Re: Early Smoky fishing
I began fly fishing SMNP in 1973--I was fresh from Vietnam via a 3 month stop over at Hamilton Air Force Base in Central Calif. where I met Tony,an avid fly fisherman.He showed me how to cast and before long I was hooked.The Smokies housed the best fly fishing close-by so I began coming regularly to the park.Pigeon Forge was just beginning its tourist--trappy,fun and games,kiddy extravaganza take-off.Traffic was modestly bad.Gatlinburg was full of motels,hotels,and shops.It somehow retained a small town feel,that has been lost in the extra man-made glitz found in the post-modern structures popping up thick as jackrabbits on the hills and streets of Gatinburg.It was easy to fall for the charm of Gatlinburg.not to mention the park.I wish the now and then differences were more subtle--Here are a few:
1)I think people were trashier back then,garbage cans overflowed,bears were plentiful,there were not a lot of bear proof trash cans.The park of 2006 is much better cared for.Generally,park-ers are prejidiced if not downright narrow minded about the folks littering the park,
2)Park Fishing is much better managed now,and the fish seem to be larger--the advent of larger numbers of fly fisherman,local and from afar,pressures park authorities strive for better fishing,facilities,etc.Best fishing seemed to be in Abrams--Most awesome fishing was by far in Hazel Creek,because of its location and pure beauty,there was a wildness and danger built into its rarely fished seclusion.
3)I had a Shakespear rig--a cane rod(a cheap one)4wt 7ft--wobbly and heavy matched to reel by the same company--I miss that reel--because when you got a fish on,all **** would break loose.Those reels were loul,loud,loud--that baby would sing a high pitched song that would get on Yoko Ono's nerves.
4)Equipment is better--particularly waders
5)The bad for last--I do not think the park and for that matter the area in general can handle the visitor increase coming.As I understand it,a group of california investors are on the verge of constructing a huge theme park around Seveirville--If this is the case--where will everybody go,stay and play.The GSMNP will have to absorb at least a part of this,It is crowded now--sometimes it is impossible to fish(at lower elevations).When will progress begin to affect the park's ecosystemAt what point will enviromental concerns have to increase relative to the ongoing increase of visitors to the park and beyond?