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Southern Trout Profile: Chota Outdoors Jimmy Jacobs: Remembering Charlie Elliott IN ASSOCIATION WITH SOUTHERNTROUT.COM

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Yep, it’s just that easy with Western North Carolina’s premier fly shop and guide service. Kevin Howell and his experienced staff have been fishing the surrounding 500 miles of prime trout waters so long, they know all the fish on first name basis. And they’ll be more than happy to make a few introductions.

Do e Creek


It’s tough to remember sometimes, but occasionally I do, and this time of year I think about Doe Creek. Unless you are my age or older, mention of Doe Creek means nothing to you, nor should it. It was the proverbial flash in the pan, a shooting star of sorts that burned brightly then sizzled out into virtual nothingness. At the risk of sounding like a hillbillified version of Jean Paul Sartre, I will tell about Doe Creek. Doe Creek is a smallish little creek that begins in Johnson County, Tennessee near Mountain City, the northeastern most settlement in that state. It was a roadside stream with most of its route along State 67. A marginal trout stream in those days, it was a “put-andtake” creek, meaning if you were there the day hatchery trout made its way along that winding two lane road, you caught fish. Otherwise, you just fished. No one then expected Doe Creek would, for a short time, become one of the most talked about streams in the US.

GUIDE SERVICES ONLINE & RETAIL STORE | LESSONS 2 | Southern Trout | December 2013 ||

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began work on impounding the Watauga River shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The reservoir was impounded in 1948, the hey day of TVA, and a time when fisheries management was in its infancy and in the hands of biologists like Price Wilkins and Don Pfitzer. In those days, everyone from the national park service to the states’ operated hatcheries where there were millions of trout, mostly rainbow, reared trout for stocking. Records from those days regarding where the fish came from for the hatcheries often were haphazard. From what I have gathered from the older timers I talked to about such things, apparently they were pretty loosie-goosy, and no one really gave a damn about the origins of the trout stocked, so long as they lived long enough to make to a frying pan. As soon as it was flooded, Price and Don stocked rainbow trout in newly created Watauga Lake. A deep mountain lake with multi-tier warm/cool/cold water habitat, Watauga Lake was relatively well suited to rainbow trout. Granted, most of the year, only a few fishermen plumbed the depths to catch the rainbow trout that were often at 60 to 80 feet deep. However, they were there. According to Price, the origins of at least part of the rainbow trout stocked in Watauga Lake were “somewhere in Washington state.” As if conjured up by a magician, seemingly out of local anglers dabbling about in Doe Creek, in December they began

catching rainbow as long as your arm. For reasons that are pretty much as unknown today as then, Doe Creek was the recipient of thousands of mature rainbow that hereto had been residents of the bowels of Watauga Lake. It didn’t take long for word to get out about Doe Creek where five pound plus rainbow trout could be caught about as fast as you could get a baited hook in the water. Of course the rainbow trout, (or perhaps they were steelhead, as no one really knew enough to define these trout in those days) were doing what salmonids do annually which is run upstream to spawn. No one knew why Doe Creek appealed to these fish while they virtually ignored Roane Creek that entered Watauga Lake only a few miles away. What was certain though was that throughout the 1950 and 1960, tens of thousands of big rainbow trout spawned in Doe Creek. In an era when the phrase “catch-and-release” had yet it enter the local lexicon, it was an invariable bonanza for taxidermists in the area. The old Tennessee Game and Fish Department responded as quickly as a fat, dumb bureaucracy can. Within a couple of years special restrictions were placed on Doe Creek. It was closed in the summer to protect the small offspring, and opened with reduced creel limits during the winter. The legendary run held its own for a long time before it began to wane in the late 1960s. By the early 1970s when my pals and I began fishing there, big upstream spawning | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 3

news rainbow were a bit few and far between. Nonetheless though, if you caught it right after a good rain that increased the flow, you had a decent chance of taking a big ‘bow. It was a one hundred mile drive from Morristown to the mouth of Doe Creek, a trip we made a number of times back in those days. Usually, it was Vic Stewart and me, but as often as not we were accompanied by Marc Sudhiemer, who in those days was the information/ education officer for the region four office of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. In those days we were all in our twenties and pissing vinegar. I recall on more than a few occasions, the edge of Doe Creek was lined in ice, and we had to break through to wade the creek. Incredibly, none of us had even hipwaders. In subfreezing temperatures, we wet-waded in blue jeans. Ice often formed along the bottom of our jeans, but oddly enough,

I do not recall suffering from the cold. We caught a few big trout from Doe Creek. There was a little diner of sorts there on the creek where we would grab a home-style burgers. I recall the burger was very good, and the waitress there—always the same young lady—was quite cute and fond of Sud. Now and again you hear about a few big ‘bows running up Doe Creek, but for the most part it is but an odd memory at the headwaters of Watauga Lake. Vic still lives in Morristown. I see him once in a blue moon. He is more into antique cars now than fly fishing for trout. Like a lot of us, Sud had a lot of bad habits. A few years back while Brock Ray and I were filming a deer hunt near Minot, North Dakota, word came to me that Sud had passed away. It was quite unexpected. He’s had bypass surgery the day before, and while all seemed well, the

next day he just cashed in. There’s a sprinkling of other southern trout oddies, like the salmon run on the Nantahala. Southern trout lore is full of surprises. - Don Kirk


FAMILY TRADITIONS. With its unbelievable natural beauty and amazing attractions, you won’t find a better place to create long-lasting family memories than Gatlinburg. Maybe that’s why so many families who discover Gatlinburg come back year after year.

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4 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 5

THIS ISSUE Doe Creek departments


110 Company Profile: Chota


Generally Speaking Pillow Fish Mountain Musings Of Fly Rods I have Known







Is He the Artist Who Guides, or the Guide Who Paints? The Midge’s Last Call


Five Winter Nymphs You Should Never Leave Home Without



Georgia Mountain Magic



Spring River


Solitude of Blue Spring Creek



Get Real! Lake Country Replicas

Fly of the Month Olive Juicy Legged Woolybugger



North Carolina Delayed Harvest

Featured Fly Shop River’s Edge Fly Shop



Dreaming of a Rainbow Christmas

Featured Lodge Nantahala River Lodge



Three River Tournament Puts a “Trout Twist” on Competitive Fly Fishing

Featured Fly Tyer Rex Wilson


Featured Inn Duck Down Inn


Featured Rod Builder The Rod Wizard of Raven Fork


Wanderings of the Creek Freak Concert Seats and Trout Streams are Not Always What They Seem


New Fly Guy Basic Gear


The Black Wing Olive Chronicles I’ll Pass on Christmas Gear Review Sage METHOD 590-4


Fishhunters Adventures in Cuisine Introduction to Cooking Book Review 50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish Guide Profile Walker Parrott





136 166-170

On the Cover


Field Staff

Beau Beasley, Editor-At-Large Bob Borgwat, Columnist Craig Haney, Alabama Editor Jimmy Jacobs, Georgia Editor Larry Rea, Arkansas Editor Greg Ward, Tennessee Editor

Southern Trout Publisher Don Kirk

Managing Editor & Advertising Leah Kirk Social Media Manager Loryn Kirk Communications Adam Kirk Creative Director Leslie Kirk Web Assistant Megan Allbert Southern Trout is a publication of Southern Unlimited, LLC. Copyright 2013 Southern Unlimited, LLC. All rights reserved.

RiseSeries#2 Artwork By A.D. Maddox 6 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

Contributors Bill Bernhardt John Berry Soc Clay Bill Cooper Dave Ezell Ron Gaddy George Grant Matt Green Kevin Howell Roger Lowe

Steve Moore Marc Payne Bob Shanks Jason Sparks Scott Spencer Benjamin VanDevender | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 7

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generally speaking


ome folks put their best fish on the wall. Others, wanting to make clear the relationship of the fish to themselves, photograph their slippery moment of triumph and slide it into a frame. I keep my best fish under my pillow. On nights when the kinks in my back aren’t going away fast enough, or the tough part of the day won’t leave my thoughts, I take them out and admire them.

generally speaking the surface. I expected to fish out the cast and try again, but the fish decided my fly looked just right. As I tightened up to set the hook, I felt a profound resistance and saw the fish’s flank flash underwater. It looked as long as my arm. I panicked and brought the rod straight up, frantically trying to take out all the slack and hold on to this monster. The fish undoubtedly had more experience with fisherman than I had with big fish. He didn’t panic. He simply shook his head three times. On the third shake, the 3x

later on South Holston tailwater, and the sulphurs were coming back to the water. I was upstream of where he rose behind a sheltering rock that complicated the currents along the edge of an otherwise smooth glide. After countless attempts to get a good drift over him with a spinner pattern, I decided to switch to a streamer and see if I could provoke instead of seduce him. The first cast didn’t put him down. I edged the streamer closer to him on the next two, intruding deeper into his private

leap in two low arcs across the glide. Each time he landed in the water, it sounded like someone had thrown a refrigerator in the river. He was the biggest rainbow I’ve ever hooked. On the second leap he came down on the leader before I could give up any slack. The line and my knees went limp. He went free. Those are my best fish. They don’t collect dust on the wall or fade in the afternoon sunlight. I keep them unmeasured, unweighed, under my pillow where they can be put to good use.

Pillow Fish

That’s right, them. I’ve got two best fish. If your best fish were never landed, if they were only hooked long enough to manifest their presence and power and never brought anywhere near a tape measure or a scale, you have to declare a tie for first place. You also have the advantage of not being tied to a specific length or weight in a discussion of best fish. I caught my first best fish two decades ago on Beaverdam Creek in the dusk of a June evening. The Green Drakes came off, and during the day I had good luck with a large dry fly. When the sun dropped below the mountain and the ghostly white spinners began returning to the water, I changed to a Coffin Fly and positioned myself at the tailout of a large ledge pool. Once the females were on the water, fish began rising, and I caught several nice but unremarkable Browns. After a while, I noticed a large riseform near the sheer rock face that formed the far edge of the pool. The currents were difficult, but I made several drag-free presentations without results. Finally, a botched cast resulted in drag almost as soon as the fly touched the water. My imitation made a wake just like the clumsy, egg-laying females stuttering on


leader broke at the blood knot that joined the tippet. At the time, I was stunned and disappointed. After much sober (and some not-so-sober) reflection, the disappointment has gone away. Now there’s only pleasure when I pull him out from under the pillow late at night. The fish that’s tied with him was also hooked during a spinner fall. This was a few years

10 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

space each time. On the fourth cast the streamer swam just past his nose. As it cleared the slack water and began to swing across the current, a bowwave of water surged from behind the rock. He slammed the Black Ghost with a predator’s murderous strength. I held on to this one long enough to see him

Copyright George Grant 2013 | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 11

12 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 13

mountain musings

mountain musings rods snugly. I suspect they might have been Leonard’s, because looking back I remember they were heavy. The original Leonard was fashioned from Calcutta cane, a much heavier fiber than Tonkin cane makers fashion their work with today. The eight footer was the rod I would learn the fundamentals of fly casting with. Pretty fancy stuff don’t you reckon for a youngster fortunate to have a pair of shoes to wear when winter came.



rowing up on a starvation hillside farm in eastern Kentucky during the after years of the Great Depression and then surviving severe shortage years of World War II, the only fishing equipment a kid my age (about 10) managed to get was a hickory limb, a piece of my mother’s sewing thread, and a straight pin which I bent to the somewhat shape of a hook. Old boards lying on the ground around the barn supplied the bait: big, plump angle worms that some call red worms. I never heard of a “fly rod,” though I did know a man named Peg Oliver who owned a bait casting reel and a steel rod. He was called “Peg” because he lost one of his legs in a ho-boing accident when he fell between freight cars, and the wheel of the car ran over his leg. His new leg, a wooden peg he whittled out of piece of white oak and fitted to his stump with all sorts of string, wires and the like. He was a cat fisherman, a good one, and the fish he caught he traded to a black man in a nearby town for White Port wine.

It was not until Watt Watson Walker took a liking to me that I would be introduced to the likes of a fly rod. I’ve written before about WW. Folks said he had struck it rich in the gold fields of Alaska during the last big Gold Rush of 1900. I know he never held a job at public works and other than helping my dad out some on our farm, I never knew of anything the old timer did except enjoy himself! He owned two rat terriers that he kept in his small cabin and two bird dogs he housed in the little barn where he also kept a 1936 Ford coup with a rumble seat and a fine gaited gelding he used for riding. It was easy to see the old man owned about everything a youngster with nothing would forever dream of. Did I tell you he also owned two beautiful fly rods: an eight and nine footer he kept stored inside velvet lined, and hand-carved wooden rod cases that were made to fit the

14 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

WW was old then and had developed patience beyond belief. He figured I had some possibilities of becoming a fly rodder if I practiced enough. As it turned out, I would fish with WW and his “canes” until 1954, when I went to the cabin for breakfast and discovered he’d passed away peacefully during his sleep. His dogs were still asleep under the down-filled blanket. I have always wondered what WW’s last dream was about. I only knew him when he was old, but perhaps the dream could have been about waving his magic wand over salmon in the streams of Alaska where he prospected for several years. Perhaps it was a memory of his days in the Big Horns of Wyoming, where he worked as a camp cook. “My helpers and I would search out a small quiet pool and

used a 100 foot seiner to catch as many as 100 cutthroats to help feed the timber gang. My, my how they could eat! I don’t know if fishing was in his dreams. He might have dreamed of quail hunting behind his setters, his old Parker side by side nestled comfortably in the crook of his arm. Maybe there was a woman… I didn’t know he had any family, but his sister lived in Washington State and when learning WW had passed, she showed up, gutted the place, sold the cabin and took his rods, his Parker double and left the dogs for me to care for. That reminds me I never got anything free, except a four-weight Hardy Brothers cane that Cortland Co had made for their 444 Pro Shop that never quite made it. Dick Jennings, their blessed old public relations director slipped the first rod and reel to me as soon as it came to their New York factory. Swearing me to secrecy, I never told anyone about the rod until Dick passed away. I have never fished it to this day! When I was 19, I got a job in a steel mill in New Boston, Ohio, not a far place from our farm. A check or two from there sent me Hubbling’s Sporting Goods in Portsmouth, Ohio who handled quality, pre-Japanese | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 15

mountain musings

mountain musings concrete ledge and proceeded to beat them to death with a club, all the while raving about Mother Russia, while a Finnish angler nearby looked on with distain and discuss! My friend at Loomis had loaned me a 16-foot spay rod to see if I could manage a cast on this super clear river where the old Orthodox monks use to set traps to catch salmon for the tsars of Russia. I was able to fish the beautiful rapids in the river that lay just upstream from the meeting of the Keema with Baltic Sea. What a place, resting a while on the front steps of Tsar Nicholas’ (the last tsar of Russia) summer palace.

fishing tackle and fine guns. He had two very fine canes, but the price was too much for me at the time. Instead I laid down $40 and took home a Montague Flash, a threepiece Tonkin rod of less quality. I wore the rod out on smallmouth and panfish in nearby streams and some big largemouth that were plentiful in a neighbor’s farm pond. I learned early on about catch and release, mostly because it was the handiest thing to do and my neighbor had cautioned me about not taking his bass. That was tough on a 19-yearold because I caught several in the fivepound class on a ugly little stick lure with a sprig of hackle tied to the single back hook on the back. I couldn’t even brag about them let along cutting their heads off, spaying their gill plates on a board and varnishing what was left of the head!

custom-made cane as a gift from my cousin, Tim Clay, a southern Ohio adventurer, who purchased it at a farm sale It is old. No name but custom fitted. The cloth case that came with it has rotted away. I took the old rod and carefully cleaned it. The guide wrapping was mostly gone. I was waxing the male ferrule when I noticed to my dismay, the rod was cracked midway of the tip piece. It hangs in my fishing room in the barn. I really would have liked to have cast the old masterpiece, but, alas…

Since those lean years, I’ve owned a ton of rods of various qualities. One cane came from Montgomery Wards. I still have it. Others came from second-hand shops estate auctions and friends who simply didn’t know how to fish them. I just received a

In two days of fishing (all the time I had) I didn’t catch one, but some Russians fishing near the foot of a hydro dam caught three or four on live bait in the 15 pound class. Drinking straight vodka from leader-size bottles, they pulled the beautiful fish upon a

A few years back, I headed for the Keema River in southeastern Finland where I was determined to catch a Keema River Atlantic salmon. Only weeks before, the fish and game biologist had trapper a monster weighing in at an unbelievable 106 pounds!

16 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

Interestingly, the palace contained only four luxurious rooms, one of them a bedroom that made up the entire top floor. Defense of his family was of foremost importance, and he wanted to sleep where his children were (including Anastasia). The last rod I have added to my collection may be about as fine a caster as any I have fished. Made in the USA, St Croix’s Imperial/1864.4 is a four-piece, 8-6 four-weight with incredible smooth action that handles my complete Appalachian fly assortment. Right now, I am testing it with a Joe’s Hopper with incredible success for both warm and cold water fish. Lord, what a rod, and its all American rod craftsmen made. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 17

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the black wing olive chronicles

I’ll Pass on Christmas

the black wing olive chronicles Olive K. Nynne


fishing tackle, my best guess is that he is quite particular about such things, and he is somewhat concerned about Momma Girl suffering from sticker shock if she actually priced the stuff he sneaks into the garage.

Christmas around here is not nearly as much fun as it was ten years ago when Adam and Loryn were little, and toys were scattered about like monkey droppings. Now they are in, what I calculate to be, full-grown bodies. The two of them casually inspect their booty and retire from that room with the lighted tree with little or no fanfair. Momma Girl’s habits have not changed much, though. She still gathers up the wrapping paper as though she were a dutiful house servant. She loves Christmas which leads me to believe that as long as she commands the collective, our hive will always celebrate that day.

There was a time when I actually looked forward to Christmas with considerable anticipation. I am not a picky eater. The aroma of turkey, pies, and such being cooked almost drives me crazy. For better or worse, I am blessed with a rather pronounced snout that is honeycombed with highly efficient olfactory receptors that can be quite overwhelming when the pack is cooking Yule Time treats. Frankly, for a number of years, I reaped a smorgasbord of scraps, both slipped to me on the sly and outright. It was a banquet highlighted by ham fat, turkey leftovers, and a smattering of other wholly unhealthy foods for a dog. Five years ago, my Yule Time gravy train jumped the tracks when I upchucked the entire contents of stomach on the floor of the Daddy Boy’s coveted game room.

ule Time is a much anticipated occurrence among many living on terra Madre, especially to those bipods living largely in Europe and the New World. I am perfectly content with Christmas and its festivities being a largely a human thing, and I even find it amusing when one of them wraps me up a chew toy or some other object that was supposedly created to amuse us canines.

