Brook Trout Fishing Back In Vogue in Great Smoky Mountains NP
After three decades of protective care for its brook-trout fisheries, Great Smoky Mountains National Park this spring will once again let anglers pursue brook trout in its roughly 700 miles of streams.
A ban against fishing for brook trout was implemented in 1976, when park fisheries experts worried that non-native rainbow and brown trout were overrunning the native brookies. And they thought fishing pressures also were contributing to a decline of the native fish.
Now, however, the experts say the brookies are surviving alongside the non-native trout and that angling under the park's normal fishing regulations -- which allow for a five-fish daily catch limit, with none smaller than 7 inches in length, and only the use of single-hook artificial lures -- is not over-stressing the brook trout populations.
"Given that we could find no ecological benefit to prohibiting anglers from taking brook trout, and the opportunity to offer anglers a very enjoyable experience, park management has decided to open nearly all our streams to fishing," says Steve Moore, the park's supervisory fisheries biologist. "So, on April 15 all but a handful of the over 700 miles of park streams will be opened to fishing as part of an experimental regulation to allow additional time to monitor impacts of fishing activity."