July Meeting

THE ANTIDOTE TO EXHAUSTION ISN’T REST. IT’S FISHING”

President –   Steve Young

steve_y@earthlink.net

Newsletter

Trout Camp is over; recovery/decompression always goes along with the feeling of satisfaction after an intense week with 14 energetic teenagers.  Part of the satisfaction is working with a group of volunteers committed to making Trout Camp a memorable experience for the campers.  I went back over my activities list to get a better estimate of the number of volunteer positions in Trout Camp. My previous estimates were conservative; well over 50 and as many as 85 individual positions (depending on how I count true needs) need to be filled.  These range from an hour or so demonstrating knot tying to spending most if not the entire week with campers including either as chaperones or overnight counselors.  While all positions are important the latter group is critical to camp success, particularly the overnight counselors.  The picture below shows this group of folks whose commitment in terms of time and input is special to me and the campers.  You may recognize a couple of former campers who were outstanding as ‘Junior Counselors’.  Trout Camp needs people like these to step up and commit to the program; we are always looking for ‘new blood’ and would welcome you as a volunteer.

In line with the Fishing Thought of the Month, I had a fortuitous meeting when going to one of my favorite Park spots to help my post camp slump with some fishing.  I met a fellow at the trailhead who turned out to be a TU member from Wisconsin.  Got to chatting and he was looking to fish the stretch but really didn’t know where to go.  So, I invited him to take a hike with me to a less frequented spot to get away from the casual fisherman.  A great day; beautiful weather, a few fish caught with other strikes (he caught 2 to my 1, so I was relieved!—never feel good about taking someone to a special place and either we strike out or I out-catch them!).  Although tired physically at the end of the day (5 miles plus of hiking and rock hopping), emotionally in a much better state!  Thanks Ben!

Another group that has started up again was our Tie and Lie which meets at the Casual Pint in Maryville the last Monday of each month.  This past month we all just brought materials to tie a fly of our choice and enjoyed the camaraderie.  We have been able to get into the back room again so the external noise is reduced (means the lying over the flies might get a little louder).  Come join us at 6pm, this month on Monday the 26th for some tyin’ and lyin’!  Will Davis will be teaching the Lite Peacock Perdigon and the soft hackle Walt’s Worm.

Tight Lines!

July Picnic at River John’s is coming up; remember it is Thursday night the 22nd of July starting at 5 pm.  Dinner will be around 6pm.  First time in 18 months we get to see each other face to face; I hope you can make it.  Please let us know if you are planning to attend so we can get a head count for the Burgers, Hotdogs, and fixin’s that the chapter will be supplying. Just send me a note at lrctu.newsletter@gmail.com.   Otherwise, bring yourself, a guest, the kids, a chair, a dish to share, and a rod if you wish (smallmouth country!) and let’s celebrate a return to a version of ‘normalcy’.

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June Meeting

JUNE ZOOM MEETING CANCELLED

Newsletter

FISHING QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“Sharing the fun of fishing turns strangers into friends in a few hours.” – Eugene Clark

PRESIDENTS COLUMN
TROUT CAMP, JOHN THURMAN LEGACY

When you read this, I will be very close to if not deeply involved in turning 14 young teenaged strangers into friends at the 2021 John Thurman Smoky Mountains Trout Adventure Camp. This has been a challenging year for putting Trout Camp together; COVID concerns have dictated some changes in protocols but have allowed us to keep our basic program in place. Other challenges included making the selection of 14 campers from 42 applications (about 2x past yearly applications) very challenging as well as painful (I do not like turning away campers!). Some positives have come up; we will be the only residential group at the Institute that week so campers and their TU Counselors get to stay in the air-conditioned dorms in much more comfortable beds. Being the only group there we will be able to easily follow COVID protocols. Sean Fagen has been working tirelessly to assemble the mentors for our various activities. I wish to give all of them that are reading this a big thank you in advance for making Trout Camp possible. We also have had several TU Chapters as well as the Chilhowie Women’s Club provide partial or full scholarships for deserving campers; another big thank you for that support!

Trout Camp has also produced many future leaders of TU and flyfishing. We have had at least 3 campers attend the TU National Teen Summit, one camper was invited to the Atlanta Fly Fishing Show as a guest fly tier, another has been a regular fly-tying instructor at the Boy Scout National Jamboree. As important are the many more campers who came away with the confidence that improved skills so that they were able to step out and fish mountains streams successfully. Pictures below tell it all. I am sure these successes will turn them into conservationists in the future.

All these successes can be rooted in the vision of 2 TU members, John Thurman and Jack Betschick. They spent 3 years researching how other camps succeeded or failed; they then coupled that knowledge with the ideas they developed themselves. Their vision came true with the initial Trout Camp session in 2011. I worked closely with John for a couple of years before taking over camp. What I saw was an individual with a deep commitment to educating young people in the out of doors. While John gave up the reins, his interest in camp never left him and he continued to help with staffing some of the camp activities. John left us this past fall, unfortunately in shadow of the COVID pandemic which led to Trout Camp being canceled that year. However, his vision of introducing youth to the out of doors and conservation lives on in what is now his namesake, the John Thurman Smoky Mountains Trout Adventure Camp.

