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Pfleuger Supreme QRS Fly Reel

leah kirk

COLUMBIA, SC - The Pflueger® Supreme QRS, "Quick Release Spool," offers an interchangeable large arbor cassette spool system. Modern in style and functionality, the QRS is a testament to the brand's innovation, dependability and attention to detail. The new interchangeable large arbor cassette spool system allows the angler to quickly change out line size and/or type – meaning that the same reel can be used for a many different fishing conditions.

The new polycarbonate cassettes are secured in the spool carrier by an advanced locking system enclosed by a full stainless steel and 6061 alloy construction. Other key features of the Supreme QRS include dual spool 4-line rating, quick release sliding ring system and the line indication system. MSRP for the Pflueger Supreme QRS Fly Reel is $149.99.

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Pure Fishing, Inc. is a leading global provider of fishing tackle, lures, rods and reels with a portfolio of brands that includes Abu Garcia®, All Star®, Berkley®, Chub™, Fenwick®, Gulp!®, Hardy & Greys™, Hodgman®, Johnson™, Mitchell®, PENN®, Pflueger®, Sébile®, Shakespeare®, SpiderWire®, Stren®, Trilene® and Ugly Stik®. Pure Fishing, Inc. operates in 22 countries with a dedicated workforce conversant in 28 languages. Pure Fishing, Inc., a part of Newell Brands' strong portfolio of well-known brands, is a leader in developing outdoor and active lifestyle products. Additional information can be found at www.purefishing.com.

Newell Brands (NYSE: NWL) is a leading global consumer goods company with a strong portfolio of well-known brands, including Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, Dymo®, EXPO®, Parker®, Elmer's®, Coleman®, Jostens®, Marmot®, Rawlings®, Irwin®, Lenox®, Oster®, Sunbeam®, FoodSaver®, Mr. Coffee®, Rubbermaid Commercial Products®, Graco®, Baby Jogger®, NUK®, Calphalon®, Rubbermaid®, Contigo®, First Alert®, Waddington and Yankee Candle®. Driven by a sharp focus on the consumer, leading investment in innovation and brands, and a performance-driven culture, Newell Brands helps consumers achieve more where they live, learn, work and play. Additional information about Newell Brands is available on the company's website, www.newellbrands.com.

MX-Pro Fly Rods from G. Loomis

leah kirk

WOODLAND, Wash. Featuring 'Conduit Core Technology', G. Loomis' use of proprietary material and a unique blank manufacturing process, the fly rod maker introduces its new 15 model IMX-PRO series, built to the specifications of professional fishing guides. All with purpose driven actions, the new series offers 10 four-weight through eight-weight freshwater models including two one-piece streamer rods, and five three- through seven-weigh 'ShortSpey' two-handed rods.

While traditionally with fly rod design, as the blank diameter increases so does the total amount of material used. "But with Conduit Core Technology, we can still ensure strength and durability in the bottom half of the rod by replacing excess wraps of graphite with our proprietary material," said G. Loomis' Red Kulper. "We're able to offer fly anglers a rod with similar strength but lighter in weight, better balance, and boosts energy through the blank. It's all about improving efficiency, and most importantly reducing fatigue so you can enjoy your time on the water even more."

All 15 IMX-PRO fly rods include single-foot chrome guides and Fuji chrome stripper guides, along with G. Loomis-designed ported custom reel seats. The four through six weight rods have micro full-wells grips along with hook keepers, while the seven and eight weights have full-well grips with MFB. All rods come standard with a Cordura wrapped rod tube.

Made in the USA at G. Loomis facility in Woodland, Wash., the IMX-PRO fly rods are backed by G. Loomis' limited lifetime warranty and Xpeditor service program. For more detailed information, visit gloomisflyfishing.com, or see your local fly dealer. Suggested retail: freshwater 4 through 8 weights - $495; ShortSpey - $575

Simms' G3 Wader

leah kirk

Simms' G3 wader just got revamped for a lifetime of in-river marching orders. They are powered by 25-percent more breathable GORE-TEX® 5-layer Pro Shell fabric, Wrap raw hands in the convenience of a reach-through warming pocket with stormflaps and micro-fleece lining, then reach for everything you need for successful fishing missions via an intuitive zippered chest pocket design, with integrated utility tabs that house an arsenal of in-river essentials. Patented front and back leg seam construction delivers an articulated fit that fights wear zones, bolsters wader longevity, and maximizes mobility either in the drift boat or hiking for riches well beyond road's end.

