So after a crazy past couple of weeks, today I finally got a day to myself, to fish. Couple of quick text messages, out the door I go, headed back to the river …... but for me this time. Started this morning pretty well, fishing with a friend from our local TU chapter, he has never had the chance to go after smallmouth on a fly rod. We worked pretty steady all morning and he was able to catch a couple of nice smallies. Mission Accomplished.
As I pull into the outpost, I notice that its quiet…...something that hasn’t occurred for a while. No customers, no one staying in the cabins, the campground isn’t busting at the seams. I’m not almost run off the road by the twenty thousand weekend warriors with their float rings and beer coolers…...oh man! I leave my rod and pack in the truck and walk down to the river, finding a lone camp chair sitting there waiting for me, beside one of our fire pits, it has yesterday’s ashes in it. I sit. The breeze is good, blowing downstream. On the Nolichucky that means rains coming, humidity is building. Now we could use the rain. My whitewater guide self wants the rain…. needs it. My fishing guide self-screams at the whitewater side that we don’t need that damn rain. The fish are happy with the water level, leave it alone! .... Conflict…...I tell them both to compromise. Understand what comes up must go back down. Its June and there is still a lot of fishing to be had. Matter resolved, my senses move on. I scan the river flowing below me. I watch smallmouth leave the water after the occasional gentle damsel fly. I watch Dragon flies roam the banks, the croaks of an old frog in the pond behind me. It’s blazing hot, almost 90 here, dear god. My mind begins to wander, ponder, consider and put me into perspective. The beauty of a Southern Fried River…… a free flowing undammed river that supports all sorts of life, one that can only be found in the mountains of the south. The trout have settled in the deepest of pools or are lurching at the seeps or the creeks that still dump in cold water. The river is now the domain of the Smallmouth, blue gill and carp, darters, shiners and such. There are tales of Muskie hiding in the deep pools. The smell of river mud, watching an old Blue Heron hunt frogs in the grass mats that are forming. This is a southern river. I do love the fisheries created on the tailwaters, great trout fishing year around. But that’s not how it is supposed to work in the south, I realize.
Time to go fishing, I walk back to the truck grab my shit, and hit the river. Wading through a class 2 rapid to go find me some Southern Fired Fishing.