The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Growing Up On Tuggles Creek - Trout Fishing

By YKW © 1985

Issue: May, 1985

(Editor's Note: Tuggles Creek is located in the Heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the tiny mountain community of Meadows of Dan, Virginia. Meadows of Dan is a crossroads community where US Highway 58 Business and the Blue Ridge Parkway cross. Mabry Mill is north about 1.6 miles and Mayberry Trading Post is about 2.8 miles south on the Blue Ridge Parkway.)

A early as I can remember, there was always plenty of mountain trout in Tuggles Creek. I can just recall seeing groups of 6 to 8 young men come down the creek on a good fishing day and by the time they got to the lower end of our farm, they would each have a very sizable string of fish.

By the time I got big enough to fish, the trout had become scarcer, but still enough for good sport. Uncle Flounoy had made us a big watering trough of wide, thick boards and put it just below the spring house where the water cascaded into it strong enough to keep plenty of air in the water. Since the creek was so close, I got into the habit of going to the creek and fishing till I caught a trout, and then running as fast as I could to put the fish in the watering trough where he soon revived and appeared to be happy to be alive.

I kept this up till I had perhaps a dozen or more fish in my "Aquarium". It was fun to feed the bread crumbs and watch them come right up to the surface to snatch them.

One day I missed my biggest fish. I happened to see something moving in the shallow spring branch, and there he was, desperately trying to get back to the creek about a hundred yards away. I picked him up and put him back deciding he would be the first fish in my next fish fry.

My Dad was an expert fisherman, but he very seldom had time to take me fishing. I do recall one time (it must have been a holiday) we got up long before daybreak and struck out walking to the little creek that forms the headwaters of Smith River. When we got to the creek the fish were biting like mad but it wasn't long before the sun got into the creek, and when the fish could see us they would no longer bite.

We started climbing out of the mountain and as we did so, I saw a big bumble bee headed straight for me. When I zigged, he zagged and when I zagged, he zigged. Pretty soon he hit me square in the forehead and got all tangled up in the hair under my cap bill. I guess he must have stung me a dozen times. By the time we finally got home, my face was swollen in a strut.

But I'll always be glad I had that day with my Dad, fishing in the streams he used to fish when he was a boy.