Issue #10 2020 Digest
Food Fishing With
History Bob Timberlake
Events North Carolina
Style Fly Fishing
Display Until April 15, 2020
“Two Rainbows” by Bob Timberlake
42 3rd St NW
Hickory NC 28601
E-mail: [email protected]
Stock by Adobe Stock
PRINTED IN USA
CARMEN ECKARD JON ECKARD JOEY OSBORNE
Chief Editor Principal Photographer Partner
SPECIAL THANKS COLUMNISTS CONTRIBUTORS
Craig Distl James Thomas-Shell Claudia Ward-Eller
Lisë Swensson Sarah Everly Richard Eller
Donna Steele Bob Timberlake
Granny Eckard Morgan Tarbutton
Heather Woods Davis
“Many men go fishing all of their
lives without knowing that it is not
fish they are after.”
Henry David Thoreau
You can always subscribe online at http://foothillsdigest.com, but you
can also fill out this form and send it in to:
Foothills Digest/42 3rd St NW/Hickory NC, 28601
Subscriptions are $27 per year and we publish quarterly. Shipping is $16.
Please enclose a check or your credit card information. Cards are
charged $43 one time.
Expiration: CVV Code:
I’m enjoying a new season of life with my sons
A self-proclaimed “mad gardener,” making the world a more beautiful
place is Deward’s calling. When fatigue became a thorn in his side, the
team at Frye Regional Medical Center helped Deward get back to creating
beautiful outdoor spaces with his sons.
As part of Duke LifePoint Healthcare and the region’s only Duke
Health affiliate in heart, Frye Regional Medical Center has a team of
experienced doctors with specialty training in heart to provide the very
best care for Deward and others in our community with heart disease.
To learn more or to schedule a primary care appointment online,
Thank you reading our magazine! When we were making our last issue, we met Mr.
Bob Timberlake. He suggested that we look into fly fishing, and he told us he’d
take us fishing. We set out to learn about fly fishing and we discovered a thriving
industry and an incredibly intriguing sport, plus a love story about conservation.
We did go fishing with Mr. Timberlake, and you can see the absolutely gorgeous
brown trout I caught below. We released her, but we did dig up a really good trout
recipe if you get a hankering. Farmed trout is available in stores all over the region
during the winter, so don’t let the catch-and-release rules and dates get you down!
This was fun. I think I’m hooked.
My first big fish! A brown trout I
caught fishing with Mr. Timberlake!
See page 41
TABLE OF CONTENTS
7 Letter From the Editor 50 Recipes
10 North Carolina Fly Fishing 54 Granny Eckard
26 Guides 56 Foothills Conservancy
28 Dave Hise: King of Trash Flies 60 Artisan Soapery
34 Forest and Stream 1889 66 One Tank Trip: Morganton
38 Fly Fishing with Bob Timberlake 82 Clayton Pennell
44 Fishing in a Winter Wonderland 88 The Life Changing Holiday
46 Timberlake’s Restaurant 94 Fox and Hound
100 Winter Wonderland
104 The Hickory Tree
108 Strong Life Ministries
114 The Fishing List
116 Respect Your House’s History
119 Worth the Drive
120 Outsmart Diabetes
122 Kinky Curly Wavy
124 Winter Fashion
127 Protect Your Skin
128 Demand Labeling of Allergens
66 130 Eventfully Yours
132 Event Calendar
10 134 Poetry
136 Kuralt at White’s Creek
By Carmen Eckard
Photos by Jon Eckard
10 Public fishing waters in Wilson’s Creek
with angler Ralph Griffith.
at its most basic, is the art of tricking trout or salmon. It’s done using small
artificial flies, artfully tied from feather and bits of fur. The flies are cast
using a fly rod and reel, and the line is specially weighted. Flies are made to
look like a wide-range of naturally occurring critters, like insects, invertebrates,
and eggs. The idea is to convince the fish that your fly is alive and delicious.
This process, however, isn’t as straightforward as a non-angler might expect.
People have been perfecting the art since the second century BC, when
Claudius Aelianus described the fishermen he saw creating artificial flies:
“They fasten red wool. . . round a hook, and fit on to the wool two feathers
which grow under a cock’s wattles, and which in color are like wax. Their
rod is six feet long, and their line is the same length. Then they throw
their snare, and the fish, attracted and maddened by the color, comes
straight at it, thinking from the pretty sight to gain a dainty mouthful;
when, however, it opens its jaws, it is caught by the hook, and enjoys a
bitter repast, a captive.”
People have been fishing the streams of Appalachia for our entire history
here. By the late 1800s, Banner Elk was known around the world as an ideal,
yet remote, fishing destination, and over the years the industry has grown
In fact, the most recent economic impact study showed that almost 150,000
people fish our streams each year. We have over 3,000 miles of trout streams
in North Carolina, and over 1 million trout are stocked each year. Fishermen
and women create 3,500+ jobs per year, bringing $383 million to our
economy. It’s big business here, and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Fly fishing’s popularity could be attributed to many things, but we think it’s
popular because fly fishing is angling elevated to an art form. However, we’d
be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the concerted effort that has been made
to support the industry. Many groups have been involved in the effort, but
at the forefront is the Division of Inland Fisheries, a division of the North
Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. They have developed a plan for
sustainable fishing in our waters that has many branches, including trout
management, habitat protection, research, angler
access, education and communication.