FEATURES

§  NEW reach-through hand warmer pocket with stormflaps & micro-fleece lining

§  NEW zippered Chest Pocket & Integrated Utility Tabs

§  NEW Removable Flip-out Tippet Tender™ pocket with dual-entry zippers & retractor docking station

§  Patented front and back leg seams provide articulated fit, maximum comfort and mobility

§  Adjustable elastic 1.5" suspender with YKK® non-locking buckles

§  Abrasion-resistant, more durable built-in gravel guards

§  Built-In Low-Profile Belt Loops

FABRIC TECH: GORE-TEX® 3-layer Pro Shell Technology in upper/GORE-TEX ® 5-layer Pro Shell Technology in lower - 25% more breathable
APPROX. WEIGHT: 45 oz/1276 g
SIZES: S, SK, M, MS, MK, MKS, ML, L(9-11), L(12-13), LS, LK, LKS, LL(9-11), LL(12-13), XL, XLS, XLK, XLL, XXL

Simms SOS Campaign

leah kirk

Bozeman, Montana - Simms Fishing Products, the preeminent manufacturer of waders, outerwear, footwear and technical apparel takes utilizes their Save Our Streams campaign to raise money and awareness towards the protection of Idaho's Henry's Fork River.

Out of all the great fisheries in this country, it's the ones that present the greatest range of challenges that offer the most meaningful rewards. Case and point - Idaho's Henry's Fork. Whether fishing iconic stretches like the Box Canyon or the fabled Harriman Ranch, anglers from around the world descend on the Henry's Fork and its tributaries for the opportunity to chase wild fish in one of the most beautiful surroundings in North America.

"There's no denying the beauty and quality of fishing that comes with fishing the Henry's Fork," says Simms Owner/President, K.C. Walsh. "It's a river that's can challenge the most accomplished of anglers and is one that I look forward to fishing each year. And I'm thrilled that through Save Our Streams, we as Simms can do our part to protect such an iconic waterway."

The Henry's Fork marks the fourth stop in the 2017 Save Our Streams tour. For the month of July, Simms has released a limited edition T-Shirt (available in Men's and Women's) designed by Chris McNally, an illustrator, designer and printmaker who specializes in watercolor and ink. A portion of every t-shirt sale (available through retail partners and www.simmsfishing.com/sos) will go back to The Henry's Fork Foundation, the only not-for-profit organization whose sole purpose is to conserve, protect, and restore the Henry's Fork watershed and its legendary wild trout. Known for prolific hatches of salmon flies, green drakes, brown drakes and PMDs, The Henry's Fork is equally as fragile and highly contingent water quality.

"The Henry's Fork Foundation (HFF) applauds Simms' efforts to support aquatic conservation work across the nation through Save Our Streams" says HFF Executive Director, Brandon Hoffner. "Simms has been a valued conservation partner in the Henry's Fork watershed for many years and HFF is honored to assist Simms as they roll out the Henry's Fork version of SOS for July 2017."

About Simms Fishing Products: Established in 1980, Montana-based Simms is the preeminent manufacturer of waders, outerwear and technical apparel in fishing. In 2011, Simms expanded its product offering to include expertly crafted outerwear, footwear and sportswear that gives all anglers a choice in top-end, premium products. The full line of Simms gear is available at specialty and large format retailers nationwide as well as www.simmsfishing.com.

White and North Fork Rivers Trout Management Workshop

leah kirk

White and North Fork Rivers Trout Management Workshop

MOUNTAIN HOME -- The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a special public workshop from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., August 3 at the Vada Sheid Community Development Center in Convention Center Rooms A and B to begin reviewing the trout management plans for the Bull Shoals and Norfork tailwaters. The center is located on the Arkansas State University Mountain Home campus.

The current trout management plans for the 92 and 4.5 mile trout fisheries on the White and North Fork of the White Rivers below Bull Shoals and Norfork Dams were developed in 2007. Management actions outlined in the plans were implemented, and the AGFC is trying to determine if these strategies have worked and whether public expectations of the fishery have changed.

