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Arkansas White and Norfork Rivers by Mike Tipton, NAFF

leah kirk

Arkansas White and Norfork Rivers.jpg

The trout stretches of Arkansas’s White and Norfork Rivers are “tailwaters”. That means that the level and flow rate of the rivers depends upon the water releases of the upstream dams. In this local case, these are the Bull Shoals and Norfork Dams. The amount of water released by a dam is dependent upon a complex calculation based on electricity requirements, season, and water levels behind the dam.

This calculation rates an entire article of its own. As fisherman are usually only interested in the water level and flow today and what will they be tomorrow and the near future. There are three main sources for water level and flow information. The Army Corps of Engineers (COE) who operate the dams provides the “real-time” water flows and levels. The COE “real time” actually has a delay of about two hours.

The Southwest Power Administration (SWPA) provides the forecasts for future operations. And “rivers cams” at various resorts on the rivers. Predicting Water Levels on the White and Norfork Rivers a generation of 0 mwh. An important point to remember in the case of generation schedules is that SWPA only shows schedules for one day in advance. So, you can usually see the schedule for today and tomorrow.

On the weekends it will show the schedules for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The schedules are pretty accurate but are not set in concrete. The schedule for a specific dam may change due to the current weather or maintenance issues at another dam. Generation schedules are updated late in the afternoon. When you look at a schedule check the date at the top center of the page.

               A third source of actual, right now, real-time water level and flow information are river cams. Newlands has a cam that shows the White River fairly close below Bull Shoals Dam. Gene’s Trout Dock has cams that show the water level and flow on the Norfork right below Quarry Park and Norfork Dam.

No matter what the schedule predicts you must always keep an eye out for water level changes. You might note the change by the change of the sound of the flowing water, noticing that a previously visible rock is no longer visible, or feeling colder water flowing against your legs. The water can come up very fast on the Norfork or below the dam on the White. If you see everyone else moving quickly to the bank, perhaps you should also!

All this information can be fairly quickly found on Google. However, an easier way is to use the right smartphone app. A smartphone app is “White River Fly Fishing” provided by Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher. The app runs on iPad, iPhone and Android. The app gives you easy access to current COE water flow data and the current SWPA generation schedules.

West Virginia’s Fishing Initiatives Hopes to Increase Tourism

leah kirk

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Three new initiatives designed to increase fishing and hunting opportunities and to attract outdoor recreation tourism have been announced by West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Stephen McDaniel.

The DNR is exploring opportunities to enhance trout fishing in and around state parks beginning in 2018. Hatchery personnel are making plans to stock trout in many state parks lakes on Saturdays. In addition, selected trout streams within a 10-mile drive of these state parks will be stocked on Fridays. The Saturday trout stockings will be announced in advance to give anglers the chance to plan weekend trips, including overnight stays at state parks.

“We believe stocking these lakes and streams on Fridays and Saturdays will provide an excellent opportunity for people, especially new anglers, to improve their chances of catching a trout while visiting our beautiful state parks and forests,” McDaniel said. “This should help attract families looking for additional weekend activities and those who work or attend school on weekdays during the regularly scheduled trout stockings.”

The DNR is also exploring the concept of establishing special catch and release regulations for brook trout on streams located within four major watersheds in the Monongahela National Forest. These include portions of streams within the drainages of the Middle Fork of Williams River, Tea Creek, Red Creek and Otter Creek. These watersheds support more than 130 miles of native brook trout habitat and, if approved, will bring the total miles of catch-and-release and fly-fishing-only waters for brook trout to approximately 200 miles statewide.

“The purpose of these proposed catch and release regulations for brook trout is to provide added protection to these fisheries and to make these areas more attractive to both resident and out-of-state anglers. We think this will encourage them to say overnight and enjoy our state’s many outdoor recreation opportunities,” McDaniel said.

The concept for establishing these catch and release regulations for brook trout will be finalized and presented to the Natural Resources Commission during its quarterly meeting scheduled for Feb. 25, 2018. These proposed regulations will also be presented for public comment during the 12 sectional meetings scheduled March 12-13, 2018.