Daddy Boy is about as stoic about Christmas as one can be and still be aware it is celebrated. As long as I can recall, his holiday requests have been pretty much the same. The list of acceptable gifts has notes that include, “Only brown whisky that is 80 proof and from either Kentucky or Tennessee,” and “No cheap ass cigars made in Tampa Florida.” The list of things never to give Daddy Boy for Christmas are not written down, but it is common knowledge that includes all manner of shirts, ties, pa jamas, and house coats as well as, curiously enough, fishing tackle. It’s not that Daddy Boy is especially particular about his attire, but he just likes the clothes he wears every day and does not want to have to make choices when it comes to getting dressed. Regarding

Mind you, I had every intension of returning to re-ingest the vittles, but as is her custom, Mommy Girl sped forth to clean up the mess. I am not sure if Daddy Boy really gave a damn, as his only response was to tell his subjects that someone needed to take care of the damned dog. Boy, on the other hand, took the entire incident as some sort of divine revelation. Then, Christmas feast scraps and goodies formerly passed along to me in considerable abundance disappeared altogether. I presume some gnome cursed the left overs, because all I hear is “Poor Olive, no fatty scraps for you any more.” As if loosing my yummy loot at Christmas was not bad enough, the holidays are made peaceful according to Mommy Girl by

20 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

describe his smokes as “cheap,” I am referring to the aroma permeating him that reminds decent people of the aromatic arrival of a New Orleans pimp. To her credit, Mommy Girl has managed to confine his smoking to exterior areas of the compound. Uncharacteristically, too, Daddy Boy has be compliant with this rule. Despite long held observations on my part to the contrary, it would appear that even he has the presence of mind to sense the meaning of a line drawn in the sand. Since the last couple of Christmases as soon as the wrapping paper is cleared from the room with that tree in it, Daddy Boy retires to the back patio where he stokes up his prize possession, a Big Green Egg. Alternating a drink in one hand and a smoke in another, Daddy Boy piles animal flesh inside the egg. For the five hours he sits on the patio, staring blankly at the cooker, he continuously alternates between sipping and puffing.

making a temporary, however substantial, increase in Daddy Boy’s daily whiskey ration. Daddy Boy also regards the Holidays as an excuse to significantly increase his consumption of cheap cigars. When I refer to them as cheap cigars, this in no way implies that Daddy Boy partakes of inexpensive smoke sticks. Perish the thought. He has no problem in justifying his spending of money on his unhealthy habit. When I

Mommy Girl and Girl come out into the haze to ply him with holiday cookies and fresh drinks, save he reenter the compound where peace abounds. Me? Well, I must be content with Daddy Boy talking to himself when we are out there alone. I think I will upchuck again if I hear one more story about how fast he was in the old days. Merry Christmas—bow wow. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 21

Just a 3-hour drive from Atlanta! Destinations

include high elevation mountain streams, scenic tailwaters, and intense summer-time smallmouth bass trips. We take several backcountry trips a year to the remote and scenic Hazel Creek in GSMNP, which is an experience every Southern fly fisher should try at least once. Brookings’ also hosts some incredible destination trips to places like Argentina’s Patagonia, Belize and Montana. We are simply eaten up with fishing and will go anywhere to find the best for our clients.

Brooking’s is licensed to guide in Nantahala and Pigsah National Forests, Panthertown Valley, as well as Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

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Guides for first-time to experienced anglers and everyone in between.

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gear review


or 2014, Sage Manufacturing’s new METHOD series of rods brings ultra fast to a river near you. With the Sage ONE, its fast action premium rod introduced for 2013, you would think Sage would be happy with the success it has had. Not so with Chief Rod Designer Jerry Siem and Marketing Manager Eric Geweiss. “We’ve taken seriously smooth, ultra-fast action performance rods to a new place entirely. Our newest high performance rods will make any cast better and will help experienced casters notch exceptional casts with regularity,” says Siem. “Overall, the fast action ONE rod is still and will continue to be our flagship series for a wider range of anglers,” notes Geweiss,“ but the METHOD series makes it possible to take casting abilities to a whole new level.” First Impressions I happened to be home when the rod was delivered, and, of course, I was like a kid at Christmas when I opened the package. The Fusion Red powder coated aluminum rod tube with silver medallion and gloss black end caps was certainly striking. Taking the METHOD rod from the black rod bag, I was struck by the magma red colored rod shaft with rust colored thread wraps and pewter trim wraps for the guides in the mid-day sun. The black reel seat components and cocobolo inserts nicely complemented the rod. The snub nose half-wells grip was very comfortable, and for me, it was preferable to the western or half wells grip. Quickly putting a five weight reel and line on the rod, I was immediately impressed by how light the rod felt in my hand. I looked down at the lettering on the small diameter blank to make sure that it was a 5 weight not a 3 weight. I prefer rods that are medium fast to fast action, and it took a few casts to adjust my casting stroke to really appreciate the METHOD with its ultra fast action. It tracked straight and accurately both near and far and was very smooth.

Sage METHOD 590-4

gear review Craig Haney

On the Water The rod arrived a few days before I was leaving for Bozeman, MT for six days fishing with a good friend who had moved there several years earlier. Once in Bozeman, we headed to the Madison for a float trip with our buddy Sam. However, once we were on the water, the sunny day soon turned to dark clouds and then rain along with wind gusting up to 20-25 miles an hour. Before the weather went crazy, the rod was doing a great job of placing Butt Monkeys, Space Invaders and other bulky flies where they needed to be. I had decided to use a RIO Perception 6 weight line on the rod for my streamer fishing, and I was very pleased with the combination. At Gates of the Mountains, we fished a Wooly Bugger-nymph rig from Water Master rafts for large cutthroats. My three friends were using seven weight outfits while I continued with the five weight METHOD rod rigged with the RIO Perception 6 weight line. The rod was light, strong and accurate handling the double fly rig and did a great job of handling a 23 inch cutthroat as well as smaller ones that day. On the Gallatin, the water color was good and again I chose to fish streamers while Billy fished a hopper –dropper rig. The fishing was great, but the catching was lousy. Again the METHOD performed well although the fish didn’t. Using “Big Red” as the rod was now called, I caught a number of cutthroats to eighteen inches on the Lamar using hopper patterns. The fish were holding tight to the bank, and again, the rod performed great in the wind.

24 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

Conclusions Konnetic™ Technology, developed by Sage, uses new materials combined with innovative manufacturing methods and incorporates an optimized ratio of Sage’s proprietary resin to exclusive high modulus carbon graphite. Ok, I flunked chemistry in college so I’m really not sure what that last sentence means, but I do know the METHOD 590-4 delivers tight loops and accurate casts under demanding conditions. The

rod allowed me to fish adverse conditions and catch fish I probably would not have reached with the main rod I had planned to use on my trip. The ultra fast action may not be for everyone, but you can overline it one size as I did or use a RIO Grand line to tailor it better to your casting style. With the new Method rod series, Sage has achieved their goal of taking high performance fly rods to a new level. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 25

Capture Those Special Memories Make A Statement About Your Passion “It is written with insight and authenticity, and gentleness. Buck and Wart is not merely in a historical setting, but it reads like a book that was written at the time and you just found its crisp, yellow pages under a layer of dust and Christmas ornaments. Some fiction is not worth your time. Some is. Buck and Wart is, and it is as satisfying as a visit from an old friend.” - The New Pioneer “The reader quickly becomes part of the nostalgic world of these two interesting characters and the cast of characters they associate with in their adventures. Buck & Wart – Backcountry Letters is one of those little fun-to-read E-books that you will want to keep in your Kindle by your easy chair for when you want to escape to a more simple time in life.” -Southern Trout To purchase the e-book go here: For more information on the authors go to: and

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fishhunter adventures in cuisine


fishhunter adventures in cuisine

know what you are thinking, “Why is there a cooking column and who are you to write it?” The first part is easy. Don Kirk, editor, publisher and curmudgeon- at-large of Southern Trout asked me to write the column. With technology that is available today, Don has done extensive research on the readers of Southern Trout and found that 100% of them eat either before, during, or after a fishing trip. Narrowing his research even more, he found that fisherman often cook for themselves whether they are backpacking, car camping, or back at the cabin. With research in hand, Don decided a cooking column would be informative, interesting and fun (?) to include in the magazine.

I guess I have not done too badly at being designated cook over the years, since none of my buddies want to take over the job on our trips, and there are rarely leftovers. The goal for “Fishunters’ Cooking Adventures” is to offer some great recipes and cooking techniques to use at camp or cabin. Additionally, I’ll be reviewing anything cooking or gear related to the column which would be of benefit to the reader. I welcome your comments, both good and bad as well as your suggestions or questions. E-mail me at I promise to take your e-mails kindly, and if you are critical of my efforts, I probably will hold a grudge against you.

So what are my qualifications, you ask? Fair enough. I have loved fishing, hunting, and camping since my early teens. Early on, I was fascinated with cooking over an open fire or a camp stove, and I started trying to learn to cook whether I was camping with my dad or at home bugging my mother to teach me. I listened eagerly and attentively, and with their coaching, I tried to put into practice what I learned from them. Once my buddies and I got our driver’s licenses, camping on fishing trips became part of our game plan. Since Bruce, Andy and Al could not spell “frying pan” and I could, I became the official camp cook, and I still am. Over the years, I have learned from many others the ins and outs of cooking for camp and cabin.

Introduction to Cooking Craig Haney

28 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

Just as I have collected fly patterns and a myriad of outdoor gear, I have collected recipes, cooking gear, and cooking techniques. I am always trying to learn more about cooking for camp and cabin and how to be a better cook. Not that it matters, I have two cooking degrees, one from the School of Learn As You Go and one from the School of Oops, I Really Screwed That Dish Up! The degrees have served me well. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 29


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30 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 31

book review


erry and Wendy Gunn’s new book, 50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish, led me to one of those slap-my-forehead moments we all encounter in the sport. It happens when you look at the product closely, slap your forehead, and holler loudly, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Some examples might be the bobbin threader or maybe the zinger or the upsidedown floatant holder. The Gunns own and operate Lees Ferry Anglers on the Colorado River in Northern Arizona, smack in the shadow of Glen Canyon Dam and just upstream from the Grand Canyon. Theirs is a premier 365-daya-year tailwater: a productive stretch made fishable by the dam itself releasing delicious, cold water all day every day.

book review their own living rooms–and asked for input. The results are amazing. Here are some brief excerpts: Chattahoochee River by Chris Scalley, River Through Atlanta Guide Service “ … The Chattahoochee River forms the southern half of the Alabama-Georgia border as well as a portion of the Florida border. It is a tributary of the Apalachicola River, a relatively short river formed by the confluence of the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers and emptying from Florida into Apalachicola Bay in the Gulf of Mexico …”

“A Slap My Forehead Moment” Probably the best, clearest and succinct explanation of a tailwater comes from Lefty Kreh in his foreword to the book, “Tailwaters are the salvation of fly fishing for trout. These are the streams or rivers exiting from dams with the flow dependent on the amount of water released. They furnish a constant supply of clear, cold water necessary for trout and their food.” “Why not,” they thought, “do a book on ALL the tailwaters: how to get to ‘em, how to fish ‘em and everything people need to know?” The chore was both daunting and impractical. They realized it would take years to fish every stream and even more seasons to learn every hatch and every saloon along the way. (Here comes the slap-my-forehead moment.) Instead of laboring over every single tail water themselves, they researched tailwater locations and contacted guides and shop owners throughout North America–people who knew the water as well as they knew

Taneycomo River by Carolyn Parker, River Run Outfitters “ … The lake flows along the banks of Branson, Missouri, which is in the southern part of the state. It is a 3-1/2 hour drive from either Kansas City or St. Louis. Good highway access from both cities and flights directly into Branson, or Springfield, about a 45 minute drive. Lake Taneycomo is a 22-mile impounded section of the White River. It was formed in 1913 by the construction of Powersite Dam on the lower end …” Besides the aforementioned Chattahoochee and Taneycomo, there are chapters on the Clinch, South Holston, Norfork, Little Red, Hiwassee and Cumberland rivers; each containing photos, wading and boating access points, maps, hatches, accommodations, guide services and fly shops, closest medical emergency services, campgrounds, restaurants, and closest and best places to get an after-fishing beer.

32 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

50 Best Tailwaters is actually 56. “We couldn’t decide which ones to eliminate,” said Terry.

50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish is priced at $34.95 and available from flyfishing shops, book dealers, or directly from the publisher, Stonefly Press at stoneflypress. com | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 33

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—KirK Deeter , editor of TROUT magazine,

“Wendy and Terry Gunn have identified the best tailwaters in North America and distilled each fishery into a succinct and helpful guide with no fluff—just good solid info. The maps of each river are alone worth the price of admission.”

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“Nobody, but nobody, is more dialed in on the nuances of tailwater fishing than are Terry and Wendy Gunn. And nobody is more connected to others who understand the best places and methods involved in effective tailwater fishing…. If you want to play big-league ball and catch large trout, this book will be key. It’s the most comprehensive ‘where-to’ with some ‘how-to’ I’ve ever seen.”

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guide profile

I have been fishing my entire short life!” Walker Parrott of Davidson River Outfitters told Southern Trout Magazine. “I have had a few family members that guided on the South Carolina coast. After College in Brevard, NC, I turned to fishing as a profession.” Parrott is a professional guide who makes a living from sharing his talents, love of nature and love of fly fishing with anyone who is interested. Offering both wading and floating trips, Parrott aims to provide a professional, friendly, educational, and safe experience and to aid in the catching of as many fish as possible with all equipment provided. “I offer wading trips on a few different rivers,” Parrott says, “Davidson, East Fork, West Fork, Looking Glass, Avery Creek, Courthouse, W.F. Pigeon, Tuckaseegee, Bradley, S. Mills, Graveyard Fields, and North Fork of the French Broad. I also offer floating trips on the French Broad, from Rosman to Tennessee, Tuckaseegee, Watauga, South Holston, and Pigeon.” Parrott’s most popular repeat trips also include trips wading trips on Davidson Private Waters. On a full-day trip out to one of these destinations, Parrott provides his clients with 36 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

Walker Parrott - Davidson River Outfitters transportation in a full-sized truck, and he stays well stocked with drinks and snacks for the outing. With notice he will also provide a lunch for his clients, and by request, he will offer instruction to anyone who is willing to learn. When asked about the expectations of his clients, Parrott told Southern Trout Magazine, “First, I expect my customers to relax, enjoy the time away from the normal stresses of work and other worries of life. Second, I expect them to not worry about a bad cast, mending and waiting on your back cast will fix every angler. Lastly, the beer hidden, at the bottom of the cooler is mine.” As a very experienced guide, Parrott has also witnessed the changes and trends that have developed in guided fishing trips. “The sport has changed a bit,” he explains, “It is

more user friendly. People want to get out of the city. Because there is more online press, better photography, and social media, it makes accessibility to and enthusiasm for the sport pretty darn good.” “I have been around a few years,” Parrott says, “and I am a full-time guide. I want my customers to know that a trip with me includes relaxation and a chance to enjoy the day. Whatever anglers want to do is usually fine with me. Dries, nymphs, streamers…whatever they want to fish is okay, because after all, it is their trip!” Parrot is also available to take clients and customers to the Bahamas every spring, and he has done so for the past 7 years, catching Bonefish, Cudas, Mutton Snappers, with shots at Permit and Tarpon. He also guides the Watauga in TN. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 37

Float Wade Trek

Experience Exposure Executon Engagement Georgia-North Carolina-Tennessee Guided fly-fishing and conventional fishing for bass, trout, stripers, panfish and more across the waters of the southern Appalachian Mountains Toll Free: 866-899-5259 38 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 39

fly of the month

Olive Juicy Legged Woolybugger Roger Lowe

40 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 41

fly of the month


oolybugger are some of the most popular and well-known patterns around, but sometimes these are the least fished patterns. Woolybugger patterns are tied in various styles and colors and combinations. In fact, it is fair to say that of the varieties of the Woolybugger, with its twists and turns, its variations are pretty much endless. In southern trout waters, most of the time, Woolbuggers are tied weighted and fished in the deeper pools. Such Woolbuggers usually are dead drifted in the current and most commonly cast downstream then stripped back up. While it is a matter of debate, in my opinion, the Woolybugger fly imitates small sculpins, minnows, and various bait fish that live on the bottom of the streams and rivers. l like to tie my Woolbuggers in larger sizes such as #6 to #8, although sometimes these flies tied on a #10 hook works great on small streams. While the Woolybugger is a year round producer that is the “go to” fly for many southern fly fishermen, I really like casting them during the cold weather months. Winter snows and rains typically bring larger stream flow levels to freestone streams. More water and stronger currents mean you have to use fly patterns that allow you to plumb the depths. When sufficiently weighted, Woolybuggers get down deep where the bigger fish are lying. They are sometimes a bit sluggish, but the presentation of a big meal is your best bet to get one of the big fellows excited enough to strike. I developed the Olive Juicy Legged Woolybugger for the Tuckasegee and Nantahala Rivers to imitate sculpins found there. Add this pattern to your wintertime box of flies, and you will catch bigger fish. Remember, when you are fishing these larger flies, they require a heavier line weight rod such as a 5 to 7 weight. While I love a delicate 3 to 4 weight as much as anyone, you need a bit more rod when casting weighted Woolybuggers. A 5 to 7 weight fly rod makes it easier to cast these

hefty flies and lets you set the hook a little harder. Also, when fishing this setup, use at least 4x or maybe even 3x leaders. These will not only allow you to more efficiently cast these heavier flies, they also give you a better chance at landing a better fish without breaking off. If you enjoy matching the hatch for some great fly fishing, you need my book. Roger Lowe’s Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains is a fly tying and identification guide. I also have a tying video, Smoky Mountain Fly Patterns that shows how to tie a lot of the Smoky Mountain Patterns. My hatch book, Smoky Mountain Fly Patterns, is a guide book, so you can decide which patterns to use each month.

Just a 3-hour drive from Atlanta!

Recipe Hook: 9674 Mustad Flash: Rainbow Flashabou Hackle: Grizzley dyed olive Weight: Optional; can be lead wire wrap or bead or cone head Body: Olive Estaz Legs: Olive Juicy Legs

42 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

Guides for first-time to experienced anglers -and everyone in between.