“As part of our continued effort to keep the public involved, we want to give concerned anglers and stakeholders the opportunity to give input on the direction of the fishery,” said Christy Graham, Trout Management Supervisor. “We want to make sure these fisheries are the best they can be and are meeting the expectations of our anglers.”

The workshop if August 3td at 6:00 p.m. at the Vada Sheid Community Development Center Arkansas State University, Mountain Home. For more information, contact Graham at 877-425-7577.

Train Ride Trout River Viewing

leah kirk

You’ll drool at all of the rivers and streams you will view on the August Bryson City NC/Johnson City train ride following the route of the Southern Railway Murphy Branch Line, established in 1891. Following more trout water than can be fished in a decade, the excursion train ride will travel from Johnson City, Tennessee, to Bryson City and back during the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum’s Summer 2017 excursion.

The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad route includes a passenger pickup in Weaverville with a layover in Bryson City to shop, snack and sight-see before boarding for the Nantahala Gorge, which will also include a sight-seeing layover. The train will arrive in Weaverville at 7:30 p.m. and Johnson City at 8:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $83 to $152 for adults and $69 to $79 for children 2-12, with meals available for purchase. Printable order forms are online at www.wataugavalleynrhs.org and should be mailed to Watauga Valley RHS&M, P.O. Box 432, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37605.

Branson Fly Fishing Expo

leah kirk

Next weekend, July 28-29, the Springfield and Branson Chapters of the Missouri Trout Fishermen's Association will hold their first annual Fly Fishing Exposition at the Branson-Hollister Lions Club Community Center at 1015 E. State Highway 76 approximately one mile east after you cross the bridge over Lake Taneycomo from Landing Boulevard.  It will be a celebration of everything fly fishing and it will be held in one of the premier trout fishing areas of the Ozarks, Branson, Missouri.

There will be fly casting demos, fly tying demos, raffles and silent auctions and many local exhibitors. The Southern Trout Ozark Edition will be in attendance to meet and greet and giveaway some yet to be determined goodies.

The event anticipated having 55 fly tiers demonstrating their skills, talking about flies, and sharing tying tips. Also it will have nearly 15 vendors and factory reps on hand to show you their products and make you a deal. We will raffle and auction off some fine tackle, nets, boots and waders, tackle bags, fly tying stations, artwork, signature flies, and more.

Chapter members will be conducting programs of interest to fly fishermen.  Larry Wegmenn will present a program about bugs of the stream and share his experience at the expo.  Chip Allen will have a program on fishing micro jigs in the Ozarks.  Larry Clark from Oklahoma will talk about smallmouth bass fishing.  Neif Khoury will be there with a presentation about how to fish with the tenkara rod outfit.  

Preregistration is encouraged. Contact Jerry by phone at 417-848-5064 or email at jerry_jester@hotmail.com. He will have two classes each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon both Friday and Saturday. Adults can learn from fly casting experts demonstrating their skills on THE casting pool.

Breaking News: 2017 ICAST Show Best Ever

leah kirk

The STM family spent much of last week at the annual ICAST Show in Orlando, Florida, at the country’s largest fishing tackle trade show. It was the smoothest running of their events we’ve attended since our 2012 launch. Optimism was quite high for the improving economy and its trickledown effect on the fishing industry.

            BOTE’s Rover was voted (by buyers and media) as the best new product in both the overall and boat accessory categories — 1,263 products in 26 categories from 280 companies were entered in the show’s signature New Product Showcase. The unique paddleboard, which can handle up to a 6 hp outboard, if desired, is 14 feet long, 40 inches wide and weighs 105 pounds, according to the company. On its website, BOTE says the Rover is a “stand-up paddleboard, micro skiff and everything in between.”