Georgia: Black Bass Capital of the World!

leah kirk

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 “No doubt the Black Bass is the appointed successor to the Lordly Trout...that he will eventually become the leading game fish of America is my oft-expressed opinion and firm belief.” —Dr. James A. Henshall, Book of the Black Bass, 1881

Although writing primarily about the largemouth bass, Dr. Henshall’s prediction written over 125 years ago has literally been fulfilled. Today, black bass are the most sought-after species in North America, with Georgia as one of the premier destinations.

The idea behind the Georgia Bass Slam is to recognize anglers with the knowledge and skill to catch five (5) different species of black bass in a variety of habitats across the state and to stimulate interest in the conservation and management of black bass and their habitats.

What Will You Get?

Anglers that successfully catch five eligible species, and submit all required information will receive the following:

Personalized Certificate

Two (2) passes to the Go Fish Education Center

Some fantastic and fun stickers (for vehicle windows/bumpers) to advertise your brag-worthy achievement

All successful submissions for the calendar year will go into a drawing for an annual grand prize

Anglers will be recognized on this website, at the Go Fish Education Center, and through a variety of social media platforms

Species & Location Information

Where to find each bass species

Species information:











Some of these bass are similar in appearance, so it is important that you review the location you fish, and the characteristics and markings of each fish in order to best ensure your entry is processed correctly.

*Due to their similarities, largemouth bass, and Florida largemouth bass will be considered the same species.

**Alabama bass and Kentucky bass will be considered the same species—these two are commonly known as spotted bass. These bass are similar in physical appearance and often hybridize, producing intergrades that can only be distinguished through genetic analysis.


Following are rules for qualifying for the Georgia Bass Slam:

Species: Catch five (5) of the 10 eligible Georgia black bass species.

Legal Catch: Fish must be legally caught on waters where you have permission to fish.

Length Limits: In waters where length limits apply, the fish must be of a legal size to be eligible. If there is no minimum length limit, the fish must be at least eight (8) inches long to be recognized for the Slam. Photos: Take several quality photos. Please include at least one photo of you with the fish, one side photo of the fish on a measuring board or next to a measuring tape or ruler. Any other photos you think may help in confirming the identification of the fish.

Time Frame: Fish must be caught within the time frame of a calendar year. So, anglers who wish to get recognized for a 2018 Georgia Bass Slam must catch 5 of the 10 eligible black bass species and submit their information by midnight December 31, 2018.

Submit Information: Email the photos, along with your name, DNR Customer Number, length of the fish, weight (if available), and the county and water body in which it was caught to If you are unsure of the bass species, you can still submit the fish and DNR will identify it from the photos and location information provided.

TN State Record Musky Caught and Released

leah kirk

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When 18-year-old Travis Heiberg went out to Clark Center Park in Oak Ridge on Wednesday, he already planned to catch a big fish. After all, that's bound to happen when you hit the water with guide Cory Allen, a renowned fisherman when it comes to muskellunge, Heiberg said.

"It was mostly just a day to go out and relax," he said. "But everybody goes down for the biggest fish you can, and (muskies) really are the biggest you can get."

The two had been out on the water for about three hours when Heiberg reeled in a 52-inch musky on Melton Hill Lake. But was it a state record? “I've been fishing since I was 1 years of age," Heiberg said. "My dad would take me and stake me to the ground with a harness around me to keep me from getting in the water and put a rod in my hand. So I’ve been fishing every day since."

Allen said he took Heiberg out fishing a few years back and has watched him grow up since about eighth grade. He graduated from Oak Ridge High School just last month.

"I didn’t get to spend as much time hanging out with him as I like," Allen said. "The cool thing about that fish was the fact that Travis caught it."

Cory Allen (left) and Travis Heiberg pose with a 52.5-inch Muskellunge on Wednesday. Heiberg caught the fish and released it at Clark Center Park.

The two were on the water Wednesday working on promotional videos for Eastfield Lures when they noticed the fish.

“The fish I caught flashed out in front of us about 8 feet from the boat," Heiberg said. "Then it came up for a second strike and took the bait,” Heiberg said he is more than 6 feet tall, and the fish still caught him off guard. "That's when you have to widen your stance and really fight against the fish and work with it at the same time," he said.

The two had been out on the water for about three hours when Heiberg reeled in a 52-inch musky on Melton Hill Lake. But was it a state record? When Heiberg got the fish on board, he and Allen took some measurements. Allen said submitting a fish for state record status is difficult. According to the state record application, an "angler has the right to release the fish and not submit it for a state record." To apply for a state record, though, an "examination will likely result in the death of the fish," the application says.

