Guided Trips


Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Friday, May 11, 2007

California Loves Their Frogs

The fight for frogs and other native species continues in California. According to this NBC story,
Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette said the state's trout stocking program fails to meet environmental laws designed to protect threatened and endangered species, although he declined to temporarily shut it down.

Trout fisherman will be unhappy with the ruling I'm sure and it does raise numerous issues. For example, poaching is generally a problem with just about any fishery including trout and normally, the stocked trout are an easy target. For that matter, what about all the people out fishing for their supper legally? This is all very theoretical, but what happens when there aren't as many trout to go around in the first place? Do native fisheries become a new or more focused target of the catch and keep crowd?

I agree strongly with protecting native species. However, I believe that some very well meaning people are trying to simplify the whole picture. Do trout eat frogs? Possibly, probably likely on occasion at least but is that the only reason for the decline? What about air quality issues which would ultimately affect water quality? Might this not be a culprit?

Not being a fisheries biologist, I cannot offer any support for any of these ideas or questions. That point remains however that the trout seem to be a convenient scapegoat for other problems.

According to the ruling, the California Department of Fish and Game must complete an environmental assessment. Great, once again it is a good idea and well-meant I'm sure. For that matter I'm all for it but if I go to California to fish, I would MUCH rather for my license fees to go towards improving the fisheries and enforcing the regulations instead of funding a study to see if trout eat an occasional frog.

One thing against the California Department of Fish and Game, they used a lousy excuse for their stocking. From the article:
The department had argued fish stocking was exempt from environmental review because the program, which the department took over in 1945, was in place long before environmental laws protecting sensitive species were enacted in 1970.

I give up, they deserved to lose the decision...

Not necessarily the right perspective but thats my two cents...

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