Brookie comeback in Smokies
From today's Mountain Press.....
<<Brook trout back in Park
July 01, 2002
Starting at noon on Monday, anglers will be able to catch and keep brook trout in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the first time since 1975.
Park managers have decided to open eight brook trout streams to angling for a five-year experimental period to see whether allowing fishing has any impact on the brook trout population.
"When the Park closed to brook trout fishing in the '70s, the prevailing wisdom was that brookies were in danger of becoming extinct in the Park and that fishing pressure was hastening that process," said Park Superintendent Mike Tollefson. "But research since that time has indicated that they are not likely to disappear and that fished and unfished stream have nearly identical fish populations. so if there's no protective value in banning fishing, we might as well allow anglers the enjoyment of fishing for wild brookies."
To measure the impacts of opening streams to angling, the Park will analyze already existing population information about the streams, and conduct fish sampling after the streams are opened, then compare the two. They will also conduct simultaneous sampling of the eight streams to be opened along with eight other, very similar, but closed streams in the same areas and compare the trout populations in the two under the same conditions of stream flow, weather and other natural variables.
The streams to be opened in North Carolina are Beech Flats Creek above Kanati Branch confluence, all of Bunches Creek within the Park, Hazel Creek upstream of Proctor Creek and Lost Bottom Creek upstream of Palmer Creek.
The creeks in Tennessee are all of Cosby Creek above the Rock Creek confluence, all of Indian Camp Creek inside the Park, Walker Prong upstream of Alum Cave and Fish Camp Prong upstream of Goshen Prong.
Tollefson emphasizes that only those eight previously closed streams will be opened Monday, and that brook trout may still not be taken from any other Park streams. All existing Park regulations will apply to the new streams including the seven-inch minimum length, five fish daily limit, single hooks and artificial bait only rules.>>