President’s Note

My favorite part of catching a fish like this is letting it go.”
– Jen Merchant

Some of you whose memory is better than mine (and you read the column!) may remember my ruminating on diligence and good fortune. That euphemism pertained to my purchase of a trout spey road and thrashing around on the Clinch River the first few attempts at fishing with that technique. To my good humor I can report that I fulfilled that rumination a couple of weeks ago fishing the Holston with a friend. While the Holston being wide and easily wadable at low or no flow may not be a “Spey Rod River” it was great for my continued pursuit of a decent cast with the equipment. I broke the ice with a couple of hookups with small rainbows that I got close to me but not to hand (another trick to learn with that long rod!). I was pretty happy with that success until…I did latch on to a nice brown (14” or so which is not large by brown trout standards but chunky and a good fighter) and got it to hand— YESSSSS! I found the release just as rewarding for some reason (ala the thought above); a strange feeling to someone who likes to eat fish. But I think it maybe comes back to sports, sportsmanship, and respect for an opponent. Having played sports through small-college the respect gained for an opponent after a hard-played contest is special. I will remember the feel of that stocky guy in my hand not so much for his size but as the culmination of a struggle with a new skill and a worthy reward. (PS the picture above is obviously not that fish—no camera for the Holston—but an equally rewarding 8-9 incher from Cosby Creek). 

I have included in this newsletter an announcement from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park concerning public hearings over proposed fee changes including a new parking fee that, if approved, will go into effect in 2023. While all other National Parks charge an entrance fee (and receive a significant portion of that fee to support that Park) the GSMNP cannot, by charter, do so. To gain necessary funds to support Park operations these fee changes are being proposed. I am certainly in favor—a $40 annual parking fee is a pretty small nick in my budget in exchange for maintaining that national treasure on our doorstep. 

There are lots of happenings upcoming for the Chapter that are listed below as well as other opportunities for fishing and service. They are all discussed in the Volunteer Opportunities section of our newsletter. Find something that you’d like to join!

Best Wishes For Tight Lines!

Steve Y

April 2022 Newsletter

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March Newsletter President’s Column – Spring is Coming?!


Three-fourths of the earth’s surface is water and one fourth is land.  It is quite clear the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn—Chuck Clark

This little adage came to me while I was looking over my suddenly greening yard during the warming trend of the first week of March.  The warming trend meant better fishing while the greening lawn meant necessary(?) yard work to prepare for the accelerated growing patterns of spring.  A dilemma!!  Well, the 3-to-1 ratio rationale won and I had a long-awaited tilt with the fish in lower Greenbrier.  My conscious was eased somewhat by me performing a check on my phenology plot behind the ranger house on lower Greenbrier on the way to fishing.  From my Facebook Friends feed I saw that others took advantage of the warmup to at least get outside (way to go Joyce and Ernie!) if not to fish.  Hopefully others of y’all were able to do the same.  All is somewhat moot as I write this with 3 inches of snow on the ground on that once-greening yard.  But because my daffodils have bloomed along with the Bradford Pears on the road to our house, I know that spring (and better fishing) will soon be here permanently.  

With the warmup comes opportunities to do things for others outdoors.  If you haven’t gathered by now, I have a thing about pushing opportunities for volunteering in the outdoors, whether in the Park, associated with TU, or some cause.  I find this volunteering for outdoor activities reviving, particularly now after a somewhat lengthy cold spell.  I have highlighted several opportunities below and Richard Barnes will be adding more.  I hope you can take some time, get out and be revived by one or more of these projects.  

Tight Lines!
Steve Young

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February Meeting



Ok—I think I have built up enough ‘Winter Wisdom’ (ala Oscar Wilde), I want to put it to use!!  But I checked the air temperature at the house this morning—in the mid-20s.  There is still snow on the mountains which means mostly cold melt water getting to the mountain streams. I also checked water temperatures this morning—Cataloochee in the mid-30s and Little River, high-30s. Even the eternal optimist Byron Begley, in his daily fishing blog the day of this writing, said that ‘don’t expect good fishing’.  Bah, humbug!  But, having said that there are folks out there doin’ good.  Charity posted a pic of recent rainbow she caught while out in the Park (would you expect anything less?) and I have a friend who is a newbie to fly fishing, but is hooked, mostly because of recent success on the Holston.  So, there are fishable places out there. I hope you have been able to find some!  

This month’s chapter meeting presenter is Britteny Whipple of Keep Blount Beautiful.  This is particularly timely because Keep Blount Beautiful, through the efforts of Britteny, has joined us in our Pistol Creek cleanup efforts.  She has been responsible for getting the word out to local media and other area conservation groups (we just got a plug from the Little River Watershed Alliance).  I look forward to hearing about the group she heads as well as working with Keep Blount Beautiful and other groups to expand our Pistol Creek Cleanup effort. And with time, maybe we can get some increased participation in our annual Little River cleanup in the Park.

Our Trout in the Classroom program continues to move forward.  The word is spreading of the success of TIC; we now have 4 schools on the waiting list.  We want to incorporate these schools but need volunteer help to make their wish a reality.  Contact Jim Jeswald if you are interested.

Tight Lines!

Steve Y 

Brittany Whipple, Executive Director of Keep Blount Beautiful

Brittany Whipple, Executive Director of Keep Blount Beautiful is going to talk about what Keep Blount Beautiful does and how they work with other non-profits to help keep Blount County clean and beautiful. Social hour starts at 6:00 pm, program starts at 7:00 pm.  See you there!


The Little River Watershed Association is joining forces with the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Keep Blount Beautiful for a cleanup of the Little River and its tributaries after the winter stocking season. Timings are Saturday, March 26th from 9am to 12pm. We will meet at the Blount County Courthouse at 9 am and will cleanup Pistol Creek around Bicentennial Park. Trash bags, gloves, pickers, safety vests, and a limited number of waders will be provided. Volunteers are encouraged to wear long pants and closed-toed shoes that can get wet. 

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January Meeting



With the New Year often come resolutions.  Some of us get ‘into it’ and write them down with intermediate goals and check boxes with plans to really do it.  Others stick things in the back of our mind that we would like to, and may even, get to (and sometimes even complete!!).  Whatever form of resolution person you are, I hope you add one or more of the volunteer activities in which the Little River Chapter is involved to your list of New Year’s commitments.  None of the projects originating in or coming thru LRCTU go anywhere without volunteer involvement; this means the Chapter, and these activities, need YOU!

One activity that sorely needs some extra help is our immensely successful Trout in the Classroom Program.  We are at 13 tanks and could add a couple more if we had the volunteer manpower.  We particularly need someone to step up and manage the program.  Things like ordering materials, checking on eggs availability, setting up release days and their associated activities are among the things that need a leader to get done.  None of it is rocket science, just requires some interest and energy.  If you would like to help, contact Jim Jeswald (

Another activity is our long running GSMNP Fisheries-related projects.  As I write this, ‘water sampling Saturday’ for January is coming up.  January is a pretty drab time of year; no leaves on the trees (excepting the Rhododendron and Evergreens!) mostly green-grey, brown-grey, and plain grey colors.  But still it is a way to get outdoors, take a hike, and help the group the Chapter was chartered to support.  Contact Richard Barnes (

The next 10-day forecast is not super positive for mountain fishing conditions; high temps in the 30s and 40s with lows in the 20s and teens—b-r-r-r ☹!!  Maybe time to dig out my trout spey rod and try some tailwaters.  How about you; do you have some cold weather alternative fishing spots?

Tight Lines!

– Steve Y

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