 

By Category 2017 Best of Show Winners

 

Best Fly Fishing Accessory

Simms Fishing Products--G3 Guide™ Stockingfoot Wader

 

Best Fly Fishing Rod

St. Croix Rods—SOLE

 

Best Fly Fishing Rod

G. Loomis, Inc.--IMX-Pro Fly Rod

 

Best Fly Fishing Reel

Pure Fishing, Inc.--Pflueger President Fly Reel

 

Best Lifestyle Apparel

Under Armour, Inc.--Men’s UA Fish Stalker SS

 

Best Boat

Johnson Outdoors Watercraft, Inc.--Old Town Predator PDL

 

Best Eyewear

Costa Sunglasses--Rafael

 

Best Fishing Accessory

YETI Coolers--Hopper Flip 12

 

Best Fishsmart Product

Adventure Products--EGO Kryptek S1 Genesis Medium Clear Landing Net

 

Best Fly Fishing Accessory

Boomerang--Retractable Fly Box

 

Best Footwear

Shimano American Corporation-Flats Wading Boots

 

Best Fishing Line

Pure Fishing Inc.--Berkley Fireline Ultra 8

 

Best Footwear

Huk Performance Fishing—Attack

 

Best Lifestyle Apparel

Frogg Togg-- Prym1 Series Pilot II Jacket & Bibs

 

Best Technical Apparel

Frogg Toggs--Sierran Transition Wader

 

Best Tackle Management

Daiwa Corporation-- Tactical Backpack

Virginia Didymo Cautions

leah kirk

Didymosphenia geminata, also known as “didymo,” is a single-celled algae that is firmly established in at least three rivers below dams in Virginia: the Smith River, the Jackson River, and the Pound River. Didymo is a non-toxic diatom that has the ability to colonize into long stalks and to cover entire river bottoms. Further, didymo has also gained an ignominious nickname, rock snot, because it can break off into large pieces and drape over streamside vegetation. Anglers have become frustrated with this import because it can entangle lines and hooks, ruining a day on the water.

Didymo’s native home is the Faroe Islands off of Scotland, and probably arrived in Virginia on the boots of a fisherman. It thrives in cold, clear, shallow water, just like the conditions found in our three major trout tailwaters. Didymo was “discovered” in each of these rivers during the summer of 2006 by anglers and biologists.

Efforts by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Forest Service to monitor the amount and the distribution of this nuisance have begun. Other stakeholders, including Trout Unlimited and the Department of Conservation and Recreation, have begun an educational campaign in the Commonwealth to raise river-user awareness of didymo’s potential harm.

Posters (PDF), cards, fishing regulations, and websites are warning boaters and anglers to remove any algae fragments from their gear, to dry their gear completely, and to treat their gear with a dilute bleach solution to prevent the spread of this to other trout streams. Biologists world-wide are studying the short and long-term effects of didymo on freshwater fisheries, but it is still unknown how it will impact aquatic communities or if it can adapt to warmer environments. What we do know is that it is an aggravating nuisance, an economic detriment, and that it is here to stay.

SC Studying Redeye Bass

leah kirk

 Since 2004 South Carolina fishery biologist have documented the rapid decline and loss of Redeye Bass populations in Savannah Basin Reservoirs due to hybridization with introduced Alabama Bass. Though not native to South Carolina waters, Alabama Bass have expanded widely since their unauthorized introduction into Lakes Keowee and Russell.

Their impact to native Redeye Bass has been dramatic. From 2004 to 2010 redeye numbers declined precipitously in Savannah Basin reservoirs, while hybrids between Redeye and Alabama Bass increased. Results indicate that the continued presence of Redeye Bass in Lakes Jocasee, Keowee, Hartwell, and Russell into the future is certainly in doubt. While Redeye had thrived in these reservoirs historically, the species native habitat is the cool flowing Piedmont streams and rivers that feed them. We are currently surveying these populations, working to delineate the upstream reach of Alabama Bass and their hybrids from the reservoirs. The identification of pure stream populations of Redeye Bass, and the habitats they are associated with will help to define management objectives for conserving native Redeye Bass.

Free Intro to Fly Fishing at Pisgah Center

leah kirk

BREVARD, N.C.) – The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education is offering free outdoor-related workshops for people of all ages and skill levels in July. The workshops are open on a first-come, first-serve basis. Online registration is required. In addition to the open-enrollment programs listed below, the Commission offers group programs for 10 or more people who call to schedule a program. Groups can schedule the date, time and topic of the program. For more information on group programs or the open-enrollment programs listed below, call 828-877-4423.

July 3-7 and July 10-14 – A Week in the Water from 9 a.m. to noon daily. Open to participant’s ages 10 to 15. This week-long series of hands-on classes will focus on the art and skill of fly fishing. Participants will learn about equipment, knots, casting techniques and more.

