September Meeting

STREAMS OF THOUGHT—NOTES FROM THE CHAPTER PRESIDENT

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

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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
steve_y@earthlink.net

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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!
Steve

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July Meeting

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

President –   Steve Young

steve_y@earthlink.net

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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

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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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