Destinations include high elevation mountain streams,

scenic tailwaters, private water for trophy trout, and intense summer-time smallmouth bass trips. We take several backcountry trips a year to the remote and scenic Hazel Creek in GSMNP, which is an experience every Southern fly fisher should try at least once. Brookings’ also hosts some incredible destination trips to places like Patagonia (Argentina), Belize and Montana. We are simply eaten up with fishing and will go anywhere to find the best for our clients. Lodging | Fly Fishing Guide Trips | Angling Equipment Cigars | Apparel | Books | DVDs 828-743-3768 |

Brooking’s is licensed to guide in Nantahala and Pigsah National Forests, Panthertown Valley, as well as Great Smoky Mountain National Park. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 43


20 acres 2 stocked ponds Trout creek with waterfalls Historic Stone Lodge Fully Renovated 6 bedrooms, 5.5 baths Game Room Pool Table Many fireplaces Railroad History Elevator 1000 sq. ft. decks 40 min. from Asheville 15 min. from Black Mountain




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44 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 45

featured fly shop River’s Edge Fly Shop


oe Street and Steve Mingle, coowners of the River’s Edge Fly Shops in Cherokee and Spruce Pine North Carolina, have been in business together for seven years running an exceptional shop in the heart of fly-fishing country. The radically increasing number of fly fishermen and the interest in the sport of fly fishing demands a high quality, customer driven shop and River’s Edge Fly Shop is just what the fly-fishing community demands. “The driving forces behind both shops are the owners and manager of the shops,” coowner Joe Street says, “The co-owners are both committed to expanding and growing the fly fishing industry. Shop managers Curtis Frisbee and Cade Buchanan are customer service driven and focus on operating quality shops.” “Fly fishing interest,” Street says, “is very good in both locations. Full service shops are very important to both areas. Our Cherokee shop is located in Cherokee which is on the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With over nine million visitors a year, there is a strong need for a full service shop. Our Spruce Pine shop is located in the high country of Western NC

featured fly shop Cherokee and Spruce Pine, North Carolina

between Boone and Asheville, and has some of the best trout fishing in the Carolinas.” Along with the most experienced fly fishermen, there are a fair amount of novice fly fishermen as well. During the summer months, there are hundreds who visit, and for those novice fishermen, the shop offers great accommodations. “We offer beginner to advanced flyfishing instruction, tying classes, casting instruction, and all of the advice anyone could need.” Not only is their mission to provide quality service, but they also aim to provide quality products by carrying some of the most well-known names in the fly fishing industry including SIMMS, Orvis, Sage, Winston, Hardy, TFO, Lamson, Ross, and countless others. While the products are important, the shops do aim to provide premiere customer service to keep customers coming back year after year. ”We pride ourselves on offering the best customer service. Whether a beginner or an advanced angler, we treat everyone the same. Our goal is to promote the sport of fly fishing throughout Western NC.”

46 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 47

featured fly shop River’s Edge Outfitters’ Spruce Pine shop is located in Spruce Pine, NC between Asheville and Boone at 28 Oak Avenue, 28777 and their Cherokee store is located inside Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel in Cherokee, NC at 777 Casino Drive, 28789. The Cherokee store can be reached at 828-4978497 and the Spruce Pine store is also reachable by phone at 828-765-FISH. Both stores can be reached by email at


$25 OFF

Blend in. Fish on.


“My choice for fly fishing the Clinch is the 580G Lens” - C.S. Madison (STM Contributor)


photo courtesy of Beau Beasley

Knoxville, TN 865/922-EYES

48 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | 877-462-4682 | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 49

featured lodge


ince 2006 the Nantahala River Lodge has become one of the most well-known lodges in the Nantahala area. As a family, owners Mickey and Annette Youmans have spent ample time in the area and owned mountaintop property in the area for generations. “We spent a large amount of our time on and in the local rivers, and in the early 2000s, we decided to look for property on a river. We looked for years but couldn’t find anything that met our requirements. We had given up the search when we found the Lodge property on the Internet early one Saturday morning. We negotiated the purchase, and then went about deciding what we were going to do with the property. Because the Scenic Waters Mountain Byway is such an important road in many ways to everyone who travels it, we knew we had to build something special that blended in and complemented the area.” The Youmans then hired an architect who planned out the site and did the concept for the exterior of the buildings, leaving the interior design for themselves. Using wood from their family farm dating

nantahala river lodge

back to the 1800s and other various boards and stones, the Youmans constructed what is now the breathtaking lodge. “We did and do all of the planning,” Mickey Youmans tells Southern Trout Magazine, “marketing, and business ourselves. The focus of our Lodge is different than many Lodges in that we believe that family time is the most important time. Our focus is, and we say it everywhere, that it’s ‘Perfect for Family, Friends and Fishermen.’ Fishermen average about 50% of our clientele. The wonderful thing is that a lot of folks, kids included, have caught their first trout at the Nantahala River Lodge. The 1/2 day instructional-guided trip is a big hit. We have had families return year after year because everything they want to do is available nearby. If someone wants to

50 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 51

featured lodge

52 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

nantahala river lodge | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 53

featured lodge

nantahala river lodge

go antiquing, shopping, rafting, hiking biking or sightseeing it’s all nearby. World-class fishing in the front yard is a huge bonus.” It’s easy to say that one of the ma jor attractions to the Nantahala area is the fly fishing, and according to the Youmans, the overall interest in fly fishing in their area has increased significantly since the 2011 Fly Fish Team USA National Championships and 2012 Junior National Fly Fishing Championships. In the words of a speaker at the FFTUSA awards banquet, “The numbers of fish being taken was amazing and the upper Nantahala put up incredible numbers during one 3 hour session.” Because the lodge markets mainly to families, there is an abundance of novice fly fishermen among the more experienced ones. “We have been fortunate enough to

54 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

be able to introduce a lot of these folks to the art of fly-fishing, which we consider a win-win situation. The Nantahala is a great river for the novice fly fisherman. The easy access coupled with the excellent fish numbers due to the resource management provided by the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission’s Cold Water Fishery folks, headed up by Jacob Rash, is an excellent environment to experience and learn the sport.” “We do everything we can to help folks get the most out of their time at the Lodge,” Youmans explains. “Many times this means working with the wives and children separately, especially in the winter when a lot of our serious fishing groups come. We keep a huge pile of campfire wood so the guys can fish, warm up and walk back into the river. We’ve done everything from providing pet sitters to special catered dinners for a fly-fishing couple’s anniversary. We love helping out. When we read our | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 55


featured lodge



ay kw r Pa ills h t o Fo




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Smallmouth &/or Rock19Bass (aka Red Eye)

Deep Creek Color coding indicates waters of the Smokies believed to hold the game fish species depicted in at least certain stretches of the streams. Due to ever changing stream conditions the extents of the color coding must be viewed as a snapshot in time. Drought 74 and wet weather year extremes can affect normal species ranges up to several miles in some cases. A coded stream is not necessarily “fishable” in part or in whole due to small size, restricted accessibility, casting room limitations, etc.


Other digital* maps include these great East Tennessee tailwaters: Cherokee (Holston R) – Dam to Ballinger Cherokee (Holston R) – Ballinger to Nances Ferry Cherokee (Holston R) – Nances Ferry to Mile 12 Cherokee (Holston R) – Mile 12 to Tennessee R Douglas (French Brd R) – Dam to Buckingham Is Douglas (French Brd) – B’ham Is to Seven Islands Douglas (French Brd R) – Seven Islands to Mile 6 Douglas (French Brd R) – Mile 6 to Tennessee R Hiwasee R – Apalachia Powerhouse to Reliance Hiwasee R – Reliance to Quinn Springs Norris (Clinch R) – Dam to Mile 69.5 Norris (Clinch R) – Mile 69.5 to Clinton South Holston (S Fk Holston R) – Dam to Mile 42 South Holston (S Fk Holston) – Mile 42 to Bluff City Watauga R – Dam to Elizabethton Watauga R – Elizabethton to Town of Watauga

guest book, it’s awesome to see how the experience of being at the Lodge affects folks in such a positive way.” Nantahala River Lodge is located at 27395 Wayah Rd. in Nantahala, NC. Contact them at (800) 4704718. Directions on how to get there are posted on their website Powerhouse to Reliance section of the Hiwassee River

56 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

* Available on 11x17 waterproof paper only at various area retailers. See website for additional information. | January | Southern TroutTN | 37860 57 Saint Clair Mapping • P.O.2014 Box 398 • Russellville,


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featured fly tyer

featured fly tyer Rex Wilson father-in-law and I fished together at the streams around Candler, NC for about 20 years until his health would not permit him to fish anymore. Back in those days, the season for fishing for trout here in North Carolina opened the first Saturday in April and ended on October 1st. Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park opened May 15th and ended on October 1st. Those opening days were a much anticipated event you looked forward to like Christmas.”


t’s just our opinion at Southern Trout, but when it comes to tying flies in the Southland, as best as we can tell, there are new guys who create stateof-the-art flies, and then there are the old schoolers. The lines between the two groups of tyers are not as easily seen as you might first think they would be, as even the old timers are cat quick to pick up on new tying materials that supersede the old one. There is a charm about the old schoolers, especially those tutored by now passed along old-time tyers. Rex Wilson of Candler, North Carolina is an old school tyer who does not blink an eye at whipping the newest stuff he can get onto the shank of a hook. Universally ranked as one of the top tyers in the Tar Heel State, Wilson is a very likeable tier with a love for fishing highland rivulets as well as sharing his passion for creating flies that catch trout. “I started fishing for trout in 1962, or you can say about 50 years ago,” says Wilson. “My

It was after fishing the streams of North Carolina for trout for about eight years, that Rex found himself becoming interested in fly fishing. In those days, there were no fly shops here in the area where he lived. The only places where you could buy the flies were at a hardware store or from people who tied the flies. With a bit of asking around, he ended up finding three people he knew who tied the flies he could purchase. However, when Rex asked them if they would teach him to tie the flies, much to his surprise, their answer was “No!” Fly tying was their livelihood and schooling potential competitors was of little interest to most of these fellows. “Fly tying books and videos were not available back then,” explains Wilson. “These days fly tying classes are available at a lot of places, but this was not the case in the late 1960s when fly tying in the region was, sort of, an underground activity. I got to know a man by the name of Frank Coffee who lived in the Waynesville, NC area. He was supplying several stores in North Carolina and Tennessee with the trout flies that he tied. He taught me to tie the patters that he sold. Most of them were the old Smoky Mountain patterns he grew up fishing with or had developed himself.” Frank Coffee was not only a talented tyer with knowledge in the lore of local patterns, but also a prolific tyer who supplied flies

60 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

to a number of outlets such as hardware stores and other places that sold trout flies. In time, he taught Rex and a few others to tie his flies for him to enable him to keep up with the growing demand for these flies. As Mr. Coffee had a lot of health problems, ultimately, he quit supplying stores with his flies. “I started tying a lot of flies for different businesses and for local people who wanted a dozen or two for their own fishing needs,” says Wilson. “One of the stores I tied for was Wynn’s Sports World in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. I tied hundreds of dozens of flies for them. After Mr. Frank Coffee’s death, I started tying for some of his customers and fly shops in my area.

In the early 1990’s Rex became a member of the Federation of Fly Fisher’s and began tying at fly shows. He has demonstrated his tying talents at the FFF Southeastern Conclave in Asheville, North Carolina and also at the FFF’s National Conclave in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the late 90s. As Rex mentioned earlier, Mr. Coffee developed a fly called the Coffee Stonefly. Rex tied this fly at the National Federation of Fly Fishers Conclave where it was published in their

book Patterns of the Masters. He has also has tied at shows in Gulf Shores, Alabama; Callaway Gardens, Georgia; Helen, Georgia; and at Troutfests in Townsend, Tennessee. He has also tied at weekend trout events at Little River Outfitters in Townsend, Tennessee. In 2000 Rex was tying about six or seven hundred dozen flies per year commercially for fly shops in the South. However, thereafter, most fly shops he did business with started selling flies they had ordered from foreign countries at a much cheaper price. Rex refused to compete with overseas sweat shops. “I enjoy tying flies very much,” says Rex. “I want to keep Smoky Mountain Fly Patterns alive as much as I can. There are few others like me who are doing the same thing. I am currently volunteering to teach at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education in NC. They teach both fly tying and fly fishing. I want to teach the art of fly tying to as many people as I can. I am 73 years old and am still casting a fly for trout. I have fished many rivers and streams in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Montana. I love catching trout anywhere, but I really love to catch the cut-throat trout in Montana.” Rex tied a Yallarhammer fly for an article in Fly Fish America. An innovative tyer, he developed a realistic Stone Fly Nymph. It is tied as a black stone fly, brown stone fly and yellow stone fly for which he says changes the body of the fly with different colors. Rex was tying flies at a fly show at Western Carolina University in April of 2013 when an onlooker asked him if these flies are legal. He laughed and said, “Yes! They are.” | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 61

14th Annual

April 12-13, 2014

2014 SPEAKERS Matt Supinski • Lefty Kreh • Fishy Fullum • Beau Beasley Ed Jaworowski • Wanda Taylor • Tracey Stroup • Blane Chocklett Tom Gilmore • Cory Routh • Don Kirk • And Others

2014 MAJOR SPONSORS Orvis • Dominion Temple Fork Outfitters

Advance tickets, merchandise sales, fly fishing class registrations & program information: 62 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 63


ixie, as the Southland has long been known, has a flavor as unique and diverse as Tabasco sauce and grits swimming in butter. Dixie’s varied fishing for trout is as diverse as its well-known culinary style. If you are looking for a big spread, then Dixie has tailwater rivers as wide as the Red Sea. If you are in the mood to partake of a cascading rivulet, the Southern Appalachians is deeply veined with them from stem to stern. If you are looking for refinement, then trout fishing at Duck Down Inn is the ticket. Located about hour from Richmond, Duck Down Inn is an unexpected oasis of fly fishing for trout in a setting you would just not believe possible.

Owned and lovingly operated by Lisa Powell, Duck Down Inn is a quaint, 200 year old farmhouse set amidst rolling hills just a hop and skip from Richmond. The main house on the property is featured in Historic Homes of Hanover County and has been written about in numerous local publications. Duck Down Inn’s modern guest house is the winner of a prestigious “design and build” award. The forested hills making up Duck Down Inn’s getaway were sites of Civil War encampments. The resting place of a confederate soldier’s son of the original home builder is located nearby. Steeped in history, the creeks and pond at Duck Down Inn are featured on maps that

Trout Fishing in the Old South

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featured inn

reach back to colonial times. The abundance of arrowheads found scattered about its 63 acres are testaments to a time that predates the arrival of settlers from Europe. For those reading, the trump card is the fly and spin fishing for trout available here during the winter and early spring. The waters of the property are unable to hold trout year round, but according to Lisa Powell, just prior to the Holiday Season the pond and creeks at Duck Down Inn are stocked with rainbow trout. We’re not talking about mere creel size ‘bows, but lots of big fellows in the 20-inches and longer range. Fishing is available at Duck Down Inn 365 days a year, with the list of quarries available year round including largemouth bass, bream and crappie. Of course rainbow trout are available in the winter. Being private waters, guaranteed fishing days are scheduled by appointment. Duck Down Inn has a daily $50/rod, four rod limit. Canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards are available for fishermen. Light fishing pressure, good management and stocking ensure great fishing just about any time you wet a line here. Frankly, it’s a real treat to have such outstanding fishing at your fingertips with just about no one else around to make you feel crowded.

duck down inn

Amenities include luxury accommodations, indoor/outdoor eating areas, swimming pool, and satellite television. Priority clubhouse access with overnight accommodations are $165 per night for 2. Continental breakfast are available (surcharge for trout 12/5 - 4/1), otherwise Duck Down Inn operates on a B.Y.O. provisions unless other arrangements are requested. Duck Down Inn has a walking trail where trekkers on the ground can observe dozens of species of birds and waterfowl, as well as deer, wild turkey, fox and coyote. The Duck Down Inn offers expert contract services by prior arrangement for fly fishing lessons, skeet shooting and lessons, standup paddle board lessons, standup paddle board yoga/ fitness, beginning kayaking lessons, horseback riding (2 riders maximum), professional photography and massage therapy. Additional grocery purchase and catering are available. Duck Down Inn can be contacted at P.O. Box 356, Rockville, Virginia 23146, telephone 804-240-1559, or visiting

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featured rod builder


hildhood experiences often shape the lives we lead whether the memories help us avoid pitfalls or encourage us to pursue our dreams. For rod builder Jim Mills, fishing with his family as a child influenced his future in many ways. “I grew up on a tobacco farm in eastern North Carolina,” Mills told Southern Trout Magazine, “where we also raised wheat, corn, soybeans, hogs, chickens, and we sold eggs. When possible, Saturdays were reserved for fishing, and it was a multi-generational family affair. Fishing and sharing the catch were an integral part of the life of our family and our close-knit farming community.”

Western North Carolina where his wife was finishing college. “It was there that I began my love affair with trout fishing,” he says. Mills then entered the United States Public Health Service’s Indian Health Service where he spent 30 years as a commissioned officer—serving the health needs of Native American populations across the country in pharmacy and hospital administration. Jim

bench and replaced the book with a mouse trap. That first rod was not a work of art, but it looked like it might catch fish.” It was this rod, which he gave his father, which spread his name among a small group of fishermen, and then gave way to the professional rod building he does today.

The Rod Wizard of Raven Fork

This passion for fishing followed him to the Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina in 1961, when he moved there to practice pharmacy. “It was on these streams that I began my love affair with trout fishing. I was fortunate to be mentored by several local expert fly fishermen,” Mills explained, “who taught me some of the finer points of fly fishing and fly tying. Early mornings and late afternoons would find me casting for trout or practicing techniques under their watchful eyes. On more than one occasion when fishing with these men, I would bust out my fishing regalia only to wrap up my line so that I could observe these masters at work as they skillfully applied their savvy. Since these beginnings, I’ve been lucky enough to travel and fly fish some of the best creeks and rivers in the United States.” After his childhood on a family farm in North Carolina, Mills attended medical school and pursued a degree in pharmaceuticals. Upon graduation, he came to the mountains of

also served as the Area Pharmacy Director for the 26 tribes east of the Mississippi. After he retired, he continued to work with Native American community health workers, providing advanced training and certification as part of a contract with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. With a life as full as Jim’s, it makes sense that he would not just retire and stop being productive. “Throughout my life, “Mills said, “fishing, fly tying, and rod building have been a mainstay. So it was a natural progression that after 42 years in the health profession, I embarked in earnest on a fly rod making venture.”

