Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/01/2017

Happy New Years!!! Fishing is going to be tough for a few days. The cold snap has everything icing over except for the tailwaters. If you must fish, stay safe and be prepared for the possibility of getting wet. The streams of the Smokies are almost pointless to fish right now. That said, the forecast suggests there may be some opportunity to fish in the mountains and find a little success starting next Sunday. Temperatures above freezing are what we are looking for here. Not good odds, mind you, but certainly better than being in the deep freeze.

Tailwaters are a bit more reliable through the winter months. Streamer action should be anywhere from average to good depending on the day. On low water on rivers such as the Clinch, throw midges and you should find some fish. The Caney is still quite a ways away from seeing low water so it will be a streamer game almost exclusively.

Photo of the Month: Smoky Mountains Winter Brown Trout

Photo of the Month: Smoky Mountains Winter Brown Trout
©2017 Leah Shulley

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Help the Hiwassee


This afternoon I was perusing the Little River Outfitters message board and read a thread from Byron Begley. He had heard that some regulation changes were being considered for the Hiwassee River and wanted to give everyone a heads up. After doing a bit more research, I came across this article from the Polk County News. According to the article, TWRA is considering removing the "Trophy Section" designation and also adding a delayed harvest season.

The delayed harvest is a great idea, but I can't really say that I think it will increase the quality of the fishing. TWRA's version of a delayed harvest is basically to stock fewer fish with the idea that they will be caught over and over again. I fear that enforcement will continue to be very limited meaning that the fish will end up leaving the river anyway. While going to school in Chattanooga, I fished the Hiwassee a fair amount and was never checked for a license. If TWRA would step up enforcement then the delayed harvest is a great idea.

I wish the Trophy section would be left alone. It really is not doing its job particularly well, probably somewhat due to the lack of enforcement. The remote nature means would-be poachers can come and go at will with a very small likelihood of getting caught. Additionally, water quality problems during summer wreak havoc on the trout population in this area. Not all the fish die though. I know for a fact that brown trout are holding over in the river, at least on a limited basis. Better enforcement of current regulations and better stocking strategies could still make the Trophy section a great fishery. For example, brown trout tend to migrate upstream from their stocking location. Instead of stocking fingerling browns at Big Bend, TWRA should consider stocking them further downriver so they can move up into the Trophy section and get a chance to grow for awhile.

Unfortunately, there are so many things wrong with the Hiwassee that there really may not be a good solution. Still, I urge everyone that cares about this river to take a few minutes to let TWRA know how they feel about the proposed changes. Simply send an email to TWRA.Comment@tn.gov. Please include “Sport Fish Comments” on the subject line.

I would recommend supporting the delayed harvest proposal. However I cannot support removing the Trophy Section designation. Even if the section is largely failing in its purpose, it still gives these fish somewhat of a refuge on a river that is hammered throughout the warm months by many fisherman. A small sanctuary that is occasionally violated is better than opening everything up to normal fishing regulations.

An additional recommendation I would add is to limit brown trout to one kept per day. The current proposal is to allow up to two browns per day. However, brown trout hold over much better in this river than rainbows and limiting the number leaving the river would offer better opportunities for trophy fish.

Again, please take a few moments to let TWRA know what you think.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the heads up - I'll provide a comment cross my fingers. It's a great river and it needs our help.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your efforts! I hope everyone else takes the time to send in comments as well. It will take all of our efforts and a little luck to stop this one I fear...

    ReplyDelete

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