July 23, 2014 - 23:47
     
Greasy Creek could close on stocking day
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The idea is to allow the fish to disburse and give weekend fisherman a chance to catch them. Committee members also discussed the hog overpopulation and their limits on hunting hog.

Polk County’s Wildlife Committee met with TWRA officers last Thursday to discuss the possibility of closing Greasy Creek on the days it is stocked in early spring. The idea is to allow the fish to disburse and give weekend fisherman a chance to catch them. Committee members also discussed the hog overpopulation and their limits on hunting hog.

According to Fish Biologist Mark Thurman of TWRA’s Crossville Office, issues have risen in past years where people are waiting for the truck to arrive in order to have easy fishing. He said Greasy Creek is stocked on Fridays and it is often the case that by Saturday most of the fish have already been caught. Greasy Creek is not a natural trout stream and stocking it began several years ago when Big Creek and Sylco became too difficult for the truck to reach for stocking.

Committee member Greg Brooks asked if it would help the situation if the stocking schedule was not published in the fishing guide. Thurman said it was not a bad suggestion, but said if people see the truck, they will know. Committee member Joe Akins said publishing it did allow people who wanted to come up with their son or grandson for some Saturday fishing to know when the fishing would be good. Thurman said the closure on stocking day would maintain the quality of the fish and fishing,

Committee member Wayne Rutherford asked about the day of stocking being a Friday. He said it seemed like and odd day to stock and wondered about the feasibility of stocking earlier in the week, Thurman explain there was a 24-county region of areas to stock and only about six people doing the stocking. He said stocking was done on Thursdays in Tellico and the fish were already loaded. Thurman sasid if stocking was done too early in the week the fish would be gone by the weekend.

Committee member John Qualls asked about Tumbling Creek and Turtletown Creek, which are stocked but will continue to be left open. Thurman said they do not have the same issues of people waiting for the truck at those areas, and they were stocked every other week instead of every week. He said people had to walk in to fish Turtletown Creek; at Greasy Creek, they can just park by the road and wait for the truck. Qualls said a public meeting would need to be held and the committee needed to have answers to give to the public in the meantime.

Thurman said most of the other areas stocked were fished locally, but in Polk County there were more people who came in from other areas for the recreation. He said allowing the fish a day to spread out would provide a better quality fishing experience.

After talking with TWRA about fish, the committee moved on to hogs. Qualls said the hog population had gotten worse since the ability to hunt with dogs was taken away and that hunters were even being blamed for transporting hogs in order to hunt them.

“They’ve migrated because we can’t hunt them,” Brooks said, adding that in Georgia they can be hunter year-round with dogs and spotlights or any other means to kill them. He said TWRA wanted to use contraceptives to sterilize them and were taking their cues from PETA. Rutherford said landowners with large pieces of property were required to get a permit to hunt hogs on their own land, something that has not gone over well.

Qualls said other counties are beginning to adopt Wildlife committees as Polk County has done. He said TWRA coming to talk to them was unheard of before the committee was formed and suggested the different committees work together. Qualls said he wanted to write a letter to the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission and the Governor in order to “stir the pot” on the hog issue.

According to Qualls, TWRA ignored the survey done on Sandhill Crane hunting, which showed people were against hunting the cranes by about an 8-1 margin.  He said TWRA did what they wanted to anyway, and had lost sight of their mission.

Committee Member Daniel Deal said he raised dogs for hunting, his father did, and his grandfather did. He said he grew up doing it, and TWRA has taken it away. Qualls pointed out that if generations of hog hunting had not already eradicated the hogs, there was no reason to stop them from being hunted now.


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