Fishermen land first place in national tourney

Paul Bourcq of Franklin and Chris Lee of Bryson City won first place in the 26-team Rumble in the Rhododendron fly-fishing tournament.

The event showcased the special catch and release, fly-fishing only section of the Oconaluftee River on the Cherokee Indian Reservation. Competitors from North Carolina and Georgia made up the majority of the entrants into this year’s event, but participants from as far away as Pennsylvania and Colorado rounded out the field.  

“The Rumble in the Rhododendron is a great weekend of competitive fly-fishing on a portion of the best trout water East of the Mississippi River,” said Matthew Pegg, executive director of the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce. “With that said, competitors, volunteers and spectators all share a weekend in the mountains during the peak of our fall color season, so the backdrop to the tournament was just fantastic.”

Chris Lee, of the winning team, was well prepared for the tournament and said, “This was a great competition with competitors coming in from all across the United States. They had the opportunity to experience some of the best fishing in the Smoky Mountains. My team was lucky to come out on top.”

The Cherokee Chamber of Commerce hosted tournament, in association with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Fish and Wildlife Department and with assistance from the North Carolina Fly Fishing Team. or 828.497.6700.

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