They keep watch over the health of
the fish and the water to protect this
natural resource. You can read the
comprehensive plan using a QR reader
to scan the code on the resources page you’ll
find at the end of this article.
There are three kinds of trout that make up most of our
populations. They include the endemic Brook Trout, the
Rainbow Trout and the Brown Trout. Each has different habits and
tastes. All three of these types of fish are stocked in North Carolina,
and efforts are made to protect the genetic integrity of the
Rainbow Trout (Oncorhyncus mykiss)
This fish is named for the shimmery lateral stripe that ranges from pink to red. Its back
is olive green and its whole body has black speckles. These are stocked in NC waters,
and they’ve been stocked here so long that there are many wild rainbow trout as well.
Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)
This fish is olive green to golden brown, with yellow sides. It has dark spots
on its back and sides, encircled with white. Many brown trout have red or
orange spots on their sides. These are abundantly stocked in Western NC.
Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis )
This fish is native to North Carolina waters. It is greenish brown and iridescent. You’ll notice
tell-tale pink or red spots on the side and dark wavy lines on the tail. Active efforts are
being made to protect and grow this endemic species. You may also find a rare ‘tiger trout’
where a brown breeds with a brook trout! These fish can’t breed, but they are beautiful.
To catch trout, you need to have a We have everything you need
good idea of where to look for them. to get outside this winter.
Fortunately, we have ample available
land and trout are a bit predictable OUTDOORSUPPLYCOMPANY.COM
and have some favorite spots.
With 3,000 miles of trout streams, you
may be overwhelmed picking a spot.
You could start with any of the spots
along the Western North Carolina Trout
Trail, or use the “Online Resources”
Once you’ve picked your stream, you’ll
want to choose the perfect spot to cast
your first fly.
When it’s feeding time, you’ll want to
look in “riffles”. These are shallow spots
of water where the water moves quickly.
Minnows and other feeder fish spend
their time here, so hungry trouts do
too, although you’ll need to be stealthy,
because they are on high alert.
Fly fishing guide Dave Hise says, “This is
where a majority of the aquatic species
are found. The fish are more spooky in
these areas because the water is often
shallower so the fish’s ‘vision window’ is
much larger than in deep water. During
a trout’s lifecycle, they spend roughly
90% of the time feeding on aquatic
creatures, like midges, mayflies, caddis,
stoneflies, craneflies, scuds, sowbugs,
annelids, and damsel and dragonflies,
to name a few. The other 10% of the
time they spend feeding on the surface
of the water on the adults of aquatic and
terrestrial insects. It is best to play the
odds. Many anglers only enjoy fishing
on the surface so they don’t often catch
as many fish as the “nymph” fisherman.”
Making CBD accessible for everyone A “run” is an area that’s slightly deeper, and
by offering some of the best quality not as fast-moving. Trout like this area, and
and best prices in the industry. they aren’t as wary of your presence as
they would be in a riffle.
A “pool” is an area of deep, still water. This
283 2nd Ave SE is where trout are happiest, and there will
be an abundance of fish here, but they
844-66-VLIFE or 844-668-5433 aren’t there to feed, so convincing them to
go for your fly takes a bit more finesse.
You can also find trout in undercuts and
around rocks. These spots protect the
trout from the current and provide a nice
You also have to know how to pick your fly.
This changes from day to day, season to
season, and from species to species. The
most important tip in selecting your fly is
“MATCH THE HATCH.” Since you’re trying
to trick the trout into thinking your fly is
something they want to eat, it’s a good idea
to consider what they are naturally eating
at that time. On our resources page, you’ll
find a link to a hatch chart that is very
Trout eat Midges, Mayflies, Caddis,
Stoneflies, Scuds, Sowbugs, Hoppers, Ants,
Beetles, Annelids, Damselflies, Dragonflies
and Water Boatman. Your fly box should
reflect this, as well as the current season.
The art of tying flies is an old one, and at
right you can see what is regarded as the
ultimate guide for fly fishers in the late
19th-century. It’s called Favorite Flies and
Their Histories by Mary Orvis Marbury,
published in 1892. The images were
created using chromolithography and are
We asked fisherman Alex Cardwell what he After you’ve selected your location and your
loves about tying flies. He said, “I love how it flies, you’ll have to consider your presentation.
all comes full circle. You make something that This means making sure that your fly rod is
catches the fish you catch. It’s really satisfying.” properly tied and has the right amount of
You can see his flies on page 23. tension. A basic fly line uses five kinds of knots:
arbor knot to attach the backing to the reel;
Today you can purchase premade flies or make nail knot to attach the fly line to the backing;
them yourself. Fly shops generally sell both nail knot or loop to loop to attach the tapered
premade flies and supplies for tying them. You leader to the fly line; double surgeons knot or
may find that you really enjoy the craft. blood knot to attach the tippet to the leader;
improved clinch knot to attach the flies. Use
our resources page to find directions Wild birds appreciate
for this. being fed, especially in the
winter. Let us help you get
Good presentation also means everything you need to help
perfecting your cast and your drift. the birds survive through
People spend their whole life perfecting the season and prosper
these things, so don’t feel bad if it takes
you some time to get it right. throughout the year.