While Allen said he thinks requirements should be changed so the fish do not have to die the process, Heiberg said he's not worried about breaking any records. 

“That’s not my intentions when I go out," he said. "I'm just always looking to catch another fish."

"I'd rather just have the fish live or at least go back in the wild another day," Heiberg said.

Upcoming Casting Carolinas Events

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“We'd love some help getting the word out about two upcoming Casting Carolinas events,” said Nolan Starr.

“Our Fall retreat is October 5-7 is at Lake Logan Center. Open to women surviving all types of cancer in NC and SC (with limited slots available for those residing in other states). Retreats are entirely free. For more info or to apply:

“Tie One On for Casting Carolinas Team Challenge tournament is in Cherokee October 2,” says Noland.  “We're looking for sponsors (please see the attached info- we'd love to have Southern Trout as a Sponsor); Anglers in Professional and Amateur Divisions; and Volunteers. For more info: "Tournament" page or contact Tournament Director Josh Garris:”

Breaking News: Next Stop Upper Chattahoochee TU

leah kirk

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Next stop for the Southern Trout Train Wreck is the monthly meeting of the Upper Chattahoochee Chapter of Trout Unlimited. I’ll be giving a program on Southern Trout and its sister publications, SSFF, STOE, and SKF. It will be a power point presentation. Please come out for the meeting.

               The nomination process for the ST “Legends of the Fly” Hall of Fame has been the briskest today. A lot of fun.

Whirlpool Danger on Arkansas' Spring River

leah kirk

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MAMMOTH SPRING – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is asking anyone floating the Spring River in Fulton County to avoid the area near Sadler Falls. A sinkhole has opened below the falls near Dead Man’s Curve. Around noon Saturday, the resulting whirlpool was the location of a fatal boating accident.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Fulton County, along with the AGFC, have installed buoys and roped off the area where the whirlpool is located. The river is still open, but the barricaded area should not be breached. Engineers will be on site this week to assess the area and look for a solution.

The Spring River is a 57-mile long river which flows through the U.S. states of Missouri and Arkansas. It consists of two branches, the South Fork of the Spring River and the Spring River proper. — It was a trip down the Spring River he had made several times before, but on Saturday, something that had never been there prior brought 64-year-old Donny Wright’s life to a tragic end.

“A sinkhole had opened up and it turned into a whirlpool,” said Selah Neal, Wright’s youngest daughter.

Officials with the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission say the sinkhole opened up below Sadler Falls near Dead Man’s Curve in Fulton County. Crews have since roped off the area around where the whirlpool formed.

West Virginia: New Approach to Restoring Brook Trout

leah kirk

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ROMNEY, W.Va.  — West Virginia Division of Natural Resources biologists recently released fingerling native brook trout into a tributary of the Cacapon River in Hampshire County with the help of students from Slanesville Elementary School.

The eggs and milt were taken from native brook trout in a nearby stream, after which the adults were quickly returned to the water. Biologists took the fertilized eggs to Reymann Farms, a facility near Wardensville affiliated with West Virginia University. Staff at the facility raised the young trout to fingerling size over several months.

The decision to stock fingerlings has been a well-thought out process and part of an effort to restore native brook trout to the Eastern Panhandle. DNR initially stocked hatchery-raised trout, but they didn’t reproduce well, said Brandon Keplinger, DNR district fisheries biologist. DNR also tried taking adult native brook trout from one stream and putting them in another, but this depleted the trout population of the donor stream and increased the chance of transferring harmful bacteria to the new stream. Stocking fingerling trout appears to have been successful.

“To get to this size, they’ve proven themselves to be pretty hardy, and they are more likely to survive high water flows,” Keplinger said.

“One of the keys to this method’s success is that these trout come from parents genetically adapted to the local stream conditions,” Keplinger said. “The hardest part of the process is finding females and males right when they are ready to spawn.”   

Keplinger said what DNR has learned from this year’s process will be used next year so more native brook trout can be raised for release in nearby streams with similar elevation, water temperature and water quality.

Tennessee Aquarium Partners to Release Brookies

leah kirk

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Chattanooga, Tenn. – For more than 130 years, the Southern Appalachian Brook Trout has constantly struggled to survive an ever-mounting combination of mostly human-induced threats. As a result, Tennessee’s only native trout species now occupies less than 15 percent of its historic range.

