Planning Your Trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Other Park Things To See and Do:

Fontana Lake and Dam:
When I was growing up, I fished below and above Guntersville Dam at
Guntersville, Alabama, many times. I had walked out on it, fished in a boat
below and in Guntersville Lake above it, and formed a very clear picture of
what a dam was. When I was on my honeymoon, age 21, if I remember right,
my new wife and I visited Fontana Dam. We were very happy to get to visit
the Great Smoky Mountains. I'll bet that sound corny to you young guys, but
that was one of the things I looked forward to on my honeymoon.  

My father was a construction superintendent for a large Texas company. In
my 8th and 9th school years, we moved to Dayton, Ohio, where he built a
huge addition to Wright/Patterson Air Force Base, involving more concrete
than is imaginable. He was the general construction superintend that built
the Static Test Tower at the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville,
Alabama in 1957. It was a 140 foot tall concrete tower and about that deep
in the ground, that held rockets for test firing with up to 1.6 million pounds of
thrust. It's now a part of the Historic American Engineering Records. I
thought I was very familiar with big and high things made of concrete. I was
in college studying engineering at the time I got married. Of course, there
wasn't an Internet. All I had was a road map. I loved lakes, water and I
wanted to see another dam, even if I was on my honeymoon.

All of the rambling I have done thus far is just to point out my reaction to
Fontana Dam. I will never forget when I first laid eyes it. It actually scared
me. I couldn't believe it was real. It's a 480 foot high concrete dam much
wider than a football field at its base. I have since seen Hoover Dam but I
know that I will never see a higher dam in the Eastern United States than
Fontana because one doesn't exist. It's worth a trip just to see the dam as
well as the beautiful lake and mountains surrounding it. It's also worth
visiting the lake just to get to cross it to fish Hazel Creek, one of the best
streams in the park. You want get there any other way unless you hike
much father than I care to hike to fish. By the way, the Appalachian Trail
crosses Fontana Dam.