The Story Behind Mountain Trout Fishing in Fayetteville
1/3/2013 3:03 PM
It began more than 10 years ago as a casual conversation between two avid fly fishermen and a Wildlife Commissioner.
The subject? Trucking trout down from the mountains — the only place these cold water-loving fish can live throughout the year —to a couple of small ponds at a fishing education center in Fayetteville in the dead of winter, and conducting fly-fishing clinics for local anglers.
That conversation between Bowman Smith and Tom Morketter and former Wildlife Commission Chairman John E. Pechmann morphed into some of the most popular fishing events held every year at the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center.
Every December since 2002, Division of Inland Fisheries staff has loaded a hatchery truck and driven approximately 1,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout from the Bobby N. Setzer Fish Hatchery in Brevard to the Pechmann Center in Fayetteville. The 5-hour trek is the Commission’s way of“bringing the fish to the people” — in this case, bringing the trout down the mountains to Fayetteville for folks who might not have the time or resources to drive to the mountains for overnight trout-fishing trips.
According to Al Kittredge, who has been an enthusiastic volunteer at the Pechmann Center for well over 10 years, that first year, Fayetteville area volunteers), along with Commission staff, held one fly-fishing clinic.While it wasn’t a packed clinic, it was well attended and well received by those who did attend — so much so that the second year, they conducted two clinics, and the following year three clinics.
This year, starting Saturday, Commission staff, along with volunteers and staff with Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation, will hold four fly-fishing clinics. They are basic clinics, which are best for folks who have limited or no experience fly fishing. The clinics will start with a 1-hour overview on fly fishing and casting demonstrations. Then it’s out on the water where Kittredge, and other knowledgeable instructors like him, will teach participants the proper way to cast.
In addition to the four basic fly-fishing clinics for the general public, additional fly-fishing clinics will be held exclusively for soldiers from Fort Bragg’s Wounded Warrior Transition Battalion. The Wounded Warriors clinics will begin Jan. 9, on every Wednesday, through March from 1 to 5 p.m.
The clinics for the soldiers and their families are free. Th efour basic fly-fishing clinics for the public cost $5 each. But, as Kittredge points out, the basic clinics are virtually free because even though participants have to pay $5, they get as much coffee and doughnuts as they’d like.
If you’re interested in a clinic, Kittredge suggests you register soon. Clinics book up fast, with folks from across the state attending each year.
For more information or to register, call Fayetteville-Cumberland County Parks and Recreation at Lake Rim, 910-433-1018.