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Blog

Oklahoma Studies Impact of Trout in Northeastern Stream

leah kirk

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have contracted with the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to conduct a five-year study on a northeastern Oklahoma stream.

Rainbow trout will be stocked and examined during the Spavinaw Creek study researchers began to gathering base data on fish and fauna in the waters through physical surveys and sampling this winter. Trout is expected to be stocked for three years beginning this year. State Fisheries Chief Barry Bolton said a year will be set aside for analysis.

 

Adam Maris, the owner of Spring Valley Anglers Rod and Gun Club, is requesting the permit to supply the trout. He said his company would stock the trout during the study and would plan to have anglers fishing for the trout after they are stocked just as they would normally. Maris said trout have been stocked on the Arkansas side of the stream for at least 100 years.

Spring Creek Coalition board members have expressed concerns over the new study, saying non-native fish could damage the stream by harming native fish and impacting aquatic ecosystems. Board member Jennifer Owen said a five-year study isn't enough to determine long-term effects of stocking the trout.

"This is the introduction of a non-native predatory species that is farm-raised, which increases its potential for carrying disease that could be introduced into a pure system, just to see what kind of effects it will have. It makes no sense," she said.

The Mayfly Project Foster the Rise 2-Fly Tournament

leah kirk

The Mayfly Project is a 501(c)(3) organization that uses fly fishing as a catalyst to mentor children in foster care. Their mission is to build relationships with children in foster care through fly fishing and introduce them to their local water ecosystems, with a hope that connecting them to a rewarding hobby will provide an opportunity for foster children to have fun, feel supported, and develop a meaningful connection with the outdoors. 

The Mayfly Project's standard program is to mentor a foster child through five sessions we call "stages", just like the life cycle of a Mayfly.  Within these stages, the children learn line management, casting techniques, knot tying, some etymology, river safety, mending tactics, hook setting, catch and release tactics, and the value of conservation. At the end of the five stages the child is given his or her very own fly rod, reel, pack, fly box, flies, tippet, indicators, etc.  Our hope is for the child to continue to pursue fly fishing and to have a tool to access the outdoors.  Each project is unique and may contain more or fewer stages, but the goal is to provide a well-rounded and safe fly fishing experience for children in foster care.

Mentors are volunteers that have gone through an extensive background check, training, and ultimately are competent at working with children in foster care.  Mentors are not there to be therapists, caseworkers, or even professional fly fishing guides, they are simply there to teach these children new fly fishing skills and provide a safe environment for them to flourish.

Fly fishing offers opportunities for youth to build character and self-esteem.  Some say fly fishing can me meditative and causes the angler to forget their concerns as they focus in on their floating fly.  For a foster child, taking a break from being worried and simply spending time in nature catching fish is essential.

On any given day there are approximately 415,000 children in foster care. 23,000 foster children age out of the foster care system each year, meaning they leave the foster care system with virtually no support and are left on their own

1 out of 5 foster children will become homeless after the age of 18.

               The Foster the Rise 2-Fly Tournament Benefiting The Mayfly Project is a Rose River Farm Syria, Virginia, Sunday, October 28.  For more information on the Foster, the Rise 2-Fly tournament or sponsorship opportunities contact Mollie Simpkins at mollie@themayflyproject.com.

West Virginia Brook Trout Regulations Changes

leah kirk

The new regulations will take effect January 1, 2019, along with all other fishing regulation changes the commission okayed. The new rule changes will make four well known native brook trout watersheds catch and release only. The waters include Middle Fork of Williams River and all tributaries in Webster and Pocahontas Counties, Tea Creek (upstream of Tea Creek Campground) in Pocahontas County, Red Creek upstream of County Route 45 bridge and tributaries in Tucker County, and Otter Creek and tributary water in Randolph and Tucker Counties.

For many years native brook trout streams were largely protected because few knew where they were. The DNR also deliberately didn’t advertise their locations out of fear over fishing might negatively impact the fragile species. However, that wasn’t an authorized management plan according to Mark Scott, Assistant Chief for Fisheries for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

“We want the public to enjoy these streams, and we’re spending federal dollars on them so we can’t keep it a secret,” he explained. ” We wanted to put on the catch and release regulation which will allow people to fish there and not harm the fishery.”

Two other regulations are more localized. One would make Edwards Run in Hampshire County a fly-fishing only water. The stream is being restored as a native brook trout stream upstream from Edwards Run Pond to the boundary of the Edwards Run Wildlife Management Area.

Timber Harvest Planned at DuPont State Forest

leah kirk

As part of the resource management mission of the DuPont State Recreational Forest, a timber sale has been approved on the southern end of the nearly 11,000-acre forest, which sits on the Transylvania and Henderson county border. The North Carolina Council of State, which must approve all land sales, recently OK'd the 42-acre sale of mostly white pines along Reasonover Road.

“It’s part of the forest management plan,” said Ranger Bruce MacDonald, communications director for DuPont Forest. “We will remove some old white pine. A lot of white pines were planted at the time DuPont Corporation owned the property in the 1950s and ‘60s. These trees get really old and big and start deteriorating. We try to get in some other species like yellow pines and pitch pine and we might even plant some short leaf pines. The idea is to mix species, get more diversity, which improves forest health and improves species composition. More diversity helps wildlife and other aspects of the forest as well.”

