Back from 4 days on Hazel
I wish that I was a writer or a poet to try to represent the four days we had on Hazel Creek. We arrived at Fontana Lodge the night of Thursday April third. I was told that the lodge had been renovated in 2006 and its sure was as nice stay. It has been several years since my brother and myself have been to Hazel and so much had changed. The Marina was under new owners and they have really made this a nice place as well. When we called the guys at the Marina they recommended not showing up until Friday April fourth until 9:00am because of the fog and also to give them some time to open the shop and have there coffee. This gave me and my brother plenty of time to look around the lodge and go the to the restaurant and have our last really good breakfast. At the Marina there was a TVA/Forestry station that had the back country permit there and made it easy to register. We paid our fees for the boat and signed our dates to be picked up and we were off across the lake in no time at all. It took us about a 20 min. boat ride and were let off at about 9:30am. The first part of the trail was pretty level up to camp site 83. The biggest issue we had with this part of the trail was all the gavels and rocks on the road made it hard to walk. From 83 to Camp site 82 the road was dirt and covered with leaves. Let me make one point very clear here, the surface was the only easy part from 83 to 82. Being an old guy and trying to keep up with my 5 year younger bother about killed me. This part of the trail seemed like a long distance from camp site 83 to 82 and mostly UP hill, well that what it seemed to me anyway. We made it to campsite 82 and had our tent set up by 3:00PM. Yes I had plenty of stops along the way and some of you younger guys will be able to make it in less time but keep in mind its almost all up hill from 83 to 82. By 4:00PM we had both already caught our first brook trout on Hazel and with rain likely we started dinner soon after. We were both in the tent asleep by 7:00. We did not get any rain during the day even though the guys at the Marina told us that the forecast was for “Heavy Severe” rain. The rain started about 7:30 but had completely stopped by the time we got up the next morning. Saturday morning was overcast all day but the fishing was incredible. Saturday was the first time that both my brother and myself caught all three species of trout in one day. I was really surprised to see brown trout this height up. The trout were behind every rock that you came to and some had two or three. I was really surprised at the size of the fish that we were catching. My guess the biggest reason that we did so good is that we were probably the first people to fish Hazel this far up this early in the year. I will tell you that we did educate quite a few fish during our stay. With all the rain we have been having I do feel that being this far up was the right choice. In my opinion farther down stream would have been a lot of water to deal with. If we have a dry and hot summer you might want to choose a different site, but for this weekend it was the pace to be. We fished Saturday from about 8:30 until 6:00. Since the entire day was overcast we mostly used BH. The water temp from Camp Site 82 up to Proctor was between 48 to 50. Sunday the sun started to come out and this was the second time that my brother and myself have ever caught all three species in one day. It was another magical day. We were able to use dry flies during the day when the sun was on the water and caught just as many fish. I think some of my brother’s biggest fish were caught that day on dries. After the sun went down a little we had to go back to BH but we never stopped catching fish. We got up pretty early Monday and spent the day taking it easy and stopping all long the way back. I will have to say that this time of year and this trip was the best trip I can remember in a long time and it is always great to be able to spend such a time with someone you enjoy spending time with like I do with my brother.