View Full Version : Daily Bag Limits on Special Reg Streams
I would like to get some feedback concerning daily bag limits on some of the special reg streams, such as Jones Creek, that still have bag limits of eight trout, any size. Is it the DNR's belief that lowering the bag limits on such streams would not improve or have very little effect on the numbers of larger (12"+) fish, or the numbers of catchable size trout as a whole? Basically, North Georgia has three public streams with bag limits of fewer than eight trout, any size -- Dukes at Smithgall Woods, Waters Creek and Noontootla. Has there ever been any serious discussion towards lowering bag limits on any other streams in North Georgia, or increasing minimum size limits on those that are kept? On a small, unnamed stream this past weekend, containing wild rainbows and browns (not Jones), I saw two guys with a stringer of 12-15 fish of various sizes. They said they fished the stream often. It is hard for me to believe that two guys, keeping those numbers of fish on a regular basis, could not have an impact on a stream of that size. Maybe I'm wrong about this, I'm no fisheries biologist just a hardcore trout fanatic, so I'm asking you to please enlighten. I do know this, the catch-and-release streams in Smokey Mountain NP that I fish sure seem to contain more and bigger fish, and I would assume that the available food supplies in those streams are similar to the small mountain streams in North Georgia. Any input that you could give on this subject would be greatly appreciated.
Saw a mistake after reading my post. Didn't mean to say catch-and-release streams in GSMNP. It's just that the park has minimum size limits and smaller bag limits and, of course, all brookies have to be released from the areas that are open to fishing.
06-02-99, 02:51 PM
I forwarded your question to Lee Keefer, Biologist at Burton SFH. Lee prepared the attached. This may be one of those post that should be referenced and refered to in the future.
Bill, as you are aware, the primary limiting factor controling the size
and abundance of trout in N. Georgia streams is the relatively low
fertility of our waters compaired to other trout areas. Due to the geology
of the area, our waters have a very low level of dissolved minerals,
particularly calcium, and have very low productivity. This low
productivity overshadows all other factors in determining the abundance of
trout in our streams. The success of trout feeding programs in dramaticly
increasing both the number and size of fish are ample testimony to this.
The overall impact of reduced bag (number) limits has been fairly well
researched, and they have been found to have very little impact on the
total harvest of fish in most fisheries, unless very low limits are
imposed, such as 1 or 2 fish. Analysis of angler catch (creel) data
reveals that the vast majority of fish are harvested 1, 2, or 3 fish at a
time, not by limit catches. In other words, most people do not catch a
limit of fish, or even close to it, but catch a few fish at a time. We
tend to notice and remember the limit or over the limit catches we observe,
but they are a relatively rare occurance. I, and other biologists have
modeled completed trip creel data to determine the impact of reduced creel
limits, and generally, in most situations, limits must be reduced to 1 or
2 fish in order to result in a meaningfull reduction in the total harvest
of fish. Also, particularly with trout in the South, it is difficult to
stockpile fish, because of natural mortality. Mortality seems to be
compensatory in most cases, such that if you reduce mortality due to
angling, natural mortality will increase to "compensate". As a result,
total mortality will remain about the same. Looking at it another way,
moderate increases in angler harvest are often "compensated for" by
reductions in natural mortality, such that the overall numbers of fish in
the population remain unchanged.
Compensatory mortality is common among almost all wildlife populations,
not just trout. In most cases, it allows us to harvest a portion of any
given population without impacting the long term numbers of individuals in
that population. Trout seem to have a natural size and age which few
individuals will exceed, even in unfished streams. For wild RBT, 3 years
and 9-11" appear to be the maximum expected age and size in Southern
streams, with a few individuals making it to age 4 or 5, and 11-13". BNT
will live somewhat longer and can attain a little larger size, on average.
Reseachers in the GSMNP have studied some streams on the park that have
been closed to angling for many years, and the size structure and density
of fish populations is not significantly different from similar streams
that are open to fishing.
A very restrictive bag limit, such as 1 fish, 8" or longer, could spread
the harvest of fish out to more anglers, and might result in a somewhat
higher catch rate in some streams. It would probably not result in
significantly more "Big" fish in the stream, however.
Up till now we have assumed that the general angling public did not want
such a severe restriction as a 1 or 2 fish limit placed on them. We are in
the process of conducting a trout angler survey to determine the opinions
of trout anglers on a number of issues, and several questions concerning
lower size limits and more restrictive regulations are asked in this
The bottom line is that lower bag limits will not change an infertile N.
Georgia stream into the Yellowstone River in Montana.
06-02-99, 04:17 PM
While legal harvesting of the trout does appear to be a reasonalbe solution to the compensatory mortality due to our infertile waters here in the South. I am of the opinion that the major probelm is poaching. Peolple who harvest far in excess of the legal limit. This would occur primarily shortly after stocking--or in the recent situation at Smith's Creek, after restrictions are dropped for the season. Because of the limited amount of "artifical only" waters, the use of bait in these areas would not make a major influence on statewide numbers, but inasmuch as it is illegal to begin with, it would not be hard to imagine that the perps are not sticking to the legal creel limit either.
The rules, regulations, and laws could use a little "tweaking" relavant to certain streams, that's understandable, but on the whole they are reasonable. I feel that the DNR and other enforcement agencies need to better enforce the ones we've got.
There is nothing more aggrevating than listen to a couple of "bubbas" talk about the m****quantity of fish they've managed to put in their freezers. That's not sport, that's grocery shopping.
Perhaps I'm in the wrong to feel that the DNR manages fisheries, etc. for sport, not as merely a protein source for the non-sporting-- but sometimes when I'm fishing over a "fished-out" stream, it seems that way.
The Ole Man
06-02-99, 08:10 PM
In brief: "In Ga-the tank truck rules" http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif
06-03-99, 02:37 AM
I agree with reducing the limit. The Professor is correct about poaching, and another problem is the locals in the area of a trout stream seeing the hatchery truck run and then going to the stream and just in sheer numbers; fish it out in a couple of hours. I have seen this happen several times at Mountaintown Creek where it crosses Ga. 52 and more so at Holly Creek. I have been at Holly Creek more than once and seen the harchery truck run and we were the only people there and in 20 minutes 30 people show up. I will say that most stuck to the limit, but a few were filling up a five gallon bucket. I thought gee, why don't they just stop the truck somewhere and give each person some trout. I won't go to each and every story, but this is not a uncommon occurance at many streams. My main complaint is that they stock a stream, and it is fished out in a day or two, by reducing the limit to 3 or four would give each person enough to eat for a supper and at least keep the trout in the streams a few more days for other fishermen.
06-03-99, 09:52 AM
After reading Stardaddy's message, I was reminded that in some states there is a short period of time (24 hours I think) that an area cannot be fished after stocking. This gives the fish a chance to dispearse. Even that would be an improvement--but I think it would take a platoon of the Georgia National Guard to fend off the poachers.
06-03-99, 01:35 PM
Check out my post under "Angler Surveys".
The Ole Man
06-03-99, 05:50 PM
BTW, I read an article last year about the method being used on some streams in Pa where the water is not up to snuff and infertility is a problem. The State has built mini-silos over the streambed and installed metering equipment to meter out lime and minerals into the water on a continuous basis. So-nothing is impossible. Apparently Pa takes their trout fishing more seriously than Ga does. It is simply a matter of commitment and money.
06-03-99, 06:55 PM
Reducucing the limit that's what I'm screaming. 3 fish 12" minimum. nuff said.
The brilliants with this imposition, is that the fisherman can still get enough meat on the table(if thats his priority), but he doesn't dramatcally reduce the number of fish in a stream.
06-03-99, 06:56 PM
Reducucing the limit that's what I'm screaming. 3 fish 12" minimum. nuff said.
The brilliants with this imposition, is that the fisherman can still get enough meat on the table(if thats his priority), but he doesn't dramatically reduce the number of fish in a stream.