Casting is the motion that gets your fly
in the water. There are three basic casts
Public fishing waters in Wilson’s Creek 3014 North Center Street
with angler Michael Steele. Hickory, NC 28601
Belle Hollow Shopping Center
Free shipping at:
The Mountain Heritage Trout Waters you should learn first: overhead cast, roll cast
program is a cooperative effort and reach cast. After that, you’ll want to learn
between the N.C. Wildlife Resources to pitch, flip and skip. Our resources page has
Commission and local governments to helpful links for learning casts.
encourage trout fishing as a heritage
tourism activity in western North After you cast, the current of the water and
Carolina cities that are designated as a your motions will create drift. This movement
“Mountain Heritage Trout Water City.” is vital to convincing a trout to bite. You want
the movement of your fly in the water to
Currently, 17 cities are participating in the mimic the movement of living prey. You, as an
program. Each of these cities provides angler, can control some of this, but some of
public access to a trout stream that runs it comes down to the weather and the current,
through or is adjacent to the city. North so reading and understanding both of those
Carolina residents and non-residents who things becomes integral to good fly fishing.
want to fish in a stream that is designated
as a Mountain Heritage Trout Water may Good presentation also means you’ll avoid
purchase a 3-day license for $5. The splashing around or speaking loudly.
license is valid only for waters that are Remember you want to sneak up on the fish.
designated as Mountain Heritage Trout
Waters. Anglers with an inland fishing After you’ve covered all your bases, relax.
license and a special trout fishing privilege, Breathe. Enjoy the beauty all around you.
which is included in the comprehensive Hear the quiet. Settle your mind. Then you’ll
and sportsman licenses, can fish in be ready to catch your fish.
Mountain Heritage Trout Waters without
a Mountain Heritage Trout Waters license. People have been fly fishing for centuries, and
as long as there are streams with trout in them,
Call 1(888) 248-6834 to purchase a license. people will fish them.
We do hope we’ve convinced you to try your
hand at fly fishing. Following this article you’ll
find an “Online Resource” page. There you’ll
find QR codes and links for many valuable
resources. These include the rules and
regulations as well as links for buying a license.
Enjoy, and happy fishing!
Flies tied by Alex Cardwell
Public fishing waters in Wilson’s Creek
with angler Michael Steele.
Meals ThatWarmYou Up
When it’s cold outside, come in to see us at 828 469 5177
Sweet ʻTaters. We serve all your favorite comfort
foods that will ll you up with memories warm 102 10th St NW Conover NC 28613
eno2u4gh to chase those winter blues away. I-40 West - Exit 132, right. Second light, left, .4 miles
I-40 East - Exit 132, left. Second light, left, .4 miles
Interactive Map Trout stocking schedule
Find the perfect stream using this Time your fishing trip by checking
interactive map by NC Paws at: out the schedule by NC Paws at:
Rules & Regulations Stream Conditions
View the applicable rules at: Check North Carolina stream
eregulations.com/northcarolina/ conditions in real time. Site by
hunting-fishing/mountain-trout- Waterwatch: waterwatch.usgs.
Purchase License Hatch Chart
You can purchase your license in Keep up to date on the most
person at a wildlife service agent recent hatches at flyfishingnc.
location near you, or you can look com/fly-hatch-chart-north-
on ncwildlife.org. carolina-smoky-mountains.
Borrow Gear Trout Management Plan
The NC Wildlife Tackle Loaner Find the perfect stream using this
Program allows you to borrow a interactive map by NC Paws at:
rod and reel. ncwildlife.org/Fishing/ ncpaws.org/wrcmapbook/
Knot Tying Tips Orvis video Fishing School
Learn the knots you’ll need This collection of online videos will
to fly fish, by Scientific inform you and help you catch
Anglers: scientificanglers.com/ more fish. It is a comprehensive
fly-fishing-knot-tying-basics/ collection: howtoflyfish.orvis.com
By Carmen Eckard Photography by Jon Eckard
You could be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed at the number of variables
involved in the sport. It’s quite common, which has given rise to the industry of
A proper guide can truly elevate your fishing experience. That’s because they know
the water, the weather, the stocking schedules and the rules. They know what flies
have worked in the past, and what is hatching at the time. They can also help you
perfect your casts, as they can see where you are going wrong much easier than
you’d be able to see it yourself. They may also have access to private streams, which
tend to have larger trout.
We have three strong recommendations: first, Morgan Tarbutton, who is shown
at right helping me learn to fly fish (see page 7 for the fish I caught!). We also
recommend Alyssa Adcock, who you’ll see working with Bob Timberlake later in
the magazine. Both of these ladies work with the Orvis Endorsed C hetola Resort,
which has other guides as well. We also recommend Dave Hise, who you can read
about in the article entitled “Dave Hise: King of Trash Flies”.
You should have some expectations from your guide, because they are an
investment. First you, you’ll want a guide who communicates with you before
the day of fishing...this will give you the opportunity to ask any questions
you may have, and to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding
your plans. If you’re an experienced angler, it will help you know which
flies to bring. Some guides provide rods and other necessities and some
do not. Be sure to communicate with your guide about this before hand.
You want a guide who adjusts their teaching style to match your ability level. Morgan
wasn’t at all concerned that I was new to the sport. In fact, I think she considered it
a challenge and she taught me what I needed to know, without overwhelming me.
At the same time Morgan was working with me, I could see Alyssa downstream,
working with Mr. Timberlake. Because he is an experienced angler,
her role was quite different from Morgan’s role. I could tell she was
still obviously an asset, helping him make choices and supporting
his own style of fishing.
Of course you’ll need to find someone who behaves
professionally. A guide should, of course, be on time and live
up to the discussed expectations. But even more important
is finding a guide who truly knows the streams. You’re
trusting your guide to help you with the details, so be sure to pick someone who
is a master of those details. Ask questions and trust your intuition when making
There are several ways to find that perfect guide as well. If you know fly fishers,
ask them! They tend to know who is the best in their area. There are also many
websites dedicated to helping connect you with guides.
Orvis is an outdoor company that has a truly comprehensive fly fishing
line, and they provide a lot of support to fishermen and women. They
keep an updated list of guides and resorts that they endorse. You can
find it at www.orvis.com/north-america-fly-fishing-trips-north-carolina.
Anglers also love a website called Guidefitter that matches them with guides all over
the country. You can find information local to North Carolina at: www.guidefitter.
The Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail also offers a listing at www.flyfishingtrail.
com/find-a-guide. Be sure to check out their website for some excellent maps and
A fishing guide can elevate your fishing trip in a unique way, and if you’re
serious about catching fish, it’s worth the investment. Because guides are also
knowledgeable about conservation, it helps keep our streams healthy and safe.
Guide Morgan Tarbutton teaching
Carmen Eckard to fly fish.
“The squirmy wormy fly is the brainchild of some Einstein
of fly fishing. Barely more than a little piece of lord-knows-
what-kind-of-rubberlike-plastic tied to a hook, there’s no
doubting that this fly produces. Beauty in simplicity”
We found that “Einstein of fly fishing,” and surprisingly, he lives right here in the
foothills of North Carolina. Dave Hise is an artist and flies are his medium. Dave
has been tying flies for some 37 years and fishing for just as long. Now he runs
Casters Fly Shop in Hickory North Carolina and has worked as an Orvis endorsed
fishing guide for 10 years.
Dave Hise tying an intricate fly.
He has perfected his art of fly tying to a startling degree. His flies are
so realistic that I didn’t believe he tied them until I watched him do it.
Below you’ll see some of his recent flies, and I’m sure you’ll agree that
they are beautiful. They are also incredibly effective at tricking trout.
He has 7 flies in the current Orvis catalog (shown on the next page), and has had many
over the years. His “squirmy wormy”, “squiggly worm,” or “squirmito,” as it’s officially
titled, is one of the most hated and loved flies in all of fly fishing.
Traditionalists hate it. They say it isn’t natural. Czech Fishing Union President Martin
Musil says, “I never will fish with this, and I hope every clever and real flyfisherman
is in the same boat,” and he banned the fly in their competitions. The Wall Street
Journal quoted Dave as saying the fly has been “shamed and ridiculed,” noting that
he is called the “King of Trash Flies.”
But a lot of other people love it, and it’s ubiquitous in fly boxes across the world.
Fisherman Ála Richie says that squirmy wormy patterns have brought “another
evolution step in modern nymphing.”
Reviews show passionate responses to the fly:
“Fish tear them up! If you truly are looking to really catch the monsters, this is the bait!”
“Great gosh darn product!”
“There is something about the Squirmy Wormy that drives murky water fish a little bit crazy.”
Truly, it’s a fly that fishermen love to hate, or hate to love. But they sure catch fish
Dave is also a well-known and well-regarded
fishing guide. Orvis named him a runner up
for Fishing Guide of the Year three years in
a row. He is been a professional guide for 27
years and uses 13 miles of private water on 6
different streams. On longer trips, he serves
a grilled dinner. On Orvis’ site, Dave has 161
reviews and each of them, EACH of them, is 5
out of 5 stars.
Our favorite begins, “Once, maybe twice in
a lifetime, if you are fortunate, you’ll find
yourself in the presence of someone so truly
gifted at their craft that the word “awe” seems pitifully inadequate when searching for a
proper descriptive of you’re experiencing.” The enthusiasm of the review never dips, and
every review tells a similar story of a wonderful day of fishing. Another favorite simply
says, “We all enjoyed our day with Dave thoroughly. It was like a spa day for men.”
In short, we are quite lucky to have someone of Dave Hise’s caliber in the foothills of North
Carolina. It’s a testament to our streams that someone of his skill level would call these hills home.
Dave Hise holds 6 flies that he has in
the current Orvis catalog.
