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Otter or Koi? Vancouver Residents Pick Sides

leah kirk

The otter mysteriously made its way to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden last week and has gobbled up seven decorative koi, many of which have been there for decades. Parks Director Howard Normann says a wildlife relocation expert started work Friday and set three new traps containing rainbow trout and an oil mixture, but as of this morning the critter is still on the lam.


He says garden staff are discussing options to remove the koi from the pond to keep them safe, but he says it's not as easy as it sounds because they're sensitive fish and it's pretty tricky to do.

In the meantime, the story has captivated people in Vancouver and beyond, with social media users joining #TeamOtter or #TeamKoi — though one #TeamKoi member points out, "this is bad for the otter, so removing him is in everyone's best interest."

Local group Chinatown Today has even made a batch of buttons bearing adorable cartoon otters and koi, which it is selling for $2 each with proceeds going to the classical garden.

The Southern Trout “Eat More Otter” organization was contact for advice in dealing with the otters. Of course the responds was immediate eradication and to create #TeamTrout buttons..

Prescribed Burns Planned in GSMNP

leah kirk

Prescribed Burns Planned in GSMNP.jpg

If you're traveling in the popular Cades Cove area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park later this week, you might see smoke, fire trucks and firefighters. But it's all under control. The Smokies and the Appalachian Piedmont Zone fire management staff plan to conduct prescribed burns on about 500 acres of fields within Cades Cove, weather permitting, on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 29 and 30.

Last week, managers completed prescribed burns across 88 acres of fields near Sparks Lane. Over the last 20 years, park managers have conducted these burns during the spring and fall under specific conditions to safely reduce fuels, restore meadow habitats and maintain the historic landscape of Cades Cove, which lies on the Tennessee side of the park and is one of the most popular areas due to the Loop Road of historic homes, barns and other structures.

According to the park, staff closely monitor fire weather conditions including vegetation and soil moisture, wind speed and direction, temperature, and relative humidity to ensure that conditions are optimal for the fires.

These seasonal controlled burns help perpetuate native herbaceous species that provide high quality cover and foraging opportunities for a diversity of wildlife including deer, turkeys, and ground nesting birds. Visitors should expect to see firefighters and equipment along Sparks Lane and the western end of the Cades Cove Loop Road. The loop road and historic structures will remain open to visitors, but there might be brief delays and temporary closures to ensure public safety during burn operations.

Light Up the Cotter Bridge

leah kirk

The fundraising to relight the Cotter Bridge spanning the world famous brown trout fishery at the White River has started!  The Light the Bride Committee is contacting individuals and companies to help us light the bridge once again.

                There is a unique opportunity to make the Cotter Bridge one of the most recognized landmarks in Arkansas!  Imagine traveling east or west towards Trout Capital, USA in Cotter, Arkansas. You and yours are drawn to the lights, so much so, you detour for a closer look. From the scenic overlook or in the park, all become amazed by the brightly lighted arches and rails.

On the Fourth of July, thousands will feel patriotic pride when viewing the arches lighted in red, white, and blue while the local high school band play Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. Perhaps your company or family has a special occasion -- picture your company colors or your child’s favorite colors displayed, or an anniversary flashing white with memories. Once this bridge is lighted, it will attract tourists from all over the country. The economic impact will spread throughout Baxter and Marion Counties, while branding one of the Mid-South’s greatest attractions.

The bridge will use LED commercial grade lights to replace the old Christmas tree-style lights.  They will be lighted in the traditional amber white lights each night, like before, but we will have the ability to change colors for holidays, special events, and sponsors several times a year.  The new LED lights are very efficient; they are rated at 50,000 hours of life or approximately 23 years at 6 hours per night. 

If you are interested in sponsoring an arch, we will be happy to schedule a special presentation for you or your company showing sample lights and their capabilities.  On the evening when the switch lights the bridge again, the entire community will be united by their sponsorships whether by a single light, an entire railing or an arch. Please review the attached sponsorship form, select your sponsor level, and join with us in lighting the bridge.

Bryson City Museum - Aquarium Update

leah kirk

The time has arrived. Tuesday Nov. 27th, the five largest aquarium tanks will be delivered. We will need a forklift with extended forks and a pallet jack on-site for the day. The forklift can be returned as soon as all the tanks are secured inside that day. We may need the pallet jack late in the day. I will send out another note with the expected approx. time of delivery once they contact me with that information...however, unless we are the first delivery of the day which we have requested at 10 am, the information is an intelligent guess on their part.

