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View Full Version : Water levels in higher elevation streams?


hexhatch
04-06-2011, 06:38 PM
A small group of us are hiking in to camp at backcountry site #37 starting tomorrow. Byron says on his fishing report that the water levels will be high for the next couple of days in local streams.

Can anyone speak to the water levels at a stream like a Big Creek as far upstream as we will be? I am not expecting eyewitness reports, but I am hoping to get some feedback based upon others' experience. I am a little concerned that tomorrow and Friday's fishing will be less than spectacular due to water levels. Shouldn't Big Creek that far upstream already have settled down?

Thanks all,

Hexhatch

whitefeather
04-06-2011, 07:41 PM
Hexhatch,

I've been watching the gages since the storm and while they did go up to the extreme they are now going down rather rapidly, which suggests the upper mountains have shed their water down the creeks and are probably close to normal levels at the higher elevations.

The Little River above Townsend has dropped from 4500 cfs to 1000 cfs in about the last 30 hrs. From 6.6 feet gage height to 3.6 ft. Its pre-storm volume was 280 fps, gage height 2.2 feet. There was 2.8 inches of rain reported at Smoky Mountain Park Headquarters the night of the storm.

The fishing may not have come back in yet, but then again if the water levels have stabilized, then the fishing should come back in soon.

duckypaddler
04-06-2011, 07:45 PM
Which is stiill a good kayaking level. In fact the upper (1st bridge - 2.4 miles up trail) is still good to go at 2.5. I'd guess it to be around 2.2 in the morning. While the fishing probably won't be great on Thursday, I think you will be fine by Friday, especially if you hike a bit upstream to either Gunter or Swallow Fork. Think easy to see nymphs when the water is up, and I'm sure you'll find some willing fish:biggrin: Just be careful, especially if your not used to the Smokies. I had to relearn a few lost lessons after a season of fishing tailwaters:eek:

whitefeather
04-06-2011, 08:12 PM
Duckypaddler,

I just now realized that you are probably a kayaker, didn't equate the name with it though, DUH! I always wanted to try that, but never have. I have done Class 6 rafting and Class 3 canoeing. Had a real bad accident on a class 2 river in Montana that nearly drowned me and my son. Class 2 with a class 6 hydraulic sucked our canoe right out from under us. That's another story.

Anyway, thanks for jumping in with some fact in lieu of speculation on my part. By the way I added Big Creek gage to the River Gage Update Thread.

If you know of any more that should be added, let me know. I think a thread such as that is most usefull after heavy, unusual rains. And the more the better.

Dancing Bear
04-06-2011, 08:13 PM
The Middle Prong, Thunderhead and tribs? I'm planning on coming up Friday morning if the water isn't too high and the park is accessible Saturday.

Mike

whitefeather
04-06-2011, 10:36 PM
The Middle Prong, Thunderhead and tribs? I'm planning on coming up Friday morning if the water isn't too high and the park is accessible Saturday.

Mike

Thanks Mike,

Will look them up and add them to the river gage update page if there are gages on those streams.

Dukee
04-06-2011, 11:28 PM
I fished Fish Camp prong this afternoon and although the water was still high, there was plenty of places to fish and everywhere I found ( relatively ) calmer water, the fish were a bitin'. The flats about .2 miles up Goshen Prong fished well. Nothing big to speak of but brougt several 6-8" Bows to net. Caught everything on a #16 BHPT. Did not see any rising fish but toward the end of the day I did see several bugs in the air. Also did well just below the iron bridge. Did not see a single person fishing.
Met several Kyakers hauling up the Little River trail late this afternoon attempting to get one big run in before dark. I would have liked to watch them come down but I was hungry.
I am not real big on fishing deeper, fast water so when I say I found fishable water, It was pretty easy fishing, about Knee deep far enough out to fish across the stream. Water was very clear.

duckypaddler
04-07-2011, 10:35 AM
Duckypaddler,

By the way I added Big Creek gage to the River Gage Update Thread.

If you know of any more that should be added, let me know. I think a thread such as that is most usefull after heavy, unusual rains. And the more the better.

I'm not sure what River Guage Update Thread you are referring to, but Big Creek only has a visual guage at the Mt Sterling Bridge (4 way stop just as you are about to enter the park at Big Creek).

I did notice you were linking to several streams in the park, and on that note here is one that is very important (to me atleast)
http://afws.erh.noaa.gov/afws/county.php?state=47&county=155

It's the Automated Flood Warning Sysytem for the county and has links as well as shows the West Prong at Chimney's guage. It also has the rain guages which are helpful when wondering if the river will rise on you too fast.

But the best way (which does take 5 minutes) to figure out where to fish after heavy rains is to go to the weather.gov. Find local radar by punching in location (Knoxville, or Maryville work fine for the TN side, and Bryson City gets you the NC side. Click on the Storm total (will give last 24 hours). Save that radar image as a KMZ file (remember where you are saving it) Then open it in Google Earth;)

What initally looked like a patch of yellow or green will soon reveal much more detail as you zoom into the different watersheds you were thinking to fish. The weather in the park is so diverse that after a rain you will find one stream flooded, and yet a 1/2 mile away another stream may be LOW! After a good rain this tool is very valuable:smile:

Hope that helps,
James

And yes Middle Prong through Greenbrier was sweet yesterday!:biggrin: Water was very clear (extended rain as oppossed to bursts) considering level (2.25 at bridge at Greenbrier entrance). Saw a fisherman, although he didn't seem to be doing to well. I gave him a pointer or to and headed on my way. It did look like there was good fishing below where islands came together, but beside that you were limited to next to shore eddy fishing:frown: