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  1. #1
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    Default Fishing on the AT thru hike

    I have never set foot on the trail, but plan to in about 6 years when I retire.

    My question being provided someone had proper fishing license in each state, has anyone ever used this as an option to add food along the way.

    Just trying to learn way before I start.

    Thanks in advance for thoughts and comments on this,

    Phil

  2. #2
    Registered User Hikes in Rain's Avatar
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    Could probably be done in some spots, but a lot of the trail follows ridgelines. Never goes around a mountain it can go over! Plus, fishing does take time, which you might not be able to afford.

    That said, by all means take some tackle along! Fresh fish a few days out would be awesome.

  3. #3
    I plan, therefore I am Strategic's Avatar
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    I have fished while hiking trails, but in general it's just not a good way to supplement your food supply. The main problem is that it takes too long 99% of the time, meaning that a fishing day will inevitable become a nero or zero day. That's fine if you're wanting to take a zero day anyway, but it just isn't conducive to getting in the miles you need to get in if you're going to complete a thru-hike. It's also a matter of opportunity. Many of the streams and other water sources close to the trail just aren't big enough to fish in, so you'd need to get off trail a lot of the time to be able to catch anything. It's better in some areas (parts of the mid-Atlantic, for instance) but elsewhere you spend too much time on the ridge-tops and heights to be near good fishing waters. What this all comes down to is that, while you might be able to enjoy some fishing occasionally as you hike, it really won't be much of a reliable substitute for carrying the food you need.
    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
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    I thinking a fishing a Zero day would be a great way to spend it. Time will be on my side as I will have nothing pressing after retirement.

  5. #5

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    There are not many places to fish along the AT. It's not worth the effort to carry a rod or pay for licenses.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

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    I was only considering a length of line wrapped around a piece of cardboard and a few small hooks stuck in my cap. Line could be used for other purposes (thread) and pick up a stick if a pole was needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    There are not many places to fish along the AT. It's not worth the effort to carry a rod or pay for licenses.
    I found as a troubled youth that changing your path, required only the strength to step off your current one.

  7. #7

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    While fun, I wouldn’t plan on supplementing your food needs by catching fish along the trail. Over Memorial Day week we hiked NY state, caught some impressive bass in Nuclear Lake and lake Campos, but they were out of season so catch and release. Plus no fires near nuke lake or camping SNP has good trout streams, but need to go off trail and catch one 9” or larger due to conservation rules — hard to do.

    If you do want to do it, here’s the setup I use.

    https://www.tenkararodco.com/collect...wtooth-package

    My cousin used an ultralight spinning setup from Walmart.


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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREWHATFIRE View Post
    I was only considering a length of line wrapped around a piece of cardboard and a few small hooks stuck in my cap. Line could be used for other purposes (thread) and pick up a stick if a pole was needed.
    - Check to see how many places you can fish that are not catch-and-release waters.
    - You also need to determine the type of bait & hooks allowed.
    - Purchasing out of state fishing licenses can be expensive.
    - I've been a fly fisherman for 55+ yrs. Not sure how much you are going to legally catch with a cane pole....but I could be wrong.
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  9. #9

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    Bounce the gear forward to Maine. There are a lot of ponds and lakes one you go east of Bigelow.

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    My advice is if you want to fish, you do it as a vacation from your thru hike, not part of it.

    Forget about supplementing your food, but consider the fish a bonus. Murphy's Law tends to slap those down hard who plan to supplement with caught fish.

  11. #11

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    I ran into a flip flop per in the Smokies last June that had a collapsible fly rod and a hand full of flies. He wasn't trying to supplement his food just doing something he loves on his zero days. If you enjoy fishing, go for it. Worse case scenario is that you mail the equipment back home

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREWHATFIRE View Post
    I was only considering a length of line wrapped around a piece of cardboard and a few small hooks stuck in my cap. Line could be used for other purposes (thread) and pick up a stick if a pole was needed.
    I too was a fisherman doing a thru-hike. I took along 50 ft. of mono line, a couple of hooks and a few sinkers. I did try to fish a few times down south a couple of times without any luck. Most of the time after hiking all day I wasn't interested in fishing. In Maine I camped on the shore of Pleasant Pond and I decided to try to fish. Found some grubs, under a log for bate. I ended up catching 3 native brook trout about 8-10 in long. I cooked them up over a fire and ate them. This made taking a line and hooks worth it.
    Grampie-N->2001

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    So it looks like I will just fish for fun along the way. Thanks for the great response.
    I found as a troubled youth that changing your path, required only the strength to step off your current one.

