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With a New Year

With a new year, will there be some new rivers to fish?
Monday, Jan 7 2008, 10:25 pm
Hugh Koontz  Shelby News Article
With the exception of the occasional dusting of snow, my mountain looks as threadbare and ragged as old jeans. All the sparkle and flash is under the surface of the surrounding trout streams.

Over the holidays the skies opened up a couple of days, the creeks filled up and I racked up some of the best fishing of the year, landing or breaking off trout big as one of my dogs. I don’t recall how many — which means they were three very wonderful days on the water.

My Tellico nymph was chewed ragged as a puppy’s toy.

I saw a fishing blog the other night where the writer asked his readers where they planned — yeah, trout fishers plan — to fish in 2008.

In leftover holiday parlance, what’s your fishing trip wish list for the new year?

Well, I am surrounded by more trout streams and rivers than I could fish in a lifetime, let alone a year. So, whatever plans I have, none will involve long trips. This will not be the year for that excursion to Alaska or South America.

But there are couple special places not too far away I would love to visit in the next 12 months.

I want to fish for brook trout in, uh, near the Blue Ridge Parkway. I’m not going to broadcast that place since those little specks are so sensitive and special. It’s a secret place. Most of us flyfishers have one or two such streams.

I also want to hit the Nantahala River when it gets warm and do some serious flyfishing at night, something that is illegal on most rivers in North Carolina. I imagine the frightening splash of a humongous brown trout yanking my rod and me into the water.

There also is a certain nearby gorge I intend to tackle before I become too feeble with age. It’s in the neighborhood, just up the street from where I live. It’s an all-day trip that, once you commit, you’re gone several hours with no place to crawl out. Bring your lunch.

And, lastly, I want to return to the South Holston River in Tennessee where Kings Mountain boys Rod and Matt Champion have a flyshop and the river has huge browns.

On the South Holston you can fish all year round. These fish hit harder than trucks and can yank the rod out of your hands if you’re not careful.

On a cold and windy News Year’s Day, the kind that feels like the air is full of freezing glass raking your cheeks, the father-son Team Champion hooked into several browns measuring more than 20 inches long. Matt caught a 22-incher and broke off a 26-incher.

His dad nailed a colorful brown a little over two feet in length.

With a blustery wind whipping across the water at 30 mph at times, you wonder how they could sling those itty-bitty midge flies.

Even with the cold and wind, that all sounded like fun to me.

I gotta get over there. And to the neighborhood river gorge. And to the place where you can fish for trout all night.

And to my secret brookie creek.

I got plans.
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