Tight Lines!!—Steve Young

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May Meeting

STREAMS OF THOUGHT—NOTES FROM THE PRESIDENT

Newsletter

FISHING QUOTE OF THE MONTH
FISHING MAKES US PARTICIPANTS IN NATURE INSTEAD OF SPECTATORS, A CRUCIAL DISTINCTION BECAUSE PARTICIPANTS TEND TO BECOME PASSIONATE AND PROTECTIVE AND SPECTATORS TEND TO BECOME INDIFFERENT.
JERRY DENNIS

A DIFFERENT KIND OF SMOKIES TRIFECTA, BROOK TROUT RESTORATION AT NORTON CREEK
Trout Camp has been taking much of my time and attention lately but I did take Saturday to complete a different kind of Smokies Trifecta. I spent the morning and early afternoon performing our bimonthly water sampling; this time on Porter’s Creek with fellow chapter members Rich Eitel and Steve Darnell, along with Steve’s grandson, Thomas. (We didn’t pick Thomas up in the woods someplace, he is getting in shape for a 12-day trek at Philmont Scout Ranch). I had forgotten how beautiful Porter’s is. I then tried to fish a short section of Porter’s; several nice strikes on a wooly bugger although nothing to hand (no Smokies slam but an improvement over the past few times out!). Then I made my phenology observations at the Greenbriar plot on Injun Creek Trail behind the Greenbriar Ranger Station. This last volunteer task really brought home to me how fast the forest develops that shade rendering and trout preserving canopy; it seems like less than a month ago our Phenology team was struggling to find leaf buds. A full day in one of my most favorite places!! A day like this in the outdoors leads to a good night’s rest (and a little stiffness the next morning. I truly hope that you have an outdoor place like that where you can go, maybe get a little stiff in the joints, and not care whether you catch a fish or not—a place where you can go “to have your senses put in tune once more”. If not, maybe it is time to do so.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY AT NORTON CREEK – JUNE 5th
Earl Worsham, a Little River Chapter member and the owner of a good swath of the Norton Creek drainage has negotiated an opportunity with the Fisheries guys at GSMNP and the TWRA to reclaim a section of Norton Creek for Brook Trout. He needs our help in making this possible. The plan is very much the same as that executed in the Park when restoring a stream for Brook Trout; eliminate those pesky rainbows with repeated shocker passes and then bring in some Brookies from elsewhere to repopulate the stream. Our part is to clean up the foliage that blocks the stream for easy access for the shocking teams. For you that are familiar with Norton Creek, it will be the section above the ‘Pool House’ where there is a large cascade that will block rainbows from migrating back up into the upper parts of Norton Creek. There are 4 separate sections that need some work. We are looking at June 5th to be the cleanup day. So please bring your gardening gloves, loppers, hand saws, some safety glasses, and a lunch; waders aren’t necessary but you may want to wear wading boots and wet wade some of the sections. We will start about 10 am and be done in midafternoon. The reward is shown in the accompanying picture; access to fish Norton Creek at your leisure and discretion!

Best wishes and Tight Lines! – Steve Y

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STREAMS OF THOUGHT—NOTES FROM THE PRESIDENT

PRESIDENT’S LETTER
FISHING QUOTE OF THE MONTH

Newsletter

‘THE GREATEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE TO ANOTHER FISHERMAN IS TO PUT A GOOD FISH BACK’ LEE WULFF

wolf creek

So—by now you may have figured that when I put another water picture up (this one is of Wolff Creek Falls aways back in the Cherokee National Forest near an area the TWRA is considering reclaiming for Brook Trout) means I haven’t done well in the catchin’ department. Right On!! Several tries with less success including at the base of these falls (one success on Tremont was a kinda accident—fly in water not being observed while negotiating rocks, pull up rod to cast and… FISH ON!!). Even extended to Oregon where we spent some beautiful days with family; on North Umqua, fish hitting surface, many casts and no takes. However, the Dogwood, Redbud, and wildflowers blooming are reminders that spring has sprung despite a possible step back or two in the near future. Fishing will get better I am sure of it!

With spring in the air, I hope y’all can get out and enjoy the nature on our doorstep. There are a couple of opportunities through TU coming up. The Smoky Mountain Chapter is hosting a meet and greet at Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area (see associated article below for details) and we are still planning to have our live meeting at River John’s in July. Also, remember the volunteer opportunities in the Park, both those that the Little River Chapter coordinate as well as other VIP programs coordinated by the Park Staff (I myself go out and look at trees as part of the Phenology tracking program—great excuse to get outdoors)

In last month’s Newsletter Joyce put together a great summary of Eddie George, a founding member of the Little River Chapter, the namesake of the Chapter Award for the most volunteer hours in the Park during a calendar year, and the originator of the Eddie George Nymph. However, many of us never got to meet or know him. Somehow a picture brings him closer; I have forgotten where I found this (and I am not sure that is a big trout he is holding up) but it reminds me we were all young once and have caught a ‘big-un’ now and (maybe) again.

Best wishes and tight lines! — Steve Young

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