Since 2013, the Tennessee Aquarium and several partner organizations have worked together to propagate wild Southern Appalachian Brook Trout to help this beautiful fish reclaim some of its lost territories. On June 5, participants in this program celebrated the release of 280 juvenile trout into the chilly waters of Little Stony Creek in the Cherokee National Forest near Elizabethton, Tennessee.

“They don’t want to be in the really swift water,” says Meredith Harris, a reintroduction biologist at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute. “We want to give them the best chance of staying put, spreading out in the creek and finding good food and the resources they need to thrive.”

 “I think it’s the prettiest trout that we have,” Marcia Carter says. “Brook Trout are the only native trout species in Tennessee, so it’s important for us to maintain good populations to ensure their viability and also to provide recreational fishing for the public.”

The restoration program features the combined effort and resources of the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, U.S. Forest Service, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Appalachian Chapter of Trout Unlimited. In the five years since the program’s inception, the Conservation Institute has hatched and released more than 1,400 of these distinctively olive-bodied, red-finned fish and pioneered new techniques for raising them.

“Working with the Tennessee Aquarium has been awesome since they provide facilities to raise the trout, so we can have even more fish to stock and have a faster restoration time,” Carter says. “Getting to work here with our partners doing Brook Trout restoration is just a happy day for me.”

With dappled sunlight streaming through a picturesque canopy of leaves, a team of reintroduction specialists spent a morning carefully navigating 600 meters of Little Stony Creek. Carrying bags of oxygenated water filled with the two- to three-inch fry, they clambered over algae-slick rocks and pushed up frothing rapids, stopping occasionally to hand-place juvenile trout where the stream slowed into calmer, deeper pools.

These tiny fish were the first releases that were hatched and raised in the propagation room at the Conservation Institute’s new freshwater science center on the banks of the Tennessee River. Thanks to this purpose-built facility’s improved drainage, waterproofing and temperature controls, the fish can be raised more efficiently and in greater comfort, says Dr. Bernie Kuhajda, the Aquarium’s manager of science programs.

“Previously, our propagation facility was in a warehouse that was not constructed for aquaculture,” Dr. Kuhajda says. “The ease and convenience of propagating this species now is immense compared to before. It’s like we went from working in a cardboard box on the side of the road to the Taj Mahal. It was that big of a step up.”

For more information about the Aquarium’s work with Southern Appalachian Brook Trout, visit

SC Protects It’s Brown Trout Fishery

leah kirk

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A new law passed in South Carolina establishes a catch-and-release-only zone for brown and rainbow trout on the lower Saluda River near Columbia  to protect spawning trout in the Lower Saluda River. Anglers in the Midlands of South Carolina have long enjoyed a unique “put-and-take” trout fishery in the lower Saluda river below the Lake Murray Dam, thanks to the fact that water released from the bottom of the dam is cold enough to support, at least temporarily, hatchery-reared rainbow and brown trout.

 These fish are grown at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources cold-water fish hatchery in Oconee County. From the 1960s, until the mid-2000s, anglers enjoyed catching rainbow and brown trout stocked – sometimes by helicopter – during the fall and winter and into the spring. During Columbia’s extremely hot summer and early fall, those stocked trout that weren’t caught by anglers would typically die due to decreased oxygen levels in the river.

In the late 2000s, after the SCDNR and other conservation groups negotiated with dam operator SCE&G for a more regular minimum flow of water through the dam, local trout anglers and SCDNR fisheries biologists began to notice something interesting. With the new water flows and new equipment designed to increase oxygen levels providing a more consistent supply of cool, oxygenated water downstream, some stocked trout were beginning to survive and grow to trophy size. During 2014, it was also discovered that these “holdover” fish had begun reproducing, with young-of-the-year surviving in a section of the river between Saluda Shoals Park and Riverbanks Zoo.

The SCDNR held a series of public meetings in February 2018 to discuss the possibility of creating a “catch-and-release-only” zone to facilitate the reproduction now occurring in the river. Feedback from anglers and other stakeholders was positive, and a bill, sponsored by Lexington Senator Katrina Shealy was drafted for consideration by the South Carolina General Assembly during the session that recently ended.

"The establishment of the catch and release zone between I-20 and Stacey's ledge on the Lower Saluda will provide an opportunity for anglers to experience a very good trout fishery in a very unique location,” said SCDNR Fisheries Chief Ross Self. “This area should have very good access and is the best area for anglers to wade and fish of any location along Lower Saluda."

As a result, effective July 1, 2018, ”the lower reach of the Saluda River, from the eastbound I-20 bridge downstream to Stacey's Ledge, is year round catch and release fishing only for all species of coldwater trout,” and it will be “unlawful to take and retain trout at any time” in this section of the river. The bill also mandates that “the Department of Natural Resources shall make a study of the lower Saluda River trout fishery and make recommendations on any needed modifications to the fishery by November 1, 2023.”

The 11th Annual Mossy Creek Invitational

leah kirk

For the past 11 years, The Mossy Creek Invitational has provided a great day for great Americans while simultaneously raising vital support for our programs and the disabled veterans they serve. This year was no exception as countless individuals and companies embraced our cause and the disabled veterans we serve in memorable fashion. It is this embrace, this community, and the unconditional commitment of those who support the Mossy Creek Invitational (MCI) that we are able to continue bringing our unique form of therapy to those who have made great sacrifices in the service of our nation.

The MCI has been held in Bridgewater, VA since 2008 and is graciously hosted each year by Robin and Bob Fitch. It is one of PHWFFs premier fundraising events while also serving as a fun fly fishing competition with Fifteen PHWFF veteran participants from around the Nation paired with a sponsor and professional fly fishing guide for a day of memorable angling on Virginia’s famed Mossy Creek. We are honored and humbled to announce that $225,986 was raised on Saturday June 2, 2018 to support our 222 Programs and the disabled veterans they serve in their communities. 

Of the total raised, 96 cents on each dollar goes directly to the disabled veterans we serve!  We are humbled by the tremendous charity of sponsors like BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Golden Corral, Microsoft, the USO, Mossy Creek Fly Fishing, The Orvis Company and the Town of Bridgewater.

As the veteran competitors were drawn from PHWFF Programs nationwide a special pre-tournament day was planned by the Northern Virginia Chapter of Trout Unlimited on the Thornton River near Sperryville, VA.  The sun shone bright (despite the storms that had been soaking the area with rain) and the veteran competitors were treated to guided fishing, professional casting practice and lessons, fly tying instruction, and a fabulous lunch.  The outing gave them the opportunity to meet one another and “warm-up” on a fantastic local trout stream.

Following their day on the water, dozens of people attended a social gathering at O’Neill’s Grill in Harrisonburg, VA.   As in past years, the gathering at O’Neills Grill brought sponsors, volunteers, guides, PHWFF leadership, and veterans together for an enjoyable time.  The social hour provided friends, old and new alike, with the opportunity to visit, catch-up, and discuss tactics.

ST “Legends of the Fly” Hall of Fame Nominations Begin

leah kirk

The nominating period has begun for the third annual Southern Trout “Legends of the Fly” Hall of Fame induction to be held February 2nd at the Fly Fishing Show in Atlanta, Georgia. This slate of candidates is picked by you. As in the past when such venerated southern fly rod legends as Keven Howell and Ernest Peckingbaug were voted into the Hall of Fame, the 2019 version is the same people’s choice award.

               The guidelines are simple. Nominees should be of mostly southern roots who have contributed much of theirs live to promoting southern fly fishing. The honor is not designed for game wardens or fisheries professionals or leaders of charities or organization of groups whose primary interest is trout. It is more of a meat ‘n tater affair where unsung heroes of the fly fishing heritage of the South get their chance to be recognized.

               Most past nominees are grandfathered into the exiting slate of candidates. The nomination period runs from June 17, 2018 through October 3rd, 2018. The slate nominations will appear in October/November issue of Southern Trout Magazine.  We encourage everyone to participate. Cast your vote at Please include a brief biograph thumbnail of the nominee and a picture if possible.

               We are all aware of the recent demise of fly fishing legend Lefty Kreh. Like many, I wanted to nominate him to the ST “Legends of the Fly” Hall of Fame last year. The reason Lefty was not nominates was at his heart felt request opposed to further honors and accolades. I discussed it with him on several occasions. He steadfastly insisted not to be included, preferring others be so honored. While I do not agree with Lefty, he was quite firm in his stand, so much in fact that I dare not ignore his wishes. 

