Sunday, July 01, 2007

Break out the corn meal.

The Superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Dale Ditmanson has announced that fishing has no significant impact on stocks of native brook trout.

From the National Park Service Press Release:

Superintendent Ditmanson said, “A year ago we reopened all but a handful of Park streams to brook trout fishing on an experimental basis after a 30-year ban. This decision opens the door for a permanent change to Park regulations that will allow visitors to fish for brook trout throughout the Park except in three streams where active restoration is currently ongoing. These streams are Bear Creek, Sams Creek, and Indian Flats Prong.”

Fishing and harvest will generally be open in streams throughout the Park with the exception of newly restored streams, so as to allow ample time for recovery. Park staff will monitor and assess the viability of opening newly restored systems after a sufficient period of recovery and sound monitoring results that support such an opening. Each restored system will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Monitoring will also be used to assess whether a “catch and release” program should be initiated if at any time the populations appears to be at risk.

Input from the public during the EA public comment period clearly indicated support for the permitting of brook trout fishing within the Park. Park managers will initiate a regulation change in the Code of Federal Regulations, but in the interim the experimental brook trout fishery will continue. The change to the existing regulation may take a year or more.

No power bait allowed yet though.

Photo via the NC Wildlife website.

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