View Full Version : Strangest Thing You've Ever Seen While Fishing

Jim Casada
12-28-2009, 03:09 PM
I've so enjoyed the "Strangest Thing You've Ever Caught" thread that I thought I'd start a related one--The Strangest Thing You've Ever Seen While Fishing." I'll begin with two offerings--one magical and the second macabre.

For the magical, I look back to a time, right at daylight, when I watched a mother mink ferry her kits (three of them) across the Nantahala River one by one. She carried them just like a cat carries kittens, swimming with her head high.

On the macabre side of things, years ago while fishing in Virginia's Smith River I spotted an oblong object in fairly deep water. As I got closer I realized it was a coffin. Presumably there had been some flooding which had undercut a cemetery somewhere upstream. I reported it to local authorities and never heard anything more.

Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

12-28-2009, 07:51 PM
Well Jim, nothing close to your 2 but while fishing Nolin Lake here in Ky, I was traveling up the lake when I saw a deer swimming right in the middle of the lake. I stopped to wait and see if it made it and it did.

Now I have to tell you that my thought was to assist if it needed but after it made it I thought that trying to help a deer to shore in the middle of a lake would have been a really bad idea.

Very odd seeing that thing in the middle of the lake though.

12-28-2009, 08:26 PM
A couple of friends and I were in Yellowstone Park on our way to fish the Yellowstone at the buffalo ford. Traffic came to a complete stop. Cars were lined up as far forward and back as I could see. To our left was the river. To our right was a high rocky bluff. I noticed there was no traffic in the oncoming lane, and I assumed every thing was stopped while someone was looking at wildlife. Suddenly a guy comes bicycling down the oncoming lane going as fast as he could and looking over his shoulder. Twenty yards behind him about 15 or 20 buffalo are coming as fast as they could down the oncoming lane. They were trapped between the bluff and the traffic with no way out except right down the road. I hope the guy out ran them. Silvercreek

12-28-2009, 08:59 PM
it was a couple copulating on a rock..so ieft

12-29-2009, 12:23 AM
I can't beat the couple on the rock.

One strange thing I see almost every time I go fishing is my reflection in the water. That's enough to scare me. I keep wondering who is that old man looking back at me.:smile:

I've been charged by a pit bull (dog stopped right before I shot it), had a guy try to sell me some drugs.


12-29-2009, 12:39 AM
My strange sight was not so dramatic, scary, funny or tittilating but it was definitely memorable.

I was fishing the gorge of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon one rainy day when I came upon two men and a woman all fishing (not a normal sight on that stretch of river but not the strange site). As I was passing them to leapfrog on up stream, I happened to look over at the bank and there was a young woman curled up in a notch under a rock that just fit her. Reminded me of one of those hidden pictures in the Highlights magazine when I was a kid. Seeing her curled up there with an impish little grin gave the immediate impression of a wood nymph hiding out, watching the silly people go by waving sticks in the rain.

One of those images that stays with you for a long time.

12-29-2009, 11:00 AM
Although I've never "caught" anything unusual while fishing, things I've seen are much different.

I saw a sow grizzly and three cubs in the Lamar canyon of Yellowstone. She charged, we ran, she stopped within 15 yards of us - close enough that I could hear her "pop" her jaws. This one still gives me nightmares.

Closer to home, I've had white pipes flush right in front of me. I also had a washer go through the rinse cycle through a different white pipe - the pool I was in turned into a bubble bath.

Look forward to reading all of the responses to come.


12-29-2009, 11:05 AM
Mine happened this past summer, on the Gunnison River, just prior to the salmonfly hatch. The flies hadn't started returning to the water yet, but were all in the grass along the banks. I saw a fairly large trout jump up onto the bank, mess around for a few seconds, then flop himself back into the water. I KNOW that trout jumped up there to grab a salmonfly

12-30-2009, 09:37 AM
This one is pretty common I would imagine, but seeing a northern water snake with a very decent sized rainbow trout in its mouth on Bradley Fork was a sight to see. I heard spashing upstream and wondered what it was. Then it got closer and closer. The fish was putting up a good fight, but eventually the snake was able to crawl into a clump of branches on the bank to enjoy its meal.