                Briefly, here is my understanding of what we need to do that day. Truck will have to come in on Collins Street from another street other than Island Drive. When truck arrives, fork lift will be used to take the tank(s) off. The first tank to be placed is the rimless, largest tank for the mountain stream. the forklift will position the tank on its pallet at the back door. The 1000 pound tank and the tank foam mat will be removed from the pallet at the door. lifted inside onto the pallet jack via suction cups and about 8-10 people (I have 5-6 people lined up).

We will use a few empty pallets to place the tank to a height for easier lifting and positioning at the tank stand. The OSB board has to be cut for the piping positions. The mat is put in place with double stick tape and holes cut for the piping also. The tank is lifted and positioned via suction cups and about 8-10 people (we have a few alternative tricks to move and position the larger tanks if need be - small diameter pipes to roll the tank into position, plastic wedges to drop in place).

                We will do the same steps for the other rimmed, large 1000 pound tank. these two tanks will be the primary challenge. The other three will be done roughly in the same manner but they weigh less and will not require more 4-5 people to lift. The goal is to have the five large tanks in place that day.

                I plan to bring the suction cups and the double stick tape. Jim Estes, Tim Hensley will bring the skill saw, pipes, wedges and other tools to bring the mountain stream platforms together as each tank is added. Chris Holler, his buddy Austin and possibly one more plan to be there. I will come up with someone from Upscale Aquatics who is experienced in handling these large tanks. Patricia Pezza and Jon Smith may be able to be there depending on their night shift schedules. So, Tanner will need to have 4-6 local crew there for a few hours to get the first tanks in place, then they can be freed up. If Eugene (fly shop guy) could be there it will help and I know they would like to be a part of this big event if they can be.

Mt. Sterling Going Solar

leah kirk

Mt. Sterling Going Solar.jpg

                Duke Energy is working on its final phase of a solar project at Mount Sterling, removing utility poles and overhead power lines along a 3.5-mile corridor from the park boundary at Mt. Sterling Road to the Mt. Sterling Fire Lookout Tower. Work is expected to be complete Nov. 30.

The power line is no longer needed due to the installation of a microgrid solar and battery facility that Duke Energy installed in 2017 to provide electrical power for park radio equipment at the Mt. Sterling Fire Lookout Tower. The radio equipment is a vital component of the park’s emergency communications system. The overhead line has been decommissioned and the corridor below it will return to its natural state. Work crews will use chainsaws, off-road utility vehicles and horses to remove the equipment. The areas will remain open but temporary restrictions are possible to ensure hiker safety.

Cherokee to Harvest Sochan?

leah kirk


 An environmental assessment for a rule that would allow members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to gather sochan in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is out for comment through Thursday, Dec. 13.

The early spring leaves of sochan, also known as the green-headed coneflower, have traditionally been an important food source for Cherokee people, whose large territory used to encompass the area now covered by the park. The Qualla Boundary currently abuts the park boundary, but gathering any type of plant or plant part is uniformly prohibited in the Smokies.

Under the proposed rule, up to 36 tribal members would be able to gather sochan each year, with participants selected through their respective community clubs on an annual basis.

Those with a permit could be accompanied by up to five other EBCI members during gathering. The “turkey foot” of the perennial sochan plant — consisting of the upper three leaves as it begins to grow from the root in the spring — would be the only part that could be gathered. Permitees could gather a maximum of half a bushel per day and half a bushel per week of the leaves, with an annual limit of 12 bushels. They would be required to use official collection bags provided by the EBCI Department of Natural Resources. The season would be limited from March 1 to May 31, a period that encompasses the time when early spring leaves are available at various park elevations. Gathering would be relegated to areas within 100 meters of official roads, trails or the park boundary, and should be done out of sight of high visitor use areas and research areas.

The proposed rule stems from a 2016 rule that allowed the National Park Service to permit members of federally recognized tribes to gather plants for traditional purposes. The resulting Environmental Assessment analyzes the potential environmental impacts of the proposed action. The assessment is available at by following the link for sochan gathering and clicking on “document list.” Submit comments through the website or mail them to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, ATTN: Environmental Planning and Compliance, 107 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738.

The Candy Darter Dilemma

leah kirk


A rainbow-colored fish that’s considered among the world’s most beautiful in freshwater and found only in picturesque Appalachian streams has been listed as “endangered,” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The federal agency said the candy darter has lost nearly half its population since the 1930s, which is when it was identified in parts of southern West Virginia and western Virginia. The seldom-seen fish are about the size of a cigar and often lined with vibrant bands of teal, red and orange.

Those who were around then may recall the snail darter controversy that delayed of the construction of the Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River in 1973. On August 12, 1973, University of Tennessee biologist and professor David Etnier discovered the snail darter. The discovery of the “$37 Million Dollar Fish” gave the execution of the Little T a temporary reprieve.  Could the Candy Darter put the shoe on the other foot by hurting West Virginia trout stocking futures?