Castors, Dave’s shop in Hickory where
he sells fly fishing products.
Do be sure to stop into his store. He’ll be there if he isn’t on the water, and he’s always
ready to answer questions or chat. He also sells everything you’ll need to fly fish, and we
like a one-stop-shop. You can also visit his shop online at www.castersonlineflyshop.com.
We asked Dave to show us how to tie the Squirmito, and he was happy to oblige. Watch
him work on the following pages. If your fly box doesn’t have a Squirmito yet, we hope
you’ll make one today! You’ll be among the thousands of fishermen who know that this
fly will consistently bring a fish in from five or even ten feet away.
TROUT IN WESTERN blooming laurel (rhododendron), with
NORTH CAROLINA banks bordered and pools shaded by
ivy (kalnia) and honeysuckles (azaleas),
At the request of a number of expert pausing here and there to afford shady
anglers who have enjoyed the delights of retreats for its royal inhabitants, and
this sequestered retreat of brook trout- again dashing over rocky impediments
the genuine Salmo Fontinalis- for years, until it reaches the pebbly channel of
I send you a brief description of the the Banner Meadows. Through these it
country, made famous by Craddocks’s, sings and laughs, hiding its “beauties”
“In the Tennessee Mountains,” and of under an occasional clump of laurel
a fishing excursion just concluded. I until it reaches the rocky rapids that
do this for the information of those lead on down to Smokey and Scaly
who truly love the spor t, and who Mountains. And every pool at the foot
will be gratified to discover new of rapids is alive with trout-a fish that
s treams and new scenes in which above all others that swim can thrill
to spend their fishing vacation. the nerves mos t deliciously when
struggling on a brown hackle that has
I am seated in a log cabin that has him hooked securely. And this Elk is
withs tood the s torms for over a buy one of three limpid rivers whose
quar ter of a century, in view of sources are found in that foothill a
that huge archæen pile, Grandfather couple of miles beyond the meadows.
Mountain—sumit of ranges that never
disappeared during the convulsions of This charming spot, with its sublime
millions of years—and at the foot of mountain surroundings, five or six
the knoll on which this cabin stands thousand feet above the tide, and
are the lovely meadows through which forest-clad on their tallest summits,
ripple the pellucid waters of Elk River is never visited by anglers from
after its animated descent. Down it has the Nor th because Bohemians have
come from its source in a foothill of defamed and ridiculed these mountains
Grandfather, over boulders and beneath out of consideration. Never was a
greater wrong done to fishermen.
For eight years successively and in mountain that swings from the pillar
the month of June the anglers of our of the Smokies — Roan Mountain —
city have gone to Banner’s Elk, and and latches on the pillar of the Blue
benn welcomed with a hearty, simple, Ridge — Grandfather Mountain— both
dreamy hospitality found nowhere else of these lofty elevations entering the
out of these moutnains; have been fed clouds 6,000 feet above the sea. The Doe
on well cooked and wholesome food at has ground down a channel through
Mrs. Louis Banner’s and have caught this rocky spur, in places 1,000 feet
thousands of trout ranging in weight deep, and alongside its rushing waters
from six ounces to one pound. True, the railway ascends up grades 300 feet,
these pink-dotted darlings are not so and around curves as short as 20°. Now
large as can be found in some streams it is on a level with the stream, again
of the North, but they are just as gamy it is 100 feet above; now the iron horse
when hooked and just as delicious pants so close to the rear coach you can
when lifted from the frying pan. almost toss a cigar to the engineer five
car-lengths away, again it dashes into a
Ban ner ’s Elk, headqua r ters for short tunnel that pierces a section of
movements on the Elk, Watauga and the Potsdam vertebra. The peaks reach
Linnville rivers, is reached by the up into the clouds, usually clothed
East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia with pines, maples, beeches, linns and
Railway to Johnson City, twenty-five balsams, but occasionally exposing
miles south of Bris tol and about bare piles of rocks hundreds of feet
200 miles northeast of Chattanooga, perpendicular, which at times shut in
The Eas t Tennessee and Wes tern our train as securely from sunbeams as
North Carolina Railroad connects ant if it was in the bottom of a deep well.
Johnson’s and will transport you to
Cranberry, a thirty-five miles distant Over the clear, cold water project fringes
in the mountains, where there is a gem of blooming laurel, ivy and honeysuckle.