On Slough Creek in YNP, I witnessed three coyotes take down a fawn. Lots of commotion upstream as they ran through the river, then across. The mother doe was too late. She tried to fight the coyotes off, but the kill had been made. The doe stayed by her fallen fawn the remainder of the time I fished. Came back the next day and she was still there.

Had a staredown with a moose on the Firehole in the Fountain Flats area. That wasn't much fun.

fly fisherman DK
12-30-2009, 12:40 PM
The strangest two things I have ever seen while fishing were both animals and both fearless of us.

The first was a few years back when I was 8 or 9 and my dad and I were bait fishing a local lake near our house that is surrounded by woods. We were fishing in a cove when a racoon walked down the hill to the bank and stared at us in clear daylight. It just so happened that we had minnows so we started throwing them to him and he would catch them and eat them. We couldnt stop laughing about it because we had never seen anything like it.

The second strange thing happened was on our smokies backpacking trip in July. We were fishing up a long pool when we saw something jump in the creek from about thirty yards away and start swimming toward us. We were all trying to guess what it was when it swam under my cousin's flyline and hopped up on a rock not ten feet away from any of us. It was a rabbit just sitting there trying to dry off. We couldn't believe that it did that right in front of us.

Also, I just got your new book for Christmas Mr. Casada and I think it is excellent. I like all of the pictures, information, and especially the history. Thanks again.

Ky Tim
12-30-2009, 02:22 PM
it was a couple copulating on a rock..so ieft

Wow, thought I was the only one that was going to have that story. That was a scene I waded in on at Otter Creek Park about six years ago. Decided to fish elsewhere, figured they had mucked up the hatch anyway!

Rog 1
12-30-2009, 04:06 PM
While in summer school at U of Fla in late 60s a buddy and I were wading one of the sandy bottom lakes near campus for largemouth bass one afternoon...a Volkswagen minibus pulled up to the lake and about ten minutes later the side door opened up and through a cloud of pot smoke came two naked coeds and a long haired guy running to the lake to go skinny dipping....those were magical times.

12-30-2009, 05:03 PM
The strangest 2 things I have seen fishing happened on alternate coasts.

The first was when I was very young, fishing in the Sierra Nevada mountains with my father. The river was really high and strong in a particular spot, and so my dad had put me on his shoulders to carry me across. A mink swam right between his legs.

The second happened to me this year in the salt marsh in South Carolina. I had walked out onto a shortgrass flat, early to beat the tide. I had gotten there probably 45 minutes before there was enough water for the fish to be coming in. As I was walking out, I saw several racoons doing the same thing in front of me. Occassionally one would look back, see me and head in another direction. I got to the spot where I was going to wait, and looked back to see a racoon heading for straight for me about 100 yards behind me coming out of the trees. This racoon had not seen me yet, so I just stood there and watched him to see when he would finally notice me. He finally noticed me when he got about 40-50 yards away. I watched him stop, go up on his hind legs and stare at me. I then waited for him to move off. Instead of moving off he started to charge me. I was dumbfounded at first, then figured he just didn't see me very well. Anyway I stood up straight, waived my hands in the air and yelled. Instead of stopping or going away it just came faster. I ended up running toward the incoming tide as fast as I could with this big growling coon hot on my trail. I was slapping at the coon with my fly rod. It finally stopped chasing me, and wonder upon wonders I didn't break my fly rod, although I did have to clean the mud out of the last 4 eyes in the rod. That coon really gave me a scare, and I was breathing hard. It ended up getting into some higher grass about 60 yards away and watching me. I could just see his dark mask through the grass. I moved in the other direction. The water soon came in and I ended up catching two tailing reds. That coon watched me for at least an hour from that grass, and I stayed well away. Towards the end of the tide I watched what I think was that same coon, lead 3 baby coons from the water into the trees. I must have somehow ended up between the mama coon and her 3 babies that were already out in the grass in front of me. During the event all I could think about was that maybe the coon was rabid. I carried a .45 pistol with me the next three times to that spot, but never again had an issue, thankfully.


