View Full Version : Thinking about the Little T

04-27-2007, 10:32 PM
I'm with you on the Little Tennessee. That's a river that I have wished time and again I could have at least seen, much less fly fished. Having heard numerous tales about the river from some of the older guys I waterfowl hunt with now, it pains me to think of what a lot of other folks and I that trout fish missed out on. Right after high school, a good fishing friend and I read a story in the Tennessee Wildlife about the new lake that was formed after the gates were shut on the dam. The fishing was starting to get good and we got all excited about going for a day. I don't think we caught very many fish that day, but I do remember thinking about the barns and silos we fished around, and how weird that it was. I had caught my first trout around age ten, and was now going to the Hiwassee some, but had never tried fly fishing. My friend and I never really even , not once, thought of the fishery, or what must have been a beautiful flowing stream, that had been ruined. We are all blessed with the numerous waters we still have though. I don't know if I have ever seen an actual photograph of the river. That's strange, feeling that way about a place you never saw. But, as trout fisherman, we all know in our imagination pretty much how it looked and, fished.


Paula Begley
04-27-2007, 11:08 PM
I was in college at UT when the **** (dam) was being fought and finally happened.

At that time, I watched the fate of the snail darter...and knew not what was happening with a stream that I would eventually dream of fishing but now, never can...I wish I had more awareness...I wish I was wiser...

I wish I knew then, what I know now.


04-28-2007, 01:27 PM
I'll put on my asbestos suit here. I remember fishing the Little T with my dad and my brothers. It was a special trip to go there, but it was also special to go to Norris lake or Douglas or Watts Bar. We fished Fort Loudon and Melton Hill quite a bit, and anything more than 15 minutes away was extra special.

I have heard about the big browns in the Little T, although I never saw any of them. A typical day for us was to catch 2-5 fish each, get sunburned, and drink all the cokes we wanted. (Dad was a softie on that... my mom would make us split a 6 1/2 oz Coke three ways.)

We would rent a boat from Hoss Holt's, but Dad brought his motor. Once he flipped the little flat bottom trying to hook up the motor, and after that, he towed our Alumnacraft. It seemed like it took forever to get there. The roads were really small and there weren't a lot of them.

I also remember the last time I fished it... my older brother and I were on our way to Tellico to fish Citico, and we stopped and fished for about 30 minutes. I hooked and lost a fish, but we were anxious to get to the creek, so we didn't stay long. The trees had already been cut in preparation of closing the gates. It wasn't particularly pretty at that time. I remember it being really wide.

When I think about the Little T logically, I realize two things. First is that the Little T was a tailwater, not exactly a free-flowing river. But there was a constant flow.

The second thing I realize is that it created a lake that thousands of people enjoy, and where I have had some of the most memorable fishing trips of my adult life.

Moving water is special. But the improvements (weir dam) on the Clinch followed the closure of Tellico Dam to replace the lost trout opportunities, so the loss of one tailwater resulted in the development of another. And development of housing and golf courses probably would have happened whether it stayed a river or not. All it needed was roads. Hey, yankees gotta live somewhere I guess.

I'd love to fish the Little T again. But I wouldn't give up my memories of fishing Tellico Lake for anything. Something lost, something gained. Would that we could have both.

Paula, I met you once, and never would have guessed you were college during that time. I would have thought Junior high at the latest. Byron must be easy to live with. ;)

Paula Begley
04-28-2007, 05:09 PM
An excellent post, Kingstonian.

btw...I was in college at the tail end of the controversy! ;) But, Byron is easy to live with!


04-28-2007, 08:41 PM
There was nothing to compare with the fresh smell of the Little T. There was nothing to compare to the caddis hatches that took place on the Little T. All I can say is that I had the priviledge of fishing one of the greatest trout streams in the world. You could stand on the bank and pick the trout you wanted to catch even before entering the water.
This is where I became interested in bamboo dry fly fishing at it's finest. Still using the 7.5 Madison rod I bought for $100.00 in 1965. Still using it and wouldn't trade it for anything . By the way that was a lot of money for a poor working boy in 1963 : but the joy that rod has brought can never be measured this side of eternity .
The best fly to use was the King's River Caddis.
I only wish it was still flowing ; but we still have SMNP that I thourghly enjoy fishing. Keep a tight line! slickrock

04-28-2007, 09:17 PM
The Little T was my entry point into this hopeless addiction! My first trout on a dry fly was a little brown on a King River Caddis above Tiefteller's shoals (might have been an EHC - who can remember after all these years?). But, I'll never forget the canoe trips, the caddis hatches, Hoss Holt's, camping near Chota dock - and the gawd-awful bobcat screams in the wee-hours, cooking over an open fire, fixin' chili in a dutch oven in the winter, iced-up guides, getting mired up to the axles and having to be wenched out, huntin' arrow heads and beads, and the comraderie of some crazy college friends!

Oh yeah, rubber-soled waders. Anyone else ever attempt to wade the Little T at 1600 CFS in rubber-sole K-mart waders??

The Little T will always have a special compartment in my memory bank!