Rebuilding Rainbow Trail Nearing Completion

leah kirk

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This rock staircase covers a previously washed-out section of trail and is designed to last for 100 or more years. Most days, the lower portion of Rainbow Falls Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the last place you’d expect to have a solitary wilderness experience. On a really busy day, said Trails Forever crew leader Josh Shapiro, the trail will support the feet of literally thousands of hikers.

“We’re trying to build them to a standard that can suit even hikers that aren’t as prepared as they should be,” Shapiro said. “A trail like this one, nobody has to drive through the park to the visitor center, so there’s not a lot of information if people are just coming from Gatlinburg. On this trail, we see a lot of people with flip-flops, or some people with bare feet and other people who are more prepared.”

Rainbow Falls is in the midst of the second year of a two-year rehabilitation project, a partnership between the park and Friends of the Smokies aiming to rebuild problem areas to a standard that will last for the next 75 to 100 years. The trail is currently closed to the public from 7 a.m. Mondays through 5:30 p.m. Thursday evenings as crews crush rock, construct drains and rebuild bridges. While that’s caused some disappointment for tourists who come to the Smokies hoping to see the falls up close, park staff believe the ends will more than justify the means.

Before rehabilitation, the trail was a mystifying maze of official routes and user-created paths, degrading the natural environment and challenging hikers to figure out which path was the right one — especially in the first quarter-mile or so from the trailhead.

“People who wanted to hike to the falls ended up wandering here for an hour and being frustrated they never actually got their hike,” said park spokesperson Dana Soehn, gesturing down the trail. “We’ll be able to solve a lot of problems just in this quarter of a mile right here.”

Keeping the path smooth and free of trip hazards like rocks and roots has proven particularly difficult on Rainbow Falls, Shapiro said. No mechanical equipment is permitted on the trail, meaning any rocks that get crushed, dug up or moved are crushed, dug up or moved by hand. And the Rainbow Falls Trail has a lot of rocks.

Up at Rainbow Falls itself, 2.7 miles from the trailhead and the furthest point that most hikers venture on the 6.6-mile trail, wrangling with rocks is just what trail crews were up to. A crew of five, all National Park Service employees, was about halfway through a full day of manual labor, swinging hammers down on the rocks protruding from the ground.

“We’re trying to make the rocks less exposed, easier to walk on,” said Josiah Gray, a member of the Trails Forever crew.

The Rainbow Falls project is the fourth installment of a program that launched 10 years ago with the goal of rehabilitating the Smokies’ most iconic trails to a standard that will allow visitors to safely enjoy them for generations to come.

Friends of the Smokies launched the Trail Forever program in 2008 when it received a challenge to match a $2 million grant from the Aslan Foundation of Knoxville. The program is now a $5 million endowment that funds a fulltime crew to reconstruct and rehabilitate some of the park’s most impacted trails. The Forney Ridge Trail was the first project tackled, back in 2010, followed by the Chimney Tops Trail, Alum Cave Trail and now the Rainbow Falls Trail.

With $215.5 million in deferred maintenance, the park has plenty of projects that need doing and operations that could run more smoothly if all those needed improvements were complete. While paved roads make up the bulk of deferred maintenance needs at $162.3 million, trails and buildings are nearly tied for second, at $16.1 million and $16.2 million, respectively.


Fishing Workshops Offered at Pisgah Center

leah kirk

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BREVARD, N.C. (May 17, 2018) – 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 throughout the month of May. Online registration is required for the workshops, which are open on a first-come, first-served basis.

June 2 – Women’s Intro to Fly-Fishing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to ages 12 and older.

June 4 and June 16 – Nature Nuts: Raising Trout from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Open to ages four to seven.

June 4 and June 16 – Eco Explorers: Stream Investigation from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Open to ages eight to 13.

June 5 – Introduction to Fly-Fishing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to ages 12 and older.

June 8 – Casting for Beginners: Level I from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to ages 12 and older.

June 12 – Snorkeling in the Stream from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Open to ages eight and older.

June 18 through June 22 – A Week in the Water daily from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Open to ages 10 to 15.

June 25 through June 29 – A Week in the Water daily from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Open to ages 10 to 15.

In addition to the open-enrollment programs listed above, the Commission offers group programs. Groups of 10 or more can schedule the date, time and topic of the program by calling 828-877-4423.