Mills has been building rods since 1964 when his first PHS assignment was to an extremely remote Indian reservation in Arizona where he lived about 70 miles from the nearest grocery store. “To make use of my spare time,” he explained, “I decided to build my father a fly rod for Christmas. I ordered my supplies, purchased a blank, and built my first rod using a large book to apply tension to the thread. Later I graduated to a crude

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makes each rod unique—customizing it to fit the fisherman. Some of the most important components to a custom rod are the wants and needs of the owner. “Rod making involves a number of components,” Mills says, “including the blanks—whether bamboo or graphite, guides, reel seats, handles, reels, line types, weights, etc. It’s not a matter of using the most expensive rod that makes fishing an enjoyable and rewarding experience; it’s the fisherman’s ease on the stream and confidence with the rod. Balance is critical and comes not only from the choice of materials but also from the rod’s length, weight, and placement of guides. If you put the wrong components on even the best of rods, or if they are not placed properly, the

Loryn Kirk

Not only does Mills build bamboo and graphite fly rods, he also restores bamboo rods. “The rods often come to me in dilapidated conditions after years of standing in old barns and attics. They look hopeless, but they can usually be returned to almost new condition. Some customers want to have a rod restored to hang over their mantle as a family keepsake. Others want the rod restored to a fishable condition. Depending upon the desire of the client, I can usually make the necessary modifications. It is quite gratifying to watch the old rods come alive again.” As a rod builder, Mills | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 69

featured rod builder

rod will not bring about a gratifying fishing experience. Listening to a customer leads to the production of a unique rod that fits them every time. Some are interested in shorter lengths for tight mountain streams, some want to cast long distances with ease, some want compact pack rods suitable for travel, others value high-end agate eyes and custom-made wooden reel seats—all of them want to feel that the rod and they are one. I put this ‘original spin’ on all the rods I make. Every rod must meet my standards of performance, which I have honed over years of fishing and rod making. I want my rods to feel like an extension of me.” As advice for someone looking to buying his or her first custom fly rod, Mills said it is

essential that you buy a good and sturdy, but inexpensive, fly rod and fish with it for a while to figure out what you like and don’t like about it. “Cast several rods,” he said, “and observe the differences between them.” Think about where you are going to use the rod, he advised, and this will impact what rod is best for you. Jim Mills sells his rods through local Western North Carolina fly shops, at fishing shows, by personal contact, and at www. “Customization is the cornerstone of my business!” Mills says enthusiastically. Mills can be reached by phone or email at 828-497-5576 or

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Traditional Flies Custom Flies

Download it now from the App Store (for iPhone) or Google Play (for Android) 72 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

Specializing in traditional flies used in the Appalachians, Ozarks and Tennessee Tail Waters

Tying Materials Tying Tools Fly Fishing Accessories Made In the USA | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 73

wanderings of the creek freak

wanderings of the creek freak great music from our perch that was flanked by runway stages just a few feet beyond our reach. Hours earlier, we claimed that site by spreading a blanket across a patch of the stadium’s playing field. The afternoon set featured several musicians not everyone knows, so the crowd wasn’t yet a crowd through the 7 pm act.

Zac and his band flawlessly performed their electric blend of musical genius, intuition and entertainment. Indeed, I felt like I had caught them at their best. From blistering guitar leads to melodic acoustic rhythms, pungent fiddle riffs and solid songwriting, the band failed no one’s expectations. But like fishing a premier trout stream on opening day, our fun among the festival’s

Concert Seats and Trout Streams are Not Always What They Seem


f you’ve fly-fished storied streams and rocked away at music shows, you’ve spent time on trout waters and many hours in concert environments. I’ve “been there, done that” on both counts, and last fall I discovered a disturbing likeness between the two. During my birthday weekend in October, the analogy penned here struck me like a buck brown hammers a well-worked

streamer pulled just beyond his woody comfort zone. Standing in a growing crowd at the Southern Ground Music and Food Festival in Charleston, my own comfort zone narrowed as the afternoon shadows stretched across the festival stadium on Daniel Island. My date and I had already enjoyed several hours of

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But one by one, two by two, four by four and many, many more concert goers gradually closed the grassy stage-side pit into a shoulder-to-shoulder cattle call as the buzz for the Zac Brown Band grew with every minute the clock ticked off as the start of the headliner’s show neared. It soon was apparent that pretty much everyone with a festival ticket laid out big green for the opportunity to share a few hours of fine fall weather with Zac Brown and his band.

Bob Borgwat

thousands suffered in the hands of one. As an angler, you might know the kind: 1) arrives late on the water; 2) insistent on sharing the stretch you’re fishing; 3) barges ahead despite the intrusion; 4) causes myriad disturbances; and 5) leaves the scene obviously disturbed that no one played their game. Yep. That scene parallels what played out in the pit between the runway stages during the Zac Brown Band show. The fact that this | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 75

wanderings of the creek freak

wanderings of the creek freak the chair wasn’t a player in her front-rowoccupying conspiracy.) She didn’t make it to the front of the crowd. The guy in the chair rolled to a stop 5 feet short of the stage rail (and somehow found his legs for the next two and a half hours). Our blond gatecrasher stalled in the two square feet of space in front of my date.

intruder was blond had nothing to do with it. Really. Rather, she must have been maniacal. She used a disabled music lover as a blocker, coyly slinking behind his wheelchair--calling for folks to “kindly give him some room, please,” as he wheeled his way toward the front row. (I’m still not convinced the guy in

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At 5 feet 1-inch tall, Mary always places herself behind likewise statutorily challenged concert goers in standing-room-only venues. Her strategy worked fine. Just two and a half hours earlier, she swayed and swooned with a clear view of Trombone Shorty. In the hour before Zac Brown took the stage, she followed every smile and snicker of the re-designed Natalie Maines. But when the headliners cranked it up behind the billowing parachute-like stage curtain, the wheelchair preceded the blond interloper and Mary found herself starring at the back of a 6-foot-5-inch sure-footed behemoth while fending off the “I’m sorry, sweetie” apologies and “Why don’t you stand in front of me?” compromises offered by what truly was an unaffected ass whose indifference for those she threw herself upon did not go unnoticed or undiagnosed. Been there, done that on the trout streams, too. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 77

Jason Sparks

Steve Vorkapich Don Kirk

Old Fly Patterns of the Smokies: Don Kirk Backcountry Cooking: Craig Haney Tenkara Comes to Tennessee: Jason Sparks

Admission is free to all!

Indicators for Better Nymph Fishing: Steve Vorkapich High Navigation of the Trout Streams: Fred Turner

Along with speakers, we will have a fly tying demonstration section and display tables for all of the speakers, plus a few more. The event will be held at the new FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: Fishing the Clinch: Shawn Madison

Southern Trout Fly Fishing Fair is part of Wilderness Wildlife Week

Jan. 25-Feb. 1

LeConte Center Pigeon Forge Tennessee

78 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

Shawn Madison

Fred Turner

Craig Haney | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 79

new fly guy

Basic Gear


new fly guy the following: • Length of the rod • Weight of the rod (4 wt, 5/6 wt) • Type of line and weight • The reel has a drag • Amount of backing

Steve Moore

he holiday season is here! The truly passionate among us recognize this as an opportunity to introduce a friend or relative who expresses a passing interest in “taking up fishing and/or fly fishing” to the sport. After all, cultivating fishing buddies is a continuous activity with a high recreational payoff. For those future companions close enough to you to merit holiday spending, this brings up the core seasonable dilemma—what to buy and what to spend. The “what to buy” is simple. To start fishing, the minimum required is a rod, reel, line, backing, leader/tippet and a few flies. In addition, since trout angling is a cold water sport, the new enthusiast will eventually require waders and boots. Given the endless possibilities of rod and reel and line, what do you do? Go cheap or go big? Since I’ve been on both ends of this equation, I am fully qualified to answer the question. In 2007, I committed myself to learn how to fly fish to add a new weapon to my fish attack arsenal. However, since I had heard all the stories of excessive costs and only wanted to dip my toe to test the water, I decided to go cheap and bought a $25 Wal-Mart combo special advertised as a “complete fly fishing kit.” It came with a rod, reel, 66 feet of something that passed as fly line (shorter than the more standard 80 to 90 feet), a leader and a few generic flies. No backing. The back of the package distilled hundreds of pages of instruction on how to fly fish into a few simple panels. After reading the instruction and assembling the components, I hustled outside and to whip the rod frantically back and forth in an attempt to become proficient. After a bit of practice, stray bits of guidance from a long ago fly casting lesson percolated to the front of my brain, and I got the hang of it enough to wander over to a local community pond to promptly insert every fly provided with the package into the surrounding trees. However,

this experience was enough to convince me that I could eventually master the technique and justified a trip to a fly shop with a competent fly fishing friend who helped me pick out reasonably priced, entry level gear. The point of the story is that I was committed, and I wanted to learn how to fly fish. Therefore, I overlooked the shortcomings of this basic package because I knew I would want to upgrade to better equipment to actually use on the stream. The key question is, as you consider how much to spend on the gift, whether or not the recipient is serious about investing the time to learn. Depending on the level of commitment, you can make a fairly informed decision. (1) Start at the bottom as I did. (2) Upgrade to a better combo pack from a reputable sporting-goods real retailer or fly shop. (3) Individually select each component to create the customized combination appropriate for the type of fishing in your area. (Bonus! Notice that it provides multiple gifts to open!)

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I advise against the first option since the gear was marginal; although, it is a good way to plant the suggestion of fly fishing at low cost. Given the cost of the third option, it becomes a high-risk gift if the recipient’s commitment is tentative. If you are considering that option, a better approach is to lend the new angler the appropriate gear from the inventory you are hiding from your spouse. That leaves the second option as the most cost-effective choice, minimizing costs while maximizing utility. When selecting a shrink-wrapped combination package, make sure it specifies

Flies are unimportant since what comes with any package may not work against the fish you intend to target. Besides, you should contribute an unused fly box populated with some of the right flies from your massive collection as part of the gift. The ma jor sporting goods retailers have packages meeting these criteria. However, to keep the cost low, the manufacturer makes trade-offs. The only way to assess whether those tradeoffs are important is to read the customer reviews posted against the product. Always look at the lowest ratings since they highlight shortcomings, but don’t overlook the positive reviews because those reviewers may have taken a broader perspective more aligned with the solution to the costbenefit equation you seek. Another option, if possible, is to look at the combination package, identify the components and price/rate them separately to determine the ultimate quality. Do not eliminate the fly shop source! For a few extra bucks, they can put together a combo package that meets your price target. No matter which option you choose, you need to add the priceless gift of your time providing encouragement and on-stream mentoring or the package is likely to be set aside to gather dust. Your good intentions must have follow-through! Steve Moore 8016 Yellow Daisy Drive Wilmington, NC 28412 703-638-0359 | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 81

Been a whie since you payed King of the Mountain? High atop the Great Smoky Mountains sits the crown jewel of luxurious relaxation. Buckberry Lodge features a unique combination of rustic elegance, fine cuisine, natural beauty and world-class amenities.

Your kingdom awaits.

Dine like a King. Or Queen.

In the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee

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Enjoy the royal treatment.

Subjects await your every whim.


As seen in the best-selling travel book 1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die by Patricia Schultz. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 83


Is He the Artist Who Guides, or the Guide Who Paints?


rofessionally selling his own art at collegiate age, Duane Hada has had years of experience in the art community. There is a certain aura that resonates with Hada’s work that can be compared to a sudden realization or a religious epiphany. With that specific and rare glow emanating from the pores of the canvas, one cannot help but wonder about the background of the artist who created it. “I started selling some pieces in college,”

Loryn Patterson

Hada explains, “but I really concentrated on trying to make a living with my art and guiding after I left my high school job in 1988. I’ve always had a passion to try to capture the colors and realism of the outdoor landscape and its wildlife. I remember the first time I saw a Winslow Homer watercolor in a book, I just couldn’t put it down. I knew I had to try to capture a sense of mood and place in my paintings like he did.”

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feature the “…pattern of light guide me.” While Hada does paint for the love of it, he has also won numerous awards for his skill. “Over nearly thirty years there have been numerous awards,” Hada states. “Some of the highlights are the 1987 commissioning to do the trout stamp for the state of Arkansas, a conservation trout design for the State of Arkansas, and the Mid-Southern Watercolorists Best of Show. My work hangs in many corporate and private collections as well as fly-fishing lodges from Alaska to Belize.”

Subject wise, Hada paints mostly outdoors scenes and depicts various wildlife in an exquisite manner. “My life as an outdoorsman and an artist are inseparable.” Hada says on the subjects of his paintings, “Underwater trout and fly fishing are some of my more commonly repeated scenes. I’ve been a fly fishing guide for 27 years now, and each day on the water fuels my inspiration for the next canvas. Fly fishing has so many aesthetics to it: from the design of the gear itself to the beautiful arch of a cast line, and, of course, the grace and beauty of the trout itself. Fly fisherman especially seem to collect original art that showcase their love for the sport and memory of a great day on the water and a great fish.” Working with watercolors and acrylics, Hada creates these original works of art that appeal not only to the fly fishing community and the general outdoors community, but also the outlying artist community as well. Technique and planning can sometimes offer a starting point, an example of one is a preliminary sketch or a photo for a guide. However, this is not always the case. Hada explains that sometimes he enjoys letting 90 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

“Paint what you know best and what you have a passion for!” Hada says as advice to his readers and anyone taking an interest in pursuing art as a profession, “Take workshops from prominent artists whose style you like. It is so important to encourage young artists by buying local original art. All artists should always hone their drawing skills. If you have never painted in the out of doors in the Plein Air style, it will teach you more about light and composition than anything else.” Duane Hada has also collaborated with his brother, poet Ken Hada, to create a beautiful book titled, The River White that features art and verse matched together like only the eyes of fly fishermen would weave together. According to their book reviewer, Kevin Pieper, “Duane’s ethereal watercolors and Ken’s poems evoke emotions rarely encountered…When you travel with these two brothers, you feel.” Go to his art gallery at rivertowngallery. com. There you can find more information about the artist, view more of his artwork, read about his painting techniques and even purchase his book which is full of his magnificent outdoor art. Duane has information for his guide service at, and he can be reached for guiding and instruction at 870435-2787, and 870-449-4955. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 91

Flyfisher’s Guide to™


AVA I L A B L E F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 3 The 37th book in our best-selling Flyfisher's Guide series CONTENT Flyfisher’s Guide to™ Tennessee By Don Kirk

Softcover 6 x 9 inches 380 pages, 40+ maps 50+ B&W/color photos ISBN: 978-1-932098-96-9

UPC: 8-09206-98969-6 Retail Price: $29.95 Case Quantity: 16 Available February 2013

Tennessee has long hosted some of the United States' best big-brown-trout fisheries, yet somehow it has managed to stay under the radar. Until now. Longtime writer and flyfishing guide Don Kirk covers everything in his all new guide book the Flyfisher's Guide to Tennessee. Productive tailwaters like the Clinch River, South Holston River and Watauga River are covered in full detail, as are their tributaries and reservoirs. And Kirk goes well beyond the major drainages, deep into the Cherokee National Forest uncovering some gorgeous gems that will give up trout for days. From brook, brown and rainbow trout to bass and panfish, Kirk covers all the gamefish. Hatch charts, detailed maps, recommended flies, specialized techniques, accommodations, sporting goods and fly shops, restaurants and all other relevant information is included. Kirk gives you tips from a lifetime of flyfishing in Tennessee in this comprehensive volume. If you're ready to give the tailwater pigs a shot, or even if you just want to pluck some brookies from an idyllic mountain brook, you'll want this book. Tennessee is the next great destination - get in while you can. AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE FROM AMAZON.COM, FLY SHOPS, BOOK STORES OR DIRECT FROM PUBLISHER.

Southern Trout

For Readers of For a LIMITED TIME click here to enjoy this excerpt on the Rapidan River in Virginia from

Fly Fishing the


by Beau Beasley ISBN 978-1-892469-24-3 208 pages 8.5 × 10.875 in. Paperback • $29.95



Available through your favorite flyshop or direct from No Nonsense Fly Fishing Guidebooks 888-511-1530

Limited Collector’s Edition also available • Signed and numbered with author bookplate • Hardcover sewn bound • Silver-foil stamped cover and spine

• Silvered book edges • Satin ribbon marker • Retail $49.95

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Wilderness Adventures Press, Inc. Order Toll Free: 1-866-400-2012 Fax: 1-866-400-2013 Email: 45 Buckskin Rd. Belgrade, MT 59714 92 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 93




reat fishermen are fish stalkers. They sit or walk quietly on the banks of great rivers hiding (when they can) behind brush and tall grasses to be hidden from the storied gaze of wondering trout. They take their time, and often, they can be found analyzing and examining the surface water for rise forms– noticeable changes in surface character that indicate feeding fish. It is only evident to those who know of trout behavior and their mysterious habits. Perhaps I owe my rectitude for stealth and rising trout to Vincent Marinaro who spoke to me in A Modern Dry Fly Code. According to him, in order to rectify the mysteries of feeding trout, one must be deliberate and then exonerate all leads that result in not catching fish, until proper fly fishing technique is perfected. What a crime it is that most anglers are not trout stalkers. How pertinent it is for anglers to approach trout with curiosity, grace, and respect on Marinaro’s Letort Spring Run as it is for trout on the slower Chara choked sections of the South Holston. The deadman’s pool above the spinner island is a testament to this fact, for if any error is made in dry fly technique, the angler is likely met with the shadowy ghost of a trout only conquered within his dreams. I find that this marveling of great rivers is the product of both satisfaction and wonder likened by a need to know more and an appreciation of the wonderful world of trout so eloquently nurtured by Charlie Fox.

The Midge’s Last Call

My good friend and fly-fishing mentor, Theo Copeland, is one such trout stalker. If there is any one definition that qualifies a great angler, he is that definition. Theo taught me how to stalk trout out of a drift boat using the anchor as my legs to sneak up on the selectively feeding trout of the Watauga Tailwater. He is a big fan of the wet fly, which coupled with the soft hackle, is perhaps the stealthiest of the insect imitations to fool trout. The casting techniques applied to the wet fly and the soft hackle are stealthy, such that trout are rarely spooked by the presentation of the fly and are commonly

startled by the hook-up as they fail to perceive the imitation as unnatural. Through the thoughts and words of these great fishermen, I trained myself to walk the banks of the South Holston with stealth and keen perception during the winter months, and I came to discover what I have so aptly described to others as the “midge’s last call.” Here, on this great river, there is a daily midge emergence at sunset that brings predictable trout to the surface who feed selectively on various midge adults and emerging pupae that can be imitated with small wet fly and soft hackle imitations. Winter midge fishing refines the basic fundamentals that make great anglers great through the mastering and application of stealth, awareness, perception, and intelligence. These fundamentals are without question the product of experience and conditioning, but interestingly, they are more easily acquired when the angler gains a deeper appreciation for the wonderful world of trout. The art of the fly manifests itself deep within the angler, and he begins to realize that he has become a part of the trout’s world. It is within this still framed and

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The identification of midges to the species level is not an elementary task, but rather, it is a painstaking process that involves slide-mounting the individual heads of midge larvae to examine the morphology of their mandibles, premandibles, labrum, and maxilla. Occasionally one might need to examine setae (fine hairs) on the anterior parapods (front prolegs), posterior parapods (rear prolegs), and anal tubules of the larva, but almost any character used in the identification of chironomidae to species is found on the ventral side of the head capsule.

Matt Green

picturesque riverine setting that the trout comes to expect a daily cast from the angler with a knock at his evening rise with the fly. Classification, Morphology, and Biology of Chironomidae The Chironomidae midges are a primitive family of flies in the order Diptera and are commonly referred to as non-biting midges as adults and blood worms as larvae. Midges are holometabolous insects meaning that they have a complete life history (egg, larva, pupa [or resting stage of rapid development], and adult stage). There are currently 35 different species of chironomid midges in the South Holston Tailwater, and within the last five years there have been as many as 50. In the South Holston, midge larvae are found in every possible habitat that an angler can encounter. From bare cobble substrate to Chara spp. (Musk Grass) to Fontinalis spp. (aquatic mosses) midges inhabit all substrates. However, midges are more abundant and develop quicker during different times of the year. Early instar midges are more abundant from MaySeptember while later instar midges and pupae are more abundant from OctoberApril.

However, can or does a trout readily recognize these individual characters to distinguish one midge from another? I find that the answer to this question is “both yes and no.” Yes, it is very likely that the trout has the ability to distinguish one midge species from another, but this discrimination is probably not the product of morphology alone. Interestingly, this ability is deeply rooted in chemical ecology and the behavioral recognition of the locomotion, development, and emergence behavior of individual species. Trout do not discriminate characters and qualities that anglers cannot imitate easily. Hence, it is not worth an angler’s time and effort to tie midges that closely reflect individual midge species because doing so is theoretically impossible (given current technology) and irrelevant. Rather, it is important for the angler to establish broad but universal morphological boundaries that he or she could operate in while tying the midge. Characteristics like color, weight, and morphology, that are generally consistent among most midge species, provide an excellent template in which one can organize and collectively decide how to approach midge tying. When imitating the midge with the fly, the angler must keep the body profile thin, short, and consistent for any variation in body width or length will cross imitation taxonomic boundaries. For example, a body width that is too wide more closely resembles the morphology of a mayfly nymph, and one | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 95

feature that is too long and skinny is likely to be mistaken for an aquatic worm. Although many anglers may accept these misfortunates as unanticipated successes, selective winter South Holston trout are not so kind to forgive errors made in the absence of meticulous thinking. Given that chironomid species are distinguished by minute differences on their heads, color cannot act a sole determinant for species identification. A crème colored midge is just a crème colored midge to a trout, but this does not give the angler the right to associate all crème colored midges as the same species. Also, midges change coloration from one developmental instar to the next. Early instar midge larvae are crème, and as they develop, they begin to turn reddish and can often be found with a dark red line running through the center of their abdomen. On the South Holston, a crème midge (1st instar larva) in a size 3026 (true hook size is approx. 38-36) and a darker colored crème midge (2nd-3rd instar larva) that houses a dark red center in a size 22-20 work well for imitating the first three instars of chironomidae. The dark red line running through the center of the abdomen indicates the production of hemoglobin that has a high affinity for dissolved oxygen. This adaptation allows the insect to live in anoxic (oxygen poor) habitats where the amount of dissolved oxygen required for metabolism is stored in hemoglobin and transferred to the insect’s tissues during periods of oxygen stress. Given that this hemoglobin center is critical to the survivorship of the midge, it is imperative that the angler includes this in his overall design when tying the imitation. Some anglers use red ribbing or a dyed turkey quill wrapped around the shank of the hook to imitate this feature of the natural insect. However, the latter method makes the fly abdomen too bulky and too much like the body profile of a mayfly. To correct this problem, the angler can use red thread for the ribbing and, if he chooses, he can apply clear cure goo thinly to the fly to give it a see-through appearance. In Don Holbrook

feature and Ed Koch’s book Midge Magic, Koch recounts a trip Holbrook took to Big Spring in Newville, PA where Holbrook caught a nice Big Spring brown whose mouth looked like it was full of Christmas tree lights from light refracting through the cuticle of the midges and back into the trout’s mouth. It is without a doubt that clear cure goo coats the fly with a glaze that helps replicate this light refraction. Before the midge molts to become a pupa, it becomes solid red in color as a 4th instar larva. I have often found that a rusty colored turkey biot tied on a size 20-18 curved hook works well to mimic the color and size of the natural insect in its final larval instar. Proper midge larva fishing requires a deeper understanding of midge ecology. The only true way to fish a midge larva is to fish it right on the benthos and high stick nymph with a light tap on the rod handle (to imitate the “s” motion of the insect’s locomotion). This technique puts the larva at a depth where the trout is mostly likely to encounter it. Despite large advances in fly-fishing technology, there are still no available hook sizes that accurately depict the true size of 1st instar midge larvae. Perhaps this is due to the need of anglers to use a bead for the larva’s head since the bead would

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likely take up all, if not most, of the room on a size 38 hook. Using a bead on the head of a midge larva is morphologically unsound and constitutes as unnecessary bulk. A better technique would be to tie a thread head and place sufficient individual weight above the fly to sink it down for an upstream high stick drift. Upon reaching the 4th developmental instar, the larva ceases feeding and attaches itself to neighboring substrate with a silk secretion. Not long after it has attached itself, the larva breaks free from its silken chamber and heads to the surface. It is during this time when midge pupae fishing is as its finest. Midge pupae are usually dark olive in coloration and have an enlarged thorax from developed adult wings. By using a size 18-16 curved hook, olive thread, and tungsten bead one can adequately imitate 95% percent of all natural midge pupae. Three morphological features are usually omitted from the design of midge pupae imitations—the bulky thorax, the wing case, and the plumose thoracic horn (which specializes in dissolved oxygen

absorption and pupal flotation during emergence). The angler can imitate these characters by tying in a small strand of white CDC behind the eye of the hook followed by an inverted bead. Clear cure goo should then be applied to the body of the fly to give the head and thorax a cylindrical shape that closely resembles the natural pupal thorax. Anglers who wish to fish midge pupa imitations during a midge emergence are in for fun fishing. Prior to a predictable daily midge emergence, I will fish a weighted pupa pattern to imitate the movement of pupae along the benthos. I imitate this movement of the pupae by using small line strips and a rod twitch until the end of the drift when the fly line and leader get tight. If midges are not emerging, then it makes no biological sense to use a midge pupa pattern since pupae are not moving to the river’s surface to emerge. However, if there are high abundances of midge pupae underneath substrate, then it would be fair to drift a midge pupual imitation along the benthos. As more midge pupae begin to emerge, I switch to an unweighted pupa imitation and use a slower retrieve until fish begin to react to the adults. Adult midges on the South Holston are most often dark olive and black but can also be tan and light yellow. Midges above the weir dam are often light yellow, especially the closer one gets to the powerhouse. Midges further downstream are black and olive and those near Pursuit Farms are almost always tan. In fact, there is a daily tan midge emergence at Pursuit Farms almost year round. When a midge pupa begins to emerge, it fills the outer non-wettable waxy layer of its cuticle with air so that it can float to the surface. The pupa rides the river’s surface for 15-30 seconds until surface film bacteria break down the insect’s outer exuvia and allow the pupa to emerge into an adult. This fact of midge biology is one reason while soft hackles and wetflies work well for catching fish during a midge emergence. After a few days of resting on riparian vegetation, the adult midges return | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 97

feature to the river and form large swarms to mate and lay their eggs. The male and female fly into the swarm, grasp each other in mid flight, and begin to curl their abdomens so that the tips touch. After mating, the female leaves the swarm and ventures to the river’s surface to dip her abdomen on the water to lay her eggs and die. The Tight Line Midge Technique The South Holston is home to large midge emergences during the winter months that are often overlooked by serious anglers. The techniques involved in winter midge fishing are similar to those that must be employed on a bright sunny day. The surrounding winter farmland is dull and bland while at the same time remaining quiet and still. Therefore, to ensure success, the angler must also be as stealthy as his background is quiet. Hence, I recommend the stealthiest of surface fishing tactics—soft hackle and wet fly fishing. Soft hackle and wet fly fishing allows the angler to fish the entire midge emergence from imitating an emerging midge pupa to a struggling adult on the surface to an adult riding the river’s surface and waiting to fly away. Midge soft hackles are commonly tied with partridge (thread to match the color of the adult you are imitating) and a bead. Each ingredient of the fly has a unique purpose, but is only utilized if the correct fishing technique is applied. I typically use midge soft hackles when I know fish are eating emerging midge pupae in the surface film and the occasional adult off the surface. When casting to a rising fish with a soft hackle, position yourself upstream and a little to the left or right of the fish. Positioning is everything. If you cast with your left hand, stand a little to the left of the fish, and if you cast with your right hand, stand a little to the right of the fish. You must also be in proper casting range of the fish so that the fly comes into the feeding lane of the fish at the right time. Making the cast from too great a distance can bring the fly to the surface too quickly and too far in front

feature of the feeding trout. Making a cast too close can result in bringing the fly to the surface too slowly and too far behind the feeding trout. To orchestrate the soft hackle cast, use a 45° casting arch and mend upstream immediately after the fly hits the water so that the bead has a chance to sink the fly underneath the surface film. It is important to keep the casting arch the same throughout the entire cast. Do not lower the rod tip to allow the soft hackle bead to sink. Instead, simply cast with more fly line to increase the initial slack in the cast. As the concave drift ensues, the line will begin to get tight from current pulling the leader downstream and towards the surface. When this begins to happen raise the rod tip up and lift the fly towards the surface in the face of a rising trout to induce a strike. The soft hackle cast is best utilized when casting in the direction of your dominant casting hand. A soft hackle cast made from across the body is increasingly difficult due to increased drag on the leader from being out of position. When trout begin to take more adult insects off the surface of the water the angler should transition to the wetfly. A typical midge wetfly is composed of a saddle hackle tail, thread to match the color of the adult you are imitating, a paired mallard wing, and hackle legs. Contrary to soft hackle fishing, proper wetfly fishing consists of fast, quick casts to individual rising trout with little or no drift. The wetfly cast is a short, elegant cast that places the fly directly in the vision of a rising trout and keeps the fly above the surface film with a 60° casting arch. The midge wetfly cast must be a timed cast such that an adult midge is in the vicinity of a rising trout prior to the cast being made. Timing the cast correctly results in increased security that a trout feeding on adult midges will take an adult midge wetfly off the water’s surface at approximately the same time. The wetfly is perhaps the most sly of all top-water flyfishing techniques. Like a fox, it pops in and out of the shadows only to surprise unsuspecting trout with a hard sting.

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The Midge’s Last Call The midge’s last call is the last chance for a midge to emerge from its pupal exuvia at sunset. The stretch of river on the South Holston that borders Pursuit Farms is rich in midge diversity and harbors the origin of this article’s name. For this reason, I named that flat the “last chance pool.” Even in high water with a 15-mile an hour wind and 30°F wind chills, the angler can fish this section of river at dusk and maintain adequate success with the wetfly.

Matt Green is a graduate of North Carolina State University. His past research with aquatic insects has led him to pursue flyfishing opportunities across the entire east coast. Having developed a love affair with mayflies, he has become a connoisseur of great eastern emergences particularly on spring creeks and tailwater rivers.

When you fish in Last Chance, I hope that you’ll be blessed enough to see what I have seen. You’ll say, “Ah, there’s the last chance for a trout to grab a bite to eat before the sun goes down.” How jealous am I of he who gets to feed in the face of a setting orange sun. What a gift it is to watch poetry in motion, a trout dancing with its darling midge while stuck in a wetfly trance. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 99


inter nymph fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains can be very rewarding. The creeks get lonely, and the trout put on their best color of the year. Fly fishermen are bumping elbows on the banks of the delayed harvest waters and leaving the wild trout alone. You can now get some quality time in the creek without having to fish behind “bigfoot” or have to bring your own rock on which to stand. It is time to pack up the dry flies and load your fly box with nymphs. There are few aquatic insects available for trout in the winter with almost no terrestrials, so choosing a productive nymph is fairly easy. All you have to do is choose a day when trout are feeding. Your daily window of opportunity will normally be shorter, but your fishing day can still be very productive. I don’t fish midges since I strongly believe a wild trout will not burn 10 calories to get just one. I do at times carry streamer patterns that may imitate a sculpin, crayfish, or baitfish. I will carry at least two dozen different nymph patterns for winter fishing, but if I had to choose only five, the ones listed below would imitate about anything in the creek. Fish Responsibly.

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Five Winter Nymphs You Should Never Leave Home Without Ron Gaddy | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 101


situational fly fishing in the great smoky mountains

Retreating Crayfish

Brown Stone

Crayfish are available to trout year round, and trout will feed on them aggressively in the winter. When crayfish get spooked, they curl up and retreat backwards, which makes a fleeing or retreating crayfish pattern very productive. The crayfish is my favorite streamer pattern and the one that I am sure to have in my fly box. Dead drifted and then stripped up stream can produce some big trout. Caution: Tying this pattern is not for the faint of heart.

Stoneflies can have a lifecycle of up to three years making them available for trout year round in the Great Smoky Mountain streams. Although there are many species of stoneflies, the brown stonefly nymph is one of my favorite lunker producing patterns, and it has proven effective during the winter months. I tie them in sizes 12 to 8, and they always have a place in my nymph box. I have seen brown stonefly nymphs that would measure up to twoinches long in the winter months. Stoneflies crawl along the bottom of the creek to feed on vegetation and sometimes even other aquatic insects. Many end up in the drift providing easy pickings for a trout. For best results, your stonefly nymph presentation should be up and across allowing it to bounce along the bottom.

Retreating Crayfish pattern Hook – size 8 or 6 #9671 Mustad Thread – brown or olive 8/0 or 6/0 Lead – 025. to 035. round Antenna – small brown rubber leg material Claws – elk hair or deer hair Eyes – 20 to 30 lb. clear monofilament melted end Thorax – ice dub pheasant tail Thorax skin – brown or olive dura skin Legs – scored olive or brown rubber leg material Tail Section – brown hackle over brown olive dubbing with scud wrap Rib – Fine black wire Tail Flare – brown or olive dura skin turned under

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Ron’s Brown Stonefly Pattern Thread – brown or dark brown 8/0 or 6/0 Hook – size 12, 10 or 8 #9672 Mustad Legs, tail and antenna – brown goose biots Body – large or medium brown vinyl rib Wing Case – turkey feather or brown Dura Skin Thorax – peacock hurl Bead head – gold Lead – .020 or .025 round wire Olive brown ice dub on front and back | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 103


situational fly fishing in the great smoky mountains

Caddis Nymph The Great Smoky Mountain steams are full of cased caddis in the winter. Of all the winter aquatic insects the cased caddis is the most abundant and will send trout into the “selective feeding mode.” The cased caddis comes mostly in chartreuse green and an off-white color. The caddis larva will glue their cases together using silk. You may find the caddis cases made from small gravel, sticks, or grass from one stream to another, and sometimes, you’ll find a few different cased caddis species in the same stream. I tie the caddis larva without the case to represent a nice little piece of protein without the extra baggage. It’s also a good way to carry fewer patterns because all of the caddis larvae look about the same, except for color. If you don’t have some good caddis larva patterns in the winter, you may find yourself wondering why the trout won’t bite.

Gaddy Caddis nymph pattern Hook – size 12 or 14 9671 Mustad Bead head – optional Lead - .015 round wire Thread – green or off white under monofilament black for collar Flash – pearl or olive pearl flash tinsel under monofilament Body – 20 –30 pound monofilament Collar – one wrap of black hackle

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situational fly fishing in the great smoky mountains

PoxyBack Winter Stone

Blue Wing Olive Nymph

Dark winter stones are abundant in the Great Smoky Mountain streams in the winter. A dark or black stonefly nymph pattern is a must have for winter nymph fishing. Tying the winter stone on an egg or caddis hook gives the appearance of a smaller nymph but with better hook-ups. Making the Winter Stone a “poxyback” using Clear Cure Goo or Liquid Fusion will add a little flash and increase strikes.

The Blue Wing Olive comes in many different species and it is available to trout year round. The Callibaetis is a genus of mayflies in the family Baetidae. For the record I am not an entomologist and don’t try to remember the names of the 460 species of mayflies, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Jokes aside, I just choose a name for the bug that is catchy and easy to remember. I call my blue wing olive nymph pattern the Beatasaurs.

Beatasaurs Nymph

Poxy Back Winter Stone Pattern Hook – size 10 or 12 Egg or Caddis hook Bead head – 1/8 Black Lead – 015. to 020. round Thread – 6/0 or 8/0 black Tail – black goose biots Body – black larva lace or wire Wings – black goose biots Legs – small black rubber leg material Thorax – black UV ice dub Wing Case – fuchsia prism flash Finish poxyback wing case with Clear Cure Goo or Liquid Fusion

Hook – mustad 9671 Size 16 to 18 Bead head – gold – optional Thread – olive Tail – olive or brown wood duck flank Flash – two stands of olive pearl Body – brown olive dubbing Rib – fine brown or heavy brown thread Wing Case – turkey feather Legs – wood duck flank or small scored rubber legs Thorax – peacock hurl

For questions or comments please visit my website at: or email:

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Company Profile: Chota


he cover was pretty tight. Honestly? I had my doubts that the angler I was watching intently could make the cast. Standing on a high bank and looking down upon him, I watched as he deftly and quietly maneuvered into position. He seemed to be quite at ease under the thick, overhanging canopy of trees, so common in the Tennessee Highlands. My guide from the Sevierville (TN) Orvis store, Dave Carson, gave a bit of encouragement to the angler: “I know he’s in there, Frank. It’s tough down there, I know,” Carson continued, almost apologetically, “but I know those fish are in there.” Frank Bryant didn’t reply but cast an eye to the surrounding mountain laurel. Bryant is the owner of Knoxville-based Chota Outdoor Gear, famed for its excellent waders—so the man certainly knows his way around a fly rod. He assessed the tight cover and made an apparently effortless roll cast,

Beau Beasley

the fly hitting the back end of the pool with precision. As Bryant slowly retrieved his pattern from the back of the pool, I noticed a slight twitch in his line before it went taut. Carson was all smiles now, and he looked over his shoulder glancing up towards me as I continued peering down at them both. “I knew he was in there,” Carson said confidently. “I just wasn’t sure you could get to him.” A smiling Bryant fought the ornery fish for a few minutes before finally bringing the beautiful rainbow to hand and quickly releasing him again. We headed upstream to a new pool, Carson and I complimented Bryant’s excellent cast while he steadfastly insisted that he “just got lucky.” Of course we both knew that this was nonsense. We’d witnessed years of practice and experience distilled into a few seconds of expert execution. Frank Bryant casts with the same precision and determination that have helped him to build Chota Outdoor

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Frank Bryant carefully chooses a fly before hitting the stream. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 111

company profile rush to bring new products to market and add dozens of new dealers each year, Bryant says about Chota that “Our first concern is functionality and comfort before anything else. We strive to have the most comfortable wading shoes and products in the market bar none, so I’m not one to rush something to market just because I think it will sell.” Chota’s general sales manager Mark Brown, fishing alongside Bryant and Carson, has a similar take on product development. He is keen

on customer service and committed to bringing the very best wading products to market. Brown says that Chota views every customer as integral to the company. “We try to treat each Chota dealer the same way, no matter their size. This industry is small, and we want to be on good terms with everyone.” Mark Brown looked over his shoulder as we made our way upstream in pursuit of a new pool. Frank Bryant trudged along behind us at a leisurely pace. “The man isn’t much for speed,” said Brown with a laugh, “but you’d be hard-pressed to find a harder worker. It was all I could do to get him to come fishing today. I finally told him we needed to do some ‘field research’ and put some of his new gear through its paces.” While many companies tout customer service, few owners take it to heart like

Frank Bryant hooked up on a nice Tennessee trout. Gear into one of the most respected brands in fly fishing. Bryant came by his love of the outdoors the old fashioned way, he inherited it. Young Bryant spent his childhood growing up in the northeastern corner of Indiana near the Michigan state line, which he describes as “like a small piece of Minnesota, with hundreds of glacial lakes nearby, only located in Indiana.” Bryant’s father fly fished these lakes and often took little Frank along with him in the family canoe. “One of my earliest memories is falling asleep in the bow of that canoe and smelling the fine odor of cedar and canvas around me. My dad loved to fish the Hex hatch on summer evenings on Little Long Lake.”

