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Jim Casada
12-12-2011, 02:44 PM
Things have been mighty quiet on the Forum of late. Perhaps because of recovery from too much Thanksgiving gustatory delight, too little fishing, or Christmas preparations. At any rate, while musing about past delights I have experienced in the Park over the years, along with browsing some of Fred Turner's latest maps with an eye to suggestions for improvements, a thought came to mind. I'd love for lots of you to share your most treasured fishing memory in the Park. After all, December is a time to remember.

In that spirit, I'll share two, and looking at Fred's Deep Creek map brought them to mind. The first dates back a full six decades and involves the first trout I ever caught on a fly. It was near the Bryson Place, the fish was all of 7 3/4 inches in length, and it obviously needed to be taken out of the gene pool since I never saw the strike, the fly was likely dragging, it hooked itself, and I "played" it with all the finesse of a rampant hippopotamus. Still, I brought it to hand and I can still take you to the precise pool today (and it came out of the gene pool, duly dressed up in a corn meal dinner jacket).

The second is more poignant and not so intensely personal. It involved a multi-night camping trip on Deep Creek, covering the stream from the Hwy. 441 trailhead all the way down, changing camps daily as we went. Frank already had serious heart trouble and didn't fish a lot, but he shared a world of wonder around campfires, taught me a lifetime's knowledge of brown trout in four days of fishing, and reminded me in the most moving of fashions how the fishing is only part of it. He was a great man and fisher of men who served his country in both World War II and the Korean War, then came home to the Smokies, as he put it to me, "to fish and find his soul." He did that in a way which is an enduring testament to all that is good and gracious about both fishing in the Smokies and what it was like to be a member of the aptly described "greatest generation."

Maybe some day I'll share, in even fuller detail than I do in my book on the Park, the simple genius of this man who was what Kephart described as "branch-water people" and yet was a truly inspirational individual.

One other thought, a bit early as I try to jump-start things. Merry Christmas to one and all and fond wishes for tight lines and fine times in 2012.
Jim Casada

David Knapp
12-12-2011, 02:54 PM
Great topic Jim! I'll have to give this one some thought...the Park has provided so many memories to be thankful for over there years that its hard to narrow it down...

BlueRaiderFan
12-12-2011, 03:10 PM
Mr. Casada,

Thank you for sharing. I always love reading your stories. I guess for me the two would be my first trout at the gravel parking lot up above Tremont. I caught it on a nymph and was high sticking but didn't even know it (well, the rod tip was high because I kept getting caught up, not exactly high stickin). The other would be the large trout I had on earlier this year (or was it late last year? My memory is terrible). I've never had a trout on that big in the park and only one bigger on the Caney Fork. It came out from an undercut bank and nailed my nymph. I set the hook and he ran upstream into some really rough water that was coming down into a pool from about 3-4 ft above and he jumped around a few times trying to get up the small waterfall...then he ran down into the pool and just stayed there...that's when I made the mistake of trying to pull him to hand against the current on 5X tippet...had I pulled him with current and toward the bank I may have gotten him to hand. I still say he was at least 20" but have no way to prove it. Anyway, that's my two.

Knothead
12-12-2011, 03:50 PM
Many years ago, I had the opportunity to fish the Park during the week on a day off. I asked the president of our TU chapter what he recommended. He directed me to another member. Rick said, "Tremont" without hesitation. He then explained it was the Middle Prong and gave me directions. I lost my first fish which seemed to be a decent size (aren't all lost fish a decent size?). I fished several different places that day. The final tally- 5 rainbows, 4 browns, 2 brookies. I was later told by a guide that I had an exceptionally good day. A grand slam! I'm going to keep trying to duplicate that day. Oh yes, all were caught on an elk hair caddis.

Rog 1
12-12-2011, 06:24 PM
I have been fishing in the Park for 51 years....how to choose....I can still take you to the exact little plunge pool on a side channel in Porter's Creek where I caught my first trout...then there was the deep channel on the LR beyond the Goshen Prong where I lost the biggest rainbow I ever hooked and was chastised by my grandfather for the profanity the event evoked....then there is the 16" bow on WPLP and the 14" brown on LR above Elkmont caught on my Orvis one ounce rod...but the one event that stands out above all of these is the chest thumping my son engaged in when he bested me for the first time while fishing Straight Fork in NC...makes a Dad proud.

