View Full Version : Wildlife encounters while fishing

01-18-2006, 04:40 PM
If you have fished the park for long, I'm sure you have stories to share of wildlife encounters. This may be a good place to share your experience with others so we can enjoy them also. One of the many benifits to fishing the park is the surprise encounter with ____________ ?

For the past few years, my best friend since 2nd grade (Chip) and I have fished the park on New Year's Day. One year we fished the Tremont road. As we were fishing, I looked upstream to see if Chip was catching anything or not. He was 30 yards or so away from me. While I was watching him, a doe seemed to levitate down into the stream directly between us. We never heard her. It was awesome. She took a careful drink, glanced at us both and vanished into the woods as if she were a ghost. After she had gone, we stood dead still for a moment re-living the past few moments as if it were a dream.
We did not catch any fish that frigidly cold day, but what we did catch was a glimpse of the Park at it's best.

01-18-2006, 05:37 PM
With that pleasant encounter, I will report the opposite. While climbing out of the river in Tremont. I reached up towards one of the cracks in-between boulders, pulling myself up towards the road. About a foot from my fingers were two timber rattlers wedged inside. Luckily, I still had some footing and pulled myself away before the snakes had any time to react to my presence. Beautiful creatures, but I'm sure I'd be saying different if one decided to lunge at me.

01-18-2006, 06:39 PM
Castaway- Beautiful creatures indeed, best viewed from afar. Nice reaction time and good story.

David Knapp
01-18-2006, 07:23 PM
Great stories! I've had several close encounters with deer while fishing. I've scared turkeys that were apparently trying to roost. The explosion of wings overhead probably scared me worse than the bird... ;D. Last week I had a first though. I was fishing at Tremont when I saw something moving just upstream and up on the bank. I looked and here came a wild boar trotting along. That was the first one I've ever seen so it was quite a thrill :).

David Knapp

01-18-2006, 11:51 PM
I don't fish the park but have ran into about all of the above on the water, except the rattlers "thank god".But maybe a few Copperheads. Me and a bud had a fawn swim right in from of us on the upper Clinch here in VA smallmoth fishing this past spring. I have had the crap scared outta me but grouse, seen the wild boar like mentioned. That was kinda scary. My first encounter with one. Everyone thought I was nuts, until word got out that they had moved into this fairly remote area. This is the first report of them around there. I love to see things like that just makes the day seem so much more special. My bud "says" he had a moutian lion water in the Clinch river right below where he was standing. He was around a brushy bend and seen it clear as a bell he says. Had to be a cat and a really big one as big as a dog. But still not a dog certianly a cat. He is a really trustable person, even a deacon in the church. But I didn't see it so I don't know? On his defense it was a really dry summer so that could explain it coming near town for water.


01-19-2006, 08:46 AM
Great stories, all.

Like Stu, I've had the "pleasure"of stumbling upon a copperhead, only it was in the park, and the circumstances were much more akin to castaway's - watch those rocks! :o

Early one misty morning high up Tremont, I heard a noise and looked up - there were 3 otters making their way down the bank. Playful critters. They looked at me but didn't seem spooked, and went on their merry way.

Had four or five deer cross Roaring Fork a few feet upstream from me once.

appalachian angler
01-19-2006, 10:40 AM
Deer, otters and coperheads...oh my! I always enjoy seeing these fine specimens of Gods' creation too. I am often intrigued when watching a Kingfisher swoop down and pick up a warpaint shiner or similar query. I am yet to encounter a wild boar or Black bear on the stream, But I'm sure that day may come. These are much of the allure of fishing the park. The is so much more to flyfishing for trout than casting a fly. I'm not sure that the feeling is absorbing the nature around me or Nature absorbing me. It has been said that trout don't live in ugly places..Is that the truth or what? When I'm on the stream, in the park, far away enough from the din of passing vehicles and the voices of tourists, I am totally disconnected fromthe rest of the world. I am amidst some of the finest handiwork of the Creators' hand, and I am drunk on the moment. A true spiritual high that could not be duplicated or synthesized by any drug known to man.

Thank you for starting this thread and sharing the stories! Ya'll have painted the picture for me. :)


01-19-2006, 10:47 AM
I to have encounter most of the above and then some. Thats what makes fishing in the park so intresting. For me most of the more rewarding sightings seam to happen just before dusk or first thing in the morning.