He said marking of trees to be logged and other prep work is now underway. The job will go out to bid to various companies that buy timber, and then the goal is to start logging this winter, to avoid wet conditions and the busy visitor season.

DuPont State Recreational Forest is managed by the North Carolina Forest Service. The name of the forest was changed to include “recreational” several years ago to account for the enormous influx of visitors and outdoor recreation that takes place on the forest, which has numerous waterfalls, lakes and some 80 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails. More than 600,000 people visit the forest each year.

The forest was established in 2000 on land formerly owned by DuPont Corp., which produced silicon for the manufacturing of transistors and electronics in the 1950s, and in the ‘60s, medical X-ray films

KIDS FREE FISHING DAY AT ROARING RIVER AUG. 18

leah kirk

KIDS FREE FISHING DAY AT ROARING RIVER AUG. 18.jpg

Young anglers will have opportunities to catch fish, connect with nature and have fun participating in the many activities offered to parents and children at Kids’ Fishing Day on Aug. 18 at Roaring River State Park. This event, which will be from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., is co-sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

 At Kids’ Fishing Day, an area of the park will be designated as a fishing area for youths age 15 and under. Children in that age range can pick up free trout tags at the hatchery office any time on Aug. 17 or all day on the day of the event. Volunteers will be available to assist the young anglers. Children are encouraged to bring their own fishing equipment. Parents are welcome to assist kids, too, but only one pole may be used between the helper and the child. Adults are not allowed to fish by themselves. Free hotdogs, chips, and soda will be available between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

 Education is also part of Kids’ Fishing Day. Throughout the day, seminars will be held on fish cleaning, fish cooking, Dutch oven cooking, Mexican cuisine, outdoor survival, target shooting, taxidermy, watersheds, knot tying, fly tying and fly casting, how to fish Roaring River, stream biology, and other subjects. A hatchery tour will show how trout are raised. A program on Missouri snakes will be given using live specimens. If kids attend three classes, they will be entered into a drawing for prizes. The drawing will be held at 5 p.m. Children must be present to win. Classes are also open to the whole family, but only children may enter these drawings. There will also be a parent-appreciation drawing.

 Volunteers are needed to help out with this event. Individuals wishing to volunteer do not need to be experienced anglers. If you would like to help out with Kids’ Fishing Day or you want to get more information, call MDC’s Roaring River Hatchery at 417-342-9242 or e-mail paul.spurgeon@mdc.mo.gov

3rd Annual Museum Hall of Fame Induction Sept 8th

leah kirk

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The inductions will be held in Bryson City with Museum supporters as well as the family and friends of our inductees in attendance. Fly anglers from across the southeast will celebrate the Second Annual Museum Hall of Fame Inductions. With limited space, advanced reservations are essential and are currently being taken. E-mail info@greatsmokies.com or call 828-488-3681 to reserve your place. The ticket price of $35 per person includes admission to the induction ceremony, lunch, and all weekend admission to the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians.

The third annual Museum Hall of Fame inductions will be conducted on September 8, 2017, at the Southwestern Community College Swain Center located at 60 Almond School Road, Bryson City, NC 28713, west of Bryson City on US 19/74. From the downtown Bryson City, drive approximately 7 miles west. The old Almond school is on your right. Our 2018 Museum Hall of Fame Inductees are Curtis Fleming of West Virginia and another bunch homegrown anglers from North Carolina.

Curtis Fleming – Inducted in the Recreation category for his varied contributions to fly fishing as a fly fishing volunteer, fly fishing educator. Fly fishing guide, and “Reality Fly Fishing” TV celebrity. A West Virginia fly fisherman, Fleming is the host for more than fifteen seasons of the globally televised Fly Rod Chronicles.

Kevin Howell —inducted in the Crafts category as a professional fly tier who is widely recognized for the creativity and wisdom in designing the famed Hot Creek Special, Trip Maker, Trip Saver as well as other noted creations. Kevin is the owner of Davidson River Outfitters and continues the family legacy of his father Don R. Howell and Uncle Dwight Howell.

Breaking News: TU Seeks Southeast Volunteer Coordinator

leah kirk

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Trout Unlimited seeks is a dedicated grassroots volunteers are matched by a respected staff of organizers, lawyers, policy experts, and scientists, who work out of more than 45 offices across the country. The Southeast Volunteer Coordinator will work with TU Volunteer Operations staff and regionally-based conservation staff to provide a wide range of services, tools, and resources designed to engage, inform and empower TU's volunteer base to advance coldwater conservation in the region.

Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee are home to over 10,000 active TU members that operate out of 39 local chapters and four state councils. Just last year, volunteers in this region reported 93,673 hours volunteering, doing things like stream clean-ups and youth outreach. TU's unique model empowers the elected volunteers of the chapters and councils to make decisions about how to direct resources and funds raised: local folks making local decisions about what is best for the trout in the region. This a great strength for TU.