Chota was born when Bryant retired after 25 years in the scuba industry. Chota is a Native American word that means branch or river, and it was the name of the principal Cherokee village near the Little Tennessee River. “The Little Tennessee River was my favorite water in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” says Bryant. “I’d often eat my lunch near the old Chota town site while paddling downstream with my rod or gun in hand.” The site of the old village is now under water as a result of the Telloco Dam. Bryant is an easy-going, straightforward, methodical man. Even as we fished, he seemed to pace himself. This deliberation very much informs Bryant’s approach to business. Whereas so many manufacturers

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Frank Bryant started Chota nearly two decades ago. The company is widely regarding throughout the fly fishing industry for its quality and customer service. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 113

company profile Chota’s new camouflaged waders can help anglers blend in with their surroundings.

Mark Brown keeps a low profile while fishing for finicky mountain trout. feels much the same way. “I’ve been a Chota dealer since 1998, and I love doing business with those guys. Frank is as close to a water expert as you’re likely to find, and he really knows his stuff when it comes to materials. When you combine that kind of know-how with excellent customer service, it’s hard to beat.” Begley’s also quick to point out that his neck of the woods, and in particular the Great Smoky Mountains, “[We] were the original testing grounds for Chota. In fact some of the company’s products have been named for our local waters.” Bryant. If you need proof positive that good customer service is a Chota trademark, you need look no further than Spruce Creek (PA) Fly Shop owner Allan Bright, who has been a Chota dealer for as long as he can remember. He not only loves the product, he appreciates the company’s attitude toward its dealers. “Chota combines quality products with true customer service. I never,

ever feel like I’m merely a number with them. In fact,” he continues “when someone there answers the phone, chances are better than average that they’ll know me by name. They are simply a great company to deal with, and I sell lots and lots of their products.” Byron Begley, owner of the famed Little River Outfitters in Townsend, Tennessee,

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Chota’s innovation sets the company apart from others in their field. Their camouflage waders are equally popular with anglers and duck hunters, as are their “Hippies,” which are convertible stocking-foot hip waders that transform to knee-high wading socks in a snap—perfect for trout anglers who fish small streams or in elevated regions like the Great Smokey Mountain National Park.

Flexibility, durability, and comfort are paramount at Chota. Bryant says that “rack appeal is necessary for sales, but not at the expense of performance.” He lives for letters like this one, from a customer who is also a soldier: I purchased a pair of Chota WW700 in my hometown of Hamburg, PA, while on leave from my third deployment to Afghanistan, and they’re the nicest, softest, most comfy pair of boots I’ve ever owned…. I’ve worn them almost every day of the remainder of my tenure here since then. Yes, although these boots were not designed for Afghanistan, I walk on more river rocks in a day than I do on a sidewalk, and the soles and uppers are holding up great. Bryant admits that it’s not easy keeping up with trends: “Some of our products can be turned around in a year or so. But others | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 115

company profile might take years before I feel we can bring them to market and have them perform as intended.” Research and development is all-important. Bryant points to the “antifelt” movement as an example of a rush to judgment. “Some guys traded in their felt-soled wading shoes for new ones using rubber when that became all the rage. They incorrectly believe that they never have to clean their wading boots now since they aren’t felt-soled. This is just plain wrong— aquatic organisms get trapped in the seams and lining of your wading shoes no matter who makes them or how good they are.” He insists, “Anglers still need to be proactive in cleaning their gear, even if they have nonfelt-soled wading shoes.” To drive his point home, Bryant showed me a pair of wading shoes that I’d have sworn were soled in felt but were instead covered with a rubberized material. Bryant commented that the material “acts like felt in the way that it holds anglers to rocks, but that same material holds organisms that can be transplanted to other waters. I don’t care what manufacturer you’re getting your wading shoes from. You need to clean them.”

you washed your waders? I don’t mean the wading shoes—I mean the waders themselves. Try this test; The next time you take your waders off, wring them out over a pan and look at all the stuff in the pan. Those organisms that were sticking to the legs or the stocking feet of your waders can be easily transported somewhere else the following day if they aren’t completely dry or cleaned.” For the rest of the morning, Bryant and I traded places along the stream. He would cast, and then I would cast as we worked our way around tight cover and crystal-clear plunge pools. Brown hop-scotched from pool to pool out-fishing us both, though no one was keeping score. At the end of the day we reconvened at Carson’s truck, gazing at the beautiful trout stream and considering the fun we’d had fishing it. I thanked Carson for guiding me on the laurel-flanked water and Bryant and Brown for joining us. “Come on back anytime, Beau,” quipped Bryant. “We can always use another hand for field research.” Photos courtesy of Beau Beasley

And then Bryant brought the point home to me, “Beau, when was the last time

You can check out Chota for yourself at one of the nation’s 400 Chota dealers. While the company doesn’t sell directly to consumers, you can view their products on their website and order from the dealer closest to you. Visit

Dave Carson, Mark Brown and Frank Bryant after a day of Chota field testing. Note that Brown is testing two different pairs of Hippies at the same time. 116 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 117

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Georgia Mountain Magic


ne of the appeals of trout fishing in the southern highlands was always opening day of the season. Through the winter months, time at the tying vise or fiddling with dormant equipment could assuage slightly the void created by incarceration indoors. Those activities could also manage to keep at bay the memories of forays from the previous summer and fall. A slip in that discipline, however, ran the risk of sending one plunging into reminisced revelries, which only lengthened the calendar’s intolerable creep.

Jimmy Jacobs

But, with the arrival of the short but frigid days of February on into March, the added anticipation of that opening day kept alive the faint trout-fishing pulse in many cabinbound anglers. Then, as the singular event drew near, the desire to fish built to such a fever pitch that it demanded cold waters in which to stand while stalking trout. These days all that has changed. Exceptional tailwater fisheries and the advent of delayed-harvest streams have made trout fishing a year-round sport. Also, many smaller mountain streams are now open to winter fishing as well. Unfortunately, this new-found freedom has removed much of the mystique of opening day. It was against that factual background that one early April morning, I found myself shuffling up the sand-andgravel bed of Bear Den Creek. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains a bit north Georgia’s faux alpine tourist village of Helen, this ribbon of crystalline water still adheres to seasonal trout rules as it courses through the Chattahoochee National Forest. Only a small stream by any standard, its water harbors wild rainbows and–if you labor far enough up into the mountains–a vestige population of Southern Appalachian brook trout.

Bear Den Creek is a small stream even by mountain standards

As I climbed rocks and bullied past rhododendron limbs shaded by stately hemlock and rigidly straight poplar trees, the creek demanded roll casts and extreme caution where any back cast was possible. As water containing wild trout in North Georgia, Bear Den is not exceptional.

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The trout it hides in potholes and tiny plunge pools rarely attain lengths of 10 inches, with 6 or 7 inches the norm. Colorful though they may be with blue and crimson markings, the rainbows are not enough to lure most anglers to the stream. In fact, I was probably the first to trek up that tiny creek in the week or so since the trout season opened.

rainbows hiding below. Sometimes they rose slowly to sip the insect imitation from the surface film, but more often they rocketed from the turbulent water to smack at the supposed morsel. These trout, 8 to 9 inches each, seemed stamped from a cookie cutter, their sides blazing with vivid colors attained only in a cold mountain creek.

But, on this day, Bear Den Creek proved a magical place. The new buds just beginning to appear, mixed with the evergreen of the hemlocks and rhododendron, were nudged occasionally by gentle winds. The sun’s rays picked their way through the maze of overhead boughs to bathe the carpet of last year’s decaying leaf litter and ricochet off the stream’s surface. All the while, water tumbling over rocks provided the soundtrack for the pristine scenery. Such a setting could easily have been found on dozens of other small creeks throughout the region. But when the trout joined in the idyllic performance, the magic began.

Pushing farther upstream, my count of these natural jewels rose to 10, then 15 and surpassing 20. Along the way, I skirted the last remnant of civilization–a wooden sign on the streamside trail announcing the edge of the Mark Trail Wilderness Area. Finally, when my catch numbered 30 taken and released, I rested on a rock overlooking a small waterfall, basking in the fresh smell of new greenery, the rush of the water and the veritable magic of the day’s trout fishing.

For perhaps two hours,

a No. 14 Parachute Adams plopped on the surface where the churning bubbles of shoals and cascades began to fade into the body of small pools drew instant attention from

Vividly painted rainbow trout are the staple of the fishing on Bear Den Creek

As with many situations in life, a seemingly unrelated circumstance added the final touch to this unique morning. The location in the Mark Trail Wilderness Area created a special connection. A couple of years earlier I had accepted an invitation to drive from Marietta over to Covington and spend an afternoon with Charlie Elliott. At the time the self-effacing 92-year-old outdoorsman had long since crossed over from being the dean of Southern outdoor writers into the realm of legend. From his days as a forester both out west and here in his home state, he had risen to head the old Georgia Game and Fish Commission twice and been the first director of state parks, before pursuing a 50-year career as a field editor for Outdoor Life magazine. During that span, he hunted big game across several continents and fished around the world. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 123

georgia The tales of his outdoor exploits were populated with a cast of characters who were equally legendary. He bassfished with his cousin Bobby Jones of golf fame. Another of his sporting companions over year was Ed Dodd, who originated the syndicated comic strip “Mark Trail,” More than once Dodd confided that his fictional woodsman was loosely based on the career of his friend Charlie Elliott.

‘The last thing I’ll ever do on this Earth,” he assured me, “is drag myself across this office floor, reach up to the typewriter and hit the wrong key.”

During the hours we whiled away in his formal office, our conversation wandered onto the subject of fishing the Georgia mountains. We shared anecdotes of favorite pools and memorable casts, especially on the Conasauga and Jacks “Mr. Charlie” Elliott at the type rivers in northwest As we sat in Elliott’s study, writer in his study Georgia’s Cohutta the veteran outdoorsman Mountains. Our stories spun yarns about trekking were separated by half a century, but in through the Georgia mountains in the 1930s both versions the waters were clear, the and ‘40s, trout fishing and turkey hunting trout painted with sparkling colors, and the with Arthur Woody, the “barefoot ranger.” same breezes ruffled the Woody was responsible surrounding leaves. for restocking the mountains with whitetail deer and reintroducing trout to many of the streams, as he singlehandedly patrolled what would become the Chattahoochee National Forest. And true to his nickname, Woody made those rounds without the benefit of footwear. Those experiences also provided the fodder for the more than 20 books that Elliott eventually authored. To listen to his firsthand accounts shoved a jar the door to that faded world for an afternoon. Eventually, I felt compelled to ask him if he had more writing planned. 124 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

Now sitting on a mosscovered rock beside the babbling water and shaded by the forest

Go high enough upstream and you encounter native Southern Appalachian brook trout in the stream canopy, I have the sense that I’m still in Charlie Elliott’s office. Only it’s now the more expansive, informal portion where he learned the stories, before he sat down to type them. It was in early May, not long after the opening of the first trout season of the new millennium, when I heard that “Mr. Charlie,” as he had come to be known, had moved on to another plane, leaving his beloved earthly mountains, waters and pine flatlands to the rest of us to shepherd. The high mountains and broad rivers of the West have been described as the cathedrals of trout fishing in America. That would seem

to make this shaded valley of Bear Den Creek in which I rest more of a personal chapel. If the scale is diminished, the glory is the same. Too bad Mr. Charlie is not on hand to share my rock pulpit and hear my testimony. Then again, perhaps I’m wrong about his absence. The sound I assume is the rattle of wind-blown leaves may actually be the muffled mirth of an approving chuckle shared by Charlie Elliott and Mark Trail as they peek through the rhododendron at the angler splayed out on a rock beside the stream, musing on the many ingredients that create the magic of their mountains in the springtime. This article first appeared in the March 2006 edition of Georgia Sportsman magazine. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 125

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Directions: From St. Louis, take Highway 44 West to Exit 208 (Cuba/Owensville). Turn left and head south on Highway 19 (approx 9 miles). Pass through downtown Steelville. You’ll come to a 3 way stop. Go straight and head east on Highway 8 (approx. 5 miles). Turn right onto Highway BB. Follow BB another 5 miles to the Westover entrance gate. Drive to the back of the property and park in the parking Walk across the raceway bridges and check in at the fly shop. 126 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 127

128 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 129




ne of the first places I had to visit when I moved to Memphis in July 1967 was the Spring River. Having grown up in central Arkansas, I’d heard a lot about the river, but I had never made the trip for one reason or another. Moving to Memphis, which is about three hours from Hardy and the base camp for most Spring River visitors, gave me that opportunity, especially when the Berry brothers, Dan and John, suggested I give it try.

a box of redworms, just in case you come across a hungry trout. And don’t forget your fly-fishing equipment. In 1985, the AG&FC came into possession of its own trout hatchery, a donation from the Kroger Co. of Cincinnati. The Spring River State Fish Hatchery enables the AG&FC to raise its own trout year-round and has increased opportunities for widening species diversity in Arkansas’s trout waters. The upper portion of the river, a 17-mile stretch from Mammoth Spring to Hardy, is trout country, since the nearby state hatchery stocks most of its trout here each year. The 10 miles from Dam 3 to Many Islands campground also holds a good population of walleye. In fact, an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission survey of this section of the river showed an average of 171 rainbow and brown trout per mile. This is not surprising considering the Spring’s reputation for producing good numbers of trout. What was surprising, however, was that the same study uncovered 112 walleyes per mile. And, they weighed up to 10 pounds.

After all, if it’s good enough for Dan and John, two of the Mid-South’s legendary fly anglers, it was good enough at the time for even a novice like me. It’s on the Spring where I first fell in love with trout fishing, and which later led me to Arkansas’ other trout fishing meccas, the Little Red, North Fork of the White, and the White rivers. Let me tell you more about the Spring River. Each year, outdoors enthusiasts are drawn to the Spring River, a spring-fed, bubbling paradise spawned from a daily deluge of 9 million gallons of water per hour rising from Mammoth Spring. Some come to fish, for the Spring is an angler’s paradise. Some come to shoot the river’s many rapids, for the Spring is a haven for canoeists. And some come to just dip their toes in the water, for the Spring provides a relaxing camping experience. The Spring River, traveling about 49 river miles from Mammouth Spring to Black Rock, is easily accessible from U.S. 63. But to truly see the beauty of the Spring River, you must get off the highway and into a canoe, for this is the way the pioneers first saw the Spring’s clear, cold water, overhanging trees and a series of ledges and pools surrounded by the ma jestic beauty of the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. For the fisherman, the Spring River provides a plethora of fish and fishing options. The Spring is free-flowing, for the most part unpolluted and, thanks to a water level that

seldom fluctuates, the nearest thing to a natural trout stream in Arkansas with 6- to 13-inch trout stocked weekly, for a total of more than 100,000 each year. In its upper portion, that means trout. Lots of trout. Rainbows. Browns. Brookies. That’s right...brook trout. After a test stocking of brook trout in the 1980s, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began stocking them in the Spring River and three other tailwater sites in 1995. On stocking days, it’s not uncommon for an angler to catch a fivetrout limit within a matter of hours. There’s a two-fish, 16-inch size limit for brown and cutthroat trout, which, along with rainbow,

130 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

have been stocked in the river. In 2013, the AGFC stocked more than 130,000 rainbow trout into the Spring River Besides trout, the Spring offers high-quality smallmouth bass and seasonal walleye fishing, and also, there is the chance to catch channel and flathead catfish, spotted bass, pickerel, rockbass, warmouths, longear sunfish and several other lesser-known species. The Spring doesn’t require fancy, high-tech equipment: light tackle, light line and an assortment of small lures will do. Maybe toss in a can of corn, jar of salmon eggs, and

The stretch of the river from Mammoth Spring to three miles downstream at Dam No. 3—a former hydroelectric structure—is best waded and fished afoot except for the deep portion near the dam. This is prime flyfishing water with pools, runs and pockets of water. ‘’It’s an incredible fishery,’’ Dan Berry said. ‘’The amount of food in the Spring River that trout feed on is phenomenal. The fish grow so fast, they start looking like footballs.’’ The Lassiter’s Access on the river, which is about one-half mile downstream from Mammoth Spring State Park, also offers good fly-fishing opportunities. This portion of the river is stocked heavily by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission but also receives heavy fishing pressure. The water from Dam 3 to Bayou Access may | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 131


be the best fly-fishing water on the river. However, it can only be reached by foot or floating. The float from Bayou Access to Many Islands—about 7 miles—is a hold-onto-your-paddle canoe ride filled with shoals and pools. Trout, ranging from 10 ounces to 3 pounds, often can be found holding below a riffle. Although most shoals are easy to navigate, some are treacherous enough to dump an unassuming paddler.


nearly as crowded,’’ Dan Berry said, ‘’and it’s often just you and the river.’’ Just the way the pioneers saw it.

Few trout are found in the Spring below Myatt Creek, which enters the river about two miles below Many Islands. The flow from Myatt Creek increases the river’s water temperature and shuts off most trout fishing. However, this section of the river—about 8 miles—is known for smallmouth bass and walleye.

While the Spring River is a prolific fishery, it’s also a 17-mile ride on the rapids for canoeists. Apparently, Memphians love to tackle the Spring’s many rapids. Commercial canoe outfitters on the river say that as much as 70 percent of their business comes from a 60-mile radius of Memphis. What they come for is the thrill of floating a stream with numerous waterfalls and rapids… particularly the first 9 miles between Dam 3 and Hardy. The take-out point for this section of the river is Many Islands Campground, a private development located between Hardy and Mammoth Spring about 2 1/2 miles west of U.S. 63.