Jim Casada
12-12-2011, 08:04 PM
Rog1--I imagine most of us remember our first trout on a fly, and your memories, like mine, stretch back a good while. Of course I can also vividly remember my first squirrel, first rabbit, first grouse, first quail, first deer, first turkey, etc. In most cases (though not the rabbit), I could go back to the precise place even today.
Jim Casada

lauxier
12-12-2011, 08:39 PM
Several years ago,My wife,daughter,and yours truly made a last minute decision to spend Christmas,in a rented cabin,hopefully with a view,somewhere in the Great Smoky Mountains.We obtained a nice cabin,there were lot's available.The cabin was nice enough and equipped with an Christmas tree and Santa decorations.On Christmas eve,I got my stuff together and went into the park to fish.I went to the upper most part of tremont.It began to snow,3 or 4 inches,in about 30 minutes.The sun popped out from behind the clouds.It was all kind of surreal.As beauty goes,it was like being in some kind of glistening heaven.I came to the Smoky's with my wife and daughter,hoping to find Christmas but I was really trying to run from grief.The truth is,I(we,my brother and sisters) had recently buried my Mom(My Dad was already gone).I took pictures of that snowy day and as I got in my truck I realized greiving for the the "Loved Lost" is good...as for the fishing...I caught a couple of fightin' rainbows..4 inchers I think...it was very memorable..

Jim Casada
12-12-2011, 09:22 PM
Lauxier--Thanks for sharing a poignant and powerful memory. What a grand reminder, to all of us, that the fishing is only part of it. This will be my first Christmas without my father, who died this past January aged 101, and even though his was an exceedingly long and full life, I know I'll struggle. Your sharing helped more than you can possibly know, because it serves as needed reminder of the fact that we always have loved ones in our memories.
The fact that my father introduced me to fly fishing is an integral part of that warmth I carry in the storehouse of my heart.
Jim Casada

Crockett
12-12-2011, 10:59 PM
Catching my first trout on a fly rod is my memory. I had no lessons and was basically self taught. I tried for weeks to catch a trout in the Smokies to no avail. Then on a trip to Hazel Creek with my friend Matt we fished for 2 days. I had no luck still hadn't ever caught a trout. We were camping at Sugar Fork and I went off just upstream of the campsite around the first bend where Hazel Creek has a long straight stretch with riffles. I didn't know what I was doing so I tied a prince nymph on and just kept letting out line and letting that fly go drifting way the heck downstream then when I about got to the backing I would reel it all in and start over haha. On one of these "hail mary trolling" runs I actually had a brown trout take it. I reeled it in and it was the most beautiful 6" brown trout. So my first trout on the fly rod was a brown trout on Hazel Creek I will never forget that nor the spot right above cs 84.

David Knapp
12-12-2011, 11:13 PM
Before I even understood how to go about catching any trout, I dreamed of catching big browns. Early in my fly fishing career, I was doing good to scare up a small rainbow or two, but that didn't stop me from hoping for something more special.

One day, my dad (who usually drove me to the park to fish) had taken me fishing. He never actually fished but was the first one to take me fishing when I was 4 or 5 and almost the only one who ever took me before I was able to drive myself. This particular day was a beautiful early June day. We had explored several areas, but I was not having particularly good luck with just a few small rainbows to hand (from Tremont if I remember correctly).

As sunset was approaching, we stopped at one last pullout, this time on Little River. My dad was tired and decided to stay in the car. When I started driving myself, I came to understand why people would be tired late in the day, but at this point I was blissfully unaware. I trekked down a dim but short path to the stream and began tossing a yellow Stimulator.

I worked my way to the head of the pool and was casting in the pocket immediately above the main hole when I first saw the flash of gold. A nice brown came out and circled furiously around my fly before disappearing back under the white froth. Two more casts produced similar results and then the brown seemed to have vanished for good. Desperate measures would be needed.