This model also means that every TU chapter is unique and differs in capacity, focus, and approach. Additionally, TU is building its science and restoration staff capacity in the region. TU's vision that the next generation will have healthy trout fisheries in their home waters will only be realized if we bring staff, volunteers, and partners together and work strategically towards our shared goals.

The main objectives of this position are:

Improve coordination between chapters, councils, and staff to better strategically align our work;

Provide relevant conservation, citizen science, or community engagement programs for chapter leaders to adopt; and

Help chapters and councils strengthen their organizational capacity.

The position location is Asheville, NC; however, the location may be negotiable within the mountain regions in GA, NC, SC, or TN.

Improve coordination between chapters, councils, and staff to better strategically align our work.

Working with the four state councils, review and support the revisions of strategic plans that are based in science and well-coordinated between one another and TU conservation staff working in the region;

Create effective communication vehicles (such as e-newsletters, conference calls, etc.) to allow volunteers at different levels and staff to communicate regularly across watersheds and state lines with ease resulting in a greater sense of community;

Promote the successes of high functioning chapters and encourage sharing of best practices amongst chapters/ councils in the region and within the broader organization; and

Participate in the planning of and grassroots involvement with the TU Southeast Regional Rendezvous.

Work with chapters to develop strategic conservation, citizen science or community engagement programs for chapter leaders to adopt.

Identify conservation and engagement needs and opportunities and develop a few key programs with chapters across the region; and

Provide training and assistance in implementing citizen science projects and other conservation programs.

Help chapters and councils strengthen their organizational capacity in order that they become even stronger, more effective grassroots organizations.

Develop and implement volunteer recruitment programs aimed at growing and diversifying our active volunteer leader base within the region;

Facilitate targeted training/ workshops for volunteers on topics such as effective communications, board development, project planning, etc.;

Aid in the development and growth of new chapters in locations where appropriate; and

Strengthen weak chapters through leadership development, organizational planning, and by helping to identify and recruit the right leaders for the right roles.

This is a non-supervisory position

QUALIFICATIONS

Bachelor's degree

Formal training in or extensive experience with organizational development, community organizing or volunteer management

Innovative and resourceful self-starter

Comfortable working independently and as part of a team in a decentralized and geographically dispersed organization

Demonstrated ability to work and interact with sportsmen and sportswomen and a general knowledge of fishing and coldwater conservation issues in the Southeast

Fundraising experience

Strong interpersonal, consulting or coaching skills

Experience with or ability to learn database management software applications for use in citizen science data collection

Experience with developing and delivering training programs

Ability to multi-task and meet deadlines

Ability to listen to and reconcile diverse viewpoints/ conflict management skills

Excellent verbal and written communication skills

Highly organized and attentive to detail

Good sense of humor

Deep ties to the Southeast region preferable

Willingness to travel frequently including evening and weekend hours

HOW TO APPLY

Please send a letter of interest and resume to Beverly Smith at Beverly.Smith@tu.org. No phone calls, please. Resumes accepted until Aug. 24, 2018.

LRO’s Fly Tier’s Weekend in October

leah kirk

lRO fly tyers weekend.jpg

“The Fly Tyers Weekend 2018 (FTW) dates have been locked in,” says Anthony Hipps, FTW 2018 Fly Tier Coordinator. “This is your official invitation to be a demonstration tier, Saturday-Sunday, October 27th-28th, at Little River Outfitters, Townsend, TN.  Once again we will be in the big tent right behind the Little River Outfitters fly shop in stunningly beautiful Townsend on the west side of the gorgeous Smoky Mountains.  This is prime autumn fishing season in the park and also the local stocked streams.  For those of you have been in this show before you know how much fun and fellowship we have sharing our tying and slightly embellished stories (for entertainment purposes of course).  Daniel, Dave, Byron and I look forward to seeing you all again in 2018.

“We are requesting that you only sign up for one tying session per day, morning or afternoon, unless you can only be with us for one day.  One day tiers will get preference for all day tying if we have tables available. If this is your first time tying at FTW, please send me a single paragraph tying/fishing bio and a recent photo.  If you have tied in FTW before and want to use your bio and photo on file, that is fine,” says Hipps.

Ramping Up Access in WV

leah kirk

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By Chris Lawrence

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — There is no denying the recent explosion in popularity in kayaking in West Virginia. Sales of the paddle craft have gone off the charts at local sporting goods stores and demand has necessitated greater stream access along West Virginia’s small rivers.

The man who oversees the work on those access sites in West Virginia is Zack Brown, Assistant Chief of Operations for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Stream access is one of the many tasks assigned to Brown, but even he will admit it’s one of the more high profile jobs on his desk each day.

“We have a fairly aggressive boating access program in the state,” he said. “If we have an access we consider a ‘carry-down’ access for kayaks and canoes, in most places, we try to build them so that you could put in a jon boat with a motor too.”

There are a high number of access projects on various waters across West Virginia. All are  in various stages of development. In southern West Virginia, one project which is well underway and actually nearing completion is an improved access point on the Little Coal River south of Charleston.

“We had a former access which was no more than a muddy bank,” said Brown. “We’re in the process of converting that to a concrete ramp to carry down or back down craft and put them into the water.”

