GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS, A DELIGHT TO VISIT

By: Glynn Harris

            Our pretty fall colors sort of came and went rather quickly this year. The sweet gums and oaks and other deciduous trees were pretty for a week or so but except for a smattering of color, we’re mostly looking at brown.

            A few years ago, I had the privilege of visiting an enchanted part of the country when our writer’s conference was scheduled this time of year in Gatlinburg, TN and I got introduced to the beauty and majesty of the Great Smoky Mountains. I want to share some of my memories with you from that special week.

            “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. The Earth was without form and void….” (Genesis 1:1-2a). If I may speculate a bit, I think God probably looked over the world He created, pausing as His gaze settled on what is now the Tennessee-North Carolina border, feeling this would be an ideal spot to do something extra special. So he reached down and pinched up and molded a goodly portion of landscape to form the Great Smoky Mountains. 

            There is no other reasonable explanation; to behold these majestic forested peaks that reach Heavenward to over 6,000 feet is to sense the presence and the work of the Creator. The conference was great. The setting? Indescribable.

            Gatlinburg is a major tourist attraction in large part because of the scenery. Although the foliage had yet to change when we were there, visitors were in abundance in the area; I can only imagine what it would have been like in a few weeks when the hills and valleys catch fire in shades of red, gold and amber.

 We took a side trip one day to visit Ashville , NC some 90 miles from Gatlinburg and our trip took us through and over the Great Smoky Mountains. Although we were pressed for time, wild horses couldn’t have prevented me from stopping several times to try as best I could to capture with my camera some of the scenery passing before our eyes.

            On one particular look-out in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we beheld a scene a camera just can’t do justice. Two layers of mountain lay in the distance beneath a bank of white clouds. Incredibly, a third layer of mountain peaks arose above the clouds. We could only stand and gaze reverently, awestruck at the sight.

            As majestic as were the peaks, the little mountain streams demanded a couple of stops as well. The gurgling of the water rushing over smooth round stones suddenly tumbling over little waterfalls where dark pools formed put me in a mood to flip a fly into the pools. I had the mood; I didn’t have the rod so I could only look and imagine.

            A writer friend who grew up in that part of the world told me later that he could almost guarantee that those darker pools held a wild rainbow trout or two. “They may be only six inches long but you can bet one is there,” he said. It’s for sure when you behold those cold, clear and moving mountain streams, you don’t conjure up images of catfish and carp.

            Wildlife flourishes in these mountains. Although we didn’t see one, several of our group saw black bears; one friend was almost overrun by a bear when he parked in front of his hotel room and was startled when a bear rushed by between his car and the door to his hotel room. “I could have reached out and touched him,” he told me. As we left

Gatlinburg on our way back to Louisiana , a flock of wild turkeys fed contentedly a few yards from the highway.

            If you want to have your senses stirred to the point you can hardly stand the titillation, may I suggest a trip to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains.

FISHING REPORT

BUSSEY BRAKE – Bass have been fair on spinners and soft plastics around pads and structure. Crappie fishing has improved a bit fishing the lower end of the lake around the dam with shiners working best. No report on bream or catfish. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

BLACK BAYOU –  Crappie are fair on shiners and jigs. Bass are fair around the grass on jigs and soft plastics. Bream are slow. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.

OUACHITA RIVER – Bass have been fair fishing shad imitation lures around the mouth of the cuts. Crappie have been best in the river fishing shiners or jigs around submerged tops. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE D’ARBONNE – Crappie fishing has improved with best fishing being up the creeks. The area around Gill’s Ferry is producing some good catches on shiners and jigs with a 2.9 pounder reported. Bass fishing has been best fishing the edges of the channels on crank baits and soft plastics. A few bream have been caught deep on night crawlers. Catfishing is good on cold worms and night crawlers. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE CLAIBORNE – Bass fishing has improved as the fish are on the move. Not much happening up the lake with best catches being made on the south end of the lake. White swim jigs or white spinners seem to be working best with fish in the 2-3 pound range reported. Crappie fishing has been best fishing shiners around brush 11-12 feet deep. Stripers are fair trolling white bucktails with Beaver creek area producing best. Catfishing has been fair on trotlines baited with chicken livers or blood bait. Bream are slow. For latest information, call Tim Loftin at Kel’s Cove at 927-2264.

CANEY LAKE – Bass fishing has been best in deeper water with soft plastics such as drop shot rigs or jigging spoons picking up a few. The yellow bass are starting to bite in deep water with some caught on jigging spoons and tail spinners bounced off the bottom. Crappie fishing has been best around deep tops with some caught under the Hwy 4 bridge on shiners or jigs. No report on bream or catfish this week. For latest information contact Bateaux on Caney Lake at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE POVERTY POINT – Crappie have been fair around the boat slips on jigs or shiners. Catfishing has slowed and no report on bass. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318-878-0101.

LAKE ST. JOHN – Fishing overall has been slow. A turn to cooler weather should improve success.  For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.

LAKE YUCATAN – The water is falling but a big rise is expected next week. Other than a few bass reported, fishing is slow. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.

LAKE BRUIN – Bass fishing has been fair while other species are slow. For information, contact Carlos Gray at 318/766-0075.

A view of the Great Smoky Mountains offers a beautiful departure from today’s problems

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