12-30-2009, 08:51 PM
Now that's funny John! I have one, here in the Va Piedmont a bear is occasionally spotted but its rare. About 3years ago I was on 50000 acre buggs island lake and thought I spotted a deer headed toward my boat. Turns out it was bear, a big one, swimming across the channel in about 75 ft deep water!

12-30-2009, 11:34 PM
I have a couple memorable events:

I was fishing a hole in a local creek and had a bird come flying from upstream of me, headed downstream towards me, and when it flew by me it dropped a fish in the hole I was fishing!! I didn't catch anything in that hole but I can't say it was because no fish were in it!

Fishing a run one day and got to this spot where there were some roots on the bank right above a likely looking spot for a trout. The cast had to be a good one and I threw it a little long and my fly landed on the root and I paused for a moment. Before I could do anything a HUGE spider jumped out from behind the root and tackled my orange palmer! Guess it was pretty disappointed with that meal.

Working my way up Cataloochee Creek one day, I noticed a BIG barred hoot owl on a limb overhanging the creek. As I fished upstream the owl became noticeably uncomfortable with me being there. He flew to another limb further upstream and held his position. Eventually I made my way up to him again and he seemed a bit anxious. All at once the owl, who was facing away from me, jumped around on the branch to face me, tucked in, and jumped off the limb flying right at me. I honestly thought I was about to have to fight this owl. This thing was big, probably boasting a four foot wingspan. When he jumped off the limb he dropped a few feet but ended up leveling off and flying right over me. I could have slapped him in the face with my rod if I wanted to. I was just thankful not to have a face full of talons.

Good thread Mr. Casada.

12-31-2009, 12:49 AM
OK, gotta throw one more in for good measure - I think I've shared this story before but it bears repeating.

I had been fishing for about a year when I was up on Lynn Camp Prong. I came to a pool that I was certain had trout just wanting to be caught (can't wait to revisit that pool in another five years when it's full of specs). I threw a Parachute Adams up at the head of the pool and let it drift down - no action. Several more shots with the same results and some of the nicest dead drifts you could ever hope to see (after fishing for only a year).

"Okay, one more cast and I'm giving up." Wouldn't you know it, I snagged a rhodo-beast. I yanked a couple of times and broke my line. Soon as I did, the fly dropped out of the rhododendron and into the water. After drifting just a couple of feet a trout came up and took the fly and I never saw either one again.

12-31-2009, 11:23 AM
That's a funny coincidence about the owl on Cataloochee Creek. Forgot about that one for me. Similar thing happened to me. Dropped down off the dirt road to head for the stream, came almost face to face with an owl that I clearly woke up. Big bird for certain. He gave a nasty look, then took off.

Hugh Hartsell
12-31-2009, 12:19 PM
This is a great and informative thread and I thought that I would recount an incident that I saw happen on Abrams Creek a couple of years ago while guiding a Pediatrist on Abrams Creek. Most of the things that we see are sort of strange or funny, but this one was dead serious and I thought that my heart would stop for a few minutes as I watched this unfold. A young couple had apparently started down the Abrams Falls Trail and they were passing over a section that crossed over a small ridge with a very steep dropoff. I wasn't aware of anything taking place until I heard a small child scream up above me and then a blood curdling scream from a woman right after that. The small child had fallen off the trail and was hanging upside down caught in some Laurel bushes on the side of a steep cliff. It looked like it was 30-40 feet straight down to the rocks along side the creek edge. It would probably have been sure death for the child if it had come loose from the bushes and fallen all the way straight down. The Father slid down the side of the cliff and managed to get the child loose. In the picture that I took you can see that he has the child back onto solid ground and after a few minutes he received some help from other hikers and was able to get the child back up to the trail. I still get a tight spot in my throat when I think about it. He had a guardian angel looking over him that day.

http://smokymountainflyguide.com/images/report18/4-19-07%20(13).jpg (http://smokymountainflyguide.com/images/report18/4-19-07%20(13).jpg)

12-31-2009, 12:23 PM
I wasn't actually fishing,but was going to a creek bank to look for fish and came up on two guys who had just found a woman's skeleton...she was a murder victim,killed by a boyfriend.
I always thought sooner or later I would stumble up on a body or something bad happening out in the middle of nowhere......for me that was close enough,I don't want to experience it ever again.
You get several feelings when you see a sight like that,knowing that something really bad happened to the poor person is one of the first and strongest,wondering what they went through at the end....not something easily forgotten,if ever.

