03/18/09
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives (Baetis) - sparse hatches
2. Blue Quills - hatching
3. Quill Gordons - hatching
4. Hendricksons - could start within a couple more weeks
5. Little Black Caddis - hatching
6. Winter Stoneflies - sparse hatches
7. Little Brown Stoneflies - hatching
8. Midges - hatching in isolated locations
9. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

Just One More Fishing Story
The Beech Creek story isn't the only story I could tell about fishing the Tennessee
Valley. There are many more. I promise, one more  fishing story and I will get back
to fly fishing. You do not need to be reading these stories anyway. You should be
fishing in the Smokies. We went for only an hour yesterday and caught a few
rainbows. That was well after the hatches had ended and before the spinners fell..

Up Short Creek Without A Motor:
My dad used to say someone was "up the creek without a paddle". I think that is an
old saying or at least it was one of his favorite sayings. Don Morton, better know in
that area as Mouse Morton, and I not only went up short creek without a paddle, we
went up short creek without a motor. I think it was about our junior year in high
school during AEA week - spring break in Alabama. My girl friend's father was a
avid fisherman. I am not sure if I liked her for her own qualities as much as I did to
get to talk and fish with her father.

I had talked up the fine crappie fishing in Guntersville Lake in March to Don and he
was ready and excited about going with me. He was my best friend in high school. I
am sure many of you have seen Don. He has been the drummer for the Statler
Brothers for many years. He went to work for the Statlers as soon as we finished
high school and probably still works for them. I just looked them up on the web and
see that he was playing at their farewell concert in 2002. We called him Mouse or
Mousie because he was so small.  Never-the-less, he played high school football
and was good at it. I remember him getting knocked out the first play of a game with
Hanceville, Alabama, and not waking up until the game had ended. I worried
throughout the game about him and did my best to knock the guy out that hit him.
Anyway, back to fishing.

I borrowed my girl friends dad's little 5 horse power Sears outboard motor the week
of AEA. Don and I fished the causeway, a wide open stretch of the lake the first
day, and almost got blown off the water. We had rented a small aluminum boat and
the wind was blowing strong. The second day we went to Short Creek. Short Creek  
runs into Guntersville Lake not far above Guntersville towards the park. It is a
beautiful little stream that looks somewhat like a trout stream where it flows into the
lake. It is protected from the wind somewhat and we though we could fish better
there.

I was sitting in the back of the boat running the engine  when Don begin to
complain, saying that I got to do all the boat handling. I agreed to let him run the
boat so we proceeded to swap positions. I was not smart enough to stop and do it
right. I just kept the boat wide open (probably 5 miles an hour) and moved forward
as he moved backwards to grab the arm that controls the engine. Before he could
get a form grip on it the motor came off the mounting bracket. We didn't have it
screwed down tight and we did not have a safety chain. It just vibrated off the
transom. We looked at each other while the boat begin to move sideways in the
wind. I remembered how to mark our position by triangularization (I was in the
Scouts for years) but before I could find landmarks the boat had probably moved
twenty yards or more.
We were up short creek without a motor or a paddle.

The next day with the help of a friend with another outboard motor, we dredged the
lake with a device we made but never found the motor. If I remember right (and I
probably don't), the little motor cost almost $400.00. All I know is that it took Don
and I almost a year to pay the man for his motor at $5.00 a week each or something
like that. Our dads could have paid for it but things didn't work like that where we
came from. It is sad that it isn't still that way. If it was, we wouldn't be making
"bailouts".

Don worked for Jerry Lee Lewis who played a concert in Guntersville one night. I
got to go behind stage with him. It was a big deal for Mousie and for me just to be
involved. Lewis's drummer couldn't make it to the concert or at least that was the
story told.  When the event was over, I went on stage with Lewis, Don while the
band continued to sing and play long after the crowd was gone. To my surprise,
they played gospel music rather than a "whole lot of shaking going on". Gospel
music and mixed drinks for all but Don and I - what a combination. When it was
over, Jerry Lee forgot one thing that was important to Don. He never paid him the
agreed amount for his work. That is probably why he didn't have a regular drummer.

I heard the old singer repented sometimes during the last few years. He gave up
the hard life and changed his ways. I sure hope so because I have never exactly
forgiven him for that. Don probably did but it still angers me until this day.
I do wish I
could sing and play the piano like him.


Copyright 2009 James Marsh