Monday, July 7, 2014

Land & Water Conservation Fund Reauthorization

The LWCF is Up for Reauthorization - Please Read & Contact Your Congressman

Land & Water Conservation Fund: A Program We Can All Agree On
In today's political world, rare is the program over 75% of Americans can agree on. To have that support, it must be a Red White and Blue idea.

Well, one such idea exists. It's existed since 1965; the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Fifty years ago, back when people actually solved problems, the oil and gas industry, along with hunters and anglers, agreed on a program to mitigate the known impacts of offshore oil and gas exploration.

It was decided, and supported by all, that some of the offshore royalties would be earmarked to this new account, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The purpose - Use those funds to restore habitat and enhance public access. Imagine that. A good idea supported by all sides, even Congress. There was a time in this country when good ideas were not the enemy of politics.

Roll forward fifty years. The LWCF has invested $13 billion dollars into public access for hunters and anglers, in the process, helping all outdoor recreation. Millions of acres of public access has been acquired or improved. Thousands of boat ramps, fishing piers, and fishing access sites have been funded.

Yeah,
Congress has managed to pilfer $17 billion dollars from the fund for other uses, but I guess we've come to expect that. Congress can make amends for past sins by reauthorizing this popular program in 2015. Hopefully placing the funds in a trust account, reducing the temptation of diversion.

A 2013 survey of Americans showed that LWCF enjoys a popularity quite the opposite of Congress. Over 85% of those asked want to see LWCF continue; marking 93% approval among Democrats and 78% among Republicans. The support in 2013 has grown from 81% support in the 2009 survey.

Congress could do something that almost all Americans support; reauthorize LWCF. I suspect the oil and gas industry prefers that a small fraction of their royalty payments stay earmarked for something beneficial, such as LWCF, versus tossed to the dark abyss of Congress.

Hunters are the greatest beneficiary of LWCF. Especially seeing the NSSF survey shows that losing "places to hunt" is the top reason people are hunting less. LWCF has provided more places to hunt than any program, ever. LWCF is the quiet program that provides matching funds to states, conservation groups, and local agencies to fund hunting and fishing access.
In my back yard of Bozeman Montana, the Gallatin National Forest has had over 200,000 acres of access acquired or improved by LWCF. All who hunt and fish can probably find a similar LWCF story in their back yard. Maybe your favorite spot.

In the coming year, Congress will face reauthorization for LWCF. Hunter, anglers, and the groups who represent us need to pressure Congress to reauthorize our most important access program, LWCF. In 1965, our legacy of hunting and fishing was handed a gift in the form of LWCF. Now is the time to make sure we can do the same for those who come after us.

--Randy Newberg

Randy Newberg is the host and producer of Federal Premium's Fresh Tracks with Randy Newberg, making him the voice of self-guided public land hunters in America; where he shows the common hunter uncommon experiences available on our western public lands. You can catch his show on Thursday nights, only on Sportsman Channel and you can get more details about his hunts on his forumwww.HuntTalk.com

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Nymph Like You Mean It!

Just wanted to share this Cortland video with you.  While you may or may not be interested in competitive fly fishing, there are always some things we can learn.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Federal Trout Hatchery Funding Public Meeting

Anglers can't afford to let this issue fall off the radar.  The USFWS leaders are trying their best to de-fund the hatchery system for all species that aren't on the Endangered Species List.  Please take a few minutes to read it.  Then take a few minutes to take some action on it.  Thanks.