12-31-2009, 12:39 PM
Jim Casada's mink story should have immediately triggered this in my brain, but it took a while. I was fishing the Caney Fork below the rest area years ago. I stopped by a big stump half on the bank and half in the water. I had been standing there still as a post for several minutes watching the water for any activity. Suddenly, something touched me lightly on the left side. I turned my head and there was a mink staring up at me. I said hello and he turned an went up the bank. Curiosity on his part I guess. Silvercreek

12-31-2009, 03:03 PM
I was fishing the Horseshoe on Abrams Creek with a friend. I began to feel kinda wierd and whispered to him "I think we are being watched." We saw no one. After a few more minutes I looked around again and still felt like I was being watched. I whispered again "We are being watched." Still no one around. I was now unnerved. I searched the stream sides carefully and suddenly the buck that was standing in the water downstream snorted and leaped out of the water onto shore. That animal like to have filled up my waders! Man was he good and in camo!


I was fishing below the Elkmont bridge on Little River and heard a car screeching its tires on the road as it went off the road, airborne and into the river just below me. I ran down stream and got there just as the occupants got out of the upside down vehicle. I spent the next couple of hours helping Ranger Ken Slay recover their belongings from the river. Would you believe he then asked to see my creel and my license!


This huge craw dad claw...

This was on Hazel Creek....don't know that I want to stick my toes back in that water!!!!

Jim Casada
12-31-2009, 04:38 PM
Jeff--I loved the creel and license check story, and it looks like someone turned a lobster loose on Hazel Creek and that it mated with crayfish! Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

01-02-2010, 12:14 AM
Isn't that the largest claw you have ever seen!

01-05-2010, 01:42 PM
That's about an average claw here in south MS. We eat them things. Yummy!

01-06-2010, 12:42 AM
I was fishing one day in may of '08 the water had been high but was going down and almost back to normal. I was fishing a dry dropper with good success till a slightly mis-gauged cast that ill blame on the wind resulted in me catching a tree that someone had put in my way :biggrin:. Well i broke my line loose and pulled it back in and started to re-rig. While I was tying on my flies i noticed something out of the corner of my eye and and glanced up and on the other side of the stream i see this long brown object on top of the water that i just passed off as a log, being the water was high. I went back to tying and it hit me that, that log was moving up stream :confused: I look up again and realize it was a beaver no more than 20 ft from me. Having never seen a beaver up close and in the wild i just stood there and admired him. Then the guy turned and started coming right towards me. I stood still as a fence post till i realized he was getting a little close for comfort. (Jeff Foxworthy's nipple biting beaver story came to mind) I let him get a rods length from me and i jumped and flung my arms out to the sides and watched his eyes get as big as cue balls (hahaha i laugh everytime i think about this) He turned his rear to me and flapped that tail on the water and just soaked me and headed off down stream slapping that tail the whole way. i started laughing and lost my footing and fell flat on my tail in the water. It was hilarious. One of those times you wish you had a camera and someone in the bushes taping it. It was great. That beaver was totally not expecting that.