Regarding "Snakes" I have seen rattlesnakes also. I remember one last year that was a thick as a baseball bat and must have been 6 foot long. I was told that pit vipers avoided the streams and rivers because the dislike the sound of the runing water. I personal don't believe that bit of infromation. I have also heard that there are some streams like the Roaring Fork that have significantly more snake ("rattlers") then others. Has anyone heard anything about that.

Im coming down from DC and will be attempting to fish the Roaring Fork this weekend. Maybe I shoud invest in a pair of Kevlar Waders.

Fly Flicker
01-19-2006, 05:09 PM
I've fished Roaring Fork quite often and never seen a snake there. I've seen more snakes around Tremont than anywhere else.

They probably won't be active this time of year anyways.
Tight Lines

Chip Maner
01-19-2006, 06:33 PM
Snakes are great, and I even like the skunks that have shared the riverbank with me from time to time, but I am always disheartened by stories of boar in the park. My favorite of all these stories, however, is the very first: Rock Hopper's surreal encounter with that deer. I should also note that I have encountered many great critters while fishing in the park, none very much more wild than Rock Hopper, himself! What a moment that was, when time almost stopped for a meeting of wild things at Tremont.

01-20-2006, 12:57 AM

while fishing the roaring fork area one late fall evening..........this stumbled up on me.......

the light was getting bad so i had to set my camera on night shot. *that is why it looks black and white.

he was rather curious of what i was doing and i was not about to stick around to explain it to him. *i took a few shots and eased out....

01-20-2006, 01:08 AM
After reading this thread, I thought, my encounters on the stream have been otters and... SNAKES :o. *It seems that most "sightings" have been in Tremont. Is that due to the fishing pressure that area receives? If most people fish that area the probability that someone is going to see a wild animal is going to be higher. I was fishing Tremont 2 summers ago, had just caught a nice rainbow and called my father over to snap a quick pic. On his way over he scared 3 copperheads, 2 of which came over the rock wall and down into the stream 10 yards down from me. I was outta there quick. First encounter with snakes in the park for over 10 years.. guess I'm lucky.

01-20-2006, 01:15 AM
Oh ya otters! That got me to thinkin' I have seen a couple minks, those are courious critters! I had one follow us down the bank of a smallmouth lake for about one hour. We were popping bugging a bank and working kinda slow and covering it good. That thing was amazed with us. I guess he was wonder why I was getting tangled up and swearing so much!


Hugh Hartsell
01-20-2006, 06:20 AM
:) Folks, I have enjoyed this thread so much that I thought that I would share with all of you some of the many encounters that my wife and I have recorded on our digital cameras while we were in the Park this year. There may be one or two that were taken on tailwaters. So as not to take up too much space with pictures and to be able to expand the pictures to full screen, I am placing URLs to click on. I hope all of you enjoy them as we did at the time we encountered them.
* *Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.
http://www.smokymountainflyguide.com/photogallery/Winter%20in%20the%20Smokies%20and%20East%20Tenness ee%20Tailwaters/Wild%20Turkeys%20at%20Sugarland's%20Visitor%20Cent er.jpg


http://www.smokymountainflyguide.com/photogallery/Autumn%20in%20the%20Smokies/Bear%20in%20the%20Smoky%20Mountains_4_Compliments% 20of%20Doug%20Smith.jpg



All of these encounters were wild and beautiful, but none could compare with the impact that happened when I was floating down the Holston River with a friend this past year. A huge Bald Eagle made a dive within flyrods reach after a young duckling that was swimming over to our boat. That was as close as I have ever been to one in the wild and all that either of us could do, was to sit there and gawk with our eyes as big as grapefruits while the eagle flew off! It was a special outdoor event for both of us.

01-20-2006, 01:21 PM
Not to desensitize anyone to the dangers of poisonous snakes in the park, but those "copperheads" in and around the Middle Prong at Tremont are most probably harmless banded water snakes. Often mistaken for copperheads and water moccasins, they are indeed aggressive but non-poisonous. I don't give them a second look if they are on the streambank- I'm too busy looking out for the dreaded timber rattler in that area. No doubting what kind of snake they are once you see one of those bad-boys!

01-20-2006, 03:36 PM
Considering the other posts, I will consider myself lucky as I haven't had any up close encounters with legless wildlife. I was luck enough one afternoon around dusk to witness a couple of deer coming off of Miller's Island & cross the Clinch to the field on the other side. My favorite encounter (even though I probably wouldn't have said it at the time) was one morning I was by myself fishing the Bald River up past Holly Flats & I was totally zoned in on the water when from out of nowhere I heard a huge crash & turned to see a rather large bear backing out of a tree & take off running up the hill. The speed & power of that creature (& the fact that he was within 15 yards of me) sent chills down my back!! Thanks all for your stories, as AA said it paints a picture.

