Tag Archives: trout fishing

Book Excerpt: ‘Downstream: Reflections on Brook Trout, Fly Fishing, and the Waters of Appalachia’

The Tellico gained notoriety in the 1970s when it gave its name to the infamous Tellico Dam, the dam that impounded the waters of the Tellico and the Little Tennessee Rivers in the Tellico Reservoir, flooding native American historical sites and endangering the snail darter, a small river fish that most people had never heard of until it became a political byword.

Sampling for aquatic invertebrates on the upper Bald River.
Sampling for aquatic invertebrates on the upper Bald River.

In the springtime, the Tellico boasts some class IV whitewater, some of the best—and roughest—water available for kayakers. Its major tributaries include the Bald River, with its majestic falls, and the North River. The Tellico is a powerful river, and when it floods it floods hard. The banks give us a view of how high the floodwaters can get. Building bridges here takes careful engineering. The steep sides of the Smokies concentrate rainfall and snowmelt into narrow channels, and calm rivers can quickly become torrents.

In the 1880s clearcutting timber harvest began in earnest in this region. By the early 1900s a railroad reached Tellico Plains to allow the fine Tennessee hardwoods that covered these mountains to be carted away to build homes in Michigan. The timber baron who brought the logging operation here promised that he wouldn’t leave a stick standing in his efforts to turn the forest into capital, and he very nearly kept his promise. One logger said of these hills, “all we want to do is get the most we can out of this country, as quickly as we can, and get out.”

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Stalking game with his slingshot

“One of boyhood’s traditional toys has come of age. Jim Gasque, North Carolina sportsman, has proved that the ordinary slingshot, when properly made and used, can be an adult weapon of deadly accuracy at distances up to 30’ — a range sufficient for stalking small game. He shoots regular No. 0 buckshot. “His slingshots are […]

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