06-03-99, 07:22 PM
I've thought a tad bit more on the issue. I think that maybe at most a 6 fish limit per person or at least a 3 fish limit per person, on most stocked waters, so that maybe a few more fish would be there for a little while longer. This would allow the hatchery to have more fish available for winter stockings of the winter C&R is accepted by the DNR, Or even in the winter they could make the regs so that you could keep about 2 10"+fish or something along those lines. The winter C&R/or limit catch could be on most stocked waters that wouldn't otherwise be open(seasonal) to give serios fisherman a place to dwell in what to most fishermen call the off season.
Solitary in fishing is a beautiful thing!
06-03-99, 07:29 PM
If you don't know what I'm talking about C&R in the winter check this out. Scroll down the thread until you see a post from "The EG".
Bill -- Thanks for providing this excellent information. It's been the basis for my very strong opposition to C&R on stocked streams.
However, I think the main complaint here, which also is one of mine, is that the meat fishermen work in packs and fish out freshly stocked trout within days -- sometimes within hours -- of the departure of the tank truck.
A reduced creel limit would extend the period for those of us who don't follow the truck and leave a few more fish available for a few days longer.
Smith's Creek is an excellent example. Based on comments here, the meat fishermen had it fished out in less than a week after the harvest period opened. And they trashed the area in the process.
A reduced creel limit, artificials only and limited access by permit possibly would have discouraged the wolfpack-type mentality of the meat fishers and stretched the harvest period a little longer. I see no point in having a delayed harvest to grow bigger fish if the entire population is going to be wiped out immediately after the harvest period starts.
Lee's note indicates that reduced creel limits would have no significant long term impact on the numbers or size of the fish due to compensatory mortality. But, I don't think we're talking long term here. I think we're talking a month or two as opposed to a week or, in some cases, hours.
I fully agree that C&R on stocked Georgia streams is unproductive and useless but I think a some of the suggestions here would improve the quality of fishing in the stocked fishery. IMHO
T- the big fish were big when theywere stocked.
all NGTO members - What I want to know is if the 20" fish that live in Toola and other creeks are just "wishful sightings". Maybe when I see one of these fish race under a ledge or tree, I'M just imagining it. As for poachers - I say we start a "deflation" campaign ! Four flats and a trunk full of trout. Sounds like justice in action to me. Any way to " deputize(sp?) NGTOers'so we can dole out the citations first hand? ( i know this is impossible http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif )
NGTV - North Georgia Trout Vigilanties
The Ole Man
08-16-01, 10:01 AM
Above, is what Lee Keefer said as quoted by B. Couch.
If we can't turn a North Georgia creek into the Yellowstone, can we turn it into a North Carolina creek? I don't think there is that much difference at all between the fertility of our better streams and that of many North Carolina wild streams. I think the difference in fishing quality is, in many cases, a result of their more stringent regulations (4 fish limit, 7" minimum on wild streams). I have fished a few of the regulated waters in Georgia like Jones and Noontootla and can attest to the presence of great wild trout fisheries in these streams (by great, I don't mean numbers of trophy fish....but a good population of healthy fish). I don't think these streams are particularly more fertile than other Georgia streams, so my assumption is that the regulations do work and that they do improve the fishery, at least from my perspective (and that of many other fly fishers).
Don't tell us that our situation can't be improved, because that is not the truth.
whats up here?
Leave it to "soft-science" and statistics to in essence deem all of us liars. The attitude of the DNR, as written by Mr. Keefer, was obvious throughout his letter but undeniable in his last statement.
I don't think anyone is wanting the Cooper creek to become the Yellowstone. I think we all realize that our fishing situation is different than those in the west. But PLEASE, don't pi$$ down our backs and tell us it's raining. Please, give us a little more credit than that.
[This message has been edited by gfra (edited 08-16-2001).]
The Ole Man
08-16-01, 02:27 PM
Sorry to surprise you with the confusion. There have been comments in other threads concerning exactly what it was Lee Keefer said previously. I brought this thread forward from 1999 in order to set the record straight. As you see in Bill Couches post, he recommended that this response be referred to in the future.