of a hotel kept in the Northern style. From Cranberry the road ascends
From Cranberry you go in a hack or on on the bosom of the mountain that
horseback, as you prefer, to Banner’s bounds Cranberry River on the south,
Elk, eight miles distant. At Banner’s affording snatches of lovely mountain
Elk you can be accommodated at S. views. After three miles you ford the
M. Dugger’s, who keeps a regular Elk and then you ascend that river.
boarding house, or at his father’s, a If you come in June not only will
farmer who takes in fisherman. Our the oaks, the maples, the hickories,
club, including our ladies, always stop poplars, chestnuts, cherries, linns and
at Mrs. Louis Banner’s, but as only beechies and balsams clothe Smoky
ladies compose that family they are and Scaly, but the laurel will have on
sometimes timid of entertaining those its glorious white plumes, the ivy its
they do not know, realizing, no doubt, delicately tinted and dotted clusters,
that few strangers turn out to be angels and the honeysuckle the great redly
in disguise. Board is one dollar a day, golden blossoms that are the glory
and it is excellent for the mountains of the mountain sides all through
of any part of the country. The railway Western North Carolina. For over three
ride from Johnson’s to Cranberry miles you will ascend through bough-
carries you to the Great Portal—the embracing forests, along the bosom of
Doe River Gorge—into the heart of the mountains at whose feet the Elk
the Alleghanies. This gorge pierces the tosses, tum- bles and swirls, the water
of which is clear as crystal, cold as ice attempted the sport for the first time,
and filled with speckled trout. Only yet when darkness fell, after two hours
the young and agile fishermen venture of whipping, there were discharged from
on these boulders, and they are always the three creels upon the floor of the
repaid with creels full of the largest fish porch seventy-five toothsome beauties,
found in this section of the mountains. and over twenty had been thrown back
In the low mountain, three miles to grow larger by nex t year. From
from Banner’s Elk— a foothill of that evening on we found the brown
Grandfather— rise the Elk, Watauga hackle and the king of the waters or
and Linnville, and the springs of the coachman the most attractive flies.
their sources are not a thousand yards
apart. The Watauga leaves the feet of We never caught a large trout on a
Grandfather, flows on by Valle Crucis miller, though sometimes a little fellow
to the Tennessee and thence through would rise to it. Tuesday we fished
the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. with three flies on a six foot leader, a
The Elk commingles in the same flood. brown hackle always at the tail, then
The Linnville, however, pours down a king of the waters or a coachman
through a deep rift in the Linnville and a miller or another hackle.
range, and after tumbling over a
precipitous ledge one hundred feet From Banner’s Elk an excursion is
perpendicular, it hurries on between made through the McCandless Cabin
the gloomy wall of a deep canon to Gap to the sources of the Watauga and
the valley and thence to the Atlantic Linnville. It is for a while up the Elk,
Ocean. I am told by those who have then through the dense laurel and up
followed the course of the Linnville the precipitous face of the foothills,
from its source and gazed upon its with a soil of leaves and woods decayed
rapids, pools, falls, carious and beetling during centuries, twelve inches deep,
cliffs, that there is no sublimer scenery covered with trees of fifteen feet
to be found anywhere on the continent. girth, and ferns and mosses that are
as beautiful as found anywhere else
It has been a wet June all over the on ear th. There is excellent fishing
country and these mountains have not in the Watauga, beginning a little
been exempt from the discom for ts after you leave Callaway’s, a mile or
of showers. We reached Banner’s Elk so below the source of the river. At
on June 13 for dinner, and at 5 that Callaway’s you can ascend to the
afternoon began our first assault upon summit of Grandfather, from which
the gamy inhabitants of the Elk. Only can be obtained an almost limitless
three of the four men were in this view of mountain scenery. From
first engagement and one of these was Callaway ‘s you can fish down to
hampered by the presence of ladies who Shull’s Mills, where the river makes a
short turn to flow out into the valley
Rainbow Trout of Valle Crucis. That journey will be
an unalloyed delight — mountains,
36 valleys, laurels, ivy, honeysuckles,
dancing rapids, flower-shaded pools,
trout large and plentiful. At Shull’s
Mills is Boone Fork, full of trout, and
Joe Shull’s residence, a reasonably
comfortable lodging place. It is better
to take lunch from Banner’s and avoid
the wretched cooking at Callaway’s.
Returning from Shull’s Mills along the
highway, you enjoy the scenery to the
full. After passing Callaway’s you reach
the Linnville, and in about three miles
excellent fishing, You fish on down to
Webb’s Pond and spend the night at
Estes, a half mile beyond; reasonably
fair entertainment. In the morning you
can go to Linnville Falls, then across
to Martin Banner’s for dinner, where
you will get an excellent meal. You
will now be only five miles from your
feather bed and big wood fire at Mrs.
Banner’s, at Banner’s Elk. One pressed
for time can fish the Watauga to
Shull’s Mills, ascend to the summit of
Grandfather, so down the Linnville to
the falls, and be back to Banner’s Elk
within three days, after having a bushel
of sport and a barrel of enjoyment.
There are other streams in Western
Nor th Carolina where trout are as
plentiful and perhaps larger— as,
for ins tance, the Nantahala, Toe
(Chestatoa) and Pigeon — but my
hear t turns lovingly to the Elk,
Watauga and Linnville, and my
homelike home at Banner’s Elk. My
residence is in Chattanooga, Tenn.,
and I will cheerfully answer all
letters of genuine anglers who may
wish to learn more of these arteries
of the hear t of the Alleghanies.
G C. CONNOR.
B a n n e r ’ s E l k , Wa t a u g a
Co u n t y, N.C. Ju n e , 1 8 8 6.
Thanks to American Antiquarian Society Historical
Periodicals Collection for preserving this tex t
and to Bob Timberlake for the photograph of the
fisherwoman and for sharing this article with us.
