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Troutman
02-02-2009, 05:38 PM
Thought I would throw this question out there even though I don't expect too many responses.

Has anyone ever fished the entire gorge section on Abrams creek from the abrams ranger station starting from the parking area all the way to Chilhowee lake?
Any long deep pools, or is it all wadable? I have thought about doing a 2 day float trip in my ww inflatable kayak down it and camping along the way.
I have waded downstream from the parking area about a mile and paddled up to the mouth several times but never ventured upstream from there very far.
Much like the Horseshoe, once your in, you must go up or down to get out.

snaildarter
02-02-2009, 06:12 PM
Much like the Horseshoe, once your in, you must go up or down to get out.
Except it's much, much longer. I too would love to see a response to this question. I wanted to give this a shot myself some years ago and never did. Gotta be some decent smallies in there, and lake-run trout too during the cold months.

Troutman
02-03-2009, 11:44 AM
Gotta be some decent smallies in there, and lake-run trout too during the cold months.

Yes, thats what I've been wondering too. You never hear anyone talking about fishing it probably due to its inaccessability by foot. when I fished the upper section just down from the ranger station, it was mostly flat shelfs and lots of chubs, but at the lower end at the mouth it was more pocket water and small plunge pools.
Its one of those places that still has somewhat of a mistery to it.
I'm wondering how this drawdown of the lake will affect the rainbow spawn into the trib. streams that feed into the lake. I'm sure the smallies are alright, the lake still has plenty of bait to keep them happy.

snaildarter
02-03-2009, 12:17 PM
There at the Ranger's station I've seen dozens of what were probably 2-lb redhorse. I don't think those would be in there if there wasn't a good food base for smallies. If I still lived within 10 hours of you I'd try to bug you into making that trip with me this spring!

I bet the ranger in that cabin might have heard of someone making the trip...

I looked at the satellite pics of the whole stretch. Looks like there is a lot of white water, and I saw a few big pools. But I couldn't see a lot of it because the mountain shadows were all over it. If the pools aren't big enough for the smallies to overwinter, then there may not be many in there, because I doubt many smallies would migrate up from the lake. I think maybe there is a chance that this stretch is both too warm for resident trout, and too fast for resident smallies, despite it being a fairly large stream. Someone is going to have to try it to find out!

Troutman
02-03-2009, 02:14 PM
I bet the ranger in that cabin might have heard of someone making the trip...



....And never heard from again. Being that the happy valley area over the ridge from the river gorge has a less than favorable reputation, and a guy was murdered in the campground in the past few years, the movie "Deliverance" keeps popping into my head whenever I think about doing that float.
Definitely a place that a concealed carry would be a must.
This is a pict. of where the mouth of abrams flows into the lake. It was early fall maybe first week of Oct. and the leaves were just beginning to change. water levels were low so a spring trip would be better for floating in a canoe or kayak. One of these days maybe!
http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l114/gltroutman/OutbackNov-2.jpg

snaildarter
02-03-2009, 02:48 PM
Troutman, you look a lot younger than I thought you were. :biggrin:

You know, if I were Ted Turner, I would buy up that entire Happy Valley area and clean it up some. That area would be worth many fortunes then.

And looks like you have the perfect craft for the trip.

Speckleman5
02-03-2009, 06:27 PM
if you don't mind my being nosy, where were you viewing aerial photographs that showed the whitewater? I haven't found any maps that detailed yet, would definitely help plan a trip a little better. Thanks.

troutslayer3393
02-03-2009, 06:47 PM
I don't know about snaildarter but I use Google maps on the hybrid/satellite mode. This is pretty much a satellite image of the whole world (quite fun I might add) I have looked at my house, School, Great wall of china, Clinch, and many other things.

Jswitow
02-03-2009, 06:58 PM
Troutman,
How are you? I have never made this trip either, there was an article by Bob Hodge in the Sentinel 7 or 8 years ago though about that float (he broke his wrist right at the start). The article said it was full of smallies in the summer. I am sure there are lake run bows up there this time of year though. You and Jim ought to call me!
Best,
John

Gerry Romer
02-03-2009, 08:17 PM
I seem to recall an article in either the Daily Times or the News Sentinel in the last year or two about a father and son (older son in his twenties) who fish from the top to the bottom once each year in the spring... kind of an annual ritual. I remember them saying the trip is not for the faint of heart since there is no trail to get out by. Once you're committed, that's it. I also remember them saying that it gets pretty tight in a lot of sections and not really floatable so they do a lot of portaging. And, if memory serves, all smallies and junk fish -- no trout.