 

Also in southern West Virginia, the agency has plans for five new access points on the Elk River between Clendenin and Coonskin Park in Kanawha County. .

“Three of the sites already exist and two of them are new creations,” Brown explained. “The upgrades should be substantial and should make a series of nice, easily accessible float trips from Clendenin all the way down to Coonskin Park.”

The Elk River access in Kanawha County includes improvements to the existing ramp at the former water treatment plant in Clendenin. A new access will be built at a site Brown referred to as “Clendenin South” on property donated to the West Virginia DNR by FEMA.

Further downstream an existing access point at Blue Creek will be remodeled and improved. There will be a new access point created at Big Chimney on land donated by the Slack Family. The new site will be upstream of the Big Chimney Bridge. The final plans will be to improve the current access site at Coonskin Park.

Elsewhere in West Virginia, Brown said the agency is excited about two new access points which will create float fishing opportunities on the Meadow River which weren’t available before.

“The little community of Heinz is one of those access sites and a little further downstream will be an access at the community park,” said Brown. “We’re pretty excited about crating the float trip there.”

In the eastern panhandle plans are in the works for remodeling an access point at Stone Bridge on Opequon Creek. According to Brown the existing access point was scuttled when the Division of Highways did some work to move the bridge.

Finally, access work is also expected on the West Fork River where the entire stretch of water in Harrison County has been changed.

“U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took out some dams on the West Fork and left some of our access points high and dry,” said Brown. “We’ve had to do some work up there to reestablish our access points. We did install one at Good Hope and we’re working to install some others there.”

All of these are access points on the state’s smaller waterways and typically serve as launch points for canoes, kayaks, or small jon boats. Each project is paid for by West Virginia’s hunting and fishing license fees along with excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear as well as motor boat fuel in the United States through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingel-Johnson Acts.

A Shirt for Your Activities

leah kirk

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Trent Fleming

I’m a sucker for technical shirts.  You know what I mean, the ones made for fishing, with all sorts of pockets and gadgets.  I need that rod loop, those big pockets, and preferably an additional hidden pocket to keep everything secure.

I wear such a shirt every day that I’m not in a client’s office or speaking to a group of bankers.  Long sleeve, or short sleeve, depending on the season.  They are great around the house . . . I always have a project going, and need a pocket for those screws I just took out of the back of that appliance.  A proper shirt will help me with organization . . . I’m always awash in a sea of LSP’s (little slips of paper).  I can put notes to myself in one pocket, receipts from the other, then empty my shirt onto my desk and get organized!  And Dad always needs a place to “hold this” so I try to never disappoint.

Such shirts are perfect for travel, too.  A place for my cell phone, tickets (if I have paper ones,) ear buds, a phone charger, and more LSP’s related to my travel.  I seem to accumulate things.  I also do a lot of “catch up” reading on the plane, so I’m often tearing out articles or entire pages of ideas I want to keep.  Need pockets for those. 

And of course, the intended use . . . in the field.  Especially fishing, when I needs lots of places to keep things.  A fly box, a camera, assorted handy items, even a spare reel, depending on how light I am traveling that particular day.  Full cut arms for casting or wingshooting, and ventilation.

Recently, a new shirt manufacturer popped up in my social media feed, and I decided to try one of their shirts . . . I ordered the sea foam green as that is not a color I currently have.  The shirt came, and I immediately liked it.  The material is light weight, comfortable, and includes sun protection.  There are two large chest pockets, plus a zippered pocket behind the left one.  And a sturdy rod loop.

I chose this shirt for a recent float on the White River, along the Beaver Dam tailwater.  The shoulder/sleeve area provides a full range of motion.  The shirt looks great, and feels even better.  I found the pockets easy to get into, yet I felt that my cell phone was secure until I intentionally reached for it.  The zippered pocket is also solid, with a  top down action that keeps things from falling out.

When you are looking for your next field shirt, please give Habit Outdoors a try.  You can find them on the web at www.habitoutdoors.com

Simms Launches Highly Anticipated

leah kirk

Polly Dean

Bozeman, Mont.– Simms Fishing Products’ commitment to deliver the most innovative and technologically advanced fishing gear in the world continues with the debut of their Fall 2018 Product line (available at Simms retailers and simmsfishing.com August 1, 2018).

With an overarching focus on keeping anglers warm and dry, Fall 2018 brings ground breaking products spanning across all categories to keep anglers in the moment regardless of location, environment and weather conditions. “When I step back and look at the entire Fall 2018 line, all I can say is ‘wow!’” says Simms CEO, Casey Sheahan. “When I began with Simms late last year, I was blown away with the passion and dedication of the entire team. However, regarding the new line, I have to call out the product team in particular—they really and truly delivered beyond my expectations.”