 July 17-21 – A Week in the Creek from 9 a.m. to noon daily. Open to participants ages 6 to 10. This week-long series of hands-on classes will focus on water quality and the fish and wildlife that depend on local water systems.

 July 18 – Introduction to Fly Fishing: Lake Fishing from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Open to ages 12 and up. Learn the basics of fly fishing for lakes. Topics covered include equipment, knots, casting techniques and aquatic entomology. Equipment and materials will be provided. Participants should bring a lunch and meet at High Falls parking area in DuPont State Recreational Forest. Limited to six participants who must have completed the Introduction to Fly Fishing class or have equivalent experience before taking this class.

 July 20 – Advanced WILD – Mountain Streams from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Open to formal and non-formal educators ages 18 and up. Spend the day with a Wildlife Commission fisheries biologist and Pisgah Center education staff as they share techniques used in the field to study mountain streams and the wildlife that inhabit them. Some of the questions discussed include: How healthy are North Carolina’s trout populations? What other animals live in or use the rivers and streams? What are the factors affecting mountain waterways? Participants also will learn activities they can take back to their classrooms and share with their students. Prepare to get wet and have fun in the Davidson River. CEU and EEC credits are available upon workshop completion.

 July 20 – Casting for Beginners: Level 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to ages 12 and up. This is a perfect introductory workshop for beginners. Participants will learn various casting techniques at their own pace from experienced instructors. This class will be held at Lake Imaging in DuPont State Recreational Forest. All equipment and materials will be provided. Participants should bring a lunch.

July 21 – On the Water: Looking Glass Creek from 8 a.m. to noon. Open to ages 12 and up. Participants can practice their fly-fishing skills on Looking Glass Creek in Pisgah National Forest under the supervision of experienced fly-fishing instructors. Participants will learn about wild trout regulations, wading, reading the water, fly selection, presentation, casting, knots and stream entomology. Equipment and materials will be provided.

 July 26 – Snorkeling in the Stream from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Open to participants 8 and up. Come spend the afternoon with experienced Pisgah staff exploring a local stream in search of aquatic macroinvertebrates. Based on the aquatic organisms they find, participants can determine the water quality of the stream and learn how these little critters play such an important role in the ecosystem and to mountain trout. Snorkels and masks are available, so participants should come prepared to get wet.

Chilhowee Lake Reopens

leah kirk

BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. --- Following a nearly two-year closure, Chilhowee Lake has reopened. Brookfield Renewable, which owns and operates Chilhowee Dam, began draining the reservoir in September 2015 for dam inspection and repairs.  Brookfield reports that the work is complete, the reservoir has been re-flooded and is open to the public.

In the late 1970s Breecher Whitehead canoed John Doty and me to the headwaters of Chilhowee Lake where he revealed his then secret method of using big terrestrial flies to fly fishing the trash lines below Caulderwood Dam. Stretching from shore to shore, these 10-feet wide debris lines resemble rungs on a cheap motel bathtub. Big rainbow trout patrol just under surface taking whatever passes through the surface. Big fun.

Andy Davis, Brookfield Renewable Director of Stakeholder Relations in North America, released a statement: “We are extremely appreciative of the patience and understanding that was exhibited by the public as we undertook this large project to proactively fix issues at the Chilhowee Dam. While this project is complete, and water levels are back to the point where we feel comfortable allowing access for recreation, we do urge extreme caution to boaters and those utilizing the reservoir for recreation to watch out for floating debris that may be present, as the water was drawn down for quite some time, as well as changing water levels that are ever present in and around dams.

The lake is being restocking several fish species into the reservoir this fall including crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, and redear sunfish.  This winter, trout stockings will resume in Chilhowee as their allotment was diverted to Calderwood and Tellico lakes in order to provide angling opportunities in the same general area. Next spring, there the plan is to stock walleye and smallmouth bass.

Breaking News: Pisgah-Nantahala NF Management Planning Go Forward

leah kirk

While a draft forest management plan is still nearly a year away, a group of recently released documents gives a glimpse into how the U.S. Forest Service might ultimately manage the 1.2 million acres in the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest over the next 20 years.

Maps showing management areas, goals for each type of management area, descriptions of each of the forest’s unique geographic areas and a list of special interest areas are all contained in the documents that the Forest Service put out for public comment. And, while different stakeholders have different opinions on what’s been written so far, opinion on the Forest Service’s process seems to be running high.