Like its name says, spring is one of the best times to fish the Spring. ‘’The river isn’t

The river is designated a Class 1 or 2 float stream. However, a Class 2 stream might be

132 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

stretching it some, a member of a Memphisbased canoe club once told me. “It’s a true Class 1 stream that’s great for beginners,’’ he said. The second half of the Spring River’s upper portion begins at Many Islands and concludes about 8 miles downstream at Hardy Beach, a public park below the U.S. 62-167 Bridge. Though there aren’t as many rapids and waterfalls on this section of the river, there is one waterfall that boaters won’t forget: High Falls, a six-foot drop that looks taller than that from a canoe going over its brink. The 30 or so miles below Williford to Black Rock feature long, slow pools with little boating activities and two public accesses— at Ravenden and Imboden. From Imboden to Black Rock, about nine miles, is strictly a warm-water float.

An abundance of wildlife lives along the river, including deer, squirrels, raccoons and beavers. It is not unusual to see an eagle while floating the river. The beauty of paddling the Spring is its diversity. It’s a fun river to paddle. As an alternative float, some canoeists like the South Fork of the Spring. It is canoeable most of the year and features a 12-mile float from Saddle (on Ark. 289) to the bridge at the Cherokee Village Campground and a 6-mile trip from the bridge to Hardy Beach. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission warns boaters and campers on the South Fork that the river’s gravel bars are great for picnicking…but can be quickly inundated following local or upstream rainfall. Also, don’t underestimate the shoals, and be on the lookout for snakes in the spring and summer. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 133

134 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 135


Solitude of Blue Spring Creek Bill Cooper


crave the solitude that trout fishing often brings. Many of the least known trout fisheries in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas are the diminutive wild trout streams that lace these hilly regions. Blue Spring Creek, in Crawford County, Missouri is one of my favorite wild trout streams.

Wild trout streams get very little pressure and provide some excellent fishing. Blue Spring Creek is no exception. I have never encountered another person while fishing Blue Spring. I hope it remains that way.

Streams in Missouri, which have been designated Blue Ribbon Trout Streams, are the best and most productive of the trout streams. All support wild rainbow trout populations, and the larger streams harbor large brown trout. Trout are not native to Missouri. Railroad crews, in the late 1880s, distributed fingerlings in many of the tiny streams that they crossed on trips from St. Louis to Joplin. The Missouri Fish Commission created three trout parks in the 1920s and 30s at Bennett Spring State Park, Montauk State Park and Roaring River State Park. The James Foundation’s Maramec Spring Park was added in the 1960s. It was not until the 1970s that biologists discovered wild, self-sustaining rainbow trout populations in several of the smaller streams. Many of these charming streams became part of the Blue Ribbon Trout Streams program. Anglers are only allowed one fish per day from the Blue Ribbon areas, but also it must be 18 inches or better. Only artificial flies and lures are allowed.

Stealth is paramount to success on wild trout streams like Blue Spring Creek, in the Missouri Ozarks. 136 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

Wild rainbow trout are a treasure. The Blue Ribbon streams are never stocked, and each and every fish is an asset to the continuation of wild trout populations. I have never killed a wild trout. I release each one with hopes of fighting the colorful, wild fish again on another day.

Several wild trout streams course their way through southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Fishing wild trout streams is not for everyone. It is hard work to traverse the sometimes rough terrain which is found along most of these streams. Again, Blue Spring Creek is no exception. High banks, thick stream side vegetation, loose gravel, rock rubble and mud are only a few of the natural barriers which deter the less than hardy fishermen from plying these wild waters. Toss in stinging nettle, thorns, briars, spider webs, | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 137


Wild trout streams are open all year for fishing solitude.

Dark water is deeper water where wild trout often hide. and the occasional bad tempered banded water snake, and you get the picture. You have to want to catch a wild, stream-bred trout very badly to endure the challenging conditions. Therein lies the allure of Blue Spring Creek. The diminutive stream is 6-to-20-feet wide Backcasts are an impossibility in all but a few spots. Anglers must be adept at roll casts, sidearm casts, and the occasional bow Dan arrow cast in order to place flies in likely trout holding water up under overhangs, rootwads and cutbanks.

Dark water indicates a pocket of deeper water. These areas are key to finding larger trout in Blue Spring Creek. They should be approached cautiously, because trout here are extremely spooky. Predators are a constant force in a trout’s life at Blue Spring. Avian predators include owls, hawks, eagles, and ospreys. Raccoons and otters are a constant threat as well. A noisy fisherman will see few, if any, big trout here. The first cast to a dark water trout lair is the most important. Accuracy is paramount to fooling one of these wary fish. Drifting nymphs from the head to the tail out of these tiny holes of water is a deadly tactic. Holes

138 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

Wild trout are a treasure and should be released to fight another day. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 139

feature Blue Spring is home to a tremendous population of wild rainbows with an estimated 290 per mile. Most are small, but a decent population of 8-to-14-inchers exist.

Someone once said that fishing takes an awful lot of time. That is the point. Time spent chasing wild, stream bred rainbow trout on a cold, clear water stream is time well spent.

Blue Spring rainbows are quite fond of crayfish. Carrying a variety of crayfish patterns in sizes 8 to 14 is a wise choice. Other good patterns for this stream include:

Charles Bradford said that the desire for trout fishing is like some diseases. It attacks some men with great severity without notice. “It can be no more resisted than falling in love can be resisted, and like love, the best treatment is its gratification.”

Wooly Bugger in olive, white, or black #10 Hare’s Ear Nymph in #14 to #18 Elk Hair Caddis in # 14 to #18 Copper John in #16 to #18 Prince Nymph in # 14 to # 18 Pheasant Tail Nymph in # 14 to #18

And, as Bradford says, “The taste of trout and women is governed by a similar law, and they change it quite often.” Go well prepared and remember that a trout is a gentleman and should be treated as such.

Beadhead nymphs are great flies for rainbows in wild streams. will vary from two or three feet in length up to 30 feet. Strikes come most often on the very first drift. Don’t linger at any hole very long. You will only spook fish. Once you feel you have worked a hole thoroughly, move on to another hole. Skip the flat, unproductive water and concentrate your energy on the more productive looking water. Should you spook a fish you would like to catch, simply abandon the hole and come back in an hour or two. I have utilized this technique on many occasions to catch larger trout.

Most trout you will catch at Blue Spring Creek will fall far short of the 18-inch length limit. However, fish of that class do exist. If you do not concern yourself with catching trophy trout, you will catch more fish. Three and four weight fly rods are the best bet for Blue spring rainbows. I prefer a Sage rod and fly reel in four weight and fly line to match. Likewise, leaders and tippets should remain light, seldom over two pound test. It is a good idea to carry extra weights just in case you come across an exceptionally large fish. Back off and change the tippet.

140 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 141

feature line of over 300 traditional molds of the Canadian species. Although the quality of this “Traditional Series” cannot match that of the “Premier and Signature Series,” the line does provide specimens in sizes that are very hard to come by. Our third goal is to maintain a consistently short turnaround time with our deliveries. As manufacturers,

made from skin mounted fish. Roguske’s molds are made using silicone on the actual fish, a process which captures much greater detail. He says that he can’t imagine what the original taxidermists went through to make a mold of some very large saltwater fish. Needless to say the end products were not very satisfactory. In fact, the poor image of replicas as a result of many of those early attempts still haunts us today. Detail was poor and they just simply looked like a painted piece of plastic.

we are proud of our two week order to shipping schedule on most standard products.”

Lake Country Replicas process is so exacting, it even captures the muscle tone of each fish. Also by taking greater care in their approach, they separate each distinct part of the fish like the head from the body in order to capture the unique features of each part. For example, the tooth detail for fish like northern pike, musky and walleye is extremely lifelike. Initially, this requires more work but the end result justifies the effort.

Get Real! Lake Country Replicas


n the modern world of catch and release, especially the releasing of truly trophy brood stock trout, for many of us, long held desires for having a mounted trophy trout on a wall is almost like reverting to being a cave dweller. In a nutshell, it is no longer considered cool to bring a trophy catch home for subsequent delivery to a taxidermist. This is good news for trout, but bad news for any taxidermist who specializes in fish. Fortunately, thanks to the superior brains of Homo sapiens, a more than adequate compromise has occurred. Known as replica mounts, these new decorative trophies are as real looking as the finest fish mounts. Until recently, this sort of work was available largely from taxidermist who had made the switch to molded fish bodies. However, now it is a transaction that

can be completed online, and at a fraction of the cost of traditional taxidermy. Last summer at the ICAST Show in Las Vegas, the Southern Trout team met Fred Roguske, founder of Lake Country Replicas. Their display of trout, bass, crappie and saltwater fish was nothing short of dazzling. “Our primary goal is to provide the finest line of freshwater fish replicas available to the taxidermy industry by using our unique molding processes,” says Roguske. “We strive to consistently provide high quality replicas. When a mold gets weak or worn, we make a new mold from the master. When the replica does not meet expectations, we improve the master. Our second goal is to have the most complete selection of all the freshwater species available. To that end, we recently acquired an outstanding

142 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

Oddly, Roguske is not a taxidermist and says he has never had the artistic talent to be one. His formal training was in economics and business administration. However, Lake Country Replicas only has only one person on its staff of 14 who has had formal taxidermy training. “I am very much an entrepreneur at heart,” says Roguske. “It was while I was briefly semi retired that I first saw fish replicas that were being manufactured by these new processes. The dramatic improvement over the old traditional products looked like a sales and marketing dream. I decided to invest in an effort to turn it into a commercial endeavor. That was nine years ago. There was never an issue over the superiority of our products, but from day one, the ability to produce enough was constantly a challenge.”

People come up to them at shows and ask, “Is this really a replica?” The answer is always a confident, proud, “Yes.” Most of the time newcomers are surprised and say it looks like a real fish. “We know then that we

For the most part, fish replicas were made from fiberglass molds | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 143


144 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

feature | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 145

feature have accomplished our goal,” says Roguske. “Like any manufacturer, we are always trying new products and techniques which might enhance our products or techniques. The past ten years have provided us with a wealth of new composite resins to work with.”     “It would be fun to take credit for the great painting that our people do, but the truth is, I am partially color blind so I can’t even fully appreciate the great job they do,” says Roguske. “I couldn’t paint a fish well if my life depended upon it! In our early years of working taxidermy shows, I had the good fortune of getting to know a truly outstanding fish artist. Rick Krane, Angler’s Artistry of Hinsdale New Hampshire, is a well-known World Champion fish artist who has set aside his acclaim to fame in order to teach fish taxidermy and painting to a constant crop of up and coming taxidermists.” The company realized that we needed to develop painting skills within its own staff, so they had Rick come out and spend a week with some of their people. They started with six which dropped to three as their depth of interest was defined. This is not a part-time hobby endeavor. “Rick has since been out twice more, each time taking our three to the next level.” Painting replicas is a somewhat unique process because of the initial quality of Lake Country Replicas. For instance, they actually have scales so they can be highlighted through a sort of antiquing process rather than having to paint scales in. According to Roguske, “A more recent development for the taxidermy industry was the perfection of translucent paints which enable us to lightly layer paints onto the fish to gain the rainbow of colors that you see in a freshly caught fish.” “The only credit I can take in all of this process was the fact that I spent several years catching and photographing fresh

feature fish in order to provide good photo reference material on over 80 species,” says Roguske. “I know this doesn’t sound much like work, but good photo reference materials have played a critical role in evolving our capabilities and my camera isn’t color blind. “Now to answer your question, as a somewhat handicapped observer, my favorites are that group of notoriously silver fish like salmon, stripers and tarpon. Our painters capture that rainbow of colors blues, greens and reds that are always there when the fish initially leaves the water, and as the observer moves past the fish, each color jumps out just as it does when you turn the real fish.” “First of all, fish are intuitively beautiful. However, for the true angler, a beautiful replica displayed in his or her important space communicates to all others that passion. The same is true whether the fish is a real trophy from some exotic trip or a simple crappie or bream from some days gone by. For your readers especially, there is the desire to communicate the satisfaction of outsmarting some cagey trout in a stream regardless of its size. That scene of a trout in a rocky river bottom scene tells everybody entering that you have a passion. For me, it would be wanting to communicate one of those times when a king salmon or a tarpon had cleared the water on a jump, and my heart stopped until it had reentered the water, and I realized it was still a fish on. This one piece of art communicates more to others about you and your passion than all the explanation you can make. Fortunately for us, these passions evolve over life and we sometimes get to depict those changes with additional pieces,” say Roguske.

146 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

By virtue of its geographic location, Lake Country replicas does large quantities of the Canadian big three—Northern Pike, Walleye and Lake Trout, all of which are relatively easy to paint. Detail to the spotting tends to make trout a little more challenging. You better not spot an Arctic Char like a Dolly Varden! This is where our photo reference has proven so valuable. Brookies and Browns require much more extensive attention to detail. When asked about replicas of brook trout from the Southern Appalachians, Roguske says that to make it as realistic looking as

possible nothing is more important than a good photograph. “We can do a generic fish but we will paint a custom fish to your photo. It may be unique spotting or unique shading and coloration of your fish due to where it was taken. We can paint to your picture but not to a simple memory in your mind. Of course length and either girth or weight is helpful in selecting the proper mold to begin with.” For more information contact Fred Roguske at Lake Country Replicas at 302-796-0122; or email or visit www. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 147

te Sta ! i r T ion Reg

Georgia -- Tennesssee -- North Carolina

Trout -- Bass -- Striped Bass -- Panfish

148 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

! ing ! h s i g F Fly- Fishin n Spi | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 149

north carolina

north carolina

North Carolina Delayed Harvest their wild counterparts. But, anglers should not be fooled into thinking that the fishing on the delayed harvest streams is always easy; once the fish have been caught a couple of times, they start to get skeptical of certain flies. Think about it, if every time you ate a piece of chicken you got a hook stuck in your face, it would not take long before you only ate steak. While most anglers fish worms, eggs, and Woolly Buggers on the DH streams, once the fish have been pressured a little, anglers will catch more and bigger fish by fishing more realistic patterns like Pheasant Tails, Soft Hackles and Midges. Anglers will also discover that the longer the fish have been in the stream the smaller the diameter tippet they will have to use. Most of the DH streams support some carry over fish as well as what is stocked with the regular monthly stockings. The stockings take place during the first week of October, November, March, April, and May.


orth Carolina’s Delayed Harvest program began in the spring of 1992 with 4 streams. The idea was to reclaim some water that could support trout in the spring but may not be ideal habitat in the summertime. The program proved super successful, and beginning in 1996, the program was expanded to the fall and spring. Today, North Carolina’s Delayed Harvest Program is one of the most popular programs in fly fishing. Currently, there are 18 streams that cover just of 50 miles of water in the NC Delayed Harvest Program. There are even some people starting to talk about some form of a year round stocked fishery on some of the DH streams. So what has driven the popularity of the DH Program in NC?

For anglers, the NC Delayed Harvest Program offers a lot of the opportunity to catch fish on a regular basis, due to the fact that the streams are stocked at higher densities than the regular hatchery supported waters. They also boast higher densities than the wild trout streams and the catch and release streams in North Carolina. With the higher fish concentrations in the delayed harvest streams, it makes a great place for those that want enjoy catching some fish without all the challenges that the catch and release streams offer. These higher densities also make a great place for beginning anglers to be successful, not only due to the fishing, but generally due to the fact that the DH streams have a lower gradient and are easier wading than some of

150 | Southern Trout | December 2013 |

Kevin Howell

guide trips and sales during the shoulder seasons. Some of the more popular DH streams are the Tuckeesegge River, Nantahala River, East Fork of the French Broad River, North Mills River and the Mitchell River. The North Mills and Mitchell Rivers can be crowded on any day of the week if the weather is nice since they are located so close to ma jor population centers. Anglers fishing the Tuck should use caution and pay close attention to water generation schedules of Duke Energy.

For fly shops and surrounding communities, the DH streams have proven to be a huge economic development tool. The DH streams draw anglers from as far away as Ohio, Indiana, and New York during the winter months when their streams are closed to fishing. These traveling anglers are helping to fill local hotels and restaurants. The fly shops are benefiting from added | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 151

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Our full day local wade trips take place on wild and hatchery supported/delayed harvest trout streams. However these trips allow our guide to take you to places that could not be reached with the time allowed on a half day trip. You will also be able to fish an assortment of great locations if the conditions allow.



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Dreaming of a Rainbow Christmas

n early winter, visitors to the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, Tennessee entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are greeted by a dazzling array of Christmas lights. Decorating the primary gateway to the national park has become a tradition that has attracted national attention and legions of sight seers.

Starting at the 407 exit off I-40, one can enjoy bob sledding bears to Santa himself along State 66. Things really get cranked up once you hit US 441 in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. It is an electrical overload that causes many locals to question and accuse the electric company their due to their own power higher bills. However, it is winter. At my house I suspect the power bill goes up as

a result of my three and a half ton Trane unit kicking in keep the women folk warm and happy. I grew up in Gatlinburg in the days when we rolled up the welcome mats the first week of November. Those who had a good summer typically spent a great deal of the winter in sunny South Florida not to return to the mountains until mid-March. As a child in the good years, my family was blessed enough to take a January cruise to the Caribbean. Back in the sixties

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worked hard to develop a plan to enable the community to extend the Greg Ward tourist season. In recent decades, this has occurred with the inception and seventies, Sevier County was a quite of Gatlinburg’s Ober Ski Lodge and different place than it is today. Pigeon Forge’s outlet malls, Dollywood, and much more. It has been a job well done. Back then the tourist season, We now have a ten-month season and all when everyone had plenty of weekends are busy. work and opportunity to make a few bucks, lasted six months The city of Gatlinburg changed everything or (if you are lucky) eight in the late nineties with its delayed harvest months at tops. During the off winter stocking program. The city has months, the county had the control of the many miles of stream that highest unemployment rate in bisect his bustling tourism hamlet. Over Tennessee. During the summer, a half-dozen streams, both big and small, you could not find someone to which begin in the pristine confines of the hire to work for you. Great Smoky Mountain National Park, exit through Gatlinburg on their way to the City and county officials in Sevierville French Broad River. It is a unique fishery | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 155


in that it is managed and stocked by a municipality. Single hook, artificial bait and catch and release only is the law of the land December through March in all Gatlinburg waters. Years ago the decision was made to stock these waters with larger trout as well. It is not uncommon to catch 20-inch plus rainbow trout during the winter months while on the sidewalk above you in the middle downtown, you are cheered on by a crowd of admiring tourists. Ever accessible, and rarely freezing over except in the coldest weather, these urban waters provide incredibly good fishing when the trout are in the mood. There is something too be said for walking out of a stream 100 feet into a coffee house for a cup of fresh java. My guide business has done extremely well with Gatlinburg’s winter catch-and-release program. For my guides it is great time for them to teach novice trout fishermen the

same techniques used for catching wild trout upstream in the waters of the Smokies. The big rainbow trout prowling the flows of Gatlinburg this time of year are considerably easier to catch than wild trout in the park. I personally prefer using ultra light spinning equipment to teach newbies how to read and fish water, but we do well with fly-fishin, too. Open waters are as follows: West Prong Little Pigeon River from National Park Boundary downstream to Gnatty Branch, except those sections set aside as Children’s Streams; Dudley Creek from National Park Boundary downstream to West Prong Little Pigeon River, except those sections set aside as Children’s Streams; Roaring Fork from National Park Boundary downstream to West Prong Little Pigeon River; and LeConte Creek from Painter’s Branch downstream to West Prong Little Pigeon River. Children Streams include the West Prong

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Little Pigeon River from a point to 100 yards upstream of the Herbert Holt Park Entrance downstream to the Gatlinburg By-Pass Bridge; Dudley Creek from the Highway 441 Bridge downstream to the West Prong Little Pigeon River; and LeConte Creek from Painters Branch upstream to National Park Boundary. It’s relatively easy to get permits for trout fishing as a visitor to Gatlinburg.