Fly fishing with
By Carmen Eckard Photos by Jon Eckard
Bob Timberlake and guide Alyssa
Adcock with a trout on the line.
One of the most iconic pieces of fly fishing art smiled a very Southern smile that meant he
I know of is Bob Timberlake’s Kuralt at White’s knew he was right, but he didn’t argue.
Creek. The scene is a pitch perfect depiction of
a North Carolina stream. The rhododendron, the He brought two guides with him. Morgan
mysterious woods, and the moss growing on the Tarbutton would be with me and Alyssa
rocks, partnered with rushing water and a perfect Adcock would be assisting him. Both
cast capture so much of what fly fishing is. of these ladies work at Chetola Resort
which has a robust fly fishing program.
Trout and the act of catching them is a recurring We suited up and got out on the water.
theme in Mr. Timberlake’s work. On the following
page you’ll see several pieces of art that revolve Mr. TImberlake has a friendly, happy
around these themes. personality and he exerts a certain amount of
ease. That was all very amplified on the water.
It’s impossible to miss the obvious passion he has He was clearly in his element, and it’s easy to
for the sport. So we jumped at the
chance to go fly fishing with him!
That iconic piece, Kuralt at White’s
Creek, isn’t actually at White’s Creek.
The title is a nod to the fact that many
anglers have secret fishing spots. Mr.
Timberlake understands the value of
a good secret spot. He’s been fishing
in the same stream for years, and only
took us there if we promised to keep
the location secret.
He promised me we’d catch fish. He
promised me they’d be big. I argued
that I’d never fly fished before, and
probably wouldn’t catch a thing. He
Top: Kuralt at White’s Creek. At bottom left, Two Rainbows. Also pictured are various paintings of flies.
see how that state of mind would encourage the creation of art.
And he was right.
We caught fish. We caught big fish.
He caught two gorgeous rainbow trouts, both enormous. I caught a brown trout large enough that I
had a hard time holding onto it.
The feeling of catching such a beautiful and huge fish is hard to describe, but I know it’s what keeps Mr.
Timberlake coming back to this stream, year after year. I know it’s what prompts him to create art on the
subject. It feels...primal, perhaps. Exciting. Invigorating. It also instantly reminded me of the circle of life,
and of my connection to the earth. And I have to say...it wasn’t a fleeting feeling. I felt different after that
fishing trip, and I think everyone caught up in the bustle of daily life owes themselves a good fishing trip.
Mr. Timberlake shared some of his favorite quotes about fishing, and I think they point to the reason
he loves it so.
“If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.” -Zane Gray
“God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling.” -Izaak Walton
“For all men are created equal before fishes.” -Herbert Hoover
We appreciate that Mr. Timberlake took us on this fishing trip and allowed us to print his artwork. You
can find his art at BobTimberlake.com, or visit his gallery in Lexington, NC.
Mr.Timberlake fishes his secret spot.
42 Bob Timberlake and a beautiful cast
with guide Alyssa Adcock
Fishing a Winter Wonderland
By Morgan Tarbutton
Watching the sun rise from an empty parking anything so that I can keep fishing if the bite is on.
lot, enjoying that last sip of hot coffee before If you start to shiver its time to stop and seriously
leaving the comfort of a heated car…stepping warm up before considering going back to the
out to feel the crunch of the snow beneath a water. Go find some secret spot where your
heavy wade boot, already aware that you will parked car is not too far away, if you can get
be the only one on the river this morning... to a heater, then the more comfy you will be!
Always keep a first aid pack readily available.
Winter fishing is, fortunately, not for everyone. We always take our emergency blanket, a
Some of our guides pack up and head for sunnier firestarter, towel, warm change of clothes,
coasts to return only when spring has graced us and a protein source. Do not rely on your
with warmer waters. But those who enjoy the cell phone to always be there. Make an
real challenge of fishing year round will always emergency evacuation plan for every situation.
find a reason to get out and enjoy what they love.
Know your waters, where the freeze will happen
Orvis guide Dustin Coffey always reminds and safe ways to enter and exit your waters.
me that the fly rods naturally come with The most important element is knowing the
heaters... you just have to turn on the fish! He time of day when your fish will wake up to feed
is quite right. In fact, we have come to look before going back into conservation mode.
forward to fishing in freezing temperatures. Use your instincts. It’s okay to change plans
You just have to have the right gear! the morning of the trip. Just make sure that you
have prepared all your options the night before
Whether wading or floating, I pretty much suit up and there will be no unpleasant surprises. Know
with the same routine and modify slightly based your limits in cold waters and any mobility
on weather conditions. Lets start with a great issues that may hinder your trip before hand.
pair of base leggings, underwader pant, and a
likewise top arrangement. Then a winter/wool You should wade if the wind is going to be
BUFF for my neck/face, toboggan that covers blowing the boat sideways. There is no point in
the ears, double or triple layered socks with fighting mother nature all day. If you need to,
a base layer of SmartWool and of course, my you can begin as a float and then pull over in a
Guide Waders with neoprene socks and wading nice spot so that you or your guest can wade or
boots. I always want to make sure that my legs fish outside of the wind. Or you can just leave the
and feet are super protected in case I do get into boat at home and change it up to a full or half day
the water to wade, even though I rarely wade wade. If the water is too low then wading is the
above my waste line for safety. I wear smart less stressful option for catch and release fishing.