Leading the charge for Fall 18 is the launch of River Camo. Spanning across numerous categories, Simms River Camo pattern was developed with the help of camouflage developers from Veil Camo. Combining fundamental camo principles with scientifically driven data and mathematical ideas found in the form and chaos of the natural world, Simms River Camo pattern not only looks great, it allows anglers to go undetected and get one step closer to that perfect casting moment. Featured in the multi-award winning G3 Guide™ Stockingfoot Wader as well as the all new G3 Guide™ Bootfoot Wader (both made in Bozeman, Montana), this brand new fishing specific camo pattern will be seen in an all new Bulkley Jacket featuring GORE-TEX® and PrimaLoft® technology. In addition, River Camo will also extend into many other fan favorites including the Intruder BiComp LS Shirt, Rogue Fleece Hoody, Ebbtide LS Shirt, and the Solarflex® Crew and Hoody.

Designed for those chilly days on the water, the all new Midstream collection is powered by PrimaLoft® Gold insulation in order to give anglers the highest warmth to weight ratio possible. With an outer shell constructed from a wind and water resistant Pertex® fabric, the Midstream collection allows anglers to fish through the elements. Available in a Men’s Jacket, Pull-Over, Vest and Pant, the Midstream is also available in a Women’s Jacket and Vest.

To piggy-back on the popularity of Simms Challenger Jacket and Bib, Simms will now offer the Challenger Insulated Jacket and Bib to provide anglers with the ultimate foul-weather fortress. Built with a breathable and waterproof Toray® outer shell, the Challenger Insulated Jacket and bib comes equipped with the warming power of PrimaLoft® Silver High Loft insulation. For cold weather and hard-water enthusiasts alike, this jacket and bib combo comes fully loaded with popular features such as center-front water resistant zippers and storm flaps, a storm hood and hand warmer pockets, as well as built-in removable knee pads in the bib.

To bolster all of the great new cold-weather outerwear, Simms has also released several new layering options that include next to skin choices as well as thicker alternatives in the Fall 2018 collection. The all new ExStream® Core Top built with heat generating Toray® Karushi® fabric features an ergonomic hood with an integrated neck gaiter and pairs perfectly with the ExStream® Core Bottom featuring the same fabric package and technology. For anglers looking for soft, thinner wool option to wear under their fishing waders, Simms is introducing the Ultra-Wool Core Top, Bottom and Quarter-Zip. Finally, Simms’ layering collection is rounded out with the Fleece Midlayer Top, Bottom and Bib, all built with super soft, abrasion resistant grid-fleece for maximum warmth and comfort.

The footwear category also expands with the inclusion of the all new Riverbank Pull-On 14” and Chukka. Both of these boots are built with a rugged construction and designed to take anglers to the truck, to the bank, to the boat, and back again. The G3 Guide franchise also gains a new member in the new G3 Guide™ Pull-On 14” Boot. Rated for temps as low as -40 degrees, this is the go-to boot for the coldest days of the year. Powered by a Vibram® Idrogrip rubber outsole that features self-cleaning lugs with multi-directional edges, this boot is stud and cleat compatible and offers superior traction in the water and on land.

Where can anglers put all of this new gear from Simms? The Essential Gear bag provides the perfect solution. Designed to house all the gear an angler could possibly need for a day on the water, this 90L bag is built-with a rugged DWR treated Nylon and features an easy-access main opening, size exterior zippered pockets, tuck-away rod tube carriers and a TPU coated zippered bottom compartment intended to carry wet waders and boots.

Finally, Fall 18 introduces all new idea and concept in the Stretch Woven Overall. Built to accommodate anglers requiring more than a pair of pants while on deck of a boat, the Stretch Woven Overall is constructed from a wind and water resistant polyester, nylon, spandex blend to offer maximum durability, comfort, and range of motion. The Overall features tons of pockets to keep essentials close to hand in those critical fishing moment when time is of the essence.

Self-Loading Canoe/Kayak LOAD MATE

leah kirk

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This is a new, light weight, portable, self-loading Fishing, Kayak and Canoe boat loading assist stand called the LOAD MATE. Your vehicle does not require a roof rack, trailer hitch or trailer to load your boat onto, or your roof all by yourself. It can help load a boat up to a weight of 150 pounds, and you can load your boat anywhere 360 degrees around your vehicle. It only weighs 12 pounds, it will never rust, and it's adjustable in height. The boat is always strapped to the LOAD MATE for security, and the LOAD MATE never comes into contact with your vehicle. Now you can take your boat into the deep woods without a trailer, and to always be able to load it yourself. For more info visit www.theloadmate.com

Cherokee Catching a Break?

leah kirk

A proposal to forge an agreement that would allow members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to gather sochan — also known as green-headed coneflower — from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open for public comment through Aug. 17. Before drafting an agreement, the park must complete an environmental assessment examining alternative actions and potential environmental impacts associated with plant gathering.

A preliminary list of alternatives to be examined would be not entering into an agreement at all, allowing sochan gathering throughout the park or allowing sochan gathering in specific locations inside the park. The agreement would describe the system used to administer traditional gathering, specify the size and quantity of plant parts that could be gathered, identify the times and locations at which plant parts could be gathered, identify allowable gathering methods, state that commercial use of gathered plants is prohibited, establish a schedule for periodic review of the agreement, and establish protocols to monitor gathering.

