View Full Version : Troutfest 2009 Photo Essay

05-17-2009, 09:16 PM
Hey guys -

I thought the people here would probably like to see this post more than anyone else. I'm going to leave it just like it is on my board.


Hey guys -

Just returned from Troutfest in Townsend, Tennessee. There's a lot going on this year in the Smokies; it's the 75th Anniversary of the Park, the festival was bigger than ever, the Parks Service has some very neat things going on in terms of re-stocking streams that had been invaded by rainbows (with native brook trout), AND this was one of the biggest outdoor fly fishing events I've ever been to. The whole thing was very well put together and everyone involved should be proud - this is way beyond the call of duty for a fly fishing club (Little River Chapter of TU) if you ask me.

Here are some photos from the trip. I think they illustrate what a good time everyone had better than I could in words.



The first night they had a great $50/plate banquet, with about 225 attendees.

The silent auction lined the room, while the food was excellent chicken and some especially good pasta salad that apparently is a tradition of the event. Paula Begley, co-owner of Little River Outfitters, makes all the pasta salad by hand in huge rubbermaid containers.

A live auction sold over $20,000 worth of equipment to raise money directly for the fisheries.

Many vendors were there but TFO did an especially good job supporting the event. Not only were Rick Pope (the owner, left) and Jim Shulin (Rick's second-in-command) at the event, but they also brought a number of their celebrity consultants to give free seminars, casting demos, and just generally to be accessible.

Does this man look familiar? That's Lefty Kreh in Little River Outfitters; honestly the best-looking fly shop in the country in my experience, and also incredibly well-stocked with gear.

Bob Clouser (inventor of the Clouser Minnow) also was on hand.

05-17-2009, 09:19 PM
Lefty is an excellent speaker and obviously a very impressive caster.

I think he is the only person in fly fishing who has an entourage wherever he goes.

An East Tennessee breakfast.



The booths had a wide range of goods, from arts and crafts to inexpensive bamboo, sample driftboats, modern rods from companies like Scott and St. Croix, and of course lots of food. One group of three old men from Karns Community Center west of Knoxville probably sold a grand's worth of homemade ice cream.

WDVX (http://www.wdvx.com), the coolest, most unique radio station in the country (public supported but not NPR, available on the web all the time but barely able to broadcast outside Knoxville, with a huge following in Australia of all places) had live music for much of the day Saturday--excellent bluegrass music. These guys were just warming up.

Fly-tying demonstrations by Mike Bone (pictured - a great guide on the Clinch), Kent Edmonds of Itinerant Angler Podcast fame (haha), Joe Humphries of Pennsylvania, Kevin Howell of Davidson River Outfitters - some very high quality material here. Kent showed me how he ties his Stealth Bomber.

05-17-2009, 09:35 PM
All in all, the festival was a total blast and way more elaborate than I was expecting. It rained hard today and rained some yesterday, but I did get a chance to sneak off into the woods for some photography.

The forest was in full bloom.



Where's Waldo?

Here he is, wishing his **** "pro" camera had a remote release like his D70.

Ok, I'll just have to fake it.

I stopped for lunch in Copperhill, a town right on the Tennessee/Georgia line north of Blue Ridge. I decided to drive both ways on surface roads due to Townsend's location in a nook of the Park. Going up on Hwy. 411 through Vonore was brilliant - both faster and more beautiful than I-75. Letting my GPS tell me to come back via the twisty two-lane highway which leads to Blue Ridge, Georgia was a bad idea, but it did lead to some good lunch.

Anyone remember Smokey and the Bandit? You can't get this in Georgia. Just sayin'.

All in all, a truly great weekend and I am very glad Byron invited me up. Look for coverage (from me, anyway) in American Angler and Trout magazines.


05-17-2009, 11:01 PM
thanks for sharing zach. I made it over for both days and had a wonderful time. I've always enjoyed troutfest, but this year they pulled out all the stops. thanks to everyone who worked hard to make it happen!

Byron Begley
05-18-2009, 07:09 PM
Thank you for being here Zach. Thank you for the photos and story. We had fun putting this on and Troutfest 2010 will probably be bigger and better next year thanks to you and your marketing power. As far as the volunteers and attendees are concerned, I believe Troutfest 2009 exceeded all of our expectations.

Thanks buddy,


Paula Begley
05-20-2009, 09:44 AM
Beautiful pictures, Zach! Thanks for being there!

Btw, we fed 308 people that night.


05-20-2009, 09:40 PM
Thanks for buying all the Fat Tire beer in East TN. You may have saved me from breaking out in misdemeanors and handcuffs again;)

On a serious note, great photos Zach, I always enjoy your reports and photos. I have never been to a better trout related event, and I have been to a bunch of them. The place I stayed was great, the locals were great, Byron, Paula, Daniel, both Bills and the entire staff at the shop were great. Everyone I met at the event was nice, it was beyond words the feeling I left Townsend with. It was great to see some old friends and connect with some new ones. I wrote 7 pages of notes on things I learned watching some of the best fly tiers I have every been around. I can't wait for the next one

05-22-2009, 11:09 AM
Zach the pictures are really outstanding. I was not there but just enjoying your pictures I can tell it must have been a great time for everyone there. I hope or let me say I will be there next year. Thanks Byron for putting on the event and all the people helping. I really enjoy fishing in Smokey Mt area.:smile:

06-09-2009, 04:11 PM
Thanks Zach, I'm glad you enjoyed troutfest 2009. Fantastic pics of banquet, fest, people, scenery, food and brew. You need to plan for troutfest 2010. It's not too early to stick it on the calendar. I look forward to seeing your next batch of pictures.

Cheers, John

06-09-2009, 07:12 PM
If you folks haven't noticed, Roy Hawk put a slide show on the TROUTFEST.ORG web site. Take a look.