I lived in Happy Valley once about twenty years ago and used to go up to the ranger's station and down to Chilhowee. Often wondered the same things myself... but I just figured living in Happy Valley was dangerous enough!!

You might want to do an archive search of the Daily Times. On second thought, start with the News Sentinel - The Daily Times hasn't quite reached the information age...

Troutman
02-03-2009, 08:53 PM
Troutman, you look a lot younger than I thought you were. :biggrin:

Thanks,I wish I was a lot younger than I look! :biggrin:

Hey John , I don't see Jim much anymore. I changed jobs 3 years ago and we haven't fished together much since. We both always seem to be too busy to go. He tore his rotator cuff in his casting arm and took a long break from fishing also. Too many decades of high sticking out some big browns from the park I believe.

snaildarter
02-03-2009, 11:26 PM
if you don't mind my being nosy, where were you viewing aerial photographs that showed the whitewater?
What Troutslayer said. I use Google Maps and flip between the Terrain and Satellite modes a lot. Google Earth is another fun way.

John and Gerry, thanks for the info. Knew someone had to have done it. I think I've made up my mind to do that stretch somehow, someday.

Lumber_Jack
02-04-2009, 11:06 AM
We put in there at the camp ground in June 2007. There is a large pool there with plenty of water. Just a side bar in June 2007 we were in a major drought. We set off planning to camp (illegally) half way. Thank the good Lord we did. We were in a standard flatwater canoe, and let me tell you, I think we spent more time dragging the dang thing than floating it. I definetly think you would have much better luck with the inflatable kayak and more water. I remember some kayakers saying they like it at 250cubic ft/sec but dont quote me on that, we floated it at like 150. Its a long way to the lake, 18 miles. And it is really slow going once you hit the flat water of the lake. We left a truck at the bridge where 129 crosses the intersection of the creek and Chilhowee Lake. The fishing was best within the first two miles of the Abrams Creek Campground, and the last mile or so above the lake. There are 2 class 3 rapids on this creek. We just paddled through them. One we survived and the other we swam. Best just to walk around and put back in. If I remember right the very last 1/4 mile or so above the lake was pretty hairy, tough to manuever even walking the canoe.

All of this rambling is just to say, yes its doable, but tough. There are good smallies there in the summer, we caught some 14". There arent many long deep pools, but some. Be prepared, as you say, once your in, your in to the lake. I would take a compass and a topo map just in case of an emergency. You can hike up and over Sawmill Ridge say at Abrams Gap and be on Happy Vally road is approx .35 mi. Thats real distance up and over the slope not as the crow flies. You would have to bush wack but Im a forester so that isnt that big of a deal to me especially in an emregency. Well hope this helps let me know if you have any specific questions I may have left out, if you jog my memory I could give some more info.

God Bless
Neil

P.S. If you decide to go let me know I would be happy to help you plan your trip, show you where we camped, rough sections, etc.
__________________________________________________ ________________________________

Rembmer.....I'm and idiot

snaildarter
02-04-2009, 01:13 PM
Great info there, Lumber Jack. 18 miles of ankle breakers. Whew! I'm surprised you had time to fish. And yeah, hadn't even thought about the illegal camping part. Meaning that if I try this trip, I shouldn't ask the ranger for info? :smile: I'm guessing the ranger didn't see you put in? Or that maybe you told him that the camping gear was just in case of an emergency?

mayday
02-04-2009, 03:15 PM
I have sought an "off trail" permit for camping in the Lower Abrams area. All I had to do was meet with a Ranger, show him where I wanted to camp on a map, assure him I would not have a campfire and let him know when I got out. So, backcountry permits can be had. The big stipulation is "Leave No Trace" especially by not having a fire. That was the big thing. Once in the creek at the Ranger Station it is 8 miles to the 129 bridge. At about 4 miles down there is a four-wheeler track that runs beside the river and back over to Happy Valley Road. When you drive up Happy Valley Rd from 129, look for a gated road to your right. That road goes over Abrams Gap to the place where there used to be a mill. That road is used a lot by four wheelers. There are small tracks like that in alot of that general area. Across the river from the place where the four wheeler tracks hit Abrams Creek is where the mill was. In fact part of the foundation is still there. A friend of mine (Ranger J.R. Buchanan - RIP) told me he used to swim in the pool above the mill when he was young. Upon the hill above the old mill is a house foundation and the road which continues over the hill and back down to Abarms Creek after a few miles just above where Panther Creek comes in to Abrams. A few years ago John Gallemore and I parked at the 129 bridge, got out our mountain bikes and road up Happy Valley to the gated road. We hid out bikes in the rhododendron and hiked the trail/road to Abrams Creek, crossed the creek and continued up the old road past several houses and back down to Abrams Creek where the road went back across the creek above Panther Creek. We put on our swim gear, blew up a 5' inflatible alligator and a 3' inflatible yellow duck pool toy and swam back to the 129 bridge. We laughed so hard at the sight of the duck chasing the gator down Abrams Creek that we could hardly swim. We drove back to the gated road and retrieved our bikes. What a day! So, it is doable. The Heartland Series did a segment on it about 10 years ago. Bill Landry said he would never do that again. That comment was the one which peaked my interest!!!