Recalling how I had enticed a big Abrams Creek rainbow by dancing the fly on the surface during a hatch, I contemplated a similar trick. The big Stimulator was soon skittering across the surface and almost immediately the brown reappeared, charging through the water towards my now tantalizing fly. One last mighty twitch brought the intended result. I was now attached to what I then viewed as a monster.

Carefully battling the fish down through the pool, I finally brought it close enough to land. The 14 inch brown was heavier than many similar sized fish I have since caught. I will always remember that first nice brown even though I now dream of fish measured in pounds and reaching well over twenty inches. That fish was a major accomplishment to me as I am mostly self-taught, and at this point in my fishing career wondered if I would ever catch anything over 10 inches.

I have many other amazing memories from the Park. In fact, that is one thing that I love so much about it. Every trip gives me a special memory, and that is the way it should be. As soon as it becomes common or everyday, then it will no longer be the magical place that it should. I still get excited the night before a fishing trip and hope that will never change...

DarrinG
12-13-2011, 01:02 AM
Thanks Mr. Casada for sharing your memories.

Many fond memories of fishing the Park myself. My oldest fond memory was when I was about 12 years old, which was about 30 years ago. My family and I was camped at Smokemont, which we did for a week at a time, a couple times each summer. I had brought my new "fly pole" with me, and being a 12 year old first-generation fly angler, I was learning through the school of hard-knocks. However, on this particular camping trip, I ventured up Bradley Creek a distance and made a very sloppy, splashy cast into a beautiful plunge pool. The dry fly drifted 2-3 feet and a 8-9 inch rainbow rose and sipped in the fly. I brought that fish back to the campsite with a smile so big my face could hardly contain it.

Next best memory was 2 summers ago, fishing at the top of the road at Tremont with my two best friends, Mike Ridlon and Brannon Pittman. We three shared the stream that day and while most would think 3 anglers fishing together would be a crowd (and under other circumstances, would be correct), but when you put 3 men together that have a common bond in Christ together, and share the same mind-sets about fishing, it was a true pleasure. We hole-hopped, each taking a turn at the next run, and the ones watching was the cheering section. We had an awesome time fishing that day and caught plenty of fish. But, the fishing was not really what made the trip so special. It was the fellowship and the setting. Sharing the stream with those guys was fantastic.

Bran
12-13-2011, 10:42 AM
Thanks everyone for sharing. Mine would have to be going up Greenbrier with Troutman several years ago. It was the first time I'd ever caught a Speck, or a wild Trout for that matter. I'll always remember the day and the experience and fellowship in a beautiful place. It whet my appetite too for more of the colorful little fish and since then I've chased them up several Smokies head waters as well as quite a few in my home state of VA, creating more memories each time.

Jim Casada
12-13-2011, 10:58 AM
David--Did you realize that the skittering fly technique you employed to catch that fine brown was the favorite, indeed pretty much only, approach utilized by an iconic Smokies fisherman, Mark Cathey? He called it the "dance of the dry fly" and was fishing this way long before Yankee upstarts began to advocate fishing the dry fly as a living insect. Interestingly, Uncle Mark never used but one pattern, a Grey Hackle Yellow. There's an entire chapter devoted to him in Jim Gasque's Hunting and Fishing in the Great Smokies.
Jim Casada

David Knapp
12-13-2011, 04:45 PM
David--Did you realize that the skittering fly technique you employed to catch that fine brown was the favorite, indeed pretty much only, approach utilized by an iconic Smokies fisherman, Mark Cathey? He called it the "dance of the dry fly" and was fishing this way long before Yankee upstarts began to advocate fishing the dry fly as a living insect. Interestingly, Uncle Mark never used but one pattern, a Grey Hackle Yellow. There's an entire chapter devoted to him in Jim Gasque's Hunting and Fishing in the Great Smokies.
Jim Casada

Jim, thanks for the deeper insight into this technique. I more or less stumbled onto it on a hatch on Abrams where mayflies were dancing above the surface of the water. I finally tricked a 14 inch rainbow from the spring creek section by dancing the fly up and down like the naturals. At the time I figured it must not be very good form for a fly fisherman but the success in catching the nice rainbow was worth it. I now know a few very experienced Smokies anglers still routinely use this technique. Your background history now has me interested in using this technique a bit more as I've pretty much cast it aside the last several years...thanks again!

