Cabin Fever Spreads Like Wildfire

One thing we can tell after getting out over the past weekend is that there is a highly virulent strain of cabin fever spreading out there. We thought it was only us. Last Saturday we had the unlikely combination of a good TVA flow on the river, Nana lined up to keep the kids, and sunshine. Never mind the fact that the weather was freezing!

Rigging Boat ln a Winter Day

It was warm in the sunshine when we were excited to head out

Turns out that while the skies were blue and sunny the day remained so cold that we had ice in the rod guides all day long. And the wind howled such that we had hoods up and heads down. In fact, it was one of those days when we argued over who would row, since the rower kept some blood flowing.

Fortunately we managed to catch some fish, but it was one of those days you just didn’t even want to touch them for fear of getting our fingers wet and chronically cold. We’d just give a quick twist with the hemostats and didn’t even consider getting the camera out of the bag. Nothing like hero shots with a runny nose and chattering teeth.

In spite of the harsh wind and cold we couldn’t help but notice there were at least as many people out on the river as we might see on a pretty day in May when fish are rising. Yep, we weren’t the only ones eager to get out of the house.

Fortunately the weather improved as the weekend progressed, even lifting into the 50’s in the lower elevations of the Smokies. Water temps were very cold as melting snow kept them down in the 30’s but just a beautiful day to get out and walk along the stream.

Winter Day Thunderhead

We headed up to one of our favorite streams in the park with our children and fully aware of the frigid waters. In other words, that means we had low expectations and didn’t want to torture our children by forcing them to watch us fish on a tough day. We took a pleasant hike and brought the fly rod along for targets of opportunity.

As expected, action was quite slow but we didn’t try all that hard either. It’s one of those places we know so well that if you don’t draw a strike in one of a handful of select spots, it’s going to be a slow day of fishing, so we didn’t try any harder than we felt necessary and the kids appreciated our restraint.

Even though the fish weren’t fighting over who would take the nymph it was still an exceptionally pleasant day to get out and there were a number of animals out moving around. We caught a rare glimpse of several wild boar rooting near the stream.

Tremont Boar

This was the biggest one and we guesstimate it was around 300 pounds. The boar was about as tall as most bears but with a much thicker frame than a typical bear. Most bears in good shape around the Smokies will average close to 200 pounds. This boar was easily bigger than the average bear.

As I’m writing this now I see dime sized snowflakes falling. We’re forecast for some accumulation here in Townsend, but just a touch further from our house the big peaks should get around 6″ or more. The rest of the week is supposed to remain below freezing as well, but it won’t be long until things turn around.

We’re using this time to work on some new projects we’ll be introducing this year. More on that later!



  1. greg mulder says:

    i envy you and your cold weather, here in socal it is 80 degrees and my home trout stream is drying up

    • We’ve seen that and you’re absolutely right. Our rivers and fish are built for this much better than a long term drought.