shell fold over gloves my fingers must be free
or I can’t operate in the cold, but the fold over Sometimes fishing from a boat is a better option: I
helps keep them warm when not tying line) and am a small framed person which limits my wading
sometimes I will throw over a pair of wool mitts depth, if the water is too high then we have to
knowing that they will eventually get wet, but it float. If the water has frozen over you can try to
helps in subzero temps until your core warms break it and do some ol’ ice fishing but you may
up. Speaking of wool, keep in mind that some want to keep in mind that dragging the fish over
heavier and warmer non-synthetic clothing ice or throwing them back into broken water can
tend to absorb water at an alarming rate, avoid damage your fish and is generally discouraged.
these if possible. Look for synthetic material like We take them to larger waters where the boat
dry-release or smart wool and always use your can get down without any troubles. If the ground
wading jacket as your locking top layer. Keep is slippery or entrance to wading is dangerous
in mind that it is easier to take clothing off if due to thin ice, then it is best to float. If the river
you are too hot versus wishing that you brought is frozen solid, Then we go shoot sporting-clays!
that pair of base gloves. Anything worn outside
of your waders is prone to get wet so try and The rewards of getting out into the winter are
keep everything inside that is not waterproof. numerous but it requires more gear, knowledge,
Still Cold? A pair of feet/hand warmers are used and appreciation! Here in the mountains of Western
as a last resort since neither will not be able NC we look forward every year to our trout spawn
to regulate temperature well after using these and Early Spring hatch for wold class winter fishing
so I recommend using them at the very end and I am sure that your area offers similar rewards.
of your trip. Try instead a HOT cup of coffee
or tea which can perform wonders. Your best For pristine nature, the most beautiful
bet is to take a break, get out of the water and fish, and personal time to rejuvenate -I
get your heart rate UP. I have been known to suggest that everyone gear up at least once
do sit-ups or jumping jacks on the banks… and see if this winter sport is for you too!
Timberlake’s Restaurant occupies the original house on the grounds of the Manor House
Estate. The estate’s most famous owner was J. Luther Snyde, called the “Coca Cola King
of the Carolinas,” and his wife threw lavish, popular parties in the 30s and 40s. The estate
is now home to Chetola Resort, which includes Timberlake’s Restaurant and the Bob
The restaurant opened in 2012, after a fire destroyed the previous restaurant. It’s decorated
richly with paintings of Bob Timberlake as well as some historical artifacts. The atmosphere
is very welcoming and speaks of opulence and history. This building seems to freeze time
around 1940 and remind us of what we, as a region, were. But, we didn’t come for the
history on this trip: we came for the food. We’ve heard that Timberlake’s is one of the best
places to get fish and seafood in the mountains, so that’s what we tried.
Fish and Chips is a standard across most of the country, and it’s a meal I’ve eaten countless
times at restaurants all over the state. It’s not exaggerating to say this was the best Fish
and Chips I’ve ever eaten. And it isn’t surprising when I consider that most restaurants use
pollock, cod, or haddock. Timberlake’s uses fresh mountain trout, battered to light and
crispy, flaky, perfection. The fries were also outstanding. There are a lot of ways to mess
up a perfect french fry, but the chef avoided them all and offered up a worthy companion
to the trout. The meal was served with kale slaw and a delightful tarragon remoulade.
We also sampled the pan-seared salmon on Brioche, with a mesquite-tomato ailoi along
with some mountain-grown veggies. The freshness and quality of the ingredients was
Fish and Chips, with Mountain Trout
from Timberlake’s Restaurant
notable, and the cooking techniques
allowed the flavors to shine.
We couldn’t resist a plate of fried
oysters. They were served with a very
unique apricot wasabi marmalade that
balanced their crispy shell very well.
The oysters were my favorite part, and
I’ll be sure to order them every-time I
eat at Timberlake’s.
The restaurant serves many different
Carolina classics, all dressed up just
the right amount. You can order pan-
seared duck, or roasted Carolina quail,
or the highest quality Angus filets.
There is also a full and impressive
dessert menu, and we tried the creme
brulee. It was delightfully creamy and
light underneath its crisp shell.
As we looked around the crowded
restaurant, it was clear that everyone
was enjoying the food in front of them.
Most of the nostalgic themed
restaurants I’ve been to have fallen
flat. Either the atmosphere is off, or
the food isn’t worth the hype of the
atmosphere. There usually exists a
sense of falseness, as if a corporation
is trying to invent generic memories
for us to share. Timberlake’s is notable
because it isn’t like that.
It’s nostalgia is genuine, because it’s
been created from the memory and
vision of one person, and the elements
are authentic. The quality of the food
is excellent and the combination truly
does create a memorable dining
We hope you’ll try it next time you are
in Blowing Rock.
48 Fried Oysters with apricot
Creme Brulee with fresh berries and a
perfectly crisp top.