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“Rise Rings & Rhododendrons”

Posted by on February 7, 2013

Fly angling, of course, is a pastime of endless variety, whether you fish tenkara or not.  Even tenkara, as we’ve discovered, has many “colors.”  But, if you are a tenkarafisher, I’d venture to guess that you are, like me, perhaps primarily a small stream angler.  As stalkers of small water, we recalibrate our expectations regarding the size of our quarry.  Generally we must be (and are) content with catching smaller fish, not that we wouldn’t like to add another “notch” to our flyrods.

There is something inexplicably appealing to the intimacy of small streams and creeks.  Fishing becomes almost just an excuse to spend time in these surroundings.  This point was driven home to me so forcefully three years ago, when my wife and I spent a week in the Smoky Mountains camping, fishing, and hiking.   I had not been to the Smokies since I was a young child, which is to say really never, because my recollections of the park had become blurred by the intervening decades.

I was simply blown away.  The streams we fished in the park (the Little River, Deep Creek, the Oconaluftee, and others) were so unexpectedly beautiful that I felt I could contentedly spend the remainder of my angling life just wading these waters.  The singing, sparkling, cascading clear water, the absolute green fecundity of the surrounding forest, the birdsong, the promise of black bear, the filtered sunlight …

As I mentioned in an earlier post titled “Guides,” our Smoky Mountain fishing experience was incalculably enhanced by the day on the Little River we spent with Ian Rutter.  Ian and his wife Charity are proprietors of RandR Flyfishing in Townsend, TN, and guide in the Smokies, Tennesee tailwaters, and annually in Yellowstone.  Ian and Charity are also accomplished photographers and authors, which brings me to their book, “Rise Rings & Rhododendrons.”  I would have purchased this book if it had simply been a book of photographs, so compelling are they.  These photos capture the aspects of these mountain streams enumerated above with such artistry that they truly become a drug for a small stream angler’s psyche.  I cannot tire of viewing these photos.  But wait, there’s a bonus.  The essays that complete this work are evocative and informative and truly give one a sense of what it’s like to fish these special streams.

Please visit and purchase this book.


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