Every year I try to spend a day with a guide in another part of the country. Because the Forest Service meeting was within driving distance of Knoxville TN I booked a day with Clay Aalders of Smoky Mountain Gillies a fellow Orvis endorsed guide to float one of his local rivers. I flew to my meeting a day early and drove down to Knoxville where Clay and I spent time floating the Clinch River in his driftboat. A river I had heard of but never been on.
We floated a few miles of the river while casting a nymph for rainbow trout. The method proved effective and I caught several small trout while Clay manned the oars. It was interesting to observe a dam controlled river and how a guide needs plans the day to adapt a waterflow that can change quite a bit during the day.
I for the first time saw Dydimo which is an invasive growth in rapidly flowing rivers, a few ospreys and some pretty country. The best part of the story is that when we had decided to call it a day so I could drive back to Louisville; I made one more cast. As sometimes happens the biggest fish of the trip took my fly about three feet into that drift. A perfect ending to a great day on the water.
That time made me appreciate how much water I have available to guide on, how uncrowded it is and the tremendous variety of opportunities there are close by to Maine Outdoors. Clay frequently has to drive an hour to fish and I rarely travel more than half that time. A benefit of seeing someone else’s operation is it makes you understand what you have while providing a model for better ideas. Some of which I will be putting in to action soon.