I've known Don Kirk for several years and when I found out he was updating his fly fishing guide to the Smoky Mountains I was ecstatic. Southern Fly Fishing just doesn't get nearly as much coverage as it should. From Virginia to Florida to Louisiana and Kentucky, the South offers some of the most amazing fly angling in the country. And (most of the time) when fly fishing the South, you don't have to worry about getting run over by some Eastern Sport in an Audi who looks like he walked out of an L.L. Bean catalog. But I digress.
The Ultimate Fly-Fishing Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains delivers on exactly what it's title suggests. Written by Kirk and Greg Ward and published by Menasha Ridge Press (2011), it covers everything from history to taxonomy to technique.
My favorite chapter, of course, was Chapter 2: Smoky Mountains Angling--A Historical Overview. The authors have a tremendous grasp of the background to fishing in this region, from its pristine wilderness of the settler years to the environmental havoc wreaked on the region in the first half of the twentieth century. The authors note the Smokies yielded a billion board feet of lumber, and removing that many trees causes untold damage to fisheries. They uncover the history men like Chief Carl Standing Deer of the Cherokee, who was a crack archer and noted angler. It's simply a delightful chapter.
The remainder of the book gives useful information to people wishing to tap into this Southern eden. Everything from lists of fishing guides and fishing camps to common stream insects and fly patterns are covered in enough detail to satisfy the seasoned angler and easy to understand language for the beginner.
This book contains everything you could possibly need to have a fun and successful fly fishing trip to the Smoky Mountains. I encourage anyone--especially my Eastern fly fishing friends--to give it a look and to take your next fly angling trip down South.
The Ultimate Fly-Fishing Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains is available from numerous outlets, including Amazon.com.
-- Dr. Todd