UNICOI COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The American Canoe Association (ACA) in Tennessee is calling on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and state legislators to update trotline regulations for clarification.
On Memorial Day weekend 2021, a group of professionals training other kayak instructors out of the Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute (NOLI) said a member of their group had run into a trotline and ultimately ended up entangled with one of the hooks piercing their life jacket, which led to the line being cut.
Scott Fisher, the owner of NOLI and leader of the kayak group, said the line was cut for safety reasons.
On September 22, Fisher had to turn himself into the police after he got a call that the case went to a grand jury and was being prosecuted.
According to Unicoi County ADA Todd Hull, Scott Fisher was charged with violation of the Hunter Protection Act and taking a fish caught by another. Both are classified as Class C misdemeanors.
The case came to trial on June 28, 2022. The official transcript can be read here.
In a release from the ACA Tennesse, they call on TWRA and state legislators to update the trotline regulation for clarification and to ensure outdoor recreationists are able to enjoy the waterways safely.
“With one fatality to a paddler in 2019 on the Buffalo River and the near miss on the Nolichucky River in 2021, paddlers are calling for TWRA to change the regulation to include the best safeguards already in place in trotline regulations in neighboring states,” the release states.
The ACA Tennessee statement calling for changes to the regulation is available here.