Lumber_Jack
02-04-2009, 04:18 PM
Mayday is correct it is only 8 miles from the Ranger station and 9 from the campground. It just feels like 18 haha, sorry. It still took all of 2 days, fishing and canoeing. One thing to remember is that all of the property, East of Sawmill Ridge is Private Property not part of the GSMNP. Starting at the lake the Park line runs Northerly along Flat Ridge,then to Sawmill Ridge then heads northeast along Abrams Ridge. I cant say much I camped illegally(without permit) in the park, just be aware that all of that property is owned by someone other than the national park service. A USGS topo map will show what I am talking about

No Snaildarter we never saw the ranger we put in at the campground. Still we should have gotten a permit

Neil

Troutman
02-05-2009, 12:25 PM
Thanks for the info Lumber Jack and Mayday. Hadn't thought about the camping being illegal.

Jack
02-06-2009, 12:50 PM
Mayday,
I was fortunate enough to meet J.R. Buchanan a couple of years before his passing. We were camped in Abrams Creek and his son was right next to us. He would come over, drink our coffee and tell us stories about the park every evening. Wish we had a tape recorder to keep all the stories and information about the park that he shared with us. For a couple of years after that first meeting, he would visit us at Elkmont and Cades Cove. We always had plenty of coffee on hand. I believe he started out as a hog hunter for the park and worked his way up to ranger. He was a great guy and we miss him to this day.

duckypaddler
02-07-2009, 12:52 AM
Here's where "us" kayakers can come in to answer you questions. From the Ranger station to the lake it is 6.7 miles followed by 1.5 miles of lake paddle. It is an awesome place that is easy to get to yet remote enough not to be over-used like so much of the park. I paddled it after the good rains a few weeks ago. I took pics and will post when I get time. It was my 4th ot 5th time down this section (Have also done Upper section).The level was high in shots (4 ft Little River guage). It can be scraped down in a boat at as low as 2.5 on Little guage. The first couple miles are like it is at ranger station. Lots of good fishing I'm sure. Although being low elevation stream,it might have been hit pretty hard in last 2 years of drought, not sure how fishing would be effected. Once a few years ago, I saw the largest Brown I have ever seen when paddling. Well not nearly the size of that monster on SoHo in recent posts, but huge none the less. Anyway, a few miles into the run it opens up and looks like a minature Hiwassee. 3 or so miles later the is a gorge for a little over a half mile. Then you are soon at the lake. At 2.5 feet the run is Class 2 with one 3- rapid. At 4 feet it Big water Class 2 with 3 rapids that were Class 3. I would say 2 to 3 feet being good fishing levels. I paddle inflatable kayaks and have enough to get 5 people on the water. I would be happy to lead some of you down it sometime it's running. As for hiking it as an overnighter or 2 would be fine if you could find someone to pick you up at the lake. I would not recommend walking out on the muck from Chilhowie lake being down as it isn't very supportive in places.

Good Luck,
Hope this helps,
James Locke

duckypaddler
02-07-2009, 01:47 AM
Here are 2 shots from my high water run a few weeks ago. Lets get your ducky in the mix next time troutman!

http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=24&pictureid=111
http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=24&pictureid=112
Hikers please note bridge on Rabbit Creek Trail washed out!

Not the Lower, but a few shots of the Upper at 3.5 feet
http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=24&pictureid=110

That my buddy Andrew! I took the far right line, the dry one! Nice Class 3 section on Upper right after falls

http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=24&pictureid=113


And Finnally some shots from a Fall Lower trip in O6'. The beauty of this day - well you'll see. 2.5 feet


Put-in Bliss
http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=24&pictureid=114
Where it hits the lake
http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=24&pictureid=121
Gorge at end of trip
http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=24&pictureid=120



http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=24&pictureid=116


Now aren't you glad you asked! Please let me know if you have any questions. And while I'm an advanced paddler, I'm a newbie fly fisherman, and would love to learn from some of you out there. I live in Farragut, and can't get enough of the Smokies!