5xtippett
12-13-2011, 06:21 PM
Darrin, I also caught my first trout on a fly rod at the age of 12 in Bradley Fork! For a good many years Daddy and I would go up to Cherokee during weekends in the summer. We would go to Bryson City and stock up on Thunderheads. I miss everything about those days, especially Daddy, but I have the memories. That has been a lot longer than 30 years for me!:eek:

Jim Casada
12-13-2011, 08:02 PM
5xtippett--I'm curious on two counts, since you mention it has been a long time since that first trout.

First, where did you buy the Thunderheads and do you know who tied them. Chances are excellent that they were tied by Fred Hall, whom some credit with "inventing" the pattern. If so, and if you have any left, they are collector's items.

Second, were you fishing Bradley Fork in the days when it was a designated Park trophy water? You had to release anything under 16 inches. I have fond memories of my boyhood fishing buddy (son of famed Park Ranger Bill Rolen) catching a 16-inch "keeper" just above the campground. he also caught one of the two biggest specks I've ever seen in the Smokies in the pool in Luftee where Mingus Creek empties out. It was 12 1/2 inches and was a thing of pure beauty.

Jim Casada

5xtippett
12-13-2011, 10:36 PM
Jim, I was fishing it when it was a trophy water. I am 56 now, so it was 44 years ago (check my math!) I will check and see if I can find any of those Thunderheads and if I can I will take a picture. They may have fallen apart my now. I fished it a few years ago just for old times sake and caught mostly browns. I remembered catching mostly rainbows in the old days, but it may just be my memory.

5xtippett
12-13-2011, 11:22 PM
Jim, I found two of the old ones. They are ratty as they can be and I don't know who tied them, but they are at least 40 years old.

http://i384.photobucket.com/albums/oo284/JBCLMC/Thunderheads004.jpg

http://i384.photobucket.com/albums/oo284/JBCLMC/Thunderheads003.jpg

http://i384.photobucket.com/albums/oo284/JBCLMC/Thunderheads002.jpg



http://i384.photobucket.com/albums/oo284/JBCLMC/Thunderheads001.jpg

http://i384.photobucket.com/albums/oo284/JBCLMC/Thunderheads005.jpg

Jim Casada
12-14-2011, 09:45 AM
5xtippett--First of all, your memory about species is certainly correct. I don't recall ever having caught a single brown in Bradley Fork or Luftee in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, and I fished them a lot. It was all 'bows.
The flies, insofar as I can tell, certainly look like Fred Hall ties (or, to be more accurate, Allene Hall). Allene did far more tying than Fred and was a better hand by most accounts. He was the "front" man and PR guy.
The pattern for which he is most famous is the Adams Variant. My father and Claude Gossett, both of whom knew Fred well and bought his flies on a regular basis, had long suspected Allene was the actual "inventor" of the Adams Variant. A good many years after Fred's death I visited Allene and asked her: "Who really developed the Adams Variant--you or Fred." She just smiled her sweet smile, paused a minute, and responded: "Some things are better left unsaid." To me she answered without having answered.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Rog 1
12-14-2011, 11:00 AM
Jim and 5x...I too can remember fishing the "trophy" water in the Park when I began...on the Tn. side it was the WPLP....never got one of those 16" bows but can remember many 40-50-60 fish days...as I remember the streams were designated Sportsmen Streams...

pmike
12-14-2011, 01:41 PM
...of GREAt memories!!! With refernce to the mention of the "dance of the dry fly" and Uncle Mark Cathey, I recall a visit to the park about 4 years ago and fishing along Little River road. My wife and I were having little if any success and a fellow pulled into the same area we had been fishing, turned out he was a local. The fellow was missing one hand but could have outfished anyone that had 2 hands anyday of the week. I mentioned to him a fish in a run next to us that I had only succeeded in outting down and he told me to watch this. He stepped intom the stream and began to dance a fly on top of the water, a requill that he had tied. It took him about 2 or three attempts, but before I knew it, he had that nice little Brown in hand. I recall thinking to myself how similar this was to what I had read of Uncle Mark and how blessed I was to have met this fellow and seen such "magic" firsthand.

