View Full Version : Who needs sleep?

04-22-2008, 08:39 AM
Even though we were up for the better part of a week last month, we all knew that we would have to return sometime this Spring - one has to take advantage of the conditions. Well, the soccer season ended, and the girls had a week of standardized testing, so they didn't have much homework - so, we pointed the car north and started on our way. The plan was to leave home around 5pm, get to at least the far side of Birmingham, get a room and some sleep, then get up to the mountains the next morning, nice and refreshed. That is, that was the plan. The cold front that moved through the Southeast reached us right at 5, so I waited an hour to leave; no big deal, or so I thought. When we finally got going, we were ok with the weather until we got into Mississippi a bit - it was there that we caught up with the front. There was a lot of ponding on the roadbed, so I had to go a lot slower than normal. As a result, I decided to scrap the hotel plan, and snatch a bit of sleep at some rest stops. 14 hours later, we were in Townsend...so much for feeling refreshed.

I had an order at LRO waiting for me, so we swung by there and waited out the last of the rain. Since we were at that end of the park, and we had some success the last time we had fished it, we decided to go back to Lynn Camp. We met Troutman there, and we hiked up the trail together for a bit (BTW - nice to meet you in person Troutman, and that's one nice flyrod). He continued further up the trail, while we stopped to fish a section - that turned out to be a mistake on our part, for after a short while, we spotted another fisherman in the area. We hiked a good ways up to get out of his way, but he followed us, and seemed to be going back and forth, to areas we had already fished. I have no idea how long he was there, or exactly which sections he had fished, but it translated into very few strikes and no fish. After a few hours, we decided to leave and head over the mountains to Straight Fork. We went all the way to the bridge and fished above it. I had a few hits and managed to get one brookie to my feet before it got off, while daughter #1 caught one and lost one. We headed further down the stream, where I managed to get one 4inch brookie out of Hyatt Creek where it meets Straight Fork...that was my fish for the day. I threw everything I could think of at the fish in Straight Fork, but no takers. Just before sunset, there was a good hatch of mayflies, but the fish wouldn't rise, and I couldn't dredge them up with nymphs. So, we left, feeling more than a bit discouraged. At least the Blue Ridge Parkway was open, which helped us get to our room in Maggie Valley a lot quicker. Along the way, I saw the moon rising over the Plott Balsams, and had to take a picture:


The next day, after our ritual breakfast at Joey's, we headed to Cosby. We weren't really planning on fishing there this time, but after the skunking the day before, we wanted to catch some fish. We started where the Low Gap trail crosses the stream. I headed upstream with daughter #3, while daughters 1&2 started fishing. I hadn't gone very far when I heard #1 had caught something. I continued up, and after a slow start, got three bows and a brook to hand. Meanwhile, my oldest fishing below us got 7, all brookies. It seems that both species are sharing the water...a good sign. Here's one of them, with my assistant about to release it:


We hiked further up, and fished a section that I hadn't hit before. We all caught a lot more fish....I got an 8-inch brookie that was all head and tail - skinny cuss, but the longest brookie I've caught in that stream. I missed a couple of nice fish, but that's ok - we had a great time, and ended up with about 40 between us.

On a completely different note - ever wonder what happens to that water rushing down your favorite Smokies stream? Well, here's where it ends up:


This was sent to me by a friend of mine - it's a picture of the Mississippi River levee in Metairie, just upstream of New Orleans. The river is higher than its been in 10 years, and should be reaching a crest today. It's quite a sight - seeing a huge tanker ship passing OVER your head.

04-24-2008, 06:05 PM
Looks like alot of fun. I need to try to teach my oldest daughter how to fly fish. She caught her first trout 2 weeks ago at a childrens fishing day at our local park pond, a 14 incher, thought it was going to pull her in! I have 2 daughters and another on the way(most likely another daughter) and it would be great if they would go with me to the streams! --

04-24-2008, 08:27 PM
Athens! We always stop at the Steak N' Shake there on the way home...it's a ritual - we pig out, because (and perhaps thankfully) we don't have them in Louisiana.

Don't underplay their ability to learn it fairly quickly...my oldest has gotten very good at it, and my twins - about to turn 8 - seem to be able to handle things well enough that, this next trip, they'll have their own rods rigged up.

Brook Fan
04-24-2008, 08:54 PM

I hated that I missed the chance to met you at Cosby. I went Saturday instead of Sunday. I stayed tangled up most of the time but hey my experience has been in the tail waters, and this was my 1st GSM trip. I did get to see an orange belly as a Brookie went for my fly but I missed him.
But fish or no fish it was a great trip! Joe Fred and I will be heading back real soon. If I can't convince my wife of that then I'm sure he will persuade his daughter to let me go.

Hopefully my 16 month old daughter will enjoy fishing as much as yours.

04-24-2008, 09:07 PM
Yep...we weren't planning on hitting Cosby at all this time; the last 2 times I've come up, I've hit it pretty hard, so I wanted to try some other areas - plus, I had to swing by LRO for an order, so we were already in the area of Tremont/Lynn Camp. We had done well there last time, but this time it was a big skunk, mostly due to us fishing "used" water. We also basically bombed at Straight Fork, so we all wanted to catch something...so Sunday, we were there. My oldest actually outfished me by a few, in terms of raw numbers, but I had the quality fish ;).

Cosby can be frustrating; it's a tight canopy in spots, and you end up making some creative casts. However, on the plus side, it's fairly easy water to fish - mostly one plunge pool after another. I don't think they were as turned on as they could have been - we took the temperature, and it was 49.2F...a few degrees more, and a sunnier day, and I think we could have doubled our count. We had to work a little bit...when the sun did peek through, they seemed to strike more readily. The thing to keep in mind with this stream is not to expect huge fish; I caught an 8-inch brookie this trip, and it's my best out of this stream. A 6-inch spec can be king of the pool. Just keep your casts short (most of the time, I'm just flipping a few inches of fly line and the leader) and hold as much of that leader out of the water as possible...also, if you had to pick one spot in a pool to try, go for the "corners" on either side of the incoming water at the heads of the pools - inevitably, there's a fish there, and it's usually the best one in the pool.

What section did you fish? We ended up going higher than we ever had, and it seemed both the quality and quantity improved.

Brook Fan
04-25-2008, 12:25 PM
We enterted the stream a little past the 1st crossing after the amphitheatre. I'm not sure how far we went because we follwed the stream instead of the path so distance was a little confusing and I forgot to set my GPS to measure how far we went. I know from talking to the park ranger we should have kept going up stream and past the water tower. No biggie though we had fun and next time we will find the tower.
We are camping in Townsend the weekend of Troutfest and we are going to try our hand at trying to catch some browns and bows in the waters from that side of the park.
2nd time out in the park so I get to see what I learned.

04-25-2008, 12:50 PM
That's a good stretch of stream - in fact, I've fished that section probably more than any other part of it. It does seem to bend away from the trail that goes past the water tower, so there's a longer stretch of stream there than you think. The Low Gap trail is a bit confusing, because you can take the one path that goes by the water tower, or you could take the portion that comes out of the nature trail area - that part is on the left side of the stream (as you're going uphill)...but, it is separated from the stream by several yards and a lot of thick growth. Eventually, the two parts of the trail meet at a crossing upstream, and then Low Gap continues up the mountain.

We also ended up fishing a section far downstream of the campground (in fact, it was right past the sign that states that it is 1.7 miles to the campground), in one of the pullouts. I expected rainbows, but in a few minutes of fishing, we ended up with 5 brookies....it seems like they are moving downstream on a couple of the places where I fish - a good sign, IMO.

old tom
04-25-2008, 03:33 PM
I fish mostly the NC side of the Park and a few times year venture into TN. I want to give Cosby a try this year and think I can figure out where to fish from reading postings. With gas prices being what they are now, I think I'll car camp a night or two at the campground. I'll probably go during the week, so I don't expect a crowd, particularly if I go before Memorial Day. Is it easier to get there from Bryson City by going over the mountain on Hwy 441 to Gatlinburg and up 321 to Cosby? Or going back to Waynesville on Hwy 74 and going around on I-40 and down 321? My sense is that the Gatlinburg route may be shorter mileage-wise, but the Waynesville route may be quicker.

04-25-2008, 03:54 PM
Which route to take...reminds me of the old joke about which method of execution you would like - gas chamber or electric chair. No matter which way you slice it, it's a bit of a drive from where you are; I guess the key question is how much traffic do you wish to avoid? Cherokee isn't that bad, but Gatlinburg in high summer, as you know, is horrible - it has taken me 30 minutes to get through it at times. As long as the Blue Ridge Parkway is open, you can get on 441 briefly, then get on it and cut over to Maggie Valley, then go through it to 276 to I-40...I would probably recommend that, even if it is longer, mileage-wise. Once you get on I-40, it's less than 30 minutes to get there.

Because it involves a drive, no matter where you are in the park, I'm not too worried about Cosby being over-fished. I've hardly run into anyone else fishing there when I was there. If you go during a weekday, I can almost assure you that you'll have the stream to yourself...now, the hikers are another story....they kind of look at you wierd if they see a flyrod in your hand instead of hiking poles ;).

old tom
04-25-2008, 04:10 PM
Sounds like you can't get there from here.

Know what you mean about the hikers. I fished Road Prong right after it reopened. I was fishing upstream of a foot bridge and had Chimney Tops hikers crossing the bridge taking my picture. "Look Melvin - a fly fisherman!"

04-25-2008, 04:31 PM
One thing I can say...the hikers I've seen at Cosby are for the most part the serious type - not the typical tourist driving up from G'burg. I know exactly what you mean about Road Prong - at the crossings, you begin to feel like an exhibit at the zoo. My oldest loves that stream - however, she got in an argument with one obnoxious guy last year - this idiot didn't think any fish lived in there, which my daughter promptly disproved by catching a small trout. Then, he had the gaul to say "well, is that all that's in there - tiny fish?". I know it takes all types, but I'm glad I was upstream and out of earshot of all this - I don't have much patience with that amount of stupidity.

04-26-2008, 12:28 AM
I know exactly what you mean about Road Prong - at the crossings, you begin to feel like an exhibit at the zoo.

That's part of the reason I try to fish a few pools above the third bridge as quickly as possible and preferably above the 4th bridge. You never even see another person...

04-26-2008, 10:24 AM
Very true...and I'm pretty good at tuning them out when we do start out - it's just getting through those first few yards. It's a major reason why I've never fished Little River roadside...I just don't like the sensation of someone over my shoulder, whether it's work or fishing.

old tom
05-14-2008, 04:19 PM
Is it worthwhile to take my mtn bike over to Cosby? I know I can't ride trails, but what's the road in and out of the park like?

05-14-2008, 04:51 PM
It's a nice, smooth blacktop from the entrance on TN 32 all the way to the campground. You can avoid hitting dirt until you get to the back of the campground. The trails can get a bit rough in spots, and I suspect they get rougher the higher up you go.