The new documents divide the forest into 12 different geographic areas, distinct landscapes that contain their own unique ecology and identity. With each area, the Forest Service has included a description of the area’s history and notable places, a map of management areas and a list of management goals.

The Forest Service, compares the geographic areas to cities and the management areas within them to zoning districts. Just like most cities have areas zoned as residential, commercial and industrial, each geographic area has areas designated for interface, matrix or backcountry management.

It’s a markedly different scheme than the current plan, which defines 21 different types of management areas. In the plan currently under construction, just three management types — interface, matrix and backcountry — would cover the bulk of the forest, with a few other management types — concentrated recreation areas, administrative sites, Appalachian Trail, National Scenic Byways, heritage corridors, Wild and Scenic Rivers, special interest areas and research natural areas, and wilderness — appearing less frequently for a total of 12 different management area types.

The three main management types form a sort of gradient across the forest. Interface areas, generally about 1 mile wide, follow existing roads and are the places where human impact and population are likely to be the highest. The matrix area contains the most acreage and serves as a “connective tissue” between the interface and the backcountry. The backcountry, meanwhile, is managed to be remote and often roadless, with large blocks of relatively undisturbed forest.

In the backcountry, management will emphasize habitat for species that need large blocks of older forest to thrive, and while timber harvest will be allowed there, it will be used to accomplish “site-specific restoration goals” and wouldn’t happen frequently, the pre-draft plan says.

In the interface areas, management would seek to minimize any impacts to access roads or to the scenic beauty visitors experience as they drive past. Extra care would also be taken to prevent spread of invasive species, as spots closer to roads and other public areas are more susceptible to such issues. Meanwhile, management in the matrix will seek to make young forest more frequent — likely using timber harvest and fire to achieve the goal — than in the interface. Some road construction would be permitted to facilitate such management.

 Open houses seeking input on the developing forest management plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests are planned throughout the summer, with the public invited to learn about and comment on the latest round of documents released as part of the process.

 

• 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, July 11, at Tartan Hall in Franklin.

 

• 6-8 p.m. Thursday, July 13, at the Pisgah Ranger District Office in Brevard.

 

• 3-6 p.m. Tuesday, July 25, at the Cheoah Ranger District Office in Robbinsville.

 

• 3-6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8, at the Brasstown Community Center in Brasstown.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Updates

leah kirk

Temporary and seasonal closures and construction projects include:

Parsons Branch

Foothills Parkway (unfinished section) - the entire unfinished section between Walland and Wears Valley is now closed to all public use until 2018 due to construction.

Blue Ridge Parkway - for information about parkway closures, please call (828) 298-0398 or visit the parkway's website at https://www.nps.gov/blri/index.htm.

For information about seasonal closures, including Clingmans Dome, Rich Mountain Road, Parson Branch Road, and others during the winter months, please see:

Backcountry trails and campsites:

 Bear Closures - areas that are closed due to bear activity. Sites #9, #19, #21, #24, #34, #36, and #37

Bear Warnings - areas where bears are active

Russell Field Shelter and Mt. LeConte Shelter

Sites #10 and #38

Abrams Falls Trail

Other Backcountry Closures and Warnings

The Appalachian Trail between Low Gap and Cosby Knob Shelter is closed to horse traffic until further notice due to a compromised retaining wall. It remains open to hikers at this time but they are advised to exercise caution when passing through this section.

Rainbow Falls Trail is closed May 8 - November 16, 2017 Monday 7:00am through Thursday 5:30pm weekly for trail maintenance.

The following trails are closed due to fire or storm damage until further notice: Chimney Tops Trail, Road Prong Trail, Sugarland Mountain Trail from Mt Collins Shelter to the junction with Huskey Gap Trail, Rough Creek Trail, and Bull Head Trail.

Scott Mountain Trail is closed from campsite #6 to Schoolhouse Gap. Campsite #6 is open.

Backcountry Campsite #11 is closed.

Trail Cautions

Cosby Nature Trail was impacted by flash flood, resulting in a bridge being washed out. While the trail remains open, hikers need to be prepared to ford the stream.

Rabbit Creek Trail - the bridge where the trail crosses Abrams Creek is out. This is a wide crossing that may be deep during high water events.

