. Many of the chapter leaders and members are perfectly content if they get out once a month for a few hours and catch 4 stockers. With a smile on their face they head back home and think the Clinch is wonderful. That is all fine and good, everyone has different levels of what fly fishing is to them, but perhaps those individuals are not on the water enough or educated enough about the fishery to realize the underlying issues.

    Perhaps if the serious anglers in our area were to get more involved in the chapters we could take on the issues that we see. I think pointing fingers on message boards is fine, but its not helping anything. There are many serious anglers in our area that are eager to see the Clinch fish the way we've heard it used to. These individuals are not convinced that TU is worth their salt because all of their efforts are purely focused on attracting new members - not on improving and maintaining our fisheries. These same anglers are well educated, fish weekly on our waters, and many of us have been involved in the industry - working in shops, guiding, etc. Funny enough that TU is spending all its time thinking about getting new members but they are missing out on some of the more willing and able advocates for our local water.

    The issues of stocking, low water minimums, etc. are big topics that will take an army to fight for. Division on a message board doesn't build an army. We all want the same thing at the end of the day. Wolf - I cant put myself in your shoes - I know you have done a lot for the fisheries in our area - and I cant imagine your frustration watching the decline of our waters of the last several years. In my short time in the area I have also watched decline and have had my own frustrations. I echo many of your concerns and anger. Perhaps if we are unhappy with the way TU is handling these things the best way to fix it is to invest our time into the chapters again - and not just sit around eating BBQ but actually take on roles in the chapters. If our most educated and serious anglers become a stronger voice in TU - is that a step in the right direction?

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2008


    Great points and I share the same sentiments.

    The vast majority of die hards that I know left TU because the leadership locally took a direction that didnít do anything in their views to help improve our fisheries.

    We used to have a large very active chapter and our monthly meetings would fill the Elks Lodge conference room. We didnít do tying classes, etc. We had biologists, TWRA officials, Tva fisheries folks etc discuss the issues and status routinely. Some meetings were heated as the membership expressed concerns and goals.

    The results were the first quality Zone. The second slot limit, oxygenation issues from the weir, hub baffles being installed, closure of tributary creeks during the spawn, bank restoration projects, access issues, fingerling stockings and I could go on for pages.

    We had presidents like David Buxbaum, Dan Pitts, Rick Murphree, and others who were **** bent on the future of the river. They didnít care about a social event but rather a strong United voice to promote a quality fishery management plan.

    Now itís an entirely different chapter and entirely different approach. Which is have parties, and be a fishing club more than a conservation organization

    There used to be several TU/TWRA/Tva joint meetings a year where it was an open forum to discuss current issues. There hasnít been one in over decade to my knowledge

    Iím just addressing the GSM chapter with the above. The Clinch chapter is worse, it actively fought against the current slot limit. I was a founding member of that chapter and left it entirely when they sided with the other side of that debate.

    In its current state the GSM is not fulfilling its designed mission that TU National promotes. Not even a little bit.

    Maybe itís long overdue that the more diehard conservation minded of us step back up and take this back over from the current iteration that isnít accomplishing anything on the conservation level and turn the GSM chapter back into what it was before the leadership tanked what was a great chapter

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Great Smoky Mountains


    You are correct I am in Colorado so limited access however as I said in my reply at first a lot of misinformation is being posted and a message board is not the proper channels for a non profit group discussions. I will address the most incorrect information being posted.
    1. When I joined the GSM chapter there was a once a year meeting average chapter attendance was 4- 7 people. The older members being listed here were no longer involved for whatever their personal choices. Because of lack of interest there was talking of stopping the chapter due to total lack of interest or participation by anyone. There was absolutely zero money, budget or plan. The first three years we personally financed any expense due to our concern the oldest chapter in Tennessee was months away from collapse. The Memphis chapter was later shut down a few years later for that very reason.

    2. In regards to no group chapter meetings in a decade again incorrect, the TU State Council meets winter and summer every year for many years in a state organizational meetings with a focus on conservation.

    3. In regard to membership dues local chapters receive no money from TU National for dues paid. The only money a chapter can receive from dues is if the chapter personally recruits a new member they receive $17.50 one time. We average $50 annually from TU National from new members due as a chapter. All local chapters have to raise their own money for themselves. The only fundraiser we have is IRON MAN FLY CONTEST in January to send kids to Trout Camp. The Battle of Gatlinburg One Fly all proceeds go to the winners. The sponsors locally and nationally donate the prizes awarded.

    4. In regards to speakers in years gone by all mentioned continue to donate their time and information. However due to Covid the last year and a half many governmental agencies have restricted in person meetings for their employees.
    Trying to maintain activity as chapter has also been difficult as TU also restricted in person meetings. Those bans were lifted by TU and local goverments in the last few months. Zoom, chapter websites and emails heve been the only outreach available to members due to those restrictions.

    5. Just a few years ago none of the three chapters regularly interacted except for twice yearly State Council meetings. I am happy to say that changed in the last few years. All three chapters have concentrated on areas that they feel are their main interests for their members. The Clinch chapter focuses on the Clinch River and veteran groups.
    The Little River chapter focuses on the Great Smoky Mountains with a focus on the watershed starting on the Townsend side hence the Little River chaoter nane and Trout in the Classroom. The Great Smoky Mountain chapter focuses on youth at the high school level, college level with TU 5 Rivers group "VOLS on the FLY", and soon the Stream Girls which helps introduce young women the fastest growing segment in the world of fishing. We also focus on the Gatlinburg side of the Great Smoky Mountains as the city is the very gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains and indicative of our chapter name.

    5. This specialization of all three chapter avoids repetition of efforts by the chapters and maintain focus on their individual chapter interests.
    If you have a specific interest in a watershed or fishery you have the choice of doing that by joining the chapter that shares your specific interests. When you join Trout Unlimited you are assigned to the chapter closest to your zip code by TU National. However thru your membership office you can change to any chapter you want by contacting TU National.

    6. As I mentioned in first reply the Tennessee TU State license plate is what funds TU projects. The individual chapters present a detailed business plan with objectives of their project which is reviewed by the Tennessee State Council who decides if the project receives the requested funds.

    Hopefully this will help give correct information to the posts that have been incorrectly posted here regarding local TU chapters . If you truly want to get involved and concentrate on issues important to you please join a local chapter with similar interests and get involved. Going back and forth on message boards changes nothing for the present or future. Maybe replacing the words "You should" with "I should" can help build the world you want.
    Last edited by bigsur; 07-20-2021 at 07:43 PM.
    "It starts with a raindrop, don't let it end with a teardrop!"

    "Nothing straightens out my mind like a twisting mountain stream!"

    Follow the Great Smoky Mountain Trout Unlimited website:


    "A true conservationist is someone who knows that the world is not given by their fathers, but borrowed from their children."

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2008


    And this is exactly why the serious fisherman in this area left TU. The organization does absolutely nothing to promote its primary mission locally.

    Thank you for highlighting that the GSM chapter is entirely a social/fishing club. Which is sad seeing where this chapter used to be, and what it accomplished.

    I do sincerely appreciate your response though. However, TU is lost in this area, and maybe this state it seems. It doesn’t take much effort to scroll through the local website or Facebook to see that there is exactly zero efforts being made to improve our fisheries by the chapter.

    Enjoy your fishing/social club. Myself and a bunch of former TU members have already begun the push to address the real issues that TU used to get involved with. I hope you all enjoy brighter days ahead on the Clinch thanks to the efforts of non TU members.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Louisville, TN


    The clinch fishes really well above Norris damÖÖÖ

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