Ducky Out,
James

nvr2L8
02-07-2009, 10:50 AM
One more piece of evidence that kayakers just ain't quite right! :eek:

I'll stick to the quieter sport of fly fishing, thank you very much.

Gerry Romer
02-07-2009, 11:07 AM
One more piece of evidence that kayakers just ain't quite right! :eek:

I'll stick to the quieter sport of fly fishing, thank you very much.


Hey Charlie --

Just in case you missed it on the Raven Forks thread, here's proof positive that kayakers - and certain canoeists (canoeistas?) - have likely scrambled whatever grey matter they had to begin with....:biggrin:

http://vimeo.com/2667017

PeteCz
02-07-2009, 11:17 AM
Hey Charlie --

Just in case you missed it on the Raven Forks thread, here's proof positive that kayakers - and certain canoeists (canoeistas?) - have likely scrambled whatever grey matter they had to begin with....:biggrin:

http://vimeo.com/2667017

Oh My! Now I know why I hike......

nvr2L8
02-07-2009, 11:24 AM
Scrambled my eggs just watching it.

Gerry, aren't you supposed to be working?

Pete, up for fishing next Friday?

Shaggy
02-07-2009, 12:22 PM
However, it must be very nice to be able to reach so many isolated fishing spots where very few, if any, fisherman have ever fished.:rolleyes:

Gerry Romer
02-07-2009, 01:47 PM
Scrambled my eggs just watching it.

Gerry, aren't you supposed to be working?

Pete, up for fishing next Friday?

I am working... :frown: and drooling over the bright blue skies out my front window. Days like this I need to bring my 3 wt. in and sneak down the hill and go stalk some bluegill :cool:


Oh well... maybe the Holston tomorrow (if I can ever get ahold of Bill Hall. I betcha he's out on the Caney as we speak :mad:).

Gerry

duckypaddler
02-07-2009, 03:59 PM
However, it must be very nice to be able to reach so many isolated fishing spots where very few, if any, fisherman have ever fished.:rolleyes:


Many people are content to watch adventure on TV. Others yearn to get the most out of life. While I can easily see how an outsider would think that what they are doing is crazy, but really these boaters with strong willed, have lots of experience, and the judgement to know thier limitations. While I have plenty of experience, I only make my moves 98% of the time. You have to be 100% to get on this one!

Lower Abrams on the other hand, I would take inexperienced people with me no problem (I can easily aviod the 3 problem spots). Ooh and I was wrong about lake paddle it 1.7 or 1.8 not the 1.5 I said earlier. My buddy took GPS last time and marked the route. It 2.7 miles to Mill creek from Ranger station where other person accessed this run.

KnoxBioBenz
02-08-2009, 12:21 AM
Hey Guy's
I am down for a float/fish down Abrams any time. This has been on my to do list ever since I got my GSMNP map and eyeballed this section.
I am from Alabama so I grew up on the small streams fishing for bluegill and smallies with my Pops.
My email address is Zack@libertyagrifuels.com so if anyone is wanting to plan a weekend for this float let me know.

Rock-N-Roll
Zack Smith

duckypaddler
02-08-2009, 05:22 PM
Since to make it floatable you need at least 2.5 feet on Little River guage. The only way I know to plan this trip anytime, especially on a weekend, would be when it raining good during the week, then plan to come up that weekend. The only dilema here is that it may be too high also. As paddlers we are good at guessing future levels based on rainfall amounts, but trying to guess future rainfall is next to impossible.

KnoxBioBenz
02-09-2009, 07:55 PM
Yeah,
That makes sense. I suppose it is a bit more difficult to plan than a float down a tailwater.

In Touch,
Zack

Lumber_Jack
02-10-2009, 09:12 AM
you dont want to go when there isnt enough water. Thats what made our trip so tough.

FlyFisherman
02-10-2009, 02:11 PM
I am a little late to this discussion but I believe the fishing on Lower Abrams is just as good as anywhere else on the creek. There are plenty of fish around Little Bottoms to be caught. You just have to fish Abrams a little differently than other streams. I believe the best way to catch fish on Abrams is to fish nymphs deep and slow (Tellico's, prince, SMBSH, stoneflies) if you are not catching fish you are not fishing with enough split slot. This isn't the purest way to fly fish but you will catch a lot of fish (big ones too). If you like dry fly fishing to rising fish - I would try somewhere else. I still think Abrams has more fish (and bigger ones) than any other stream in the park.