Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/17/2017

Fishing is excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park now. We have had a couple of shots of rain the last week and a half which has helped keep the streams flowing strong for this time of year. The cool overnight temperatures will get the brown and brook trout seriously thinking about spawning. Please be careful this time of year and avoid walking on fine sand and gravel in riffles and tailouts. Leave the spawning trout alone so they can do their thing. When you find brook or brown trout that aren't spawning, they are aggressive and looking to feed. Recent guide trips on brook trout waters have been anywhere from good to excellent. Streams with rainbows and browns have been excellent as well. There are good numbers of fish to be caught in the Park right now!

A variety of bugs have been hatching lately. On cloudy days, Blue-winged Olives have hatched along with some other small mayflies. Various caddis, including the Great Autumn Brown Sedges (often referred to as October Caddis by locals) are hatching and provide a nice bite for the trout. Little Black stoneflies are hatching as well. Fish are eating both dry fly and nymph imitations and even still hitting some terrestrials. Don't forget your beetle, ant, and inchworm fly box. A Parachute Adams or Yellow or Orange Stimulator should work well for a dry fly. Smaller bead head Pheasant Tail nymphs should work as a dropper. Caddis pupa are also catching a lot of fish as are stonefly nymphs.

On the Caney Fork, things have been tough lately. The river has been running warmer than is normal this time of year because of heavy generation earlier this year and also with a stain due to the sluice gate operations. Work has been underway to install vented turbines on the generators and they have been working to try and tweak them to improve dissolved oxygen. One day, we were floating and they were checking the DO and found it at 1.5 ppm. If I remember correctly, the minimum target is 6 ppm. Obviously 1.5 is way too low. Trout were sitting along the banks and in back eddies gasping for oxygen. Hopefully all of this won't have too much of a long term effect on the fishery, but needless to say, things are a bit difficult as of right now. Cooler weather should help. Once the lake turns over, oxygen and clarity will improve quickly.

The Clinch River has been fishing well if you can hit it on low water days. Small nymphs and midges will get the job done here.

Smallmouth bass are about done for the year, but we will be back out on the musky streams again soon looking for the toothy critters. This is tough fishing, but the rewards can be sizable.

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Smokies Backcountry Fees?

In the midst of the madness otherwise known as the beginning of another school year, I ran across some interesting information about a proposal being considered for the Smoky Mountains.  Apparently the Park Service is considering charging a fee for backcountry campsites.  Personally, if I could afford it, I would have no problem paying for the privilege.  However, as it is my local Park and has never charged a fee, I am strongly against it. 

Currently on a very limited budget, I've resorted to backpacking as a way to still visit my favorite place anywhere on overnight trips.  I enjoy car camping but it is just too expensive to justify or even afford on a regular basis.  By charging for backcountry sites, the Park Service will more or less be pricing a Park experience out of some people's budgets and cutting down on the number of trips others can take.  While some backcountry sites get too crowded, it is my opinion that charging money is NOT the method to cut down on crowds.  If the Park Service would simply get out and ticket backcountry users for staying without reservations they could still generate the revenue they are claiming to be in desperate need of. 

While I'm sure there are good arguments in favor of fees, I am strongly against it.  Anyone who loves hiking overnight in the Park and does not want to be charged for the privilege should contact the Park Service as they are in the process of taking public comments on this proposal.  I've already sent mine in and would encourage everyone else to do the same. 

5 comments:

  1. I totally agree. I would also encourage anyone who cares to contact the park superintendent at grsmcomments@nps.gov, specifically referencing the "Backcountry Office & Permit System Restructuring Proposal"

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  2. David,

    You have to remember that the park already makes due with very little money relative to its status as the most visited national park in the country. It takes the annual visitation of Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Yosemite to equal what we see in the Smokies.

    A great deal of the work done in the park, including fisheries restorations, are done with a great deal of volunteer labor and funded with donations from outside organizations.

    It's already free to enter the park and there is no extra charge from the park for a fishing license so it's clearly a deal.

    Current staffing in the park can barely keep up with the 9 million plus visitors every year. Fees from the backcountry camping would remain in the park and fund backcountry patrols.

    I already donate time and funds to the park plus pay fees to operate a business there. I see no problem asking the most intensive users to pay a small fee to maintain the resource. There's only so much you can get for free.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ian,

    I see your point, but following that logic then the Park should require a Park fishing license like YNP. They should require anyone wanting to tube in the Park to pay a fee, and probably all the people that hang out at the Wye should pay a use fee... It is a slippery slope to start down. Since you live close to the Park you don't have to worry about lodging, but those of us who live a couple of hours away or more find it increasingly difficult to visit due to ever increasing camping fees and this would only add to the difficulty...

    David Knapp

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  4. On some of the NPS sights there has been discussion about who should pay for the very very expensive rescues. I suggested any back country users should pay a fee to pay for their possible rescue. Kind of like insurance to pay for the ones who need those very very expensive rescues.

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  5. ijsouth2:17 PM

    Interesting topic, and I admit to having two minds on this. The first time I brought the girls up to GSMNP, I remember swinging by an ATM first, because I assumed I would have to pay around $20 to get in. I know the park is desperate for revenue - I'm not sure if this is the way or not.

    To take a slightly different spin to this topic - I've never seen, in black and white, the official reason(s) for not allowing dispersed camping in GSMNP. Just about every other National Park I've been to allows it, including within wilderness areas within said parks. I guess GSMNP gets so many visitors, they're worried about the impact - understandable, but I can't help but think these backcountry sites, crowded during the height of the season, get pretty trashy after a while.

    ReplyDelete

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