From The Chattanoogan


Agencies To Host Public Meeting On Federal Trout Hatchery Funding

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
The Tennessee Valley Authority, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Georgia Department of Natural Resources will host a public meeting in Knoxville on Tuesday, May 27, to receive comments on long-term funding recommendations to continue popular trout stocking programs in certain TVA reservoirs and tailwaters across the region.
The agencies are seeking input from angling groups, local and regional businesses, tourism organizations and local governments that benefit from fishable trout waters in their communities.
The meeting will be from 6-7:30 p.m. at TVA headquarters, 400 W. Summit Hill Drive, Knoxville, Tn., in the East Tower meeting room. The public can participate in person or by webinar. Registration information for the webinar can be found at www.tva.gov/trout.
The session will include a brief presentation summarizing the issue and the Trout Hatchery Funding Stakeholder Working Group’s recommendations. Attendees can ask questions and provide comments. The meeting will be recorded and posted to the agencies’ websites, where additional comments may be posted.
On May 17, 2013, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and representatives from the agencies formalized an agreement to cooperate in seeking a permanent source of funding to continue trout hatchery production by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Fish Hatchery System for stocking in TVA tailwaters and reservoirs in Tennessee and Georgia.
As part of the agreement, TVA committed to provide more than $900,000 per year from 2014 through 2016 to support federal fish hatchery operations that produce trout for stocking. The agencies also agreed to form a working group with key stakeholders who benefit from recreation-based trout stocking to help identify a long-term funding source. The Trout Hatchery Funding Stakeholder Working Group conducted two meetings in 2013 and developed four recommended long-term funding alternatives for the agencies to consider.
Currently, non-native trout stocked near some of TVA’s dams come from three federal fish hatcheries operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Erwin National Fish Hatchery in Erwin, Tn.; Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery in Celina, Tn.; and Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery in Suches, Ga.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stocks most of the trout it produces at TVA facilities, and provides eggs and fingerling trout to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for further grow out and stocking at TVA facilities. TVA supports these stocking programs by enhancing the aquatic habitat through oxygenation systems, controlled hydroelectric generation and minimum water flows to help maintain cooler water temperatures. However, in most of the waters, the trout still cannot naturally reproduce, requiring regular stocking to maintain fishable populations.
The short-term funding agreement allows for continued trout stocking for recreational fishing in the colder water of the reservoirs or tailwaters at 12 TVA dams in Tennessee and Georgia: Apalachia Dam on the Hiwassee River; Blue Ridge Dam on the Toccoa River; Cherokee Dam on the Holston River; Ft. Patrick Henry Dam on the South Fork Holston River; Normandy Dam on the Duck River; Norris Dam on the Clinch River; Ocoee Dam No. 1  on the Ocoee River; South Holston Dam on the South Fork Holston River; Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River; Tims Ford Dam on the Elk River; Watauga Dam on the Watauga River, and Wilbur Dam on the Watauga River.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Little Middle Georgia River Action

Our resident young trout bum Landon Williams has headed to middle Georgia for summer break but he hasn't taken a break from fishing.  Here's his story of an epic battle with Ole Bucketmouth.



I fished a section of an Ocmulgee River tributary near home on Monday night. I hit the river from about 5:30-8 PM and was into fish the whole time. Fish were chasing bream on the shoreline and eating damselflies and dobsonflies as soon as they hit the water all evening. I stuck with a white Stealth Bomber, size 4, all evening and was into fish the entire time. I caught several largemouth bass up to 2 1/2 lbs on it and several hand sized bluegills and redbreast thrown in for good measure. 

I finally got up to the best looking stretch of water, a nice run with current that undercuts a huge bedrock ledge and has a big back eddy with a lot of foam over the top of it. I continued with the Stealth Bomber but didn't catch anything. 

Next I tried a couple of large streamers with nary a bump with various retrieval speeds. I finally settled on my favorite river bass fly, a Grey Dahlberg Diver.
On the first cast, I cast straight into the back eddy with the foam . I popped the Dahlberg as hard as I could twice and then just let it sit for a few seconds. The pause was met with the most violent topwater take I've ever personally seen and sent the foam flying everywhere. I could tell it was a big bass but didn't know just how big until after the first jump a couple minutes into the fight. It took all my nerve and a little bit of luck to counter the fish rubbing against sharp rocks and jumping about 4 times throughout the fight. I finally got the best of the fish and he came to hand like a tired puppy dog.
This is by far the best largemouth I've ever taken on a fly rod and the fact that it was from a section of river that is heavily fished made it that much more special. Wonder what I caught him with? It was on a 6wt with about 6 lb line for tippet! I decided to let the fish so I don't know for sure how much it weighed but I would venture to say in the neighborhood of 9 lbs or so. 

Hope you guys enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed sharing it!

