Big turnout for Smoky Mountain trout tournament

By Joe Bowling

   The 4th Annual Smoky Mountain Spring Trout Tournament was held recently at Pigeon River in Pigeon Forge. The two-day event attracted close to 1,000 people.
   The tournament was divided up into a youth division and an adult division, which were sub-divided up into tourist and local. Over 10,000 trout were stocked over 20 miles for the two-day event.
   Bob Johnson help me to cover the tournament and was also the cameraman. We arrived at Pigeon Forge early Saturday morning and begin to check out the fishermen.
   The first fisherman we talked to was Jason Werth, a young fisherman from Meadowview, Va. His first fish was a 17-inch rainbow. At the time the picture was taken we didn't realize that he would win fist place.
   The next person we met was a son and father fishing. The son had caught five fish that averaged about 14 inches. The pair were from Knoxville.
   Farther up the river, Bob and I ran into Knoxville's Beckie McCamey, who had three fish. One was 13 inches, another 13 1/2 inches and the biggest 15. Farther up, Scott Jeffers of Morristown had a 15 1/2-inch rainbow.
   Around noon we ran into Bob Turnley, Knoxville. He had a nice 18-inch rainbow. Later in the day we ran into Garrett Lindsay, Maryville. He had five fish from 13-18 inches.
   It started to get dark so Bob and I decided to call it a day. We checked in at Homestead House which is located as you go into Gatlinburg. The accommodations were great.
   We had two king size beds, a large living room with a bath and kitchen. The house also had plenty of parking and a outside pool. When you go to Gatlinburg, I strongly recommend you stay at Homestead House. You won't regret it.
   The next day we drove down to Pigeon Forge and ran into Greg Ward, who puts the tournament on. Greg is a super-nice guy and he spends many long hours putting on the tournament.
   Greg is the owner of Rocky Top Outfitters, which is located in the middle of town in Pigeon Forge.
   About 2:30 p.m. Greg announced the winners of the door prizes, which included 20-30 rod and reels, amusement passes, area restaurant gift certificates, $500 for the largest trout and $500 for the smallest trout.