You can either drop by the Gatlinburg Welcome Center on your way into town or call ahead and set everything up through the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. In addition to the State Licensing Regulations listed below, a local permit will be required by the City Of Gatlinburg for all persons ages 13 and over. | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 157

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feature staged as a means to continue to raise funds for the Highlands Scholarship fund, which grants every graduating senior a scholarship if they go on to secondary education: college or a trade/technical school. “The Three Rivers Tournament first launched in May, 2011,” says Steve Perry, a lifelong, avid fly fisherman who has helped make this event one of the most successful of its kind in the US. “The first year, the Three Rivers Tournament began as a three-day fishing event, but in the years that followed, it was changed to a two-day fishing event. Since its inception, the Three River Tournament has grown into a big event. This year the event has already signed up participants from Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Colorado, and Florida.” “The first rule of the Three Rivers Tournament is to have fun,” continues Perry. “If your team of two fishermen want to participate for prizes, the team must catch at least one fish from a native trout, hatchery supported, and delayed harvest streams. The teams are then judged on the number of fish caught, as well as the total number of inches of fish caught over the

which to choose are within a fifty mile radius of the town of Highlands, and represent a total of 2200 plus miles of trout water. The teams receive a stream map, and choose their own destinations.

Three River Tournament Puts a “Trout Twist” on Competitive Fly Fishing


eeping track of who caught the most and biggest fish goes back farther than the onset of recreational fishing. Preceded by a smorgasbord of “fishing derbies,” Ray Scott revolutionized competitive fishing when he fathered the Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society. With this, the term “fishing tournament” entered the angling lexicon where it has been well seated ever since and fishing has never been the same in this country. Competitive bass fishing is just too reminiscent of a NASCAR event for the many fly fishermen whose pursuit of trout

lies somewhere in solitude. There the fly fisherman is armed only with a single fly, and the challenge is to go hand in hand with worthy quarry. Heaven forbid a fly fisherman riding atop his kayak be pulled into a convention center packed with screaming fans to see his catch measured. It literally took decades for a fly-fishing tournament to develop (how shall one say) “a fly fishing feel.” The best example in the world of the new age, fly-fishing tournaments is found in Western North Carolina. Three Rivers Tournament is the brainchild of Steve Perry, Eric NeSmith, and David Wilkes. It was first

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Leah Kirk

two days. Of course, it is catch and release fishing with anglers taking only pictures away with them from the stream. Lastly, if a team wants to hire a guide for the two days, they can do so, since there is both guided and unguided competition.” When asked how does fishing vary between the three rivers for which the event is named, Perry said that actually, there are not just three rivers. The “three rivers” reflects the fact that teams must fish a native trout stream, a hatchery supported stream, and a delayed harvest stream to compete for top prizes. The streams from

Many novice and seasoned participants ask what is needed to win the Three Rivers Tournament. According to Perry, The average for the first three years has been about 45-to-50 fish for the team over two days, averaging 10-inches per fish. So far, the largest fish caught was a 21” brown trout, with numerous 18” rainbows, browns and brookies. In addition to the team competition prizes, the tournament awards prizes for the largest trout, the smallest trout, the ugliest fish, the most native trout, | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 161


the largest total trout count, the best fish story from the two days of fishing, as well as the casting competition winners. When Perry was asked where he and his partners envisioned the Three Rivers Tournament in five years, he said, “We’d like to see the tournament maxing out at our 50 team limit, and bringing in fishermen and women from across the country. Our region has some of the best fly fishing in the world and May is prime season. Ideally, the Three River Tournament will eventually be on the fishing community’s radar as a not-to-bemissed event.” “The tournament is not only for the fun of being out on the river; it has philanthropic


roots with every team entry fee of $500.00 being made as a tax deductible donation to the Town of Highlands Scholarship Fund. Teams are also granted access to more than 2,200 miles of public water. In addition, we make it known that woman are welcome, children are welcome, and people who have never cast a fly rod are welcome. There is casting instruction given on Thursday by our guides, as well as by members of the North Carolina Fly Fishing Team.” As with any growing, well-managed event, there is more to the Three Rivers Tournament than just friendly rivalries on the water. In addition to the opening and closing night events, Perry says they are very excited to be partnering with The Bascom Art Center

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and their accompanying exhibit Making Waves, which will include demonstrations of wooden boat making, fly tying, custom rod building, and other water related art forms. Additionally, the guides and members of the North Carolina Fly Fishing Competitive team will be giving casting instructions on Thursday where anglers can have fly rods and reels tuned prior to the tournament. It is worth noting that all anglers compete against each other on a level field that does not take experience or expertise into account. However, according to Perry, this is why anglers have the option of hiring a guide for the duration of the tournament. Additionally, he says that some teams choose to fish, and not compete. “That is their prerogative. The Three Rivers Tournament is to showcase Western North Carolina’s incredible fishing venue, and for everyone to have fun! Everyone who loves to trout fish, or who wants to learn to trout fish on some of the most beautiful streams east of the Rockies,” says Perry.

destination weekend for all members of the family, whether they are participating in the tournament or not. We’re working with the Town of Highlands, local restaurants and retailers to roll out the red carpet to our teams and their guests. Main Street and surrounding areas offer endless shopping here in town, and we have top-notch dining options for all palettes. There are also dozens of hiking trails, zip line tours, and waterfalls for all outdoor interests.” For more information go to www.

“Another goal of the Three Rivers Tournament is to make the tournament a | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 163

Highlands 4th Annual

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May 1- 3, 2014 for Men & Women of All Skill Levels More than 2,200 Miles of Public Water Available to Fish During the Tournament Teams will fish one native, one hatchery supported and one delayed-harvest stream

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This fun weekend for the whole family includes Lunch Both Days, Opening Night Reception, Closing Night Winners’ Dinner With Food, Prizes and a Fishing Goody Bag

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Entry Fees Payable to the Town of Highlands Scholarship Fund are 100% Tax-Deductible or 828-526-8673 164 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 165


contributors Beau Beasley, Virginia Editor Beau Beasley is a well-known name among readers of fly angling magazines. His work has appeared in nearly every ma jor fly fishing periodical in the country. He is the author of Fly Fishing Virginia. Recently he won the TalbotDenmade Memorial Award for Best Conservation Article from the MasonDixon Outdoor Writers Association for his investigative piece “Where Have All The Menhaden Gone?” He’s also the director of the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival and lives with his wife and children in Warrenton, VA.

Bill Bernhardt Bill Bernhardt, 52, is the owner of and guide, instructor, and custom rod builder for Harper Creek Fly Fishing Company ( located in Lenoir, North Carolina. In addition, Bill is somewhat unusual in that he specialize in small streams, wild trout, and back county, remote access, walk/wade trips into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Consequently, his freelance outdoor articles along with his nature photography focus specifically on the exceptional beauty and excellent trout fishing opportunities available to fly fishermen in western North Carolina. John Berry Located in Cotter, Arkansas, “Trout Capital USA,” John Berry provides wade and float trips on the White, Norfork, Spring, and Little Red Rivers for trout and Crooked Creek for Smallmouth Bass. A retired CPA, he has been a professional fly-fishing guide in the Ozarks for almost two decades. An active conservationist, he has taught fly fishing and fly casting at a long list of colleges and events. Bob Borgwat, Columnist Bob Borgwat, 55, leads the team of Reel Angling Adventures at as owner, administrator, webmaster and guide. His freelance writing, editing, and photography covers fishing across the US, but his daily piscatorial adventures take place with fly-rod in hand just outside his doorstep in the southern reach of the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. He is a former senior editor for Game & Fish Magazines, Primedia and Intermedia Outdoors, and is an active member of the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association. Soc Clay Soc Clay was first published in Field & Stream and Outdoor Life magazines in the 1950s. He was one of the first members of the SEOPA, served as director for the OWAA, founded the Kentucky Outdoor Press Association, an inductee of the Freshwater Fishing Hall, and he is a poet laureate of Kentucky. A lifelong resident of South Shore, Kentucky, Clay is also known as an outdoor photographer. His photography has graced the covers of scores of magazines including in one year 11 of 12 issues of the fabled Bassmaster magazine. His latest book Soc Clay’s Mad Trapper Sourdough Baking Book, portrays the romantic history of the use of sourdough starters and recipes used to sustain rugged prospector during the Alaska Gold Rush. It is the authority for the use of sourdough in baking in the world. (

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Bill Cooper Living in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks, Bill Cooper has experienced the magic of the long rod from the Allegheny in the East to the Yellowstone in the West, and from the Quetico in Canada to the North to the Yucatan in the South. With an MS in Outdoor Education, his experience as a park superintendent and teacher of outdoor skills at Bass Pro Shop’s Wonders of Wildlife School has served him well as he serves as a tourism consultant to Campeche State, Mexico and Maya Amazing Outfitters. He is the author of the Outdoor Celebrities Cookbook and is writing experience spans writing for Cabela’s Outfitter Journal,, Game and Fish, Trophy Whitetail World, Turkey Country and Union Sportsman. Dave Ezell Dave Ezell grew up fishing on East Tennessee rivers and lakes and in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Lucky enough to make a living in sales and as a scribe for business publications, he also has enjoyed fishing a variety of waters from steelhead on the Sol Duc to tarpon off North Captiva, Florida. Dave is one of the sparkplugs in the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, he has been intimately involved with Troutfest since its inception. Currently he finds himself just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Maryville, Tennessee. Ron Gaddy Ron Gaddy grew up in Waynesville, North Carolina and started fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains at an early age. He grew up fishing Cataloochee, East and West Fork of the Pigeon River, Little East Fork of the Pigeon River, Nantahala River and Jonathan Creek. Ron left North Carolina at age 24 for a career with the Department of Defense at Charleston, SC and Norfolk, Virginia. After retiring from DOD in 2009 he returned to Waynesville, North Carolina to be close to all the great trout fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains. Since retirement, Ron has consistently fished in the Smoky Mountains for trout. When not fishing, Ron is tying flies or building fly rods. George Grant George Grant lives in Johnson City with his wife and earnestly wades upstream through his sixth decade. Mountain streams large and small are his first love, but he regards the South Holston and Watauga tailwaters to be his mistresses. In addition to actually fly fishing, he enjoys the history and the craft of fly tying, especially “resurrecting” patterns that have passed from common use. For many years Grant worked in local fly shops. He also wrote columns about fly fishing for a local sports magazine and for the Bristol Herald Courier. Matt Green One of the most knowledgeable authorities in the South on cold water aquatic insects, Matt Green is a graduate student at North Carolina State University. That is of course when he is not fishing, speaking at seminars on trout stream aquatic insect life, or fly fishing for trout on his favorite waters, the South Holston River. A prolific writer published in a number of fishing journals, Matt has also launched the South Holston Aquatic Insect School. For more info on this contact Matt at | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 167


contributors Craig Haney, Editor-at-Large Craig Haney has spent a lifetime chasing trout on the streams, headwaters and tailwaters of the southern Appalachians and elsewhere. After graduating from Auburn University with an animal science degree, Craig has spent the ma jority of his career in the outdoor industry as a manufacturers’ rep for fishing, boating, camping and hunting gear as well as operating partner of Riverwoods Outfitters / Haney-Mullins Orvis for eight years. He has taught fly tying and fly casting at his shops and community colleges. Additionally, he has written on fly fishing and other outdoor subjects for a variety on national and regional magazines. Craig and his wife Lynn live on Shades Mountain in Hoover, AL in the southern Appalachian foothills.

Kevin Howell Kevin Howell fished 38 states before college. In 1997 Kevin took a job as Manager of Davidson River Outfitters. He was also helping his father run Dwight and Don’s Custom Tackle. After his father passed away in 1998, Kevin took over the operation of Dwight and Don’s Custom Tackle while remaining the Manager of Davidson River Outfitters. In 2000 Kevin purchased Davidson River Outfitters and combined the operation of the two businesses. He is also a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor. Kevin is also a nationally known fly tyer and is currently the FlyTying Editor for Fly-Fishing the Mid Atlantic States. He has also had several of his original patterns published in various magazines as well as being produced by some of the national tying companies. Jimmy Jacobs, Georgia Editor Jimmy Jacobs is with Game & Fish Magazines. He also is the Outdoor Columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper and online Atlanta Outdoor Travel Writer for Jacobs has authored five guidebooks to fishing in the southeastern United States, including Trout Streams of Southern Appalachia; Trout Fishing in North Georgia; and Tailwater Trout in the South. His writing and photography have earned Excellence In Craft awards from the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, Georgia Outdoor Writers Association and the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. Roger Lowe Roger Lowe was born in Waynesville, North Carolina and now lives in the nearby town of Cashiers. He has enjoyed fly fishing the waters of the Southern Appalachians all his life. He first began tying flies and fishing them at a very early age. Roger had his own fly shop for twelve years and has been guiding full time for twenty seven years. He currently can most often be found at Brookings Angler in Cashiers, where he guides daily or works in the fly shop where his signature patterns are available. He is also a fly tying instructor. He is author of Roger Lowe’s Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains, and he has a fly tying video, Smoky Mountain Fly Patterns, that shows how to tie a lot of the Smoky Mountain Patterns.

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Shawn Madison A Clinch River, fly-fishing fanatic, Shawn Madison is also a passionate entrepreneur and experienced boat builder. Using his vast experience in design, engineering, and manufacturing in the boat building industry, Shawn is currently finalizing the production plan for a Southern Style Drift Boat. An avid photographer, fly tyer, and inventor, he also maintains The Clinch River, TN Facebook Page which promotes one of East Tennessee’s greatest resources. His goal is to help promote the sport of fly fishing, increase conservation, and to help others find the joy of tricking trout. Watch for his current project soon, a book titled Find the Joy of Fly Fishing! Steve Moore A native of northern Virginia, Steve Moore grew up fishing in a fishing family. Steve’s father, much to his mother’s chagrin, was fishing in a local bass tournament the morning Steve was born. Steve has published five books on fishing in Virginia and Maryland including Maryland Trout Fishing, Wade and Shoreline Fishing the Potomac River for Smallmouth Bass, Wade Fishing the Rappahannock River and Wade Fishing the Rapidan River. Steve provides frequent updates on fishing these waters and others on his popular blog at Marc Payne Marc is a Knoxville, Tennessee based fly fishing enthusiast. His popular blog, The Perfect Drift, has been up and running since 2009. Riverdale Classics Bamboo is a one man company Marc started seven years ago. His first stab at bamboo rods was purely economic, as he says that he could not afford a bamboo rod but wanted one badly. So he read on techniques, took a couple of gratuitous classes with rod makers, and bought several old rods to restore. From there, he began repairing and restoring old rods for friends, and as word of his skills grew, he began building for others. Now he is repairing, restoring, and building new rods for folks from all over the country. His email address is Larry Rea, Arkansas Editor Larry Rea is the seasoned, retired Outdoors Editor for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, TN, where he held that post between 1967 and 2001. Currently he is the host of Outdoors with Larry Rea on Sports 790-AM in Memphis; He is also free-lance writer for The Commercial Appeal’s DeSoto Appeal (Sunday outdoors column). A master scribe, for five consecutive years he was a double award winner (first and second place) in Tennessee Outdoor Writers Association’s Excellence in Craft Broadcast category. He was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame in 2010 where he is now an honored lifetime member. Larry also serves on the board of directors for Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (2010-present). | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 169

contributors Jason Sparks Jason Sparks is the founder of Southern Appalachian Tenkara Anglers, a growing community of fishermen that embrace the elegant simplicity of the traditional Japanese method of fly-fishing. As an ambassador in promoting tenkara across the South, he often conducts clinics, instructs techniques and speaks to groups on the subject. A Navy Veteran, he has fished the world in waters from the Azores to the Appalachians. Now living near Banner Elk, North Carolina, he is recognized by Tenkara USA as a Certified Tenkara Guide and a leading instructional resource in the Southeast for inquiring anglers and fly fishing clubs. Scott Spencer Scott Spencer is a freelance writer who was born and raised in Alabama. An avid hunter and fisherman, he learned about fly fishing nearly 40 years ago when he first picked up the flyrod at the age of 12. He was tutored in the art of casting and fly fishing using my father’s 1952 Phillipson bamboo flyrod. A banker by profession, he has hunted across the United States and has done both television hunting programs and hunting DVD’s. A passionate fly fisherman, Spencer frequently fishes the streams and tailwaters of North Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. He is married with three children.

Benjamin VanDevender President of Team Dead Drift, Georgia’s Competitive Fly Fishing Team, Benjamin VanDevender, fell in love with fly fishing and chasing trout across Georgia. In recent years he has won accolades and awards for his fly-fishing expertise. Ben started fly fishing competitively a few years ago. Through competitive fly fishing, Ben learned more advanced tactics than some have ever thought possible. Already a fan of fly fishing for trout, his entry into its competitive side has given him a new appreciation for all aspects of the sport we call fly fishing. Greg Ward, Tennessee Editor Greg Ward lives in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, where he has been a full-time hunting and fishing guide since 1989. He owns and operates Rocky Top Outfitters, a hunting and fishing guide service specializing in stream fly-fishing, spin fishing, and guided turkey and bear hunts. His articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and outdoor magazines. He is the co-author of the Ultimate Fly Fishing Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains. Greg has hosted several radio shows and has been a popular presenter at Pigeon Forge’s annual Wilderness Wildlife Week. He lives in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with his wife and daughter.

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FLY FISHING ADVENTURE! James Bradley Ellijay, GA (706) 273-0764 cell (877) 647-4535 home

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Fly Fishing is NOT part of the show

IT IS THE SHOW! 174 | Southern Trout | December 2013 | | January 2014 | Southern Trout | 175



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Southern Trout Magazine Issue 10  

All trout. All South. All the time. Distilled southern trout fishing since 1959. CLOSE LOOK: WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA

Southern Trout Magazine Issue 10  

All trout. All South. All the time. Distilled southern trout fishing since 1959. CLOSE LOOK: WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA