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  • Writer's pictureRay Sugg

A Fishy Story

Well, back during hurricanes Frances and Ivan in the Fall of 2004, it rained for forty days and forty nights. My little town of Canton, NC flooded when the Pigeon River left its banks. The water level rose above all of the bridges, and got as high as the fifth row of seats at Canton Memorial Stadium. The neighboring Haywood County town of Waynesville NC has a reservoir up in the mountains on Allens Creek, and the dam was in danger of bursting, threatening the town with great loss. Now the Waynesville Watershed has the best drinking water in the world, so they tell me. It is a pristine watershed, with several tributaries coming down the mountain to form Allens Creek. No fishing, hunting, or even hiking is allowed anywhere in the entire watershed, and all of the creeks are chock-full of speckled trout (Southern Appalachian Brook Trout). The mayor of Waynesville called the mayor of Canton asking for any help he could provide. The mayor of Canton replied with "I know a guy!"

speckled trout

Well ordinarily, Canton and Waynesville are at odds with each other, especially in the Fall, because there are only two high school football teams in the county - the Pisgah Black Bears in Canton and the Tuscola Mountaineers in Waynesville. These two teams have had one of the biggest rivalries in high school sports since they were established in 1966. When these two teams play each other, as many as 15,000 people show up. The person with the winning fifty-fifty ticket takes home anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000. It would be a great time to commit a crime anywhere in Haywood County because the entire police force of both towns and the county will be at the game! I grew up in western Buncombe County and went to Erwin High School (Go Warriors!) so I didn't have a dog in this fight. In 1990 I moved to Canton after I married a Pisgah girl, bought season tickets to Pisgah football games, and became a Black Bear fan. However, ten years later I got a job teaching history and coaching soccer at Tuscola, and I have been a Mountaineer ever since.

from "The Great American Rivalry Series",

Well, when the Canton mayor called me up and explained the dire situation to me, I knew what I had to do. I told him to "meet me up at the reservoir with as many dump trucks as you can muster, filled with water", grabbed my fly rod and vest, and headed for the reservoir as fast as my little Sentra would go. There was one truck waiting for me when I got there. We drove up to where Allens Creek runs into the lake, and I started fishing. We put every trout I caught into the water in the dump truck’s bed. When that one was full, it was quickly replaced by another one. In two hours, I filled up twenty dump trucks with speckled trout and the water level in the lake dropped ten feet! Thus, using my knowledge of Archimedes’ Principle and my superior fly fishing skills, did I save the town of Waynesville from disaster.

What in the world did we do with twenty dump trucks full of speckled trout? I’m glad you asked! We have more speckled trout in Haywood County than we know what to do with, so we sent some trucks down to the mountains of South Carolina and Georgia to restore speckled trout populations there, and we sent some trucks clean over to the mountains of Kentucky to establish populations there. You can look it up!

Ray Sugg

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