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No Surf In The Mountains!

Aug 18, 2007
It's vacation time again and I don't want to go! I look forward each year to relaxing on the beach somewhere on the Gulf of Mexico. Our extended families all get together for a week and rent a couple of houses, preferably close to the beach, where we can enjoy the sand and surf for a glorious sun filled week.

Not so this year. Someone in the family decided that they'd had enough of 95 degree days, sun burns and sand spurs. In the planning stages of this year's reunion, a mutiny occurred and it was decided that we would go to the mountains this year. It's not all bad because we're going to be spending the week on Douglas Lake at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Douglas Lake is one of the top five crappie lakes in the United States. God must have been smiling on me when the decision to move the clan to the mountains was made. I guess He likes fishermen.

My brother-in-law, who is obviously a more dedicated angler than I, is towing his boat from Orlando, Florida to Douglas Lake in the Smokies. That is a commitment to the sport of fishing that I wouldn't undertake for all the fish in the lake!

Snug in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Douglas Lake has 30,400 acres of water surface. There is over 550 miles of shoreline in this pristine lake. Many of those miles do not sport a house or a boat dock so I won't have to worry about over crowded beaches and dodging Frisbees.

In trying to figure out the location of Douglas Dam, I learned a fascinating bit of trivia. The dam was built in 1942, a rush project, with construction completed in 12 months and 17 days. Let someone try that today. It would take that long just to get the paperwork and red tape out of the way before the workers could get started.

The lake itself is home to sauger, crappie, black bass, white bass and bream as well as a few other species that haven't yet earned top billing. Actually I'm looking forward to visiting this massive TVA reservoir to see how it compares to Guntersville Lake down here where I live in North Alabama. Both of the lakes are huge, but the temperature in the mountains has to be lower than our mid-ninety's here.

In addition to fishing, there are over 40 hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hiking is definitely not for me unless it's to get me to some remote fishing hole. I've never been able to understand why so many folks return from a hike, sweaty and exhausted from their trek, and swear that the trip was the highlight of their vacation. It doesn't make a lot of sense for me, but when I first saw Elvis on Television for the first time, I predicted that he would never make it as a singer. What do I know?

Most of the hiking trails in the park were converted from old roads or railroad beds. I'm sure I won't do any walking on these trails, but I do love their names; Boogerman Loop, Cucumber Gap, Andrews Bald, Shuckstack Tower, Alum Cave, Hen Wallow Falls and Rainbow Falls. The names themselves make you wonder about their origin.

All this talk about hiking trails has made me long for a comfortable seat on a boat fishing Douglas Lake. I especially want to try my luck up close to the dam where the stripers roam. Some of these fish can grow up to 25 pounds and are tremendous fighters. I know because I caught a 20 pound stripe at Weiss Dam in northeast Alabama. These fish are hybrids, using eggs from a striped bass and sperm from a white bass. I say probably, because there are different types of hybrids now, than they were when this experiment was begun in the '60's. It doesn't matter to me where they came from; I know I'll enjoy catching them.

I'm starting to get excited about the trip now that it is only a day away. Maybe that excitement will grow to the point that I want to make use of one of those hiking trails since there's no surf in the mountains.
About the Author
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:
http://www.redfishbob.com
http://www.bluemarlinbob.com
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