  14. #14
    Registered User Hikes in Rain's Avatar
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    Somewhere on here, some time back someone described AT fishing. Can't seem to find it, so here's what I remember. Follow a spring run or stream crossing downstream, sometime before evening. Usually, you'll come to a "dam" or choke point in the stream that'll cause it to widen and deepen. Usually not much, but enough to support a panfish or two, or perhaps a frog. Maybe someone's camped there, or maybe not. It'd be worth taking a hand line kit. Whoever wrote it did a much better job! Wish I could find it.

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    There was a Trek blogger who thru hiked in 2017, and wrote about his fishing attempts. Maybe someone else remembers his name. He seemed to enjoy his attempts.

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    Just love being outside, not sure why. 765 AT miles done (2014-2018), many more to go.

  16. #16

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    Among those I have had conversation with along the AT at various times, Maine tends to be the only State that most agree provides some decent fishing. However, there I have not seen a lot of enthusiasm for fishing along the AT unless thats the purpose for being on the AT. Its time consuming.

    The consequences of fishing without a license can be pretty pricey in most locations, resulting in a mandatory summons to appear and fines from $100 to $500 (higher if the fish taken are protected or out of season/too small). Just walking along a lake or river with fishing gear, even if you are not fishing at the time, can be legally interpreted as intent and you can be ticketed (hard to argue this point with courts upholding the statute). If one is intending to fish, even with homemade hand fishing gear and cheese balls, it's best to play by the rules and be properly licensed to avoid problems.

  17. #17
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    I am trying to complete Georgia this fall with my crew. We started in the middle and have been filling in sections over the the past few years. This year we are starting at Springer and hiking to Woody gap. I think I see trout streams on the way so I will be prepared just in case.

  18. #18
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    From Erwin to Hot Springs. Can't think of anything directly on trail. Most of the trail on that section is ridgetop or hillside way above trout streams.

    There are couple places off trail you might want to try. Rocky Fork SP in Flag Pond TN. The AT touches the back boundary around Flint Mtn to just before Big Butt (around Flint Gap). Go to the public side of it though for the fishing.

    Then there is Upper and Lower Paint Creek. Check with the Hostel at Log Cabin Road. Then there is Lower Paint Creek below Hurricane Gap.

    From Hot Springs, drive past Tanyard Gap and come the next highway junction. At the bridge is Laurel Trail. All along here is a giant trout stream out to the French Broad at the old lumber camp.
    Last edited by Tennessee Viking; 08-14-2018 at 09:39.
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  19. #19
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    Reading this thread reminds me of a guy we met at the shelter just south of Port Clinton, PA, Eagles Nest I think the name was.
    Young man at the shelter was from Pt C, had just started hiking that day, with the intention of hiking to Georgia. He had $60 to his name and no experience. In addition to an overstuffed pack with various things hanging on it, he had a big burlap bag of food that he carried in his hand. In the other hand he carried some sort of archery set. He asked us if we'd seen any good fishing opportunities elsewhere in PA, because he was considering whether he should have brought fishing gear instead. His plan was to hunt and fish his way down the trail. We talked him into returning to Pt C the next day. The next morning he said he was going to leave his stuff there at the shelter for someone else to use, and he did leave two or three of the pots he was carrying. But we told him he couldn't leave his food bag because the animals would raid it, so he carried it back to town. His plan for eating squirrels and fish was a joke. Obviously the OP isn't that guy, but it reminded me of the story.

  20. #20
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    I fished at a dozen different spots in Maine. Send your gear to Rangeley and have fun. It's not worth carrying the gear any other place on the A.T. in my opinion.

    I caught quite a few fish in Maine, but never as a means to supplement to my food. I cooked up one fish and practiced catch and release the other times. The state has great resources for anglers. All the restrictions are available online.
    Springer to Katahdin: 1991-2018

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