Whitesburg KY
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy

Cherokee Lake

Way back in the 50’s, my great uncle Ray and his dad and brothers visited Cherokee Lake in Tennessee for a fishing trip. From then on they were always wanting to go back when they had a chance. They really liked the area, and the people around the lake.

Each summer they tried to get together to plan a fishing trip back to camp out on the lakeshore and fish, and spend a few days out together. When they started getting ready it was really something to see. With all their camping gear, food, fishing gear and bait, it looked more like a family moving than it did a weekend fishing trip.

They didn’t have coolers or refrigeration so most of their food was canned stuff from the family cellar, along with cured meat and garden vegetables they cooked over a campfire and fried fish they caught from the lake.

They caught branch chub minnows and crawfish to take with them for bait. They would split a coffee sack down each side and put a pole in each side to make a minnow seine to catch the chubs.

It was about a four-hour drive to the lake, and to keep the chubs alive they put a 50-pound lard can of water in the bed of the truck. They had a ’56 Chevy truck to drive. The truck had vacuum wipers, so they ran a hose from the wiper motor back to the lard can full of chubs in the back of the truck. When the wipers were turned on, the wiper motors pumped air into the lard can full of chubs and kept them alive for the trip down to the lake.

Once there, another lard can that had been punched full of nail holes was placed in the edge of the lake water, and the chubs put in it to keep them alive.

They camped out in an old army tent on the sand bars, slept on the ground and cooked over an open campfire, and really looked forward to next year, when they could do it again.

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