This photo shows a fraction of the tents set up at the 8th annual TroutFest 2011, held in Townsend, TN. A rousing success, as always, the festival is one of the largest of its kind in the country and the biggest in the Southeast. It’s hosted by the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited to benefit trout stream preservation and restoration. Last year they netted $45,000 that was donated to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fisheries Department. This year, the festival had around 4,000 attendees including the guests staying at Gracehill Bed and Breakfast, our Smoky Mountain Inn. Although the sport of fly fishing is enjoyed by men and women alike, I’m here to say I have never seen so many solo men in the 30 to 60 age bracket, gathered in one spot in my life. Their minds however, were on 6 legged insect nymphs as in the “#12 George Nymph,” rather than the 2 legged nymphs of the goddess variety!
Top fly fishing vendors in the nation were represented along with some of the best known headliners like Lefty Kreh, Joe Humphreys, Bob Clouser, Zach Matthews and Tom Rosenbauer of Orvis. This year heralded the premier issue of the TroutFest Journal which was clutched to bosoms like my grannie’s Bible on a Sunday morning. Friday night had a reservation only banquet, and Saturday & Sunday was chock full of clinics, demonstrations, and heavy duty shopping. Maybe the most fun was the Kid’s Casting Clinic, but the most original was the brain child of Paula Begley of Little River Outfitters. She calls it a “6 hole course,” that was a casting competition at six different stations with paper mache rocks, waterfalls, rhododendron bushes and other assorted obstacles. She hopes to do a 9 hole course next year, and I plan on spending more time scoping it out. mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast