Why Tennessee must seek new regulations for trotline fishing
- Daniel Rogers is President of the West Tennessee Canoe & Kayak Club and an ACA Certified Level 2 Kayak Instructor.
I have been a fisherman and hunter for a long time. I was taught from childhood to respect nature and to ensure that my actions do not endanger other athletes.
I will never forget my dad who missed a chance to pull a nice big sum – back when these were much rarer than they are today – because there was a another hunter in a stand a few hundred yards beyond the deer. Dad wouldn’t risk his shot crossing the deer and hitting the other hunter.
Consideration and safety were a way of life for the athletes who raised me.
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Pursuing a legacy of respect
Now, as an adult athlete, these lessons and experiences compel me to advocate for a change in the regulation of Tennessee trotting angling.
Currently, it is not necessary to submerge the trot lines to a specific depth – Georgia, Kentucky, and South Carolina require that the trot lines be submerged 3, 3, and 4 feet below the surface – or that the trotting lines are marked so that they can be easily seen and avoided. by boaters or against their crossing the current of a waterway.
Arguably a trotting line running across a river bank could violate the Federal Navigable Waters Obstruction Law, 44 US Code § 403, but Tennessee regulations do not deal with that.
I talk about it because I am also a kayaker. An improperly adjusted or improperly adjusted trotting line can injure or drown a boater, especially those in small watercraft like canoes and kayaks.
As recently as September 2019, there was a drowning on the nearby Buffalo River when a young man became entangled in a trotting line. This last Memorial Day on the Nolichucky River in eastern Tennessee, there was a near accident when a trotting line stretched across the current caught a paddler as he passed. Fortunately, this paddler was able to extricate himself before the disaster struck.
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Create a safer environment
I urge the TWRA and our lawmakers to review Tennessee’s trotlining regulations and take action to reduce the danger. Paddle sports are more popular than ever. It is time to revise our trotline fishing regulations to protect these athletes.
I also urge trotting anglers to voluntarily make your trotting lines safe for passing paddlers. You can place your trotting line three or four feet below the surface of the water, parallel to the bank, and mark it so that boaters can easily avoid it, although the law does not require it. . None of these measures will make trotting lines less effective at catching fish, but all will help to make them safer for other athletes who share our waterways.
Of course, this shouldn’t be a one-way street.
As a paddler, I urge other paddlers to be respectful and courteous to anglers and aware of our impact on other athletes.
There is room for all Tennesséens on our waters if we are respectful stewards of both our natural resources and our neighbors. I look forward to the continuation of the discussions and the cooperation of my sports colleagues from all walks of life.
Daniel Rogers is President of the West Tennessee Canoe & Kayak Club and an ACA Certified Level 2 Kayak Instructor.