The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education is located near Brevard, just south of Asheville, by the Davidson River in Transylvania County. The center features nature trails and five large aquariums representing aquatic mountain habitats. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday from December through March, and Monday through Saturday from April through November.

For more information on the Wildlife Commission’s wildlife education centers and other activities and events, visit


leah kirk


BOISE, Idaho – Thousands of the world’s fly-fishers – from first-timers to seasoned professionals – will turn their eyes to the Boise Centre for Fly Fishers International’s 2018 Fly Fishing Fair and FishFest, Aug.7-11. Registration for the Fair and FishFest opens June 6, announced Len Zickler, President, and CEO of the worldwide conservation/education organization.

               The conglomeration of events includes FishFest, some 75 fly-fishing or fly-tying workshops, the Fly Fishers International Learning Center and two-day Youth Camp, announced Zickler. The 2018 Learning Center program Aug. 7-11 includes a four-day potpourri of workshops “designed to develop and improve skills and knowledge in the areas of tying, casting, fly fishing and conservation,” said Zickler.            

               “FFI’s Women Connect Group will host a three-day beginner’s tying workshop, a three-day intermediate tying workshop, and a three-day fly fishing workshop. The tying and casting workshops are vast – both in number and variety. Whether a beginner, an expert caster, looking to achieve certification, a professional tier interested in earning the Fly Tying Group Bronze Award or virtually anywhere in between, you are guaranteed to find something of interest to you with on-stream casting and fishing courses or the multitude of non-angling workshops with options to explore the area, learn about local issues or explore a craft,” he said.

               FishFest, scheduled Aug. 9-11, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., will feature fly-fishing celebrities, authors, manufacturers, destinations and a casting pond in the 80,000-square foot facility. Demonstrations and presentations are scheduled by Dr. Gary Borger, Dave Whitlock and Brian O’Keefe along with tackle from Orvis, Patagonia, RIO Products, Sage, Scientific Anglers and Simms as well as Idaho-area fly shops, guides, lodges, and artists.

               Admission to FishFest and all associated activities are free with advance Fair registration or day pass entry.  Day passes are $10 with entry free for children 11 and under.  Advance Fair registration, including sponsor swag and an access to all Fair activities, is $35 per person or $45 for a family.

               Information on the Fly Fishing Fair, FishFest, Youth Camp and Learning Center is at or Fly Fishers International, (406) 222-9369.


leah kirk


Alpharetta Outfitters recently announced participation in the Friend of Lefty Kreh in the online “Go Fund Me” project. Chances are whether you are a beginner in the sport of fly fishing or a seasoned veteran, Lefty Kreh impacted your advancement into to the sport in some way, shape, or form. Because of his career over the past five decades or so our sport has grown by leaps and bounds.

As a way of saying thank you to and paying our respect to the life of a true fly fishing legend, we here at Alpharetta Outfitters have chosen to donate to the "Friends of Lefty Kreh" Fundraiser to raise money in order to buy back items at the auction sale of Lefty's estate. The items bought with the funds from the auction sale will be loaned and or donated to prominent fly fishing organizations such as TU, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, CCA, IGFA, the American Museum of Fly Fishing, and the Southern Appalachian Museum of Fly Fishing.

Everyone is encouraged, to join us and the rest of the fly fishing community to partake in this effort to continue advancing the sport we all love, and in remembering the life and legacy of Lefty Kreh. If you are interested in donating or just finding out more about this effort, below is the link to the Go Fund Me page for 'Friends of Lefty Kreh."

Kids Fishing Rodeo on the Tallulah River

leah kirk

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The annual Kids Fishing Rodeo on the Tallulah River is June 2 at 8:00 am. Part of the Rhododendron Festival More than 2,500 trout will be stocked in the river just prior to the rodeo. Remember to share your #FirstCatch photos and @ChattOconeeNF! Tag us at U.S. Forest Service – Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests at the USFS Tallulah River Campground. Hot dog lunch with chips and drink provided.Registration is required for children age 2-15. Registration forms are available at For more information, call 706-754-6221.

 The event is sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Rabun and Savannah Chapters of Trout Unlimited, Andy’s Market, Duvall Automotive, Flowers Bakery, Reeves Ace Hardware, Vulcan Materials Company, Woodmen of the World, and is supported through donations and volunteer assistance from several other local groups and organizations. The USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Breaking News: Branson Fly Fishing Expo 2018

leah kirk

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The Springfield and Branson Chapters of the Missouri Trout Fishermen's Association will hold their second annual Fly Fishing Exposition this year on July 27th and 28th. 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. We have a fine venue 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 the Landing Boulevard.

The event is expected to have approximately 60 fly tiers demonstrating their skills, talking about flies, and sharing tying tips. Currently, they have nearly 25 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. Member Larry Wegmann will give a program about aquatic midges, of prime importance to our local tail water fishery.  In addition to that, a very famous guide on the White River in Arkansas, Davy Wotton, will be on hand to present his program on fishing the White River! Also, another world famous fly tier, who specializes in “sculpting” deer hair, Mike George will be there to demonstrate his amazing deer hair flies.  Adults can learn from fly casting experts demonstrating their skills on our casting pool. We're looking forward to a great Branson Fly Fishing Expo, and we hope we'll see you there!

On Saturday, July 28, we will hold a Kid’s Fishing Event for children 15 and under at the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery below the Table Rock Dam from 9 AM to 11 AM.  “Barney Fife” will be there to help the kids and entertain them.  Terry Sanders, five-time comedian of the year, will play the Barney character.  Terry plays numerous comedic characters at both Silver Dollar City and the CJ Newsome Classic Country and Comedy show.   A limited number of rods will be available, but feel free to bring your own.  Mentors will be on hand to assist the kids.  Note: If you plan to attend this great event, please make hotel reservations early.

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Cherokee’s Memorial Day Trout Tournament May 27–29

leah kirk

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This year, Cherokee’s Memorial Day Trout Tournament will take place May 27–29, offering a weekend of outdoor fun and $10,000 in prizes for tagged fish caught in tribal waters. The tournament is open to all ages and all legal fishing methods. The entry fee is $11.

Participants can register at the Cherokee Welcome Center, 498 Tsali Blvd., or anywhere fishing licenses are sold. Anglers can win cash prizes ranging from $20 to $500 based on the color of the tag. The Qualla Boundary boasts 30 miles of freestone streams, and only 2.2 miles of catch-and-release waters are excluded from the Memorial Day event.

Prize redemption for tagged fish will be at the Water Beetle Stage next to the Cherokee Welcome Center. Register to redeem cash prizes anywhere fishing licenses are sold. Nearly 250,000 rainbow, brown and brook trout are released annually into Cherokee waters, which are stocked twice each week and include many trophy sizes. The river system comprises the longest privately owned and stocked waters east of the Mississippi. The tribe operates its own fish hatchery.

For further information, visit or call 828-359-6110, or contact Michael LaVoie, EBCI Fisheries and Wildlife Management, at 828-359-6113. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is a sovereign nation with more than 15,000 enrolled members and is the only federally recognized Native American tribe in North Carolina. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians makes its home on the 56,600-acre Qualla Boundary in five Western North Carolina counties about an hour west of Asheville and at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Visitors Spend $922.9 Million in Smokies Gateways

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A new report from the National Park Service shows that 11.3 million visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2017 spent a combined $922.9 million in communities near the park, supporting 13,900 jobs.

“We are glad to work alongside our business communities in helping create lifelong memories and traditions that bring people to our area year after year,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “While our gateway communities benefit from visitor spending, they also provide a critical role in shaping the overall impression of a visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”

National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, with every dollar invested by American taxpayers in the National Park Service returning $10 to the economy. The figures come from a peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis completed by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service.

Numbers for the Smokies were down slightly compared to the figures for 2016, which showed 11.3 million visitors spending $942.7 million and supporting 14,700 jobs. However, they’re higher than the 2015 figures, which showed visitors spending $874 million in parkside communities. Overall in the Park Service, 330 million park visitors spent $18.2 billion in communities within 60 miles of a national park nationwide, supporting 306,000 jobs. More than 255,000 of these jobs were found in gateway communities.

An interactive tool displaying results of the analysis is online at

National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1.46 million visitors to Shenandoah National Park in 2017 spent $95.8 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,204 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $126 million.

 “Shenandoah National Park welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Jennifer Flynn. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion.

The lodging sector received the highest direct contributions with $5.5 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 49,000 jobs. The restaurant's sector received the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 60,500 jobs.