Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
February 1, 2010
Welcome to the Fishing Report from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Everything is white. Almost every branch of every tree in the valley is covered with Hoar Frost. Sometime during the night fog rolled into the valley and froze to the branches. It looks like a winter wonderland around here. This would be a great morning to be taking photographs in the Smokies.
The roads are fine. In fact, most of the roads in the Park are open today, even 441 between Gatlinburg and Cherokee. Upper Tremont road is still closed as well as the Foothills Parkway.
We have a chance for some freezing rain tonight but they say it will be light. By the weekend it will warm up a little and rain. It is cold right now, 22 degrees. Little River is cold too, 38 degrees in town. The flow is dropping some. Little River’s flow rate is 470 cubic feet per second (cfs). Normal for this date is 305 cfs. The water is very clear. Little River looks beautiful today.
Fishing will be a little tough for most folks. You can catch trout using streamers but you’ve got to get it down in front of them. The water is cold and the fish are not very active. It’s a nice day to be in the Park. If I didn’t have to work I’d be up there right now. I would be taking pictures instead of fishing today.
I’m still reading “A History of Hunting in the Great Smoky Mountains” by Bob Plott. This is a great book. One story I read this morning is about George Palmer. The Palmer family lived in Cataloochee Valley. When George was a youngster he learned to build turkey traps using brush. They were more like pens with a tunnel dug underground to enter. He would place bait in the tunnel and into the pen. The turkeys would walk in and couldn’t find their way out. One day when George was 11 years old he found 7 wild turkeys in one pen. Instead of shooting each one of them he decided to crawl through the tunnel into the pen and wring the necks of each turkey.
Well, those turkeys beat up George pretty bad. But he managed to kill all seven bare-handed in tight quarters. He came home carrying all seven birds. From that day on he was known as “Turkey” George Palmer.
This book is full of stories like that. There was a time my hunting buddies called me “Two Birds”. I was sitting in a blind with my buddy Frank. I called in two turkeys. One of them walked right by the blind and I shot. As I pulled the trigger another turkey made the bad mistake of sticking his head in my line of fire. After my shotgun blast we looked out and there were two turkeys flopping on the ground. Two turkeys with one shot, that’s how I got that nickname.
The next year Ronnie Becker and I were in the same blind and the same thing happened to him. My badge of honor nickname was fading fast. Year before last the same thing happened to Frank. I have not been referred to as “Two Birds” since.
Brad Park had never shot a turkey. One morning before daybreak he walked down to a blind on the river. We call it the Island Blind. Brad stepped into the blind, sat down, got out his thermos and was getting everything ready for a few hours of turkey hunting. As he was messing around with is gear he happened to look out and there, standing just a few feet away from him was a gobbler. He quickly grabbed his shotgun and dropped the turkey. He was back at the cabin just after daybreak with his bag limit. After that day and to this day we refer to Brad as “Killer” Park.
We all watched as Ronnie cleaned the bird. We couldn’t find where any shot from Brad’s gun had penetrated the turkey. We all decided that Brad scared the bird to death. That gave his new nickname “Killer” even more importance and relevance.
We’ll all be there hunting turkeys again as we do every year, only 76 days from now, not that I’m counting.
Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.
February 1, 2010
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