Boogerman/Caldwell Fork trails - several bridges are out. No schedule for repairs at this time. Trails are open, but be prepared to ford the streams.

Enloe Creek Trail - the footbridge crossing Enloe Creek has washed out. The steel bridge crossing Raven Fork is not affected.

Trails throughout the park have downed trees due to severe storms. Please see the list of closed trails above. Other trails may have areas that are difficult to negotiate due to downed trees.

Boat shuttles to and from Hazel Creek when lake levels are low are from the Ollie Cove Trailhead on the Hazel Creek embayment. Ask the shuttle service about this when making a reservation to be dropped or picked up. This is due to a bridge that is out of service on Hazel Creek and adds about 1/2 mile to the hike. Trail signs are in place to direct you from the Hazel Creek Trail and Lakeshore Trail intersection to Ollie Cove Trail that is one mile east on Lakeshore Trail from Hazel Creek.

In related news, prosecutors have dropped arson charges against two juveniles in connection with the Gatlinburg wildfire that killed 14 people and tore through thousands of homes and businesses in November, a law enforcement official said Friday. In December, Dunn announced charges of aggravated arson against the juveniles in connection with a fire in the remote Chimney Tops area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park that officials have said blew several miles into Gatlinburg, ravaging the vacation town.

Bigger Razorback Brookies?

leah kirk

HEBER SPRINGS - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Trout Management Program worked with the Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery in Heber Springs to clip off a fin on each of 14,300, 9-inch brook trout to be released into the Bull Shoals and Norfork tailwaters later this month.

The loss of a fin may seem counterproductive to fish survival, but the fin-clipping effort is part of a larger project to determine the effectiveness of larger trout being stocked in the tailwater.

Brook trout have been stocked in Arkansas since 1994 at a size of 6 inches (locally referred to as “trout chow” for the big browns). Recently, the AGFC Trout Management Program has worked with the hatchery to grow out the trout to 9 inches before release. According to Christy Graham, supervisor of the Trout Management Program, the tradeoff for fewer, but larger trout being stocked may increase the amount of trout that make it to catchable size.

"Creel and electrofishing surveys conducted over the last 10 years indicate very few of the 6-inch brook trout stocked survive very long after stocking," Graham said. "We hope increasing the size to 9 inches will give anglers a better opportunity to catch these trout."

Graham says the clipped fins pose little harm to the fish, and enable biologists to accurately determine when a fish was stocked. This information is vital to determine the success of stocking as well as the growth rates of the fish.

"Typically some fish would have to be sacrificed to determine age through other means," Graham said. "But this marking enables us to track the growth rates and survival of stocked fish and release it to be caught by anglers."

The current minimum length limit for brook trout is 14 inches and anglers may keep two per day. Arkansas is the only state in the Southeast to stock rainbow, brown, cutthroat and brook trout. Catching one of all four species in a single day is a feat known as the "Ozark Slam."

Graham says anglers who visit the Norfork and Bull Shoals tailwaters should also be on the lookout for public workshops in August to begin the review of the trout management plan for these tailwaters.

Alabama Researching Lone Rainbow Trout Fishery

leah kirk

Anglers were treated to two stockings of rainbow trout in the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River below Smith Lake dam in June 2017. The fish were stocked at the Alabama Power Company fishing platform on the Walker County side of the river on June 15 and 22.

Twenty-two of the trout stocked in June were tagged with radio transmitters by Auburn University researchers to track their movements. The movement data will help the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries better understand the fate of the fish following the stocking. The research results will also be used to improve this unique fishery.

The next scheduled stocking of non-tagged trout is July 20, 2017. More tagged fish will be stocked in September 2017 and January 2018.

The tagged fish have a wire protruding from their abdomen and are safe to consume after cleaning. If you harvest a tagged rainbow trout from the Sipsey Fork, it is important that you keep the transmitter tag and contact Sarah Walsh with Auburn University at szw0099@auburn.edu, or 334-844-4231.

During periods of minimum water flow, anglers can wade the Sipsey Fork or fish from the bank upstream from the Alabama Highway 69 Bridge. Angler access is abundant from Cullman County Road 95, which parallels the river, as well as upstream from the Sipsey intake pump station. Prior to your fishing trip, please review the tentative operating schedule for Smith Lake dam at www.apcshorelines.com/our-lakes/smith or call 1-800-LAKES-11.

