Learn how to fly fish in the Smokies

Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains will be the topic of longtime fly fisherman Shannon Messer on Thursday, Aug. 9, at a free, public meeting of the Clinch River Chapter, Trout Unlimited.

The program starts at 7 p.m. in the parish hall of St. Francis Episcopal Church, 158 W. Norris Road, Norris.

Messer, author of the Tuckaseegee Fly Shop blog (http://www.tuckflyshop.com), is a founder of the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail.

He is a native of Western North Carolina, grew up fishing the Cataloochee Valley and learned fly tying from Charles “Charlie Bear” Messer of Fines Creek, N.C.

Shannon is known for his dedication to the art of fly fishing while incorporating old Appalachia-style fly patterns.

He not only enjoys fishing the Smokies but also tying the flies, teaching others about entomology and generally sharing his passion for catching those temperamental mountain trout.

He pays close attention to water levels, water temperatures and the ever-changing insect life on the streams.

He knows just which fly to use for the conditions around him, and teaches proper casting techniques while assisting with fly presentation for just the right catch—then using the catch-and-release methods that are safest for the trout.

Messer is also dedicated to keeping teen anglers interested, teaching them how to tie flies and spending time with them on the creek or river—even starting a fly tying club for teens.

He lives in Sylva with his wife and two active sons.

Clinch River Chapter works to preserve and protect the Clinch River tailwater and its watershed through conservation projects and through education of children and adults in aquatic natural resources.

Meetings are held the second Thursday of the month at St. Francis Episcopal Church except when outdoor activities are scheduled. For more information, visit http://crctu.org/.