Mike

PS: My first trout was on fly at Treemont in Feb almost 11 years ago. It was in the teens or perhaps by then the 20's and a beautiful little "Bow" took a Tellico Nymph as it swung around on the end of it's drift. The Bow was about seven and a half inches, but I couldn't have been happier. By the wa I was wearing a pari of neoprene waders that leaked, soaking the pants I was wearing with freezing water...yet all in all it was well worth it to suffer the cold for the joy of the experience!

Knothead
12-14-2011, 02:47 PM
I have read about the "dancing fly" before- anyone know of a video showing this technique? Could someone make a short video?

Rog 1
12-14-2011, 04:10 PM
A lot of people are remembering firsts in this post....along with the "trophy" waters that are a thing of the past in the Park there used to be a closed season that ran from Sept 15 to April 15....once I got into college with a car I made a point of being in the Park for that opening day of April 15 or as soon thereafter as I could get there....mid April weather was never the same....one year I cut Friday classes, drove to Auburn from Gainesville, Fl to pick up my fishing buddy and drove all night to arrive at Elkmont on the morning of April 15...no waders...just jeans and combat boots...hit the water at daylight and soon experience my first encounter with ice in my eyelets...can remember climbing out of the river near Goshen and building a fire to thaw out....by noon we were in t-shirts and catching fish....but I will never forget wondering why I was having trouble casting and looking to see my eyelets and reel were clogged with ice.

Jim Casada
12-14-2011, 04:45 PM
Rog 1--Been there--many times. Throughout my teenage years I made an annual opening day pilgrimage to Poke Patch, and somehow it always seemed to be bitterly cold. I had never even seen a pair of waders then (late 1950s) and we always waded wet. I also was a stranger to a sleeping bag. We carried an army blanket and wrapped up in it while wearing everything we had which wasn't wet. I'm afraid that today, by comparison, I'm a pure pantywaist.
Jim Casada

Grannyknot
12-14-2011, 05:34 PM
Great topic Jim, and one I've mulled over for the past couple of days. I don't think any of my fondest memories involve an elusive monster of a fish, or even my first time fishing in the park, but more about the time I've spent up there with good friends and family.

One that comes to mind is skipping work to fish the gordon hatch with Grouseman a couple of miles above Elkmont. We took turns crawling out onto a rock about 15 feet above some rising fish. The way the sun was hitting the water, you couldn't see the fish rising from the rock, it was basically a blind cast. One of us would stand up on the trail and tell the other when a fish was rising to the fly. We must have caught or missed a dozen fish. Quite exciting for both people. Best part was, we met up with Ian Rutter further down the trail with a client. He said, "did you see all those rising fish by the big rock?" we nodded yes. Then he said "I couldn't get them to hit nothing!"....we just smiled at each other, knowing that he could easily outfish us on our best day. :biggrin:

Another would be hiking to the top of Bote Mountain with my wife when she was 2 weeks from having our baby. We passed many hikers who were awestruck that she was out pulling this climb in her condition. I was very proud of her.

Jim Casada
12-14-2011, 07:16 PM
Grannyknot--Those are sure enough memories to cherish, and the mention of the impending baby takes me back to something I hadn't thought of in years. I've never done any guiding in the Smokies, although I did work with a couple of outfitters out West for several years, but I used to give away a guided trip into the backcountry to TU or FFF groups for their annual auctions on a fairly regular basis. One trip was purchased by a young couple and we agreed via phone and mail (pre-e-mail days for me) to go up above Mouse Knob Falls on Big Snowbird and camp for three nights. While the trip is not a particularly arduous one--three or four miles of easy hiking--I didn't know the missus was pronouncedly pregnant. She handled it like a trooper but I was a nervous wreck the whole time.
Jim Casada