Landon

Monday, May 12, 2014

There's Still Time to Fish the Chattooga DH

by Jeff Durniak (aka Dredger)

Chattooga DH - 5/10/14

Go give the river one last shot this week.

Our trio yesterday only had one fifteen minute rain delay, while having a steady pick thru the afternoon. Water temp was 61.  One of us did well on a real small (18 or 20) Adams dead drifted behind a caddis, while another cast downstream and skittered a 16 tan caddis. Sometimes he even held it in the current along a sweet seam, and steadily twitched the subsurface offering until the rainbows couldn't stand it any longer.  We had 3-5 refusals and misses for every lip on the hook, but they were all fun.

We stayed for the hoped-for fireworks at dusk.  And they happened.

The switch turned on at 8 PM as size 18 cahills poured off. When they quit  popping at 8:45, the fish switch turned off .

Dry fly flingers oughta give it a go. Carry some tan elk hair caddis (16, 18) and parachute cahills in same size.  Add some small Adams and some cahill emergers and you're all set.  Focus on shady shallows and runs during the day, and then get in a favorite spot just before 8, with fresh 5x tippet and your flashlight pre-tested.

Good luck. Pass the word to interested folks. Enjoy your whippoorwill walk on the way back to the parking lot as you recall all those rises!

Ed. Note:  We often get questions about why the Chattooga DH can't be continued for more weeks during the spring and early summer.  Well, it is open for trout fishing year round but the quality of that fishery begins to decline in mid-May due to warm water temps as evidenced by these two bad boys that were taken on Saturday.  Hey, they rose to dry flies!  And the hornyhead is all decked out for love, rosy cheeks and all.

 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Stripers on Lanier - It's That Time!

by Henry Cowen


Fishing has finally turned the corner. The fish are committed to feeding shallow. Both stripers and spots are eating the lights out of both flies and lures on the red clay banks. You can watch some feeding activity on the surface both early and late in the day. The key to this pattern is to make sure you are fishing in 10′ of water or less. Red clay points and flats are holding the bait and the fish. Best lures right now are Sebiles and McSticks. Best flies are game changer, wiggle minnows and Clousers in the 4″-5″ length. While the top water bite has not officially started it is very obvious that the next pattern to emerge will be the long awaited Redfin bite. For fly rodders, try tossing pole dancers, Flat Fred’s, gurglers and any noise making top water fly. The expected weather for next week is high temps in the low to mid-eighties. This will push the surface temps to above 70 degrees and the fish will eat off the surface. Areas to fish are not as important as the structure you are fishing right now. North lake is fishing a little better than the south lake. That will change in a matter of days! It seems to have taken a long time for the fish to commit but they finally did. Get out on the pond as we probably have 4-6 weeks left before it all comes to a crashing halt as the fish go deep. If you are wanting to catch a world record spot on the fly…NOW is the time. Go out there and rip some lips! See you on the pond.

HC
http://www.henrycowenflyfishing.com/

Friday, April 25, 2014

It Isn't Always About A Trout

by Landon Williams

Well the last couple of weeks have been interesting weather wise to say the least. We have seen everything from cold blustery days and gulley washing downpours all the way to downright warm and sunny this week! It seems that my local warmwater haunt has finally reawakened after a long cold winter and the "migrants" are finally starting to show up en mass. I've caught plenty of white bass and small stripers this week and finally their bigger cousins have started showing up over the last couple of days. I was broken off twice tonight by fish I never did see after a big tug of war trying to get them out of a logjam. River fishing for these guys is completely different and it is one of the most addicting things I've ever experienced. The big white bass and local spotted bass made the evening trip worth while. I'm still gonna be hurting until I land a big striper with shoulders.

I can't claim to be a striper fishing expert but here are few things I've learned over the last couple of years while trying to figure them out myself and by fishing with others. 

1. Fish the structure. Stripers can be caught anywhere from the middle of a fast shoal to slow deep bends with fallen timber for cover. Stripers are roamers and when they are hungry, constantly on the move.  Finding them is the hardest part of the game!