Sochan has historically been an important food source for the Cherokee people, but gathering wild plants is prohibited on National Park Service land. The inability to legally gather sochan and other culturally important plants there has long been a sticking point for many tribal members. In 2016, the federal government made a change to these rules, allowing members of federally recognized tribes to request to enter into agreements with the National Park Service that would allow them to gather and remove culturally important plants and plant parts.

Public input on matters related to the proposed action — including environmental issues, potential alternatives and sources of data to be considered — is desired. Comment by following the link “Sochan Gathering for Traditional Purposes” at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/grsm, which also houses documents related to the decision. Comments are also accepted by mail to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, ATTN: Environmental Planning and Compliance, 107 Park Headquarters Rd., Gatlinburg, TN, 37738.

Breaking News: Battle of Gatlinburg 2018

leah kirk

Just a quick note to let you know the website for the Great Smoky Mountain Trout Unlimited "Battle of Gatlinburg" "One Fly Royale" Fly Fishing Tournament has been released. This website  is specifically for the tournament on September 22, 2018 in downtown Gatlinburg and has all the "One Fly Royale" information and registration for the competitors. The Parks and Recreation department of the City of Gatlinburg will again provide the trout for this one of a kind catch and release event.

Use the website to stay in touch with the "Battle of Gatlinburg 2018" website as we add sponsors and news updates ! Thanks to our returning sponsors and our new ones, please support them as they make this one of a kind event a reality. Keep an eye out for our upcoming story in our sponsor SOUTHERN TROUT magazine's August/September issue.

https://battleofgatlinburg2018.com/ 

N. GA Trout Fishing Report

leah kirk

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(Fishing report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, a fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)

“It’s hot and has rained again today. This is a recording.”

And that’s the broken-record story for north Georgia’s summer of ‘18: warm and wet.  The afternoon storms continue to mess with our bigger rivers, limiting their clarity and fish-ability.  But the rains sure are good for mountain trout waters.  Each cool shower resets the clock on headwater trout thermal stress while washing some terrestrial calories into these food-poor headwaters of low calcium.

This weekend’s weather forecast is bringing us some good news, however, with rain chances way down from the last two weeks, so take advantage of this dry window of opportunity at hand to wet a line without wetting your head.

Headwater wild trout continue to rock for our high elevation, blueline fans.  Trout stockings continue in a more limited set of streams, but those waters getting weekly doses of trucked trout are still putting smiles on the faces of our “catch, keep, and eat” fans.  On the lakes, summer mode continues, with deep techniques paying off for bass, stripers, walleyes, and even a few trout. 

The good news on big lakes is that stratification is in full force. The summer squeeze of a) hot water pushing down from the top and b) low dissolved oxygen pushing up from the bottom will start sandwiching these cool water predators into thinner middle layers of the lake.  Pay close attention to guide reports and WRD’s monthly lake profiles to find that thermocline for your minnows, umbrella rigs, and gigantic Parker spoons.

Hoover’s Shenandoah

leah kirk

BY DENNIS BRACK

               In a general way we don’t know a lot about President Hoover, and what we know is really pretty negative. So visitors to modern to the Shenandoah National Park are told on a small bus steering towards Rapidan Camp, a rustic retreat built by Hoover and his wife, Lou Henry, beginning in 1929. With President Hoover’s cabin in the backdrop, a park visitor from Georgia surveys Mill Prong, one of two primary streams where the president fished for mountain trout.

 “He loved to fish, absolutely,” stresses Browne, “and that’s one of the reasons he ended up here in [what is today] Shenandoah National Park. However, beyond that, he’s the ‘Great Depression Guy.’ He was president for four years. He lived to be 90. And so when we look at this in terms of his overall life, his presidency was really a very small part of that. So hopefully today we’ll see a broader picture of Hoover.”

While space is strictly limited, Shenandoah Park visitors with advance reservations can be treated to this one-of-a-kind guided park tour of Hoover’s isolated camp, where three of the 13 original buildings remain standing: The Brown House (where the Hoovers’ bunked), the Prime Minister Cabin, and The Creel. The presidential cabin, restored to its 1929 charm with original and period furniture, is a splendid reflection of the often misunderstood commander-in-chief.

The president’s cabin, known as “The Brown House,” which Mrs. Hoover (below), an outdoors enthusiast, enjoyed visiting as much as her husband. The Hoovers were well liked by local residents and gave back to the community in many ways.

Shortly after his election in 1928, Hoover and his nature-loving wife (Lou Henry ran the Girl Scouts of America, among other great-outdoors interests) sought a weekend escape from the formality of Washington — away from the “pneumatic hammer of constant personal contacts,” as he referred to it — someplace close, but not too close.

They would pay for the property themselves and agreed that at the end of his presidency — either in four or eight years — the couple would donate everything they built at the camp to the U.S. government, with the hope that it would become a retreat for future U.S. presidents. As for choosing the property, Hoover had only three requirements: that it be within 100 or so miles of the White House, above the mosquito line, and have a trout stream.