“It looks like an ornamental fish that you’d buy at the pet store from some exotic region of the world,” said Jordan Richard, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist who studies the candy darter. “But people don’t realize they’re a native fish in their backyard streams,” he said. “They’re kind of cryptic. They hide under rocks and they’re hard to find.”

Along with other stream dweller such as brook trout, the candy darters’ population first took a hit from logging and other human endeavors last century that had pushed dirt into the water, Richard said. The sediment filled open spaces between rocks in stream beds where candy darters live and feed on bugs. The dirt also disturbed the sandy areas where eggs are laid.

But the biggest threat to the species is what’s known as “hybridization.” Another species of darter fish, the variegate, was somehow introduced into sections of streams where candy darter live. The variegate darters, which are more orange-and-black colored, have been mating with the candy darters.

Richard said the exact cause of the hybridization hasn’t been determined. But he said a fisherman could have dumped out a bait bucket containing variegate darters into streams where candy darters live. The two species are often separated by natural barriers such as a waterfall.

The variegate darters are mating with the candy darters in the watershed of West Virginia’s Greenbrier River. And they’re threatening to enter streams connected to the Gauley River, also in West Virginia. So far, a dam seems to be keeping them out. They’ve made it all the way up to the castle wall and they’re knocking.

In Virginia, candy darters are found in only four places, all of which are in the New River watershed. Those areas have not been infiltrated by the variegate species. The listing under the Endangered Species Act means that more resources will be dedicated to protecting the fish.

For instance, more money could be available to fund research to possibly address the hybridization problem. And it could boost programs to breed the fish and reintroduce them to streams where they’ve disappeared. They are also looking into competition to the candy from stocked trout. The Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental groups had petitioned for federal protection of the fish in 2010. The center said it then sued for protection in 2015.

Vote Soon for 2019 ST Hall of Fame Candidates

leah kirk


Watch our website and our Facebook for voting to open!

The Third Annual ST Hall of Fame induction is scheduled for February 1st at the Atlanta Fly Fishing at the Infinite Energy Center.  The popular induction is a people’s choice awarded determined by your votes. Nominations have been recorded here for several week, and the nomination period is officially close until next year.

                The ST Hall of Fame was created to recognize various contributions of fly fishing in the South. , Ben Furimsky - President and CEO - Fly Fishing Show and sponsor of the Hall of Fame is again generous enough to provide the most outstanding venue of fly fishing in the southland.

                Voting is simple and free. Go to the link below where you can vote for six individuals. You can only vote once. Winner will be announced in the January 26th ST Newsletter. Along with a panel of nominees grandfathered from previous years are:

 Eugene Shuler of Bryson City, NC

Monte Seehorn of Gainesville, GA

Don Kirk of Montevallo, AL

Carl Standing Deer of Cherokee, NC

Bob Burch of Knoxville, TN

Ozark Ripley, Chattanooga, TN

We encourage your participation and attendance later in Atlanta. It has been a very nice ceremony. For more information see the soon to be release D/J issue of Southern Trout Magazine.

OK Trout Fishing Open For Business

leah kirk

oklahoma trout map.jpg

The beautiful Blue River near Tishomingo is the most popular of the winter trout areas managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The state's six winter trout areas managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation are now open for business.

Whether you are an avid or just casual angler, all of them are worth a visit, and the trip can provide more than just fishing. Three of the winter trout areas are in state parks and the other three are near small towns that are interesting places to visit. The most popular winter trout area by far is at Blue River near Tishomingo. It's hard to find a prettier place to fish in the state or a better place to catch trout. Over the 6¼ miles of trout waters in the Blue River Public Hunting and Fishing Area, the Wildlife Department will stock 59,000 rainbows through March. A portion of the Blue River is catch-and-release only.

Between 5,000 and 7,000 people visit the Blue River monthly during the winter. Blue River becomes a community of its own during trout season as many people will spend days camping and fishing on the river.

“A lot of them have formed friendships and bonds that have lasted years and years and years and it came from Blue River,” said Matt Gamble, the Wildlife Department's biologist on the Blue River. “They camped beside each other and got to know each other.I grew up around deer camps and it's really the same thing except they're trout fishing. Man, they cook up some incredible camp meals. It's a pretty neat atmosphere.”

While at Blue River, you can also grab a hamburger at the Blue River One Stop or go into Tishomingo to shop and visit Blake Shelton's Ole Red restaurant and bar. For more outdoor adventures and wildlife watching while in the area, visit the Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge and the Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery.