JoeFred
12-15-2011, 02:28 AM
Great topic, Jim. My love of the Smokies came mostly from my parents and five siblings getting to escape the farm each summer for a week of camping in Chimneys Campground and, later on, at Cosby.This camping tradition continued into the 60s. It was on my last Cosby family camping trip that I met my wife to be, a really cute, redheaded Nashvillian camping with her family just across the road. It was obvious from the family's head scratching that their tent, which was coincidentally the same model as ours, was either new or borrowed. At the urging of my brother-in-law, I agreed we would offer to assist. In exchange for putting up her tent, my bride has been putting up with me for over forty years now. Turning back the clock to talk fishing... Many times as a kid perched on boulders in the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River I was mesmerized by the small trout holding in the rapid flow below. I’m thinking, “Man! How would you ever catch one of those? I mean the ‘floater’ ain't going to stay in place long enough for anything to bite!” It was not until nearly fifty years later that I first caught a trout on a fly. After a seven year hiatus in Nashville, my wife and I returned to East Tennessee in 2007. Just last year I caught my first speck… on Cosby Creek.

lexfly
12-15-2011, 01:12 PM
I remember my first and biggest fish, and good times with family and friends, but maybe the most memorable time was in my early 20s. I had hiked up Noland Creek to the bridge where there are a couple of islands on the upstream side. I walked down to the left bank and as I was tying on a fly I noticed a flash out of the corner of my eye. I looked up to see a fawn gingerly wading across the stream to me. I stood absolutly still as it came over and stood right next to me. I took out my borrowed camera and snapped as many pictures as I could. The fawn eventually figured I wasn't its momma and waded back accross to the little island. I don't remember how many or if I caught fish that day, but that fawn was as close to a spirtual experience that I had had at the time. Unfortunately, I was too nervous to remember that you had to wind the camera.

Jim Casada
12-15-2011, 05:31 PM
lexfly--Your memory resurrected not one but three of my own from the sometimes difficult to access vaults of my memory. All involve wildlife.
Perhaps 40 years ago, while fishing the lower Nantahala right at daylight, I noticed a slight disturbance near the opposite bank. For the next 10 minutes I stood transfixed as a mother mink ferried her three kits, one at a time, across the stream.

Somewhere in the same time period, well up Deep Creek above the Burgardner Bend, I managed to do one of the things I am particularly skilled in accomplishing--hang my fly up in some brush on a backcast. I walked back to the offending tree, which was on a small, grassy island, and as I detached it from the limb I happened to look down at the sun-dappled patch at my feet. There, still and unblinking, was a deer faw still wearing its spots.
The final experience, again on upper Deep Creek, involved a doe and two fawns which entered the stream within 10 yards of me and somehow never paid me much attention as they slaked their thirst. In that case I have slides, several of them, which I was able to take without the deer spooking.
As I suggested when I launched this thread, for me the fishing, while mighty important, is nonetheless only part of the whole experience.
Jim Casada

BlueRaiderFan
12-15-2011, 08:32 PM
Once when I was in the Army, I was sent out with my team, during a training event, as an advance team to breach the wire ahead of our armored vehicles moving in. We got there really early and took turns with guard duty...about daylight I was nudged awake to find about 5 or 6 deer all standing around us eating grass...we woke the others up one by one and we all sat up and watched them. They finally moved when we stood up as it was time for us to get ready to breach the wire.

silvercreek
12-15-2011, 08:48 PM
Many years ago I was camping one fall at Cataloochee. Woke up one morning just before sunrise, unzipped the tent flap and there about 20 feet away was an eight point buck staring back at me. Great way to start the day.

GrouseMan77
12-15-2011, 09:10 PM
Just like Grannyknot, for me my best moments have always been about spending time on the streams with friends and family. I've spent a lot of time of the water alone and with some really great individuals.

If I had to narrow it down to one trip it would have to be the trip my wife and I made to Bone Valley for three nights of nature at her best. Early November and we were the only humans around. The first night we bedded down early only to have a lone coyote sit down beside the tent and howl for what seemed forever. One morning I went for water and jumped a small group of wood ducks and the next I startled two really nice bucks. We caught some fish but more importantly got to spend time together in a beautiful place.

