TELLICO PLAINS (WATE) – Even with an updated fishing license, some places require one-day permits. If you are caught without that special license, the costs can add up – $35 in fines can turn into nearly $500 in court costs.

Hunting and fishing licenses go on sale soon and are available from county clerks, sporting goods and hardware stores, boat docks, and TWRA offices. Those over 65 can buy a senior’s license. However, seniors still have to follow any local restrictions. and, there are quite a few restricted fishing spots in the state. One of them is in Cherokee National Forest called Green Cove Pond which is stocked with trout.

Retired Knoxville police officer Robert Campbell, 73, has enjoyed fishing most of his life. Last summer, he went trout fishing at Green Cove Pond in far southeast Monroe County, 95 miles from Knoxville deep in the Cherokee National Forest. Special restrictions apply to the pond which is operated by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. If you look hard enough, you find eight different regulations posted on a bulletin board.

The rules state the pond is set aside for senior citizens, children 13 and under, and the disabled. To fish here a special one-day pass is needed and you can only have one pole. For several years, Campbell has carried a special permanent senior citizen fishing license, but he found out on June 20 that wasn’t enough. Campbell said he had been fishing about an hour at Green Cove when a TWRA officer approached him.

“I thought he was checking permits so I go my lifetime senior citizen’s license out to show him. He said I was required to have a one day permit,” said Campbell.

Campbell was also told he could only have one fishing rod. He had two other poles with him that day.

“Well I had two fishing rods 20 to 25 feet where I’m over here fishing with one fishing rod,” he said.

Campbell was cited for two violations: $25 for having more than one rod and $10 for failing to have that special one-day license.

“I didn’t know that it was posted, but the officer took me back to the entrance parking lot and showed me a billboard,” Campbell said.

Postings on a bulletin board state that you have to have a special year-round, one-day permit and you are only allowed one rod or pole. However on that June morning of last year, Campbell says he left his car on the far end of this parking lot and didn’t walk by the billboard.

“If they would have had sometime like a 45 mile sign that I could see, then I would say it was posted,” he said.

Campbell however admits his lack of knowledge about the rule is no excuse. Nevertheless, he decided to fight his case in Monroe County, but a circuit judge ruled against him. Campbell ended up paying a lot of money. The two fines plus court costs amounted to nearly $500.

“I feel like as a citizen I ought to be able to go down to the court and pay them $35 and a reasonable court cost,” he said.

“I have talked with him. He’s talked with numerous people in the office,” said Circuit Court Clerk Martha Cook

Cook says the fees were not unreasonable. While she feels sorry for him, she tried to explain to Campbell that court costs vary from county to county.

“We are, by statute, allocated to collect so much per state litigation tax. Then each county has a state litigation tax that we collect,” she said.

She said half a dozen different litigation taxes were part of Campbell’s court costs.

“We can only collect what we are authorized to collect, what we are ordered to collect,” she said. “The county commission votes it, then it’s approved by the legislature.”

While Campbell paid his bill to the court, he also contacted TWRA. The state says it’s considering providing a more visible warning that a special fishing permit is required at Green Cove Pond.

TWRA says every year it spends thousands of dollars publishing and handing out its free fishing guide. That guide lists the rules and regulations, as well as places where you will need to purchase any special licenses, if required. The fishing guide, and separate hunting guide, are available online, at sporting good stores, marinas and state offices.

Campbell says he simply wasn’t aware of the rules at Green Cove Pond because he had never been there before.