2. Keep a wide variety of flies in your arsenal. Well prepared river striper fisherman carry everything from deep diving baitfish patterns to floating popper or creasefly style bugs. I've still yet to catch a striper on the surface but there's a reason the local guys fish topwater jerkbaits in the middle of the shoals! Larger Clouser style flies are hard to beat though. 

3. Be patient. Don't expect to go and wear em out your first night out there. Pay your dues and, if possible, fish with more experienced folks if they are willing to take you under their wing.

The cool thing about striped bass is that they are readily accessible during their migratory spring runs, even for boat-less anglers. Many of our North Georgia reservoirs have them with spawning runs up the rivers and creeks feeding the lakes. Don't limit yourself to just spring time fishing either as many fish will stay up river all the way through the summer, perhaps due to the cooler more oxygenated water our rivers offer. 

I may still be heart broken from tonight but I'm hoping I'll finally win one of those tugs of war soon!

Landon

Thursday, April 24, 2014

How To Eat Healthy While Fishing

By Capt. Thaddeus Ragan in Fishing Tackle Retailer Magazine

Let’s face it, healthy eating hasn’t always been one of the focal points of fishing, but healthy eating is gaining popularity among anglers. It’s helping people catch more fish while feeling better on the water. It might also earn you some bonus points with the significant other back home.

But even if you have learned how to eat healthy at home, eating healthy while fishing—especially on the road—can be a challenge.

Many anglers start the day off with a giant, glazed honey bun. To be clear, giant, glazed honey buns are delicious and full of energy. There are stories of adventurers hiking the entire 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail fueled by the portable treat.

But as a fisherman you aren’t hiking the Appalachian Trail. You are doing a lot of standing in one spot, even if that spot is moving, for most of the day. You’re also focusing intently on water conditions, line feel and the positioning of your boat. It’s a situation that requires a great deal of mental energy over a long period of time, which is a bad moment for a sugar-crash.

It’s also a situation that benefits from you being as healthy as possible on the water cast after cast; and there are a lot of cheap, alternative food options that help your energy last much longer than a honey bun:

The best way to keep the unhealthy calories out of your diet when you travel is to prepare your food before you leave the house. This helps you stay away from restaurants—especially fast food restaurants—as much as possible. Not only will you eat less unhealthy food, you will save money.

Make variety of low fat Sandwiches like turkey and cheese on whole wheat bread, and don’t forget the lettuce and tomatoes (you may have to store the wet ingredients in separate ziplock bags to keep the bread from getting wet).

If you don’t want to deal with making the sandwiches, low sugar trail mix or nuts are a great portable option as well,

Bring lots of fruit and raw vegetables. Most fruit and vegetables are easy to eat in-between casts if you don’t want to put the rod down. I try to bring plenty of pears, apples, oranges, bananas, celery, baby carrots, cauliflower and broccoli on long trips. Yes, I know Bananas are supposed to bring bad luck while fishing, but I’ve proved that to be bull time and time again. Now, I actually bring them for good luck.

Sardines are also great. They stay fresh, and all you have to do is crack open the can and eat them with crackers. As a bonus, after you eat them your hands smell like fish…so you may catch more fish! I’ve even been known to dip my baits in the left over sardine juice as a fish attractant.

Speaking of smelly foods, boiled eggs are a good choice. I’ll boil a few and pre-peel them so I don’t have to deal with that later.

For breakfast—when waking up in whatever random hotel I’m staying in—if there is no microwave I’ll heat up water in the coffee maker to make instant oatmeal or grits. Make sure you stay away from the oatmeal with a lot of sugar and go for the reduced sugar variety.

Once you start the day off with so much sugar you will crave it all day long.

