Fishing Report,    Travel

The fine line between resting and insanity

By Tom Chandler 5/6/2006

It's a beautiful day in the Smokies – not the kind of day you'd want to spend in a dark motel room watching daytime television and trying to sleep away a hacking cough. Outside, fleets of Harleys rumble up and down Townsend's main drag, and a steady stream of cars flow into the park, presumably filled with fishermen who are now joyfully fishing my streams and catching my fish. Not that I've noticed or anything.

Still, sitting out yesterday and this morning have helped some, and this evening I'll head out and test fly my new lungs on the evening hatch. Tomorrow (Sunday), I've got my eye on some Brookie water that Ian suggested last night. It'll be the first outing for Raine's 7.5' 4wt "Rush Rod" that came together just before the trip, and I'm looking forward to the year's first brookie. Ian warned me the stream was pretty tight, and given my current status as an impatient, easily frustrated sicko, I think I'd better embrace my "inner zen" tomorrow or go home with a five-piece rod instead of the three-piecer I started with.

Truth is, the brookies are as big a reason for this annual trip as the dry fly fishing, and at some point you gotta say the hell with respiratory health (and any hope of sleep), and go catch some specs.

Since I don't have any new pictures to show you, thought I'd run an instructive image from earlier in the trip. It was a stretch of water that 90% of the fly fishers I know would have bypassed or fished from the riverbed (spooking the fish) due to the Olympic-level degree of difficulty (including myself). On a day when we were getting one or two bites from each good-looking (read "obvious") run, Ian milked this one for half a dozen grabs, including one from a candidate for trout Weight Watchers. The lesson? Sneaky works well here.

Ian sneaking on Little River
Ian pummeling the trout on a little fished run.


If you're part of the Southeastern Rod Gathering next week, consider buying Ian's guide book and his fishing map of the park. The two nicely compliment each other, and at some point (and that point will probably come over the weekend), you'll want to get off the beaten path and as far away from the other fishers as possible.

Right now, the weather is highly changeable, and while you can pound up a few fish all day long on a dry, the hatch is coming the very last part of the day, and it's a mix of Sulphurs, two sizes of yellow stoneflies, a small caddis, midges, and even some Sulphur spinners. Oddly, the first day we experienced a 20 minute caddis hatch midday that brought up fish, so it's wise to keep the peepers peeled. If you're looking for daytime dry fly action, Ian recommends a #14 Adams parachute as his top all-rounder, and while I caught fish on other flies, it's hard to argue with success. See you on the river – tonight!


Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

You're a journalist, dammit! Pay someone to fetch you a couple, the delivery charge is tax deductible.
I'm trying. Up until now, a slaw dog would have been the gastro-intestinal equivalent of a nuclear weapon (as if I didn't have enough to worry about). With my health improving daily, I've fixed my attention once again on the slaw dog issue, but time is working against me. They're only available at a local gas station (no jokes please) for a couple hours at lunch, which is tough timing when I'd like ... more to be fishing...
These fishing reports are fascinating, really. But Jesus Tom, what about slawdogs?!

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