Don't you think Craig Lancaster did a great job on conveying what it is like to fish
Raven Fork? I haven't tried it and I am not sure I should ever attempt to do so. I
do appreciate the report. I think he did an excellent job and there is even more to
come in the near future.
Last fall I talked to several locals that live in the area where the Raven Fork flows
out of the park. I thought I could find some way to get in easier than the route
Craig took. My first thought was that it would be a matter of getting permission to
park a vehicle in a safe place. That turned out very easy. The problem is that for
the most part the stream is as rough or rougher upstream of the point it leaves
the park as it is where the campsite is. One man who is an avid trout fisherman
and who lives there and has fished the Raven Fork his entire life said he didn't
fish it any more. He described another private entrance that involves an old road
of sort but then it too still requires a heck of a hike over extremely steep terrain.
The stream lives in a canyon. After he described the simplest, best way to get to
the stream though private property, I decided that it was still to much for me. This
guy was about fifty years old and he had given it up. I am certain he could do it
and I am certain I can. It is just a question of how wise it would be to do so. I hope
all of your that enjoy camping and hiking into the backcountry will take the
opportunity to fish there one day. The few I know that have enjoyed the adventure
caught lots of fish. Craig didn't mention it but he and his friend caught over a
hundred fish each day and many of them were larger size brook trout.
Looks like out plans for this week has been changed by a hurricane. I lived in
Orange Beach, Alabama for 6 years; Mobile for 4 years; and Panama City Beach,
Florida for 21 years. One reason I like living here was not having to run from the
dang hurricanes. Ipacked my movable video equipment, masters and family
pictures and left the coast at least 15 times during those years expecting to return
to nothing. I had even more than the average guy to loose. I had my production
business. Electronics and hurricanes don't go together very well and there is no
such thing as insuring the equipment for hurricanes this day and time. Most
people don't know it but there is no such thing feasible as insuring your home
from water damage from a hurricane. They cover the wind but not the water and
guess where most of the damage almost always comes from - water. I don't have
to run from them any more but they can still effect my plans. We were scheduled
to fish some locations on the Gulf Coast this week. One reason was to fish some
of our new saltwater fly patterns and to promote them with some locals in the
area, some of which helped me design the flies. I don't expect the storm to hit
where we were going, although it is still possible, but I do expect the water to be
messed up. Rough water from hurricanes does some funny things to the seas.
Sometimes it is good, but mostly bad. One time we caught several 30 to 40 pound
grouper less than a mile from the jetties at Panama City Beach pass, two days
after a hurricane hit nearby. Normally, you would have to run offshore over 40
miles south, southeast to do that. Normally that would be unheard of. Hurricanes
anywhere in the Gulf usually dirties the water and that isn't good for the sight
fishing we were going to do.
Next will be the Denver Fly Fishing Retail Show. We will only be in the show for
one full day checking things out and we hope during that trip we can get to fish
the one major stream we have not fished in that entire state.
Next will be Walmart (maybe) in Arkansas (still working on that appointment) but
for sure Bass Pro Shop headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, which is not far
from Walmart headquarters. We may travel from there to Cabelas' but we hope
we can catch those guys when we are in Denver or before we leave the area.
Their headquarters are not far from Denver although they are located in Sidney,
That will more than keep us busy for the next couple of weeks along with the task
of continuously adding new flies to our new "Perfect Fly Store". We will have
about 10,000 more flies arrive within the next 10 days with many new patterns.
The first part of October it is off to Venice, Louisiana. We will be there a week
and my grandson and daughter will join us for at least three days. That is redfish
country. I have been there and then off shore South Pass to the blue water and
the oil rigs numerous times but I have only fished the inshore waters a few times.
Although I have taken many redfish and thousands of speckled trout there and in
other areas near there, I have not fly fished for reds in the area. During my
younger life, the redfish was considered a trash fish. We made an effort not to
We also are planning a white marlin trip out of Orange Beach in October on the
65 foot Necessity, a million dollar fishing boat. White marlin fishing is fabulous in
October along the continental shelf. I have fished with Captain Ben Fairey on and
off for the last 25 or 30 years. He is one of if not the best Captain on the Gulf
Coast. By the way he will be featured Cobia fishing, the thing he is best know for,
early next year on George Poveromo's World of Saltwater Fishing TV show. I did
an instructional video featuring Ben twenty years ago on cobia. I'm interested in
seeing if they beat what we did. No one in the world is better at it than Ben Fairey.
I took my grandson with him last month for his thrill of a lifetime trip with Ben. The
first hour of fishing broke him from saying "I want to catch a big fish Granddaddy
James". I almost never promote any boat captain in any way but Ben Fairey is a
true professional in all respects. He has worked for the same man for about 20
years. That is saying a lot. It is a private boat but he charters the boat on
By the way, we have just released "Mayflies". It is a 2 hour long, 2 DVD disc
program on fishing all of the major mayfly hatches. I will just comment very proudly
that it is by far the best video ever done on mayflies.
We will be posting something quite different to this site each day irrespective of
where we are. Most are already written thank goodness. The majority are journals
of fly fishing destinations other than the park but some are park streams. We
have had several request for information on streams in the area that are not in
the park as well as constant request of one type or another for information
regarding destinations in other states. About half of the people that sign up for
our catalogs and mail outs on this site do not live in Tennessee or North Carolina.
I guess people who live near and visit the Smokies like to travel as well as us
because we also get the same request from locals. So far, in just over a year we
have had over 1000 people sign up from this site. The number of daily viewers
amaze me. It is in the thousands, something I would have never anticipated.
Thank all of you very much.
We will also be doing the same thing very soon on our Yellowstone Site. We
constantly receive request for information on streams in and around Yellowstone
Park. That is because lots of anglers think of Yellowstone as including the Henry's
Fork, Madison, Gallatin, Snake and Yellowstone Rivers outside the park. The
locals call it Yellowstone Country. I think we have some interesting trips near there
on streams some of which many of you have probably not heard of. Those will not
start for another month or so though. I hope you enjoy them.
It too draws a huge number of daily hits similar in numbers to this site but it is
much newer and growing every day. This will be the first year except one, that we
have not spent at least a month in Yellowstone Country in the last nine years.
Three years we made two trips there and one year we spent a total of two and a
half months there. The last two years we spent every day (over a month each
year) in the park working on our Yellowstone Park video and other productions. It
is a very hard way to make a living but somebody has got to do it. Seriously, it is
only because of you that we are able to do that. Thanks to all of you.
Copyright 2008 James Marsh