The second most popular winter trout area is one of the newest at Medicine Creek in Medicine Park. Much like Blue River, it is a scenic place as anglers can fish for trout up and down a ¾-mile stretch of a cobblestone stream. Medicine Creek runs through the middle of downtown Medicine Park and can be seen from any establishment on the downtown strip. The historical city offers venues ranging from overnight lodging tepees to a local olive oil company.

There are two cafes in town that provide local charm and great food. Nearby attractions include the Medicine Park Aquarium, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge with Mount Scott and Lake Lawtonka.

“This hidden treasure in the southwest part of the state allows folks to enjoy fishing, great food, hiking and mountain bike trails, great opportunities for photography and an enjoyable day for the entire family,” said Ryan Ryswyk, head of the southwest fisheries region for the Wildlife Department. Of the three winter trout areas in state parks, the closest to Oklahoma City is Lake Watonga. The lake is part of Roman Nose State Park which offers hiking trails, mountain biking and horseback riding.

If you go to Lake Watonga on a Friday or Saturday and are a wine lover, check out Whirlwind Winery in Watonga. It is only open two days a week but offers wine and cheese pairings plus unique wines such as Wild Sand Plum.

If you really want to take a long road trip for trout fishing, Robbers Cave State Park in Wilburton has 1½ miles of trout fishing through March 15 on a portion of Fourche Maline River below Carlton Lake Dam. After a day of fishing, drive to historic Krebs for Italian food.

On the other side of the state, Lake Carl Etling in Black Mesa State Park is stocked with trout through April. You can camp and fish in the state's highest elevation.

The remaining winter trout area at Perry CCC Lake is an easy day trip from Oklahoma City. Fishing at Perry CCC Lake is like taking a step back into time as the pavilions near the south shoreline were projects of the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934.

The City of Perry requires a $3 daily fishing permit in addition to a state fishing license. While in Perry, you can dine at the historic Kumback Café which has been serving “down home” cooking since 1926.  Also, check out the Cherokee Strip Museum and Perry Wrestling Monument Park with its statues of Olympians Danny Hodge and Jack Vanbebber.



Arkansas Stocking

leah kirk

Arkansas Stocking.jpg

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Family and Community Fishing Program is kicking off winter in style by releasing hundreds of rainbow trout in program ponds throughout the state. Each year, rainbow trout raised at the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery in Mammoth Springs are delivered to community ponds in Arkansas once the water temperatures have cooled enough to accommodate the cold-water fish. According to Maurice Jackson, AGFC Family and Community Fishing Program Coordinator, the fish will be delivered beginning this week, and all program ponds scheduled for trout should have fish swimming in them in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The early snowfall made for some interesting trips back and forth to the hatchery,” Jackson said. “But we’ve been busy hauling fish and plan to do so throughout the next week to ensure people can enjoy some fishing during their Thanksgiving holiday.”

Visit to learn more about the Family and Community Fishing Program and to find a pond near you participating in the winter trout stocking schedule.

TN Winter Trout Stocking

leah kirk

TN Winter Trout Stocking.jpg

Tennessee has announced its 2018-19 winter trout stocking schedule. TWRA plans to release approximately 90,000 rainbow trout into Tennessee waters beginning in late November through March. The program provides numerous close to home trout fishing opportunities for anglers during the winter months. These fisheries also provide a great opportunity to introduce children or first-time anglers to fishing. There are 43 locations for this year’s winter trout stocking program.

The trout will average about 10 inches in length. The daily creel limit is seven, but there is no size limit. Anglers are reminded that a trout license is needed in addition to the fishing license. Please note that the dates and locations are subject to change. Updates can be found on TWRA’s website at For areas not listed in this program, see the 2019 stocking schedule and tailwater schedule on the website.

November 2018

27              Tues.                              Shelby Bottoms Park                   Nashville

27              Tues.                              Sulphur Fork Creek                     Springfield

28              Wed.                              West Fork Stones River

                                                        (Manson Pike Trailhead)              Murfreesboro 

29              Thu.                               Lafayette City Park                      Lafayette

29              Thu.                               Marrowbone Lake                        Joelton

30                  Fri.                              J. Percy Priest Tailwater               Nashville

30               Fri.                                 Lake Graham                               Jackson          

December 2018

4                Tues.                              Shelby Farms                               Memphis

4                Tues.                              Cameron Brown Lake                Germantown

4                Tues.                              Edmund-Orgill Park                     Millington

4                Tues.                              Bolivar Park                                 Bolivar

4                Tues.                              Johnson Park Lake                      Collierville

5                Wed.                              McKenzie City Park                     McKenzie

5                Wed.                              Bradford City Pond                     Bradford

5                Wed.                              Milan City Pond                           Milan

5                Wed.                              Martin City Pond                         Martin

5                Wed.                              Union City Reelfoot Packing Site            Union City

5                Wed.                              Paris City Park                             Paris

5                Wed.                              Cane Creek Park                          Cookeville

5                Wed.                              Stone Bridge Park                        Fayetteville

5                Wed.                              Billy Dunlop Park                           Clarksville

6                Thu.                               Kingston Springs Park                  Kingston Springs

6                Thu.                               J.D. Buckner Park                             Dickson

6                Thu.                               Davies Plantation Park                 Bartlett

6                Thu.                               Yale Road Park                               Bartlett

6                Thu.                               Valentine Park Lake                    Munford

7                Fri.                                 Nice Mill                                            Smyrna

7                Fri.                                 Harpeth River 

                                                        (Eastern Flank Battle Park)          Franklin

7                Fri.                                 McCutcheon Creek                      Spring Hill

11              Tues.                              Beech Lake                                  Lexington

12              Wed.                              Meadow Creek Lake                    Monterey

12              Wed.                              Cumberland Mountain State Park  Crossville

13              Thu.                               Fountain City Lake                      Knoxville

January 2019

2                Wed.                              Oneida City Park                         Oneida

2                Wed.                              East Fork Shoal Creek                 Lawrenceburg

2                Wed.                              Lake Junior                                  Chattanooga

2                Wed.                              Athens City Park Pond                 Athens

3                Thu.                               Lake Graham                               Jackson

8                Tues.                              Shelby Farms                               Memphis

8                Tues.                              Cameron Brown Lake                  Germantown

8                Tues.                              Edmund-Orgill Park                     Millington

8                Tues.                              Bolivar Park                                 Bolivar

8                Tues.                              Johnson Park Lake                                  Collierville

9                Wed.                              Bradford City Pond                     Bradford

9                Wed.                              Milan City Pond                           Milan

9                Wed.                              Martin City Pond                         Martin

9                Wed.                              Union City Reelfoot Packing Site            Union City

9                Wed.                              Paris City Park                             Paris

9                Wed.                              Beech Lake                                  Lexington

9                Wed.                              McKenzie City Park                     McKenzie

10              Thu.                               Valentine Park Lake                    Munford

10              Thu.                               Davies Plantation Park                 Bartlett

10              Thu.                               Yale Road Park                            Bartlett

10              Thu.                               Big Rock Greenway                     Lewisburg

11              Fri.                                 Nice Mill                                      Smyrna

11              Fri.                                 Duck River at Fisherman's Park   Shelbyville

11              Fri.                                 Duck River at Riverside Dam      Columbia

15              Tues.                              Cowan City Park                          Cowan

16              Wed.                              Cane Creek Park                          Cookeville

17              Thu.                               Shelby Bottoms Park                   Nashville

17              Thu.                               Fountain City Lake                      Knoxville

18              Fri.                                 McCutcheon Creek                      Spring Hill

18              Fri.                                 Harpeth River 


                                                        (Eastern Flank Battle Park))         Franklin

24              Thu.                               Lafayette City Park                      Lafayette

25              Fri.                                 West Fork Stones River             

                                                       (Manson Pike Trailhead)              Murfreesboro             

25              Fri.                                 J. Percy Priest Tailwater               Nashville

30              Wed.                              Sulphur Fork Creek                     Springfield

31              Thu.                               Billy Dunlop Park                          Clarksville

31              Thu.                               Stonebridge Park                          Fayetteville

February 2019

1                Fri.                                 Nice Mill                                              Smyrna

6                Wed.                              Lake Junior                                        Chattanooga

6                Wed.                              Athens City Park Pond                      Athens

7                Thu.                               Kingston Springs Park                      Kingston Springs

7                Thu.                               J.D. Buckner Park                                    Dickson

7                Thu.                               Pickett Lake at Pickett State Park         Jamestown

7                Thu.                               Fountain City Lake                             Knoxville

8                Fri.                                 Marrowbone Lake                                   Joelton

13              Wed.                              Cumberland Mountain State Park   Crossville

13              Wed.                              Meadow Creek Lake                    Monterey

14              Thu.                               Cowan City Park                          Cowan

15              Fri.                                 McCutcheon Creek                      Spring Hill

15              Fri.                                 Harpeth River Access

                                                        (Eastern Flank Battle Park)          Franklin

19              Tues.                              George Hole-Fall Creek Falls SP  Spencer

21              Thu.                               Big Rock Greenway                     Lewisburg

22              Fri.                                 J. Percy Priest Tailwater               Nashville

22              Fri.                                 West Fork Stones River             

                                                        (Manson Pike Trailhead)              Murfreesboro 

28              Thu.                               Sulphur Fork Creek                     Springfield

March 2019

  1                Fri.                                 Nice Mill                                             Smyrna

 8                Fri.                                 Duck River at Riverside Dam           Columbia

14              Thu.                               Shelby Bottoms Park                        Nashville

14              Thu.                               Cowan City Park                                   Cowan

15              Fri.                                 McCutcheon Creek                              Spring Hill

16              Fri.                                 Harpeth River 

                                                        (Eastern Flank Battle Park)                    Franklin

Fly Tying Classes In NC

leah kirk

Fly Tying Classes.jpg

A weekly fly tying class has started at Outdoor 76 in Franklin, held 6 to 8 p.m. every Wednesday. All levels are welcome, and the class is free. Anyone interested is invited to stop by, make some flies and get a craft beer from the taproom. Outdoor 76 is located at 35 East Main Street. 828.349.7676.

Sowbug Roundup

leah kirk

A presentation to the Mountain Home A&P Commission on behalf of the Sowbug Roundup. They were asked for $3300 and they gave us $3000.The Commission likes the Sowbug Roundup and the business that it brings to town.

Sowbug Committee is meeting monthly to plan and work to make Sowbug better than ever for you. The invitations to demonstration tiers will be going out shortly and indications are that interest is going to be very high. If you want to be one of the “Stars of the Show,” be sure to register as soon as possible after you receive your invitation.

In addition to the exceptional and talented fly tiers, this is a major social event. The theme this year will be Streamers, but this doesn’t mean that tiers must tie them. Demonstration tiers may tie whatever flies they wish. They’re currently considering some new features for Sowbug and John Berry will again be having his fly tying contest. With luck, we'll be able to have four tying classes of the caliber we had last year. If you would like to run a class or have a suggestion for a topic or a particular person who would be willing to do an appropriate class, please contact me.

As the 2019 Sowbug Roundup approaches they’d like to encourage NAFF members to seriously consider volunteering to help in any capacity they can. NAFF is a relatively small organization (in terms of active members) and a lot of help is required to operate Sowbug the way we’d like for it to run. It is fun to be involved. You have the sense of accomplishment when you have contributed to a successful event, and you get to meet and socialize with a great bunch of folks. Please consider offering to help in some capacity. You will not regret your decision to become a part of the 2019 Sowbug Roundup!

New Website for Atlanta Fly Fishing Show

leah kirk

the fly fishing show.png

The South’s biggest fly Fishing show in Atlanta has launched its new information and schedule website, The show hosts the Southern Trout Legends of the Fly Hall of Fame.

The new platform is “Much more mobile device friendly, easier to navigate, and significantly faster,” according to Fly Fishing Show president Ben Furimsky. “There is a modern, all-encompassing, updated feel. It will make everything less complicated, from ticket purchases to class registration,” he concluded.

The website now logically leads viewers through the Fly Fishing Show’s seven 2019 venues with information on each show’s programs, class availability, registration information, and updates on presentation schedules.

Georgia Trout Update

leah kirk


This time of year, if the Georgia trout staff isn’t stocking rivers, they’re “grading” trout. Grading fish is when they’re placed in a machine that sorts them into small, medium, and large to make sure all fish in one raceway are about the same size. While all fish in a single raceway are the same age, they grow at different rates allowing more dominant fish grow larger leaving the smaller ones behind. Grading fish allows us to determine a more accurate inventory and helps the fish grow better.

Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, warns Anglers do take note! Six inches or more of rain this week have created high, unsafe river flows for most wading anglers in north Georgia. Check USGS stream gauges and call your favorite local tackle shops to learn when our larger streams return to fishable levels over the Thanksgiving holidays.  Remember that smaller streams, like Smith Creek, have smaller watersheds, and will recede faster.  Small lakes (like Tralyta) and larger reservoirs are another good bet for anglers while rivers are raging.

Davidson River Outfitters Fly Tying Classes Starting Soon!

leah kirk

davidson River Outfitter.jpg

Davidson River Outfitters late fall fly tying classes are coming up in December. These classes are fun, laid back, and will get you tying flies to catch fish.

Saturday 12/8- Fly Tying 101

Great class for getting started, or simple getting reacquainted with tying.

Saturday 12/15- Fly Tying 201

A continuation of the 101, but open to anyone that has a basic knowledge of tying.

Saturday 12/22- Kids Holiday Fly Tying

For kids ages 15 and under. Students will learn fly tying basics, and leave with some hand tied creations to put under the tree.

Bull Shoals Tailwater Trout Fishery Map

leah kirk

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Bull Shoals Dam was constructed on the White River in 1952 for flood control and hydroelectric power generation. As with other dams in the southeastern United States, operations from this project created coldwater habitat unsuitable for native fish species. Experimental stockings of rainbow trout and brown trout demonstrated exceptional survival and growth. Regular stockings of these two species began in 1955. The AGFC manages trout fisheries in the White River from Bull Shoals Dam to the Arkansas Highway 58 Bridge at Guion.

In 2007, the AGFC Trout Management Program began developing a comprehensive management plan for both the Bull Shoals and Norfork tailwaters. The purpose of this plan is to establish specific goals and objectives, which will guide future management of the trout fisheries in these waters. Central to the plan development process was an intensive public involvement effort used to help ensure the desires and expectations of the angling public were embodied. This plan will be revisited periodically to determine if management objectives were met and to ensure that plan goals are still in line with public values and interests.

Map of Bull Shoals Tailwater above confluence with Norfork Tailwater (Click to download a printable version)

                Elsewhere, the state has kicked off winter in style by releasing hundreds of rainbow trout in program ponds throughout the state. Each year, rainbow trout raised at the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery in Mammoth Springs are delivered to community ponds in Arkansas once the water temperatures have cooled enough to accommodate the cold-water fish. According to Maurice Jackson, AGFC Family and Community Fishing Program Coordinator, the fish will be delivered beginning this week, and all program ponds scheduled for trout should have fish swimming in them in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The early snowfall made for some interesting trips back and forth to the hatchery,” Jackson said. “But we’ve been busy hauling fish and plan to do so throughout the next week to ensure people can enjoy some fishing during their Thanksgiving holiday.”

Good News: River Otter Carcasses Have Value

leah kirk

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Here’s some positive news that fall in the “If I’m lying, I’m dying” category.  The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is asking trappers to donate river otter carcasses to assist in collecting much-needed data on otter populations in the state. Reproductive and age data collected from carcasses will be used to model the state’s population and better determine how the otter population would respond to any changes in bag limits and season lengths.

DNR is looking to collect 50-75 carcasses a year over the course of the next five trapping seasons. A $20 gift card is being offered for each useable carcass, which include those with skulls and all organs intact. One has to wonder it just any ole otter that meet its demise counts, or if this applies to bad otters that simply turn themselves in…..what ever.

Trappers are asked to freeze carcasses as soon as they are skinned. Fresh or frozen carcasses may be delivered to any DNR district wildlife office where a data sheet must be filled out by DNR staff. Trappers may also make arrangements to have their carcasses picked up by calling one of the district offices listed below.

District 1 Farmington, Steve Rauch, 304-825-6787

District 2 Romney, Rich Rogers, 304-822-3551

District 3 French Creek, Tyler Evans, 304-924-6211

District 4 Beckley, Todd Dowdy, 304-256-6947

District 5 Alum Creek, Kem Shaw, 304-756-1023

District 6 Parkersburg, Jeff McCrady, 304-420-4550

Elkins Operations Center, Keith Krantz, 304-637-0245

For more information about the study or carcass collections, contact the district office near you or furbearer program coordinator Rich Rogers at or (304) 822-3551.

                We at Southern Trout tip our hats to WV. It’s appositive start to the elimination of otters.

Kentucky Catch-and-Release Underway

leah kirk

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Trammel Creek, which rises in Tennessee and flows northward into Kentucky and through Allen County, eventually feeding Drakes Creek, which feeds the Barren River, is one of a handful of stocked trout waters that will come under special regulations beginning Oct. 1. It's the opening of the state’s delayed-harvest trout season, or, as Dave Dreves prefers, the “seasonal catch-and-release” trout season.

“I think the term delayed harvest is confusing to a lot of people,” said Dreves, an assistant director for the Department of Fish and Wildlife and one of the agency’s few cold water/trout specialists. “I have a lot of people ask me what that means.”

What it means is that from Oct. 1 until March 31 the agency will manage 15 of its stocked trout streams as catch-and-release, artificial-lure-only waters. All trout must be released immediately. Bait fishing is not allowed but the artificial lure rule is fairly generous, allowing everything from a No. 26 barbless midge to a multi-hook Rapala-type crankbait. (The seasonal catch-and-release trout season extends to May 31 on Swift Camp Creek, which is located within the Clifty Wilderness Area in Wolfe County.)

Trammel Creek (along with a handful of other waters) stocked earlier this month. Trammel and the other seasonal catch-and-release waters will receive more trout soon.

“Those (seasonal catch-and-release) stockings usually happen during the first week of October,” Dreves noted. “But I know that October is a very busy (fish) hauling month for us so it might be a little later than that for some.”

I moved upstream from the Concord Church Road bridge, which is located off county road 2160 about 6 miles south of Scottsville. This slice of the creek is shaded and the canopy cover seemed make the fish somewhat less skittish and a couple of fish came to hand, including a chunky, brightly colored 13-inch rainbow had been holding a narrow strip of shallow seam water.

Seasonal catch-and-release trout season was launched several years ago on a handful of waters. It has since been expanded to 15 streams, including a 3-mile stretch of Jefferson County’s Floyds Fork (inside The Parklands of Floyds Fork property) and nearly 10 miles of Otter Creek in Meade County, including the sections of the popular stream on the Ft. Knox and state-owned Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area.

Kentucky streams managed as seasonal catch-and-release trout waters include:

Bark Camp Creek, Whitley Co., 3.9 miles.

Beaver Creek, Wayne Co., 2.8 miles.

Big Bone Creek, Boone Co. (inside Big Bone Lick State Park), 2.1 miles.

Cane Creek, Laurel Co., 6.6 miles.

Casey Creek, Trigg Co., 3.6 miles.

Clear Creek, Bell County, 4.5 miles.

East Fork, Indian Creek, Menifee Co., 5.3 miles.

Left Fork, Beaver Creek, Floyd Co., 3.6 miles.

Middle Fork Red River, Powell Co. (inside Natural Bridge State Park), 2.2 miles.

Otter Creek, Meade Co., 9.7 miles.

Rock Creek, McCreary Co., 9.8 miles.

Swift Camp Creek, Wolfe Co. (inside the Clifty Wilderness Area) 8.0 miles. Season catch-and-release regulations extend to May 31.

Floyds Fork, Jefferson Co. (inside The Parklands of Floyds Fork) 3.0 miles.

Trammel Creek, Allen Co., 4.4 miles.

For more information about these waters, including maps and stocking schedules, go to From April 1 to September. 30 regular trout regulations and creel limits apply (June 1 to September 30 for Swift Camp Creek).

North Carolina Man Socks Bear in Nose

leah kirk

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Haywood County, North Carolina man, Sonny Pumphrey, 78, says he punched a mother black bear in the nose after she came toward him at his home off Liberty Church Road. He was working in his driveway Tuesday afternoon when he said he looked up and found himself eye to eye with a black bear.

                “Pomphrey was taken to Haywood Regional Hospital and released. He sustained scratches and possibly a small puncture,” said Fairley Mahlum, spokeswoman with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.  She said the bear had two yearling cubs with her.

Second bear attack this fall

This is the second black bear attack in Western North Carolina in less than two months, according to the Wildlife Commission.

In September, Toni Rhegness, 75, of Swannanoa, suffered serious, non life-threatening injuries after she was bitten and scratched by a female black bear near her home.

Rhegness was walking her dog on a leash about 10:30 p.m. Sept. 18 when she saw three bear cubs in a neighbor’s trash. As her dog barked, Rhegness shouted to scare the cubs off, picked up her dog and headed toward her home. The adult, female bear, which Rhegness hadn’t seen, then bit and scratched her repeatedly.

“It’s important to note that this black bear's behavior was defensive, not predatory, and the bear may have been responding to the barking dog,” said Colleen Olfenbuttel, Wildlife Commission black bear and furbearer biologist.

Mahlum said the Waynesville incident might have been a similar situation, in which the mother bear was acting in defense of her cubs.

“Both of these incidents occurred when females were with cubs, and both involved people yelling at the mother bear,” Mahlum said. “The folks did what they thought was the right thing, yelling and making noise, but they were so close, in both of the incidents, less than 20 feet from the bear. If this bear wanted to maul him, she could have, but she ran off.”

A black mother bear and her cub visited a home in North Asheville earlier this summer. Wildlife biologists warn people not to make loud noises around a mother bear because she might become defensive.

A black mother bear and her cub visited a home in North Asheville earlier this summer. Wildlife biologists warn people not to make loud noises around a mother bear because she might become defensive. (Photo: Courtesy of Leslie Ann Keller)

Mahlum said wildlife officers set a trap for the bear, but it is unlikely she will be caught because it is believed that she was passing through the area, which has not had many black bear sightings.

In the Swannanoa attack, wildlife staff trapped the adult bear and cubs and euthanized the adult bear to protect human safety and to keep the cubs from learning her behavior, Olfenbuttel said.