Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced that anglers along an eight mile stretch of Lynn Camp Prong and its tributary, Marks Creek, will be allowed to keep all the rainbow trout they can catch under temporary regulations designed to help the park restore its native brook trout population. Lynn Camp Prong is a major tributary of the Middle Prong of the Little River, in the Tremont area of Blount County.
From Monday, June 2 through Saturday, June 14 from 7 a.m. to 7p.m. daily, anglers will be allowed to keep as many non-native rainbow trout as they can catch, regardless of size. The park’s goal is to have as many rainbows as possible removed prior to September when park biologists plan to treat the stream with a fish toxin to remove any remaining rainbows. Following that chemical treatment, the park will re-stock that area with native brookies captured from other park streams. The treated section will be then closed to angling for several years while the fish population rebounds. Once the rainbows are removed, a large cascade downstream from the treatment area will block their return.
The stream segments to be restored begin above a National Park Service check-in station that is located less than ¼ mile up Middle Prong Trail from its trailhead at the end of Upper Tremont Road. From that point onward anglers will be able to access the special sections from the Middle Prong and Lynn Camp Prong Trails.
Several rules and regulations will apply. Anglers must register at the check-in station and surrender their fishing licenses (either Tennessee or North Carolina only) to park personnel for the day. The anglers will then be given a daily permit at no charge which is to be visibly displayed at all times. Only artificial lures with single hook will be permitted; any type of bait is prohibited. There is no size or creel limit on rainbow trout, but each rainbow caught, no matter what size, must be kept and taken to the check-in station at the end of the fishing trip and before 7 p.m. At that time, the fish will be weighed, measured, and returned along with the holder’s state license. The creel clerk will retain the license of any angler who does not return by 7 p.m. The angler will then have to return the next day or see an area ranger to retrieve the license. Any brook trout caught may be kept, but the Park’s normal regulations, a 7” minimum size and five fish limit, will apply.
Anglers planning to backpack in and camp at Backcountry Site #28 must show their camping permit at the check-in station and will be asked to surrender their license but they will not be expected to return by 7p.m.
According to the park’s fishery biologist, Steve Moore, “We have conducted similar brook trout restorations using the same chemical, Antimycin A, on three other streams, nearby Sams Creek and Indian Flats Creek in Tennessee, and Bear Creek in North Carolina. Follow-up research has shown that the treatment had no measurable impact on non-fish species, such as crayfish and salamanders.”
After being stocked with brook trout the time required for the fish population to increase to the point of being re-opened has varied from four to seven years.” Moore said. “Sams Creek was restored in 2000 and was re-opened to angling this spring.”