Aug. 4 Tennessee Trout Management Plan Comment Deadline

leah kirk

NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fisheries Division has completed its latest draft of its Statewide Trout Management Plan. The plan is ready for review on the TWRA website by clicking here. Comments will be accepted through Aug. 4.

The scope of this plan is to provide guidance for the conservation and management of Tennessee’s cold water resources on a statewide level and not to address the needs of any specific body of water.

The public is asked to provide comments on the Statewide Trout Management Plan. To provide comments, email TWRA at TWRA.TroutComments@tn.gov or write to the TWRA Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville, TN 37204.    

Ride Bryson City’s Summer Railroad Excursion

leah kirk

              The Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum's Summer 2017 Excursion will ride the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad through the countryside of Western North Carolina Saturday, Aug. 12.  The train will follow the route of the former Southern Railway's Murphy Branch line, established in 1891, with a 5 percent grade, many bridges and the whitewater Nantahala Gorge. The excursion ride is a great way to see parts of Western North Carolina that cannot otherwise be viewed from the comfort riding the rails. It's a great family activity and the perfect excuse for making a drive for which you can sneak in a little fly fishing. It's impossible to sling a dead cat around Swain County where the carcass does not splash down in a trout (PETA: we're not advocating dead cat slinging--Not that it is necessarily bad--just not advocating. Please look up the word "metaphor"...)

Southern Council Fly Fishing Fair Has New Venue

leah kirk

Mountain Home, AR has a new venue for the Southern Council of the IFFF’s 2017 Fly Fishing Fair to be held on the first weekend in October. Vada Sheid Community Development Center located at 1600 S College St, Mountain Home, is the new event site.  A new venue, new events, new programs and all sorts of fun, the annual FFF Southern Council Fly Fishing Fair is going to be exciting this year. On the evening of the 6th, the event will host the International Fly Fishing Film Festival.

The Fly Fishing Fair is the premier event of the Southern Council Federation of Fly Fishers, held each year in Mountain Home. As more details become available STOE will pass the information along.

Kentucky Lake Invaded by Sharks???

leah kirk

It’s hard work being online these days. What with all of the “fake news” and “viral posts” corrupting the World Wide Web, not to mention the Feds peddling their theories as facts. So how are you supposed to know what’s real and what’s “bullcrap” or rather, “bull shark crap”?

When it comes to hoax stories about inland shark sightings, at least, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is here to set you straight.

“Unfortunately, on social media sites people are posting false info such as ‘Kentucky Lake Bull Shark Caught,’” wrote the agency in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “Many of these sites are entertainment with user-generated content.”

I’m honestly saddened to live in a world where this is something a government official needs to say. Not because of the sharks—bull sharks can, in fact, survive in fresh water—but please just look at a portion of the fake news story in question from “BreakingNews365.net”:

Ky Fish and wildlife were called to Pisca bay to the report of an angler catching a shark. Kentucky fish and wildlife officer Blaine Thompson Killer arrived to the boat ramp and confirmed the shark to be a female 5 1/2 foot bull shark. Dr. Sandy kemp from Sanibel Florida arrived to attempt to catch the shark, as it was reported earlier this week. By Blaine’s description of the shark sandy believe it has given birth to at least 6 pups sometime in the last week. Bull sharks have on average 3 to six pups. This is a monumental occurrence as bull sharks have never been caught this deep in the intercontinental waterways of the United States. Bull sharks are able to store salt in their kidneys and use it as they need. Bull shark pups eat up to 85 percent of their body weight for the first year they are alive. Sharks prefer to attack in less than three feet of water, so fish and wildlife officers are in a scramble to find out for sure if there are pups and if this is a rouge shark.

You get the idea.

This paragraph looks like something written by a fifth grader for their final project on sharks, where the only sources cited are Wikipedia (the free online encyclopedia!) and Uncle Jim. Nevertheless, thousands of people apparently decided to share this story with their Facebook friends. Let me direct you to one line, specifically:

Now, again, bull sharks can survive in fresh water. They’ve been found in the Mississippi River as far north as Illinois—but not this time. And I don’t really know what to say about this fake news: If you believe it, that’s very sad for you, but a lot of people seem to have believed it, so I guess I’m the fool here