As we waited for the ferry, we listened to a grouse drumming on the ridge above us while watching a group of hogs make their way around the lake bank.

Baldeagle
12-16-2011, 08:07 AM
The first was catching a Smokies "Grand Slam" out of one hole on Caldwell Fork. The slam ended with one of the most beautiful specs I have ever caught. The event was even more memorable because my daughter was there to share it with me.

The second event ocurred on Abrams near the trailhead in Cades Cove. I was fishing without much success when it started to snow. It was not a light snow, but snowing so hard I could hardly see across the pool! I was rolling a wooly bugger down the entry to the pool and started picking up rainbows on almost every drift. The last one was the biggest rainbow I have caught in the Smokies - 15 3/4 inches. Magical!

oldhickory
12-17-2011, 01:14 AM
Thanks for this thread.

I've been giving this a lot of thought. I've been fishing the Smokys for about 15 years now. My wife and I usually camp in Smokemont, so, it stands to reason that most of my best times have been there.

I guess my most fond memory would be the time I got my first grand slam. I woke up at sunrise, got on my waders and headed down to the Lufty. Caught a brown on a Tellico. After a couple hours, I moved up into the campground area where I caught severial bows on a yellow Adams. Back to camp for a quick lunch, then I walked up the Bradley Fork trail. Started fishing up by the back-country campsite where I landed a brook. I was so excited! Something you never forget.

Many other memories bringing my son with me.

Dances with Trout
12-22-2011, 12:51 PM
Thanks for posting this. I have really enjoyed reading these and also remembering my own experiences.
I am relatively new to fly fishing, just completing my fifth year.

On my second year, I was fishing with my best friend and the one who introduced me to fly fishing. We were fishing above Metcalf bottoms and were fishing a run and a section of stream known as "Joe's Hole". I had heard a little about "Joe's Hole", and today I was going to get to fish it. My partner sat and watched as I fished this run. I did manage a nice brown on a dry fly. I think I also ended up with two more fish for the morning. When we went home, he asked if I would like to read the story of "Joe's Hole". He produced a copy of which he signed and added a personal note. I read the story with great interest and felt so priviliged to have gotten to fly fish such a mystical place and also catch a trout there. The story was written by my friend and also appeared in Issue 1 Volume 2 of the Art of Angling Journal. I learned a long time ago, it is not about the number or size of the fish, but about being able to be in the great outdoors and experience all of God's wonderful creation.

Another really memorable occasion occured one evening on a section of the river below Elkmont, I caught 5 trout that I first saw rise and then cast a dry fly to. It was a magical evening.

God Bless,
Dances with Trout

Jim Casada
12-22-2011, 02:12 PM
Dances with Trout--You may be a tyro in terms of years devoted to the sport, but you've reached graduate school in terms of perspective. When you said "it is not about the number or size of the fish, but about being able to be in the great outdoors and experience all of God's wonderful creation," you set the hook on a lifetime of enjoyment in a true and telling fashion.

Incidentally, while I've always been one to use my real name, "Dances with Trout" is a delightful moniker. Mind you, I've been involved in one or two dances, usually involving a log or some other tippet-snapping obstacle in the stream or a fish going in a direciton which found me desperately trying to recover slack, which I would have preferred not happen. That's because the end result was usually me being a "wall flower" employed in tying on another fly as I bemoaned a parting of the ways with a good trout.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

yonder
12-23-2011, 06:53 AM
Great thread......I can remember a trip to smokemont with my brother-in-law a few years back. Mostly small browns and rainbows were caught on bradleys fork. That evening we had "tin foil dinners" cooked over hot coals. We came to the conclusion that it doesn't get any better after a long day of wading in a creek, than to have a warm fire, a good meal, and a single barrel bourbon. No company cell phones....no wives with shopping addictions...just clear skies and a warm fire. By the way, we saw five river otters that day. Thankfully, we haven't seen them since.