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Best practices

for responsible fishing

1. Always respect private property. Get permission if you are planning to fish from it.

2. Be respectful of other people fishing. Give them adequate room to fish; there is space for everyone.

3. Never litter, especially, with mono-filament lines. Birds and other animals can get tangled in it.

4. Report people violating fishing regulations.

5. Catch and release whenever possible. Don't keep fish you are not going to eat.

6. Use only barb-less hooks on Delayed Harvest streams or if you are planning to catch and release.

7. Use steel split shot instead of lead. It is better for the environment.

8. Never keep a trout over 15 inches. The smaller ones taste better and returning larger fish to the stream ensures larger fish in the future; they are the ones with good reproductive genes. Bring a camera and a way to measure your fish. Remember, taxidermists don't use the fish when making a mount.

9. In sections of steep backcountry terrain, flash flooding is common; be aware of the weather forecast before going. Never fish these sections alone.

10. When fishing tailwater sections, be aware of release schedules.

11. Wear belted waders to prevent the water from entering your waders should you end up going for a ride.

12. Because Smoky Mountain stream and river beds are quite slippery; good felted sole wading boots with ankle support are a must.

13. Clean and dry your boots and gear between trips to stop the transmission of invasive species.

14. Always carry a first aid kit.

15. As you cast, keep an eye out for hornets nests in the trees over the water.

16. Always let someone know where you are going.