Also, you want to drink plenty of water and liquids throughout the day. Remember the more sugary your drinks are the less of the water your body will absorb from them! The last thing you want to be is dehydrated, tired, and getting cramps from dehydration, which can lead to more serious issues like heat stroke.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Capt. Thadeus RaganCapt. Thadeus RaganGuest Blogger  Capt. Thadeus Ragan is model and fishing guide who has worked with Bass Pro Shops, Mercedes-Benz and Under Armour. Ragan is a life-long angler and owner of GladesBassin.com, a guide service dedicated to Lake Okeechobee and the Florida Everglades. He also catches many of the lunkers you see featured in the Bass Pro Shops annual catalogues.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Great Day on the Nantahala DH

by Landon Williams

Saturday I headed back up to the Nantahala Delayed Harvest with a fishing friend of mine. We were on the stream by 10:30 and were greeted by bugs all over the place. There were a few of the big Quill Gordon mayflies floating around and many of the streamside rocks were crawling with small dun caddis and winter stoneflies. We were both into fish almost immediately and it stayed that way throughout the course of the day. I stuck on the grey caddis pupa with a tungsten bead that worked a couple weeks ago and it produced a few
fish for the short time I kept it on. The caddis dry bite was not nearly as consistent as it was in my last Nantahala report and was nonexistent by noon. I switched over to a
size 12 parachute Adams and immediately started hooking more fish. After a while I noticed smaller and lighter colored mayflies that flew right alongside their bigger cousins. I clipped off my tungsten bead nymph dropper and stuck on a parachute size 14 March Brown parachute (dark elk hair tail, tan hares ear dubbing, Tan mallard flank parachute post, grizzly hackle) and kept the it on for the rest of the afternoon! Both flies consistently produced fish all afternoon with one edging out the other at times depending on if an area had more of one type of mayfly versus the other. My buddy came behind me and did very well with his euro nymphing setup throughout the day. He outfished me numbers wise by a bit but as many as we were both catching, I was happy to catch a few less for the thrill of a rise! He mostly used tungsten bead hares ears variations on very light tippet. 

I do have to say though that 
the highlight was the big fish of the day that I landed, a 21-22" brown trout that I sight fished for. The fish came out from underneath a deep ledge in a run with some current and chased a rainbow that I had hooked on a dry fly. The rainbow managed to escape unharmed but gave me the opportunity of finding a big fish's lair as an unintended consequence!  I stuck on a tungsten bead mohair leech and drifted it past the nose  of the large brown. I immediately set the hook on the first cast after seeing the fish move over a few inches and  open his mouth! The brown even jumped a couple times during the fight, proving to be quite the acrobat. 

Saturday was about as good as it gets; a bunch of fish on dries and even a big one as a kicker!  Hopefully, some of you will be inspired to get outside after this week's rain event and find some dry fly action yourselves!

Landon

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fiberglass Manifesto Giving Away 2 Copies of "50 Best Tailwater"




The folks over at Fiberglass Manifesto (one of the coolest blogs in the flyfishing world) are giving away two copies of "50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish".  Plus, they've got a really good review of the book so take a look at it here.

If you're on Face Book, "50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish" is featuring the Toccoa tailwater and Jake Darling today.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dukes Creek Delight!

Now, this is what it's all about.  Recently, Barbara and Ricky Ozmar joined our local Foothills Chapter of Trout Unlimited and have, literally, jumped in with both feet.  They've volunteered for a stream work project on Panther Creek, tied flies with Ron Thomas at the shop and Ricky has put in his application for Georgia Trout Camp this summer.

This past Saturday they stopped in the shop on their way to fish Dukes Creek.  Unicoi guide Kenneth Comeaux offered to meet Ricky at Dukes Creek and give him some pointers on how to fish it.  Even though Comeaux had to leave after a couple of hours, it seems his advice was well received.


 


Ricky was able to get back on the creek the following day (Sunday) and fish it all on his own.  This great brown trout was the result.  You think we've "hooked" another one?  I think maybe we have. Congratulations Ricky and many thanks to Kenneth Comeaux for paying it forward.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Congrats to DNR Biologist Chris Looney

We just received this press release from Georgia DNR and we want to extend our congratulations and sincere appreciation to Chris Looney who works out of the Gainesville office.

Chris Looney with a Fairly Nice  Chattahoochee Brown


FISHERIES PERSONNEL WITH WILDLIFE RESOURCES DIVISION RECOGNIZED BY GEORGIA CHAPTER OF THE AMERICAN FISHERIES SOCIETY

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (Mar. 3, 2014) – Three fisheries personnel with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division recently were recognized by the Georgia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, with two of them tying for “Fishery Worker of the Year.” 

Craig Robbins and Chris Looney both will share the honor of “Fishery Worker of the Year,” and Jimmy Miller received a certificate of recognition from AFS.

The mission of the American Fisheries Society is to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems by advancing fisheries and aquatic science and promoting the development of fisheries professionals.  This award is presented to individuals in recognition of efforts that have made a significant impact on fisheries research or management in Georgia during the past year.

 Chris Looney: In charge of standardized sampling on lakes he manages; oversaw completion of the Mossy Creek boating access area on the Chattahoochee River; helped design and implement new striped bass research and monitoring protocols at Lake Lanier; presents ongoing research and information to citizen groups; serves on the DNR Search and Rescue Team.

Monday, March 3, 2014

52 Shades of Gray

by Landon Williams

Fresh from the Nantahala in North Carolina, here’s a trip report to whet one’s appetite for Spring’s arrival.

Today, Sunday, March 2nd, I decided to drive north for a change of pace and fish the Nantahala DH. The temperature never got close to 70 in the “Land of the Noonday Sun," but it was very pleasant up in the Gorge and I even unzipped my jacket during the hottest part of the afternoon! I didn’t arrive until about 11:30 and moseyed around before finally hitting the water a little after 12 PM.


On stepping into the stream there was one thing I noticed all around me, GRAY. Usually gray is a color that we associate with tiredness and lifelessness. In some sense that was true. The huge rock walls around me and the hibernating limbs of the trees gave a fairly lifeless appearance beside the sounds of the water roaring through the gorge. But on closer inspection of the streambed, lifeless would not be a word that I would use.  All around, the “groceries,” were starting to hatch and buzz around. First to come into sight were all of the caddis flies. I counted at least three different types, including a small size 18 black caddis, a size 16 dark charcoal gray caddis, and a bigger size 14 lighter gray colored caddis. There were also a few of the larger mayflies, Quill Gordons and smaller Blue Quills but they were few and far between. 

That’s all fine and good but you are probably asking yourself, “How were the fish biting on them?” Well even though the smaller caddis were the most numerous, the fish did not seem to want to touch them and preferred the larger 14 grey caddis instead, even though they were very sparse.

However, due to the fact that I still had a little bit of winter cretin still left in me, I decided a dropper nymph below the dry would be a smart move. I stuck on a size 16 grey caddis pupa with a black nickel tungsten bead about 4 feet below my Caddis dry fly. The fishing was nothing short of phenomenal to say the least. I landed over 60 fish in the course of the afternoon with the caddis pupa only slightly edging out its floating cousin but only by a narrow margin! Later in the afternoon, between 4:00 and 5:00, I found a couple of stretches where the bigger mayflies were hatching fairly well and I caught several on a parachute Quill Gordon dry fly. The key to getting bit with the dries was to keep them perfectly drag free as any sort of movement of the fly was usually met with a refusal.  I pulled more fish out of the deeper boulder fields than anywhere else as I think the gradient slackens just enough for the fish to pile up in the deeper troughs and current seams so they can hunt for food.  Fish count wise it was split between rainbows and browns, including many wild fish of both species. Unfortunately a brook trout never found its way onto the end of my line to complete the hat trick, which is fairly unusual for the Nantahala.


 Hopefully some of this information will help or encourage someone to get on some dry fly action here soon. It was gorgeous out today and if you didn’t wet a line, I feel for you!

-The Owner of a Rough Life.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Size Matters!

Don't you just hate it when you ask someone to do you a favor and they do it so well you just never want to ever try it again in fear you'll never do it as well as they did?  So this past Friday I got in touch with Landon Williams and simply asked if he would test a new landing net.  It's call The Measure Net and I had been contacted by Jeff Abel, the owner of the company, and asked if I would accept one to try as an enticement to consider stocking in the store.  Many of you know that I've been hobbled somewhat for almost two months as my stupid broken leg heals so there was no way I was going to get anywhere close to a stream with it, much less land a fish.  So, who fishes more than anyone I know?  Landon, the guy who's getting a degree in fly fishing from North Georgia College.

On Saturday morning, I met Landon at Smithgall to pass of the Measure Net.  The sample I had received was a medium trout net.  His first reaction, "Well, you know, size does matter."  Landon, it will measure up to a 24" fish!  Just give it a try and let me know how well it performs.  As if to make a point, the following photos are of the fish Landon put in the net that day:


 To be honest, the medium is not a Dukes Creek net.  He would have been much more matched up with a large.  He did double check the measuring device in the net against a tape measure and it worked perfectly, even with the 23 incher below.

I was so impressed with the quality of the nets that I've purchased a "Guide" model for stripers.  They are very solid and the net is easily replaced when needed by simply un-zipping a zipper on it.  Very well thought out and reasonably priced.  The medium with nylon net retails for $27.


The large trout net retails for $35 with a nylon net.  My big Guide Net will measure up to a 40" fish and retails for $81.  ARGH, ARGH, ARGH!!!!

We hope to have a shipment in within the next couple of weeks.




Friday, January 31, 2014

Don't Muck Up My Trout Stream

Flexibility. That’s what they’re calling it these days in the General Assembly. Giving someone the option to muck up and contaminate a stream or making it possible to pollute a stream to the point where it is a health hazard to fish, so long as someone else can return it to drinking water, somewhere downstream, at their expense, is passed off as watershed planning by Dahlonega, GA Senator Steve Gooch. Some plan.
Planning. Senate Bill 299’s title sounds positive and proactive - Natural Resources; provide flexibility for establishing watershed protection standards. What it does is lower the protection of streams and rivers by making the most effective measures planners are now required to use optional in the future. Consideration of stream buffers, land development densities and land use activities all become optional considerations with Sen. Gooch’s plan. Some plan.
Antidegradation. Big word. Big impact. The bill puts into law a process that conflicts with federal clean water standards. Antidegradation rules allow for changes in a stream’s and surrounding lands’ activities if the existing uses – fishing; recreation; drinking water; reproduction of fish, wildlife and shellfish; wild river; scenic river and coastal fishing, of the stream are maintained. In the case of streams where fish and wildlife reproduce, water quality can be lowered only if there is an important social or economic reason. With important national resources - national parks and wild and scenic areas such as the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and Chattooga River, water quality is to be maintained and protected. With Sen. Gooch’s plan, streams can be polluted if the water can be resuscitated back to drinking water standards. Some plan.
Rights. Some say that stream buffers are government seizure of private property by denying property owners use of their land. Buffer laws limit use of land but do not take it away from property owners. They protect a public resource - water, by limiting roads, buildings, clearing vegetation, altering stream banks, installing septic tanks… within 50’ of a trout stream, 25’ of a warm water stream and 150’, for a radius of 7 miles upstream, of a drinking water source. 25 to 150 feet! Variances are issued in cases where property owners need to invade a buffer area for a good reason. If streams get polluted, are unable to be used for fishing and recreation, and become more expense to treat to drinking water standards, then downstream property values decline, Georgians can’t use streams for fishing and recreation, and local governments and taxpayers pay more for drinking water. Sen. Gooch’s plan would make consideration of downstream property owners’ and citizens’ rights optional when developing a watershed protection plan. Some plan.
Your Plan. Senate Bill 299 is likely to have a hearing at 1 pm on Tuesday, February 4th at the Capitol. Before noon on Tuesday, call or email your State Senator; Sen. Steve Gooch; and Senate Natural Resources Chairman – Sen. Ross Tolleson. You can leave a voicemail over the weekend. If you can, come to the Senate Natural Resources Committee hearing on Tuesday. Tell them “Don’t Muck Up My Trout Stream” and to “VOTE NO on Senate Bill 299”. Now that’s a plan.
Find your State Senator   Click Here for Project Vote Smart
Sen. Steve Gooch             404-656-9221     steve.gooch@senate.ga.gov
Sen. Ross Tolleson           404-656-0081     ross.tolleson@sentae.ga.gov
GA Trout Unlimited Advocacy Fact Sheet
Cold Clean Fishable Water 12-08-2013.pdf
Kevin F. McGrath
Advocacy Chairman, Georgia Council of Trout Unlimited