It’s easy for us to know we’ve been guiding for months and on the water almost everyday. We can tell because we don’t know what day it really is. We know we’re supposed to meet Angler X at Location Y in the morning because that’s what the schedule says, but as far as what day it is…. We really don’t know on most days.
A few nights ago after dinner Charity and I were going over the most notable events of the past few days. We know generally where the other guided, but sometimes don’t hear the details of how things went as we’ll spend evenings returning messages and emails after we get some quality time with the kids. So… How was your week?
I remember hearing a news report a few months back that said a recent study linked memory with adrenaline. That is, adrenaline in your bloodstream seems to create a vivid memory of the event. For example, stepping right next to a large timber rattlesnake on the trail is an event that can get your adrenaline flowing and create the first memory that comes to mind when you recall the events of the past week. (As always, the rattlesnake was pretty ambivalent about the whole thing and patiently allowed me to get its picture from a safe distance.)
Oh yeah…. There was that other day too when I was floating a couple of anglers in the drift boat when a storm blew in. As the sky darkened and thunder boomed in the distance I slid the boat over to the bank and we all got out to take cover along the river bank. About five minutes later we witnessed lighting strike on the opposite bank of the river. That’s not the lighting you typically think of. This was a blinding flash of light that had a simultaneous deafening percussion that left our ears ringing for some time. Good thing we were all wet because there’s a good chance someone peed themself.
That bit about adrenaline fueled memories is spot on because if I think back on that day I can force myself to remember some really nice fish were landed, but the first thing that comes to mind is the lightning strike. I guess it’s a good thing I keep a camera around to jog my memory since it provides evidence of some nice fish. Here’s a superb fish landed by Isaiah Johnson after he hooked it on a #18 Beadhead Pheasant Tail Nymph in about 10″ of water.
Somehow Charity’s days on the water have been devoid of near death experiences but have been memorable nevertheless. She’s had a pretty good string of new anglers who have caught their first fish on fly. Our trips in the Smokies have been best when we’ve headed up into the higher elevations where the fish have been more active in cooler water.
Many of these fish are often on the small side but they’re exceptionally colorful and their aggressive nature pairs up nicely with novice anglers. In the locality of Townsend we’ve been forced to go high to find cooperative fish. East Tennessee has seen pop up thunderstorms almost everyday for the past few weeks, but the Little River watershed has been very dry with much lower flows than neighboring streams. You can see how Little River measures up to others like Tellico River and the Oconaluftee here, but when you help people catch trout for a living low water makes it tough. It’s even more frustrating when we see multiple rain storms just over the ridge adding water to Abrams Creek, Hazel Creek and others while our home water gets skinnier by the day.
We’ve even been thrown for a loop a couple of times when we drove about 30 minutes beyond Little River to find a stream marginal to fish because of high water from a storm the previous night. At any rate, we’re finding water with plenty of fish ready to take a fly but we just need to go a little further on some days.