March 26th, 2007

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Something There?
By Wade Blevins

A few years ago I was fishing a stretch of beautiful water on the Elk River in Middle TN approximately 5 miles below the dam. I was fortunate enough to know the land owner and was given permission to access this area through one of his cattle gates.

The morning was beautiful. Fog rolling off the water, dew on the grass, the yellow flowers spread over the field like a newly made quilt. The sun was just beginning to peak over the mountain and the rays of sunshine glistened across the stream. As I cautiously approached the water I could see fish dimpling the surface in a long slow pool that curves around a small bluff on the south bank. My anticipation of catching fish on dries was overwhelming as I slipped into the stream. I managed to catch several decent stocked fish on a crackle back but could here the gurgling of a quick riffle upstream that kept beckonning my name. Just like me to leave rising fish to go fish fast water. What is up with that?

As I approched the riffle from the left side casting upstream I had a flash catch my eye just feet from the top of the first plunge. I could see what I thought was a fairly nice fish. I must have cast ten times to the fish when I realized it was nothing more than a piece of metal covered in moss that was twisting in the current. So dissappointing.

I slowly moved upstream to a section of water that had always produced a few nice fish in the past. The pool is long and deep with a quick run at the top of the pool that forces a nice bubble line down the right side bank. The bank is a gradual slope but is covered with weeds and the refreshing aroma of wild mint. I began to work my way closer to the area, I wanted to get a good mend and drift when I heard an intriguing and yet scary noise. What sounded like the cry of a small girl!

Now I have been accused of not being the sharpest crayon in the box and looking back this was one of those moments. My first reaction? You guessed it I began to mock the noise. It was cute at first. I would sound out then it would cry out. I was fine until I noticed the weeds begin to move. Oh great...I thought. I have called up a bobcat that is now coming towards me. I slowly began to wade out a little deeper leaving a good 20 feet between me and the bank. There is a small area of gravel about six feet from the weed line. But I could see this creature moving slowly toward the edge of the weeds. Better yet I really could only see the weeds move. I actually remember having my rod in a position ready to strike if something lurched out of the weeds. Too Funny. Not sure how good a weapon that St. Croix 3 weight would have made but it did give me a slight feeling of security knowing I had at least seven feet of something to prod against the attack.

Suddenly the animal was getting closer to the edge of the weeds when out popped the head of a newborn fawn. I could literally feel my heart sink and my face shine with a smile of amazement and joy. Incredibly the fawn just kept coming closer. I moved to the edge of the water and knelt down. I mocked the cry once more and the fawn literally crawled into my lap. She was so soft and beautiful with her white spots. I began to wonder if she had been lost or stranded. I found the area she had bedded down in and tried to get her to stay. I couldn't help but think that now that I had petted her my scent was now on this young deer. What if mom wouldn't return and care for her. I washed my hands in the river and picked the mint leaves and began to rub her coat with the leaves. I thought maybe this would mask my scent.

About the time I stood up I could hear mom grunt from the bluff above me. I decided to head back down to the rising fish. As I walked the fawn followed like a lost puppy. Was truly a wonderful experience on the water. I crossed through the water and watched silently in the weeds as the fawn slowly turned and walked back to the mint patch.

Just one day of many joyous days on the river.

Have a great day all! ~ Wade Blevins (waders)

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