`              The cabin would be built beneath a beautiful canopy of old-growth Eastern Hemlocks on a small bluff overlooking the confluence of Mill Prong and Laurel Prong that form the headwaters of the Rapidan, one of the most renowned trout streams in Virginia. The enthused president even pictured a basin-shaped slab of rock immediately adjacent to the cabin as a holding pond for his captured trout until they could be fried up for supper. The secluded Rapidan Camp quickly took shape. As for the local residents, who with the economic downturn were suffering right along with the rest of America, the creation of the unique presidential retreat served as a welcome diversion if not an intriguing sideshow.

For weekends on end, one famous visitor after another would be calling on the Hoovers, among them Charles A. Lindbergh, who in 1927 became the first aviator to fly non-stop from New York to Paris. In fact, Lindbergh carried a gift that remained at Rapidan — a parchment lampshade displaying a map of his flight routes.

Among the camp’s 13 structures were “The Brown House,” “The Prime Minister” (British Prime Minister Ramsey McDonald was a frequent occupant, and it joked that Hoover and McDonald disarmed the powerful navies of the world while sitting on a log). “Trail’s End” (guest cabin), “Five Tents” (the first structure built), “The Creel” (guest cabin), “The Owl” (guest cabin), “The Slums” (usually occupied by Mrs. Hoover’s secretaries), “Mess Hall,” “Town Hall,” “Duty Office” (used by Secret Service and Marines), “Mess Servants’ Quarters,” and finally the quarters occupied by the Chief Commissary Officer.

Even with all the company, it was trout fishing that lured Hoover to Rapidan and it became the president’s chief pastime. As for the other guests there was horseback riding, horseshoe pitching, working jigsaw puzzles, and hiking in what would later become Shenandoah National Park.

His impressive skills as a businessman and Secretary of Commerce notwithstanding, Hoover, who had been elected president in a landslide of popularity in 1928, was unable to inspire the confidence of a nation suddenly confronting financial ruin. He lost his bid for reelection and would spend the waning weekends of his presidency at Rapidan — now more than ever a retreat from the scrutiny of a country that had labeled him aloof if not uncaring for those Americans standing in soup lines.

As for Rapidan Camp, the Boy Scouts leased the property through the 1950s, at which time it fell into disrepair and 10 of the 13 structures were eventually torn down. That said, through the early 1990s, the camp’s three surviving buildings were still a destination for Supreme Court justices and Cabinet secretaries alike.

WNC’s Troubled Waters

leah kirk

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WNC’s scenic trout waters have been in the news a lot this summer. Rightly lots of attention has gone to the fatalities at these places, especially the waterfall tragedies. Recently spills at the North Toe River and the Spruce Pine River has raised grave concern in a state that has done a pretty good job of hanging its hat on trout fishing.

               Last week Spruce Pine River near the small western North Caroline Mitchell County town of Spruce Pine and the North Toe River, which serves as a drinking water source and a major hub of outdoor recreation for fishing, swimming, wading and summertime cooling down, has been hit by two hazardous sewage spills.

The annual Spruce Pine Barbecue and Bluegrass Festival, a fundraiser for the town’s Rotary Club, got off to a shaky start that  Friday morning. Tents, bouncy houses, and music stages were going up in Riverside Park along the North Toe River, which had been closed since Wednesday after 20,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into the river just upstream of the park. The duckie race had to be canceled, as well as scheduled tubing trips, said Tina White, with the Rotary Club.

But a last-minute reprieve came as fecal coliform bacteria test results were received just after 3 p.m. Friday by N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Water Resources Division. Zan Price, the agency's assistant regional supervisor for water quality operations in Asheville, said the river’s bacteria levels were below the state standard of 200 units of fecal coliform per 100 milliliters of water.

The town on Tuesday discovered a broken collection system pipe for their municipal wastewater treatment system at the sanitary sewer line crossing of Beaver Creek, a tributary of the North Toe River, Price said.

Mitchell County’s health department posted on Wednesday a recreational use advisory for the park and areas immediately downstream, warning that high bacteria levels made it unsafe for swimming and wading.

The spill occurred when a terra cotta pipe broke, spilling into Beaver Creek, which washed into the North Toe, a source of drinking water for the town, Spruce Pine Town Manager Richard Canipe said. The spill occurred downstream from the intake valve, so it did not affect the water supply.

The North Toe River in Spruce Pine was reopened to the public Friday afternoon following a closure due to a town sewage spill Tuesday. The leak of 20,000 gallons occurred upstream from Riverside Park.

Need a Wading Staff?

leah kirk

need a staff.jpg

Those of us who wade rocky streams for smallmouth or tailwaters for trout sometimes bite off more than we can chew. An eddy on the other side of the stream looks inviting and the more you stare at it, the more you want to cast there. The only problem is a waist-deep run with strong current lies between you and the enticing water.

You begin crossing the stream, but about half way, the current begins to push hard against your legs. You barely lift your foot and the current pushes it out from your body, nearly causing a fall. You look back and realize it will be just as hard to get back to where you started, as it will be to get to the other side of the stream.

You are stuck.

A wading staff will save your bacon in this situation. Made from aluminum, carbon fiber, crafted wood or a hickory stick, a wading staff gives anglers an extra balance point that can prevent a fall in sticky situations.

