Letter From Chapter President


February…. Winter…spring….flurries…torrential rain? I am not sure which season we are in weather wise as we have jumped here in the Smokies region from 17 degree nights to 65 degree days and back during the last few weeks. Fishing the tail-waters is almost non-existent as just about every day the tail water-dams have been releasing water trying to maintain lake levels while generating power. Smoky mountain fishing has been not much different bouncing between too cold water temps in the low forties to blown out streams. If you live here you know the only constant with our weather is the old adage “if you don’t like it…wait five minutes cause it’s gonna change.” The positive is that the social events keep rolling making for big fun last month and for February.


This year’s “IRON MAN FLY CONTEST 2020” may go down as the biggest yet. We celebrated five years of creating “mayhem & panic” for our competitors as they vied for the most prizes ever awarded. We had a total of sixteen fly tiers and a capacity crowd at Dead End BBQ. This was also the first year we had a set of brothers, Tommy Archibald and Ben Archibald taking home 1st & 2nd prize and winning brand new TFO BVK fly rods and gear. Our 3rd place winner Matt Dixon, another first time competitor like the brothers, also took home a new TFO BVK rod. That was followed by four additional winners taking home new gear from our sponsors bringing to total almost 50 percent of our competitors took home a prize that night.

Best of all we raised enough money again to send a child this summer to “Trout Camp” in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is only possible because of the fly tiers who enter the “IRON MAN FLY CONTEST”, the crowd who comes out for the event and of course to our sponsors who always step up to the plate when asked. We want to thank Southern Trout Magazine, TFO Rods, Little River Outfitters, Smoky Mountain Angler, 3 Rivers Angler, Fly Men Fishing Company and of course our host Dead End BBQ.


We also want to thank all our Great Smoky Mountain Trout Unlimited members who helped that evening from set up to tear down. A big shout out to GSM TU board members Robert Ogle and Mike Bachman who worked and never complained while helping that night. If anyone has a picture of Robert while wearing the feather boa the fly tiers picked feathers from please..please get it to me. I am sure it will be appreciated by his friends and co-workers!


The party continues on Saturday February 15th at the Relix Theatre in Knoxville as our hosts 3 Rivers Angler brings back to town the Fly Fishing Film Tour. This annual event is being held again at the Relix Theatre and if you have never been you are missing a great venue, a big crowd and an evening of film, fun and surprises. We will have our GSM TU booth there and will have a sign-up for dozens of free flies giveaways. See the article below for all the details.


On the latest news front we are happy to announce that the University of Tennessee-Knoxville chapter of the TU 5 Rivers program “VOLS on the FLY” is getting ready to start back up on campus. We are proud to again be a part of this program for UT-Knox students headed up by UT student Jonah Duran. If you are not familiar with the TU 5 Rivers outreach it is a national TU sponsored organization led by students on college campuses. It is their chapter with events, conservation projects and national meetings just for them. As a chapter we work in a partnership/mentor capacity resource for them to co-ordinate with on their chapter projects. Please see the article below for more information.


This will be the second young adult group the Great Smoky Mountain TU chapter is working with along with the Farragut High School Fishing club who we partnered with this fall. Wes Peters, our own chapter member is leading this high school group of anglers as they work towards learning fly fishing and volunteer projects. Plans with both groups are underway for the coming spring and summer and we are honored to be a part of it all.


Our next chapter meeting is at 6PM Thursday February 27th, 2020 at Dead End BBQ with a presentation by Ryan Hintz of the Gatlinburg Fish Hatchery. We have partnered with the Gatlinburg Parks & Recreation Division for years with our “BATTLE OF GATLINBURG” Tournament each September. Come out and hear about the inner workings of this hatchery that does so much for our area.


As always thanks to everyone who attends our Great Smoky Mountain TU meetings and events. It is your chapter and we invite you to get involved and be a part of Tennessee’s oldest continuously running Trout Unlimited chapter. Please bring family and friends and remember you never have to be a Trout Unlimited member to attend a GSM TU chapter activity, just a love of the outdoors and the fellowship of those who feel the same.


In closing please follow us on the GSM TU Facebook page and chapter website. The Great Smoky Mountain TU Facebook page is the best way to stay up to date with current chapter information or changes.

Facebook Link: http://m.facebook.com/GreatSmokyMountainTU/


John Reinhardt



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