Wednesday, April 20
Due to a tornado in our area (Southern Indiana) at 12:20 am, and my storm spotter duty responsibilities, we didn't get to leave for Tennessee till around 10:30 in the morning which put us way behind schedule for fishing when we arrived. So I rigged up my 7 1/2 foot vintage fly rod with an automatic reel and popper and headed for the campground pond, once we had the car unloaded. Caught several nice pond "trout" and warmed up my casting arm. Had a lot of fun with the bluegill and channel cats till nearly dark.
Thursday, April 21
Had a nice breakfast at the Town Square Cafe and headed for the Tellico River. Decided to fish the lower section for smallies first to get back in the swing of things, below the takeout point for the kayaks. The river is wide in this section but was still running about two feet over normal pool, which the kayakers were loving. Above the ranger station the river was about five feet above where it normally is.
Started out using a fly rod with a black stone nymph, but the water was very swift and I couldn't cast out to the fish in the rock channels. So I switched to an "Indiana" rig: 5 1/2 ft. ultra light spinning rod, Zebco Ultra Classic reel, and small orange strike indicator, lead shot, and a 4 lb. tippet with a black stone nymph.
I didn't get any smally strikes, but I started catching "wild bows" on the first cast. Seven to ten inch fish. As no bows are stocked in this section, and only bows 12" and over are stocked in the upper section, these had to be the offspring of years of holdovers, that had moved downstream to a new "comfort zone". Any way I had two locals insist I couldn't catch any bows in these waters. Only smallies.
So I just smiled and said, "I know"!
On the third cast I hooked a beautiful 20 inch bow, which I played up to within six feet of my position. I relaxed a bit of line when the fish acted exhausted and released him without the use of my net which wasn't big enough for it any way and realized my camera was still in the car. I yelled for the wife to bring it but she couldn't hear me for the roar of the river. So I went and got the camera.
Several cast later I hooked this guy and several this size afterwards.
Friday, April 22
Fished the North River above Turkey Creek and up river about 2 miles. Some real nice water. Caught several smaller bows and creek chubs. Didn't hook up with any bigger fish, but the water was really fast and high. I didn't see the need for waders, so I basically rock hopped from hole to hole. Didn't really find any good runs that I could cast to from the rocks. Fished Tellico nymphs, pheasant tails, flashbacks, and prince nymphs with some success. Called it day there went back down to the Hatchery Supported section of the Tellico to fish "calmer" water and hooked up with about a 22 inch brown which got off about six feet from my feet. Since it was a legal holiday, Good Friday, the river was open for fishing. Usually closed on Thursday and Friday for stocking. But no one told the locals, so I had the river all to myself. Well, almost!
Did manage to catch four or five stocker bows that put up a pretty good fight, like this guy.
Saturday, April 23
Tried the North River again in a different area upstream from where I was on Friday. Results were about the same. 7 and 8 inch bows, but then I hooked this guy in the fast water. Hey, who switched the fish?
Again towards the late afternoon, I returned to the lower Tellico for some relaxing fly casting on big water catching those "phantom" bows which weren't supposed to exist down river. So I quickly released them before any one could see I had caught them! LOL!
Sunday, April 24
Hit the river earlier than usual that morning. Put on my waders, grabbed my wading stick and proceeded out to the deeper water without my fly rod. Bowed my head and thanked the Lord for His undying Grace and Mercy and for saving my wretched soul from eternal ****ation by His sacrifice in my place. Thanked the Father for His Beloved Son and his eternal plan and all the wonderful bounty He has bestowed on this great nation and asked that He further guide this great land out of the darkness which we are in and restore our birthright as a God-fearing nation of free men.
Went back to the car, drove up to Indian Boundary to scout the Citico Wilderness area. How blessed am I! How blessed am I! Lord, God Almighty, how blessed I am!