“I use my wading staff for balance whenever I wade,” said Dr. Larry Kelley of Richmond, Kentucky retired assistant chair of nursing at Eastern Kentucky University. “It’s kept me from falling many times.”

Kelley also uses his wading staff, made from a cedar branch, to probe the water in front of him for depth. Clear water often looks shallower than it actually is and misjudgment can lead to a hat-floating, wader-filling mishap.

“This is another area where my wading staff is invaluable,” Kelley said. “It keeps me from making mistakes concerning the depth of a hole.”

This safety feature proves handy when wading cold tailwaters, like the Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam. The water temperatures in the Lake Cumberland tailwater run cold enough to induce hypothermia. Stepping off a shelf into water over your head quickly fills a set of waders. Waders filled with water become a dangerous weight in moving, cold water.

This is the reason wading anglers must always use a snug wading belt when wearing waders. The belt prevents the legs of the waders from quickly filling with water in the event of a fall.

You can use a wading staff to test the bottom composition before venturing into a hole. Muddy areas of the stream bottom often look like hard-packed sand but are actually a gooey muck that can pull off your wading boots. Wading staffs are also invaluable in negotiating steep stream banks.

Some debate exists on whether wood, carbon fiber or aluminum make the best wading staff.

“I prefer a wooden staff because it floats behind me and out of the way when fishing,” Kelley said. “I can also quickly get the staff in my hand when I need it.”

You can make a wooden wading staff cheaply by finding a dense hickory or cedar branch stick about shoulder height. Rub in several coats of tung oil and let it cure.

Slide a piece of Hypalon foam replacement handle for walking canes over the thickest end of the stick and glue if necessary. Drill a hole through the stick just above the handle. Work a large key ring through the hole to attach a lanyard system. Kelley uses a magnetic net release used by fly anglers to attach his wading staff to his vest via a carabiner.

Epoxy a rubber cane tip on the other end and you are in business. Some anglers epoxy a wrap of lead tape used on golf clubs just above the rubber protector to help weigh down the wooden staff in the current.

Wood does not make fish spooking noises when contacting the stream bottom and possesses the character that manufactured wading staffs lack.

However, a wooden staff does not collapse. Some anglers use collapsible ski poles or hiking staffs for wading staffs, but their thin bottom ends vibrate wildly in the current.

The collapsible hiking staffs that use a twisting lock mechanism often freeze up after getting wet several times. The parts inside these staffs oxidize and all the king’s money and all the king’s men can't get it separated again. This is incredibly frustrating if they lock up during a wading trip.

If you decide to use one of these for a wading staff, find one with a lever to lock and unlock the collapsible parts.

Some wading staffs use a piece of elastic cord in the middle to hold the pieces together, similar to a collapsible tent pole. These staffs fold up into a sheath for convenience. If these staffs get stuck in rocks on the bottom, they separate when pulled on, rendering them useless.

Higher-end trekking poles used for hiking have the elastic cord, but also a locking mechanism to keep them together during use. These make good wading staffs but start at about $100.

Predictable water levels and hungry fish make late summer through late fall the best time to wade a stream. A wading staff makes wade fishing safer and more efficient.

Discover the Glover

leah kirk

glover river rainbow.jpg

The Glover River is one of the last rivers in Oklahoma that remains undammed over its full length. Flowing through McCurtain County in far southeastern Oklahoma near the borders of Texas and Arkansas, the Glover offers about 33 miles of scenic beauty amid some challenging rapids.

The river begins in the southwest corner of the Ouachita Mountains between the Kiamichi River to the west and the Mountain Fork River to the east, flowing generally parallel to US Highway 259.

The east and west fork of the free-flowing Glover River joins the confluence of the Little River to the southeast.

The Glover is not as well-known as other rivers in the state. It has some beautiful stretches of bluffs along its banks, as well as its heavily wooded shoreline.

When the river is up and flowing high, there are several class rapids that appear. These will challenge your skills in a canoe or kayak, so watch the river levels and paddlers must take care on the descent down the river.

Breaking News: Beaver Generator Outages Create Rising Water Temps

leah kirk

For several weeks, one of the two generators at Beaver Dam on the White River has been offline for maintenance.  Recently, the second unit has developed issues and is currently also out of service.  Since Beaver has no true minimum flow technology installed, there's not much SWPA can do to address water temperature and oxygen levels.

Some baitfish kill has already been noted, but nothing serious yet involving trout.  Clearly, the trout will be seeking deeper, cooler pockets, as temps rise through the 80s, especially when there is sun on the water.  Plenty of trout to be caught, but realize you will be stressing them by catching them, so play them quickly, and gently release them, taking extra time to make sure they recover before you let them out of your sight.

Check frequently with local sources for updates on generator repairs.  It would seem logical that some generation will resume as soon as a unit is available.  Southern Trout will also bring you updates as we have them.  https://www.swpa.gov/generationschedules.aspx is a great resource for Beaver information.

Times like this remind us of the importance of minimum flow on our tailwaters, might be a good time to write your congressman and other elected officials to remind them of the need.

Meanwhile, practice good conservation and safety on the stream, and have fun!

Tight Lines,

Trent Fleming for Southern Trout