Okay...suppose I am suddenly in charge at the Georgia DNR
1. 4 fish limit - 7" minimum on wild streams
2. reduced creel limit
3. 6 fish limit
4. 3 fish limit
5. 2 fish over 10 inches
6. 3 fish over 12"
7. 24 hour moratorium after stocking
8. 3 or 4 fish limit
9. Catch and Release
10. Delayed Harvest
...and these are just some of the suggestions on this thread! All of them are sincere, I'm sure.
How many of you have written the DNR, offering very specific suggestions as to how they should change the regulations and management of our trout streams? Without insults, without rancor. How many letters do you think I would find in the file?
How many have written their state senator and state representative urging increased funding for law enforcement?
How many trout fishermen and women are there in the state who do not fly fish, do not use artificials, who do enjoy the sport and keep their catch.
Well, as the new guy in charge, I've got to consider all of the above people and proposed regulations.
And before being accused of bedding down with the DNR; I can assure you I've submitted all of the above letters; I have discussed and fussed with the DNR, although not publicly. I would like to see a variety of regulations that would not penalize any group of fishermen. I would like to see our Georgia streams marked with signs that outline the regs on that particular stream. Oh yes, I would like to have one stream set aside for just me.
A very short time ago, there was a closed season on all but a handful of streams. A short time ago all regulations and changes in them had to go through the State Assembly. A short time ago, we had no delayed harvest. These changes, and others, have come about by anglers making their wishes known. We have made pretty good progress in a relatively short time and other changes are in the works I'm sure.
I apologize, not for the content, but for the length. Tight Lines, Tom
Here's a quote from "Standardized Sampling of Wild Trout Streams" by Jeff Durniak, Lee Keefer and Ralph Ruddell, 1997.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Trout population structures in Noontootla Creek showed that catch-and-release regulations may have benefitted adult rainbow and brown trout. The 20-25 cm size class of rainbow trout appeared protected from harvest and available for catch-and-release. Brown trout >25 cm were also disproportionately represented in samples, compared with other streams. Brook trout in Chester Creek (upper Noontootla), the smaller headwaters, showed no response to the regulations, as no fish >18.9cm were captured. The data suggest that lower Noontootla Creek, with large, deep pools relative to most Georgia trout streams, can maintain larger rainbow and brown trout with the aid of restrictive harvest regulations. With few exceptions, the upper limits to growth in this stream may be about 28 cm for rainbow trout and 35 cm for brown trout. Only two rainbow and four brown trout larger than these representative limits were collected. The regulations clearly cannot increase the harvest of fish above the 40.5 cm size limit, as many anglers mistakenly believe, due to inherent limits in stream productivity.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Contrary to opinions expressed in various recent threads and unless Lee Keefer is schizophrenic, this quote seems to demonstrate that the GA DNR agrees that special regs can make a difference. As they have always said. The info just seems to get twisted once it gets to this message board.
As I've been trying to say all along, do not read absolute gospel into one brief communication. Now, we may be pretty close to getting either Lee Keefer or Jeff Durniak to come speak at some upcoming NGTO event. You guys print out your comments from these various threads, bring them, and let the fisheries biologists elaborate on their previous comments.
I know I'm making a list. http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif
Either that, or CALL THEM.
Hope this helps.
[This message has been edited by THE EG (edited 08-16-2001).]
08-16-01, 05:25 PM
too much to thwart. The only thing I feel like addressing right now is this -
I would like to say that I saw the " angler survey" taking place at one GA trout locale.......guess where?
Ami State PArk
( I've said this in years past, but let me explain it agian for newbies.)
There were about 20 biat chunkers sitting around the Reflection Pool. Each one got surveyed. I steped up to be surveyd too, with rod in hand( yes, I was fishing the pool with flies - they stocked browns and they were such a challenge! Good for them on that at least)
Now, I have NO PROBLEM in the surveying of these anglers. They are jsut as much a part of GA trout fishers as any flycaster is......however, and this is the biggie....I doubt that ANY official walked with clipboard in hand up ANY wild trout stream to survey the flycasters there.
