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 (jmjes711@gmail.com).

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 (canceleer1@gmail.com).

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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Don’t let the sun go down without saying thank you to someone, and without admitting to yourself that absolutely no one gets to this point on their own.—Stephen King


The end of 2021 nears—as with most I am irresistibly moved to look back over the year and find things to be thankful for. The picture above is something I am reminded of almost every day because I get this or similar views on the way to our house outside of Dandridge. We came here in part for the Nature Sanctuary that is the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the Southern Appalachians in general. When we first moved here nearly ten years ago, I hoped that I would never take this view or those like it for granted. I can say honestly and thankfully that I still am stirred each time a view like this pops up in front of me.

My other point of thanks is the group of folks that make the Little River Chapter go. I remember that 2021 started out as a continuation of the deeply frustrating 2020 with remoteness the key word. But I am gratified by all things we have been able to accomplish between then and now. Zoom meetings, while frustrating, did have good and informative programs, our Park water sampling and Brook Trout Restoration Programs continued, albeit on a reduced scale, we were able to have cleanups both on the Little River and Pistol Creek, we met ‘live’ for the first time in nearly 18 months with a well-attended picnic at River John’s, we had a campout at the Cataloochee in the fall, our newly-conceived online Auction was ‘birthed’ and was very successful, our TIC program was active again, and our newsletter continues to be a great communication tool for our ‘extended’ LRCTU family; there are more activities I am sure that have escaped me. My real point is that none of these activities could have happened without 1) someone to step up and get it organized, and 2) people to come out to help and enjoy the fellowship along with the positive ‘vibes’ that came from participating. Most of these activities have been led by the members of our Board of Directors; folks that I am deeply grateful who make the chapter move forward.

It is time to reaffirm that group of people. The time for the nomination and voting on the Chapter Board of Directors through the nomination and voting process is now. The nominations are in and are listed below; we have a couple of new members and an open slot that needs to be filled.

Steve Young–President
Bob Bishop–Vice President
Stan Starkey–Treasurer
Tristan Smith—Secretary
Kim Pouncey (new)—Program Coordinator
Jim Jeswald–TIC Coordinator
Larry Davis–Trips Coordinator, Online Auction Coordinator
Richard Barnes–Volunteer Coordinator, Membership Coordinator, Financial Reviewer
Joyce Frey—Newsletter Editor
Steve Darnell—Past President
Jimmy Jones—Board Member
Jim Jollay—Board Member
Gary Pickett (new)—Website Coordinator
?????—Board Member

This list will be brought forward to the members at the January meeting at the Bluetick Tavern. If you have additional nominees you wish to bring forward either notify me at steve_y@earthlink.net or at the meeting in January. Whatever your choice, please take the time to thank these people for their leadership and service over the past couple of years.

Hope to see you in January!
Tight Lines!

Steve Y

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Our pledge to the Adopt A Stream program includes we clean up the creek mile from US321 culverts to the ponds beside the Blount County Library twice a year. We have scheduled our second cleanup this coming Saturday, December 4 at 9:00 am. For this cleanup, we are being joined by members of the Keep Blount Beautiful organization.

We will be meeting at the old Blount County court house parking lot on Lamar Alexander Parkway across from the First Baptist Church at 9:00. Bring your waders if you have them, but not necessary. Do bring gloves. LRCTU and Keep Blount Beautiful organization will provide bags and grippers. We should be completed by noon.


Did you know that Christmas is only 4 weeks away?!!  

Our auction is great place to find some nice gifts for that favorite fisher person of yours.  There are quite a few items out there, from a boat, fly rods, fly tying material, and gift cards from our favorite fly shop.  

The auction will close on Sunday, December 5 at 8:00 pm.  Some items will be available for viewing at our next meeting at the Chilhowee Clubhouse on Thursday, December 2.  

Access the auction at https://lrctu.tulocalevents.org/auction(link)

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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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