Front Porch Blog

Anglers Allowed to Keep Smoky Trout

Not since the early 70s have fishers been allowed to hold onto the native brook trout they caught in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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However, according to The Maryville Daily Times – starting April 15th, 700 miles of park streams in both NC and Tennessee will be opened in near entirety, in order to continue research on the “speckled trout.”

It’s a dream come true for local fly fishermen
“We’ve been dreaming about it and waiting for it,” said Tim Doyle, a Walland resident and proprietor of Smoky Mountain Flywerks and Guide Service.

As the forest and streams have recovered from heavy logging before FDR’s New Deal (the park was created in 1934) the brown trout, who were stocked in the park, and the native speckled trout have reveled in stiff competition.

Good news though, as the Daily Times reports

Extensive monitoring in recent years, however, suggests the “brookies” [speckled trout] are holding their own in restored populations.

Roy Hawk, treasurer of the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, is enthusiastic, and feels that all will benefit from the new policy. He sites the University of Tennessee Technological University and Friends of the Smokies as key allies in this effort.

“It can’t be done alone,” he said. “It takes a cooperative effort.”

17 miles of stream in the GSMNP have already been restored to purely native brook trout population!

Park spokesman Bob Miller says

“Given that we could find no ecological benefit to prohibiting anglers from taking brook trout, and the opportunity to offer anglers a very enjoyable experience, park management has decided to open nearly all streams to fishing,” Moore said.

A look at securing federal rules is the next step in the continued effort to give hunters, fishers, anglers, and outdoorsman of all generations (both future and present) a chance to enjoy the most beautiful place in the world!

UPDATE 1: Improving siltation/oxygen levels have been a major factor in the brook trout’s ability to recover. The Daily Reflector from Greenville has agreat article about how oxygen levels effect fish behavior.

UPDATE 2: From NC Conservation Network:

Hatchery-supported mountain trout waters: The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) will open approximately 1,120 miles of “Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters” in 25 western North Carolina counties at 6 a.m. on April 1.
The season will run until one-half hour after sunset on Feb. 28, 2007. Anglers fishing in Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters can harvest a maximum of seven trout per day, with no minimum size limits or bait restrictions.
Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters, identified by green-and-white signs are stocked repeatedly from March until August every year.
This year, the NCWRC will release more than 750,000 catchable-sized trout in streams designated as Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters.
The fish, a mixture of brook, rainbow and brown trout, are grown in four hatcheries operated by the Commission. Most average 10 inches in length but there are some that exceed 14 inches.

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