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Thread: Nantahala Salmon

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Townsend, Tennessee


    I think I'll tell my story.

    I bought two 5 acre lots near Townsend in the mid 80's. Running through the middle of one of the lots is a spring creek. It has always had a population of small wild rainbow trout. The water is 58 degrees year round. I decided to feed the fish even though I lived in Nashville. I installed two feeders controlled by timers that dispensed food into the creek. They would go off twice a day. Since I was here in Townsend at least once a month I could keep the feeders supplied with chow. The trout grew huge. Paula caught her first trout in the creek when we were dating and has fly fished ever since. TU chapters and FFF clubs would hold outings on the property. One fellow caught a 22" rainbow, the largest trout of his life. A Boy Scout troop would camp down there every year. I brought in PortaJohns for any group that wanted to enjoy the property. Everything was great. Locals would fish there but I didn't see any abuse. I eventually built a home, moved to Townsend and Paula and I got married and we live there now.

    Then one of our neighbors put their house on the rental market. The abuse started. Tourists would walk down to our now posted creek and catch 15" to 24" rainbows and kill them. I sent the local police to the rental house one time to file charges for tresspassing. You could see these huge fish and the tourists couldn't resist. After several confrontations I decided to let the stream go back to it's natural small fishery and hopefully tourists wouldn't find it so appealing. Over the years friends and I installed Lunker Bunkers and did a lot of bank stabilization. Then I decided to stock brook trout. I got permission from TWRA which had to be approved by the National Park Service to stock them. I had 400 brook trout fingerlings flown in from Pennsylvania. Walter Babb and I stocked the fingerlings. The next day I went down to check everything out and I could smell chlorine. I drove upstream to a trout farm and found that the owner had used Chlorine to kill algae in one of his ponds. Of course it washed down into the creek and killed every fish in the stream including the brook trout. He told me he would do anything I wanted to get the stream back including raising brookies for me at no cost. I didn't turn him in. I should have. About a month later, a neighbor upstream breached a mill dam that had held back silt and gravel for 50 years. It completely filled the stream with gravel and silt. I talked to the Tennessee Department of Health and Environment about what happened. They suggested I file a complaint and they would file charges. Again, I didn't want to get on the wrong side of a neighbor. Over a period of years the gravel washed it's way down stream. But, I gave up. I don't like to go down there anymore. I probably haven't seen that stream in a year or more and it's only a two minute walk from my house. When I go down there, it makes me sick. When I go fishing in the Smokies it makes me feel good. There are a lot of awful things that occur when you own a trout stream. I've been offered 6 times what I paid for that lot and some day I may sell it with no regrets.

    Last edited by Byron Begley; 02-19-2007 at 07:46 PM.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Oct 2006


    What a shame? Despite our best efforts and intentions we can never control all the variables! I applaud you for your patience and gentlemanly ways. Sure would be nice to restore the stream to its original state?

    "Great things are done when men and mountains meet." William Blake (For general interest in the Middle Tennessee area)

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Knoxville, TN


    wow, what a story Byron. that's terrible.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Townsend, Tennessee


    I love that stream. It is really, really sad that we don't go down there anymore. We had big dreams for that place, even to the point of building a stream keepers "house" and making it available for customers to fish on. Maybe some day Byron will forget the disappointments that happened down there...and maybe I will too. The most sickening sight I have ever witnessed were the huge fish slowly dying in the chlorinated water...

    Last edited by Paula Begley; 02-20-2007 at 08:46 PM. Reason: because spelling your husbands name correctly counts

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Bryson City, NC


    Thats terrible yall.

    Seems you cant have anything for someone else trying to mess it up.
    I'm not sore at land owners for posting their property, as I know first hand why this usually happens.
    I owned a private stretch on Conley's Creek near Bryson City a few years back, and my wife and I always let folks fish it as long as they didnt trash it up.
    I came home one afternoon to see a guy urinating in my front yard, on a tree next to the creek.
    Of course that ended us allowing folks to fish on our property, signs were put up and registered with the courthouse.
    About three weeks later, my dog woke us up about 12:30 at night raising the dickens. I looked out the window and saw the same guy walking down our driveway in a hurry. I went outside and he then ran.
    I started out to where my dog kennel was to see if he tried to do something to our Lab, and I saw the tires flat on my wife's brand new sports car. The guy had cut two tires on it!
    We quickly called the Sheriffs Dept and the guy was picked up right down the road from the house.
    The first thing out of the guy's mouth when the deputies picked him up was, did they call me in for cutting their tires, because thats a lie, I didnt do it.
    Nobody had even mentioned anything to him at that point about cutting her car's tires!
    When they searched him he had a pocket knife and a small hand gun! I can only imagine what the gun was for!
    The knife had black residue form her tires and tire dressing on the blade! We did file charges on him and he spent some time in jail. And the worst part was we had to pay for the tires out of our own pocket and never saw reimbursement for that expense. It was a little over 700 for two tires for that car!

    So now when I see a no Trespassing Sign, I wonder what some jackarse did that ruined it for the rest of us!

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Feb 2006



    I can feel your pain and I have never seen nor ever will see that stream. It would be very difficult to visit there knowing the blood, sweat and tears that must have gone into it and seeing the devastion a moment of careless can bring.

    Regards, gary <*))))><

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