01-06-2010, 03:32 AM
about 4 or 5 years ago, my dad and i were fishing at blanchard springs in arkansas during christmas break. snow on the ground and a normally crowded spring-fed stream was nicely vacant, except for some furry would-be thieves. Had a nice stringer of maybe 3 or 4 fish tied to the bank. started wandering upstream further and further from my supper. Luckily I looked back in time to see an otter trying to sneak up to where my stringer was. I dropped my rod and began running towards it...and it didn't immediately take off as i hoped it would. instead, it paused a moment, waited for me to get a little closer and jumped in..right where my fish were. thankfully i was somehow able to snatch the fish on shore before that furry fish stealer got its paws on them.

as for east tn incidents...2 years ago during the summer i was walking back to my ride along the tremont road. I was approaching a waterfall and noticed movement close to it. 2 hippe-chicks were standing under it, barely clothed in tie-dyed garb and just enjoying the weather. an earlier post mentioned something about nymphs... i belive these two were closer to sirens..

01-07-2010, 07:11 PM
Over the years, I've seen alot of strange things. Several years ago, something funny happened to me that, in the moment, is something that I will never forget. I was fishing the Oconaluftee River behind the visitor center. It was mid morning on a Thursday and I had the area to myself, or so I thought. I was engrossed in fishing a nice, long run when something caught my eye to the left. I looked up and saw a half dozen indians in full authentic dress (not the Chief Ralph flowing head dresses in town). These guys were quietly stalking through the woods with weapons in had and full war paint. Suddenly, I felt as though I had travelled back a few hundred years. I'm thinking to myself "This can't be good..."

Suddenly, someone somewhere back in the woods yelled, "CUT!!". The warriors stopped in their tracks and I was asked to leave the area as I had quietly become involved in a documentary that was being filmed about the Cherokee indians.

Though the fishing was good, I was outnumbered, so I left.

01-09-2010, 03:21 PM
In May of 08 I was fishing the gravel road section of Tremont ,and was amazed
to witness a great number of butterflies. The air was thick with large butterflies fluttering over the water. There were wads of butterflies
puddling on the gravel road, and many were squashed by cars. I had never seen so many butterflies in one place.

Jim Casada
01-09-2010, 04:37 PM
Rivergal--This butterfly behavior is known as "puddling" and is quite commonplace along Park roads and trails where horses can travel. There's something about urine (probably salt) which attracts the butterflies. If you spend much time in the backcountry, especially along the trails where horses are allowed, you'll see lovely examples of puddling. Tiger swallowtails, in particular, seem to do this a lot.
Off hand, it's the sole thing I can think of positive to say about horses and Park trails. To me they are an abomination, and the damage they do to trails, especially in steep terrain, is enormous. It flies squarely in the face of sound environmental stewardship, but I don't think any Park superintendent has ever had the intestinal fortitude to address the issue. Certainly that's the feeling I've gotten in reading responses to letters written to various superintendents over the years. I get the feeling they aree with me but in typical bureaucratic fashion are afraid to stir the pot.
Along those general lines though, I will give the current superintendent credit for having taken a stance against allowing Cherokees to harvest ramps at will in the Park. There's a lawsuit on this matter at present, with the tribe putting clout and money behind it. They may well win, because native Americans have tended to win in similar situations elsewhere. However, if they can harvest ramps at will and in whatever quantity they desire, where will it stop? Ginseng might be next, or trout in unlimited quantities, but where it would really get interesting is with elk. After all, the tribal members could accurately claim, as they are doing with ramps, that killing elk is a part of their historic tradition. I guess I've stirred enough pots here so I'll shut my pie hole (or whatever the equivalent of that is when using a computer). Jim Casada

01-10-2010, 10:43 PM
First meadow of Slough Creek, two different years. These are piling up up there--the wolves use it as a primary feeding ground in winter, when even the big bulls can't escape in the heavy snow.



I just realized that I'm holding the same set of antlers in both shots there. That's 3 years apart. :)

I've also seen otters, beavers, bellycrawlers, deer, hogs, grouse, woodcock--everything that walks or swims or slithers, except bear, funnily enough.


Middle Tennessee.

Have had a gun drawn on me on two different occasions by the same ex-cop (night fishing in Arkansas).

Destroyed a car when I hit a deer driving to the river (also in Arkansas).

Also saw some things it'd be better I didn't put on the internet. :)

Come to think of it, most of the weird things I've seen or had happen to me have been while fishing.