November / December Meeting




Persistence and Walter Babb, Year-End Chapter Activities

I was inspired after our zoom chapter meeting last spring with our guest presenter Tim Flagler; his talk was about trout spey fishing.  I remember comments like “easy on the shoulders” and “great for larger streams and rivers” among other things.  Some of his talk I forgot about—until later.  So, I shelled out the shekels for an 11’4” 4 weight trout spey rod along with the skagit heads and it has become my object of persistence.  After purchasing the ‘millstone’, other demands on my time kept me from trying out my new toy and I forgot some of the elements of the technique.  Hence, upon my first go,  I was a little disappointed; my casts were anything but graceful or effective—gr-r-r.  On the way home I was mulling over my failure when a thought came to me from a presentation Walter Babb gave to the chapter a number of years ago on the early days of his fly-fishing experience.  He would go out fishing, maybe have some luck among his mistakes, come back and read or reread some of the books he had gotten, and then go out and try again usually with some improvement (he didn’t know any local fly fisherman at the time and guides were very few and far between).  So, I tried the same thing; now of course books are at least partly replaced by the internet and Youtube.  I delved into spey rod instruction videos on YouTube and the internet, found a few ‘aha’ moments and went out and tried again (including how to correctly rig a skagit head which was pretty fundamental).   I repeated this cycle a couple of times with only marginal improvement; another thing came to me was that Tim Flagler said it took him a couple of years to get the hang of the casting motion (!!!) – yipes!  But inspired by Tim and Walter I tried again this past week.  And the day started out pretty the same, casts collapsing only a moderate distance out and no fish.  Then right at the end, something clicked and the line sailed out much farther than any before and landed as it should; a couple more casts of a similar result followed—EUREKA!!  The rain started falling pretty hard and I had to quit but was encouraged. Persistence had paid off; now if I could only catch a fish ….

Year-end and the holiday season are rapidly approaching.  Our chapter has a couple of few activities I hope you can put on your holiday calendar.  First is our online Auction.  Larry Davis and Bob Bishop have done an awesome job putting together this event.  At last count we have some 40 items for you to fill out your personal holiday wish list or that of someone else.  When you read this the Auction will have started.  Eighty Percent of the net proceeds will be going to the Fisheries Department of Great Smoky Mountain National Park, a cause we can all agree on, I think.   Then our year-end chapter meeting will be on Thursday, December 2nd.  It will be held at the Chilhowee Women’s Club building because the Bluetick Tavern space is already taken.  The highlight of the evening will be a display of all the items that are in the auction.  It is an opportunity for those attending to get a last look at the items and alter their bids before the Auction closes on December 5th.  Finally, the Pistol Creek Cleanup on December 4th; we are being joined by members of the Keep Blount Beautiful organization so there should be a good group there.  More information on all these activities will be forthcoming.

Hope to see you at one of these events.

Tight Lines!
 Steve Young

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October Meeting



Like many of us, I can’t wait for this fall in the Smokies.  This is partly because at the time of this writing I am trapped in dusty, brown California with my wife; she suffered a nasty fall and is recovering enough so we can get home. 

But who isn’t excited about the beautiful colors in our mountains, along with the fishing that improves with the scenery (and the catching usually gets better too!)?  For me, fall becomes a time for streamside reflections; either a floating leaf has trapped my fly one too many times, or I realize I can’t look up at the changing leaves and rock hop safely along a mountain stream at the same time!  I am more prone to pause and relish memories of past falls more than other seasons.  The blaze of colors reminds me that, despite old man winter (and ‘olderness’) being just around the corner, there is plenty of reason to keep actively living an outdoor life, particularly in the natural sanctuary we have at our doorstep.   Whatever season inspires you the most, I hope you take time, not only to let the water tell you where to cast a fly but revel in pleasant memories that setting can spawn.

LRCTU has plenty of activities this fall that can enliven your outdoor life.  We will be having a live meeting at the Bluetik Tavern, Thursday, October 28th, the Online Auction opens November 1st, the bimonthly water sampling program will be happening the third Saturday in November (the 20th), and the pre-stocking cleanup of Pistol Creek will be December 4th.  Also we are planning to have a live meeting in early December, time and topic TBD.

Tight Lines!
 Steve Y

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September Meeting


Light a campfire and everyone’s a storyteller – John Geddes


Camping Cataloochee, live indoor meetings on hold, and Little River Cleanup. Little River Chapter held our fall fish camp at the Cataloochee area of GSMNP this past weekend. It is our favorite place among many good places. And yes, the evening campfire was a stage where all were players and audience with many shared stories and laughs. Weather was sunny, forest beautiful, daytime temperatures mild, and nighttime temps cool to a little cold. If after reading this you are saying “I bet he didn’t catch many fish”—you’d be right. I won the fewest catch award while Ernie and Joyce did very well, and Dave and Larry good. Our near-professional and Trout Camp Alumni Will out did us all. I had the pleasure of watching some of his success while fishing with him and realizing that I, as Trout Camp Director, played a small role in starting him down this road that he is now traveling with great enthusiasm and commitment. Frankly, this weekend reminded me that getting out, sharing with fellow anglers, and fishing has many more rewards than just catching fish.

Indoor meetings continue to be frustrated. Our normal venue, the Blue Tick Tavern in Maryville has been having staffing problems, both with numbers and COVID infections. The former limited their menu offerings and the latter forced them to shut their doors for our planned August meeting and then forced us to cancel the September meeting because of uncertainty of whether they would be open, as well as uncertainty around the current COVID surge in Blount County. At last glance they appear to be open on a limited basis. We have been trying to find reasonably priced and easily accessed alternative venues without much success. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. We are hoping to hold a live meeting in October.

Our, at one time, annual cleanup of the Little River in the Park is back! It will be held Saturday, the 25th of September. Please come and join us if you are able. There is more in separate articles in the Newsletter. Also, the Pistol Creek Cleanup is in the future. We are working to coordinate with Keep Blount County Beautiful and agree on a date either in November or early December.

Tight Lines!
Steve Y

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August Meeting

President – Steve Young


We did it! Almost 40 members of 4 different TU chapters gathered together live at River John’s this past July to celebrate…getting together!! While there were a couple fly rod games out there on the lawn and a few tried their luck in the Little River (to pretty much no avail with the water as low as I have seen it in my 8 years of attending this event) most folks just stayed in the shade and reestablished old ties in person. This meeting marked a 2-year time interval since the last get together at River John’s.

A note on future meetings. We are planning to hold a live meeting on Thursday, August 26 at the Blue Tick Tavern in downtown Maryville. See more information on the meeting and program below. We are keeping an eye on the way the Delta variant is spreading; as I said a few months ago, flexibility is key. Many of us are getting out and also getting used to that irritating accoutrement in the COVID era, the mask. I am on the West Coast at this writing and at our location, businesses are remaining open but asking patrons to mask up. I am saying if you feel the need to wear a mask, go for it but still come and meet in person; we want to see you.

A new organization that is in the formation stages and I have been meeting with via zoom is the Blount County Watershed Alliance. The leaders of this group are bringing together over 25 organizations that have some interest in the conservation and improvement of watersheds in Blount County. This includes the Little River which in our wheelhouse. I am most interested in getting together with those who we could possibly partner to expand the cleanups at Pistol Creek in downtown Maryville and our Little River Cleanup in the Park. There are a lot of folks out there who are conservation minded and want to be involved; I think this group has the potential to bring them together.

Best Wishes and Tight Lines!

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