Bait anglers at places like Ami State pArk outnumber flyfishers almost 30 to 1(if that many). On the Toot I think you'd find that flyfishers would outnumber the bait tossers, well......at least 30 to 5 or 6. http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/wink.gif( Bait is illegal there)
The other thing I feel like touching on is the email that I recieved stating( by either Mr. Keefer or Jeff D - can't remember which, but I believe it was Mr. Keefer) that special regulations have no affect on the size or quanitiy of fish. I believe that I recieved this email after emailing Jeff D. asking about size limits and the regulations in GA compared to the regs. in NORTH CAROLINA.
I wish that I had saved it, but I did not.
It seems to me, that the more we dig, the more we find, which is not suprising I have to say. The quote posted by EG is a prime example......unless I am mistaken, the info about the nonexistant effects of special regs has been posted on NGTO as well. I'll try to find it - wrong or right. I'm just sayign that I think I remember seeing it in all it's untwisted glory.
08-21-01, 12:41 AM
After reading all the post above, I just have a few questions for everyone to think about. How are you suppose to know the difference between the 25th hour and the 24th hour after a stocking. Is a schedule going to be printed in the newspaper? How bout one of those big clocks like they use at 24 hours a le mans? The 24 hour thing seems a little far fetched. Also in several years of fishing i very rarely see bait fisherman fishing in the headwater streams. Note I didn't say ever. But most of these fisherman fish around the bridges and stocking areas. I personally think that it is better for the bait fisherman to come catch their limit under a bridge than to have to go up a wild trout stream fishing worms. Cause after all, isn't it a put and take fishery? If these people can't fish at easy access stocking points, it want be long before they are on the wild trout waters, right? As for the delayed harvest streams, isn't the whole point for us to have our fun during the cold months and the bait fisherman have their fun during the summer. I personally think a trout going home to be consumed is better than one floating down stream dead. On another point I would like to see some streams made catch and release/artifical lures only too. But only if it's on bigger water where there is enough food to actually produce some bigger fish. I think the chattooga stocked with lots of browns and restricted would be really nice, and anyone who's fished over there knows there's enough baitfish and insect life to substain a good size fish. Finally, no matter what restrictions, laws, or regulations trout streams are always going to get poached and people are going to break the law. It happens in any sport and that's just a fact of life. It ain't right but that's the way it is. My suggestion is to come to terms with that and go fishing. Cause isn't flyfishing about relaxation and fun instead of catching 100 fish every time? My .02 cents and then some. Green Weenie
08-21-01, 09:08 AM
i don't think that the underlying gripe is about locals rushing out and catching their limit. i see it all the time and it bothers me less than what little respect they have for where we all fish. i cant tell you how many blue worm tubs and rooster tail packages i pick up every time i go out. cant we put a deposit on that crap or something!? i tend to be off on thur. and fri., and i see people waiting in lawn chairs next to the pools for the truck to pull up. i've even seen them ask for them to "throw in a few extra will ya".doesn't really bother me. i don't fish those pools anyway. even on the hardest hit streams, you can work the riffles and almost always catch fish, even holdovers. the bottom line is that it is our responsibility to deal with violators. in the 5 or so years i have been fishing in n. ga., i have only had my license checked once, and that was in the upper chatt. wma, and they were really looking for people coming down the road drunk. had 2 state patrols with them in the middle of the woods.....kinda wierd.
special regs. on certain streams makes sense, it would lower the pressure on the raparian zones of the rivers and streams such as the hooch. and who decided that 8 was the perfect number. a person who fishes his limit every thurs when the truck shows up would take home about 200 fish in a season. why don't we let them just come by the hatchery and run a net thru one of the troughs a few times! they would pobabley find it more exciting! but hey, thats only about $150 worth of fish. who's idea was it to charge people who are out for the experiance (me and you) more money, and those out for their limit less. seems like wer'e the ones cleaning up their messes!
fishing is not a matter of life or death.
...it's much more
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