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
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)