01-20-2006, 11:55 PM
ok - now i have the pic up...sorry guys


while fishing the roaring fork area one late fall evening..........this stumbled up on me.......

the light was getting bad so i had to set my camera on night shot. *that is why it looks black and white.

he was rather curious of what i was doing and i was not about to stick around to explain it to him. *i took a few shots and eased out....

01-21-2006, 12:02 PM
Look, I admit it - when it comes to snakes, I am a complete coward. I suppose that in my mind, to paraphrase Lewis Grizzard, they all have the same goal: to bite and kill you! Irrational, I know, but I just can't stand the buggers. My apologies to the snake lovers out there :).

Now, before somebody gets upset about my hatred of snakes, let's make it clear that I could never harm one - I'd be too busy running away!

Bamafly - great pic! Thanks for sharing it.

01-21-2006, 06:51 PM
One day as I was fishing Metcalf Bottoms I looked up the river and saw nine turkeys! It was pretty cool, and they had no idea that I was there. I watched them until the moved out of sight into the woods.

01-21-2006, 08:13 PM

01-22-2006, 08:52 AM
Lets see:
Bear on Abrams
Deer on Abrams, Very large buck 2 weeks ago.
Rattlesnake on Little River, around Goshen Prong
Copperhead on Lynn Camp prong at the cascades.
Banded water snake on Little River and plenty of them on Bald river.
Elk at Cattalochee at dusk.
Osprey on Hiwassee, been some reports of a resident pair of Bald Eagles up there. I have not seen them yet.
Drunk teenagers on the Hiwassee. ( is that considered wildlife?)
Beaver on Tellico last week. The beavers are relly working up on the North river right now. Looks like Bowater has invaded the area.
A pair of Otters at Metcalf Bottoms.
10 boar in a waller' on Hazel creek. Scared the be jesus' out of me. I climbed up the bank to get back on the trail. As I pulled myself up I saw them, probably 30 feet from me. I only recognized 3 of them until they spooked and ran. Boars were running everywhere going up the ridge. Looked like about 5 or 6 adults and about 5 or 6 shoats. Blood pumping to be sure.
If I think about it long enough I'm sure I can think of some more. These are the things that make trout fishing so special! Great thread! :)

01-22-2006, 01:43 PM
My 'adventure' happened this spring at Abrams parking area, I was waiting at the gate for morning so I could be first on the water, as soon as the gate was opened I headed for the parking area.
I geared up, and went into the woods just about 30 feet, it was still kinda dark under the trees, when lo and behold there sits a bear, on his rear end, like a person would! I was speechless! He was a LOT bigger than I. (We have long since got rid of bears in my State of Indiana)! I just froze, about 30 feet from it, I couldn't move, and he looked at me as if I were totally insignificant. After about three hours (OK, it SEEMED like three hours, probably only 30 seconds or so) it ambled off. I was just regaining my composure when a voice directly behind me says "You did the right thing"!!! THAT scared the living #### out of me, I nearly jumped out of my skin! It was a lady park ranger, she had come to check my license, but I didn't know she was there. TWO scares in two minutes from the local 'wildlife'.

01-23-2006, 10:21 AM
I have seen otters, deer, turkey, grouse, hogs (wild boars?), snakes, etc. the two scariest things I have ever seen was climbing a waterfall in Tellico area I put my hand on the biggest, ugliest, hairiest spider in my life :o. I can honestly say that that spider was bigger than my hand! It would have covered up a dinner plate and i am reducing my estimate by 20% for my immagination! I think it was a wolf spider, but i didn't stick around long enough to find out. I would rather be covered up with rattlers than spiders.

The other time, was was up in Elkmont towards the end of the day. i was fishing and heard something on the other bank and saw a baby bear running like mad through the woods. It climbed a tree next to the stream and was looking down at me. I guess I must have startled it. Now this was a very small cub, maybe the size of a small dog and when it got into the tree it started to whine. I had never heard a cub do this before and I stood there for a second until i realized that it was whining for mama and I didn't know where she was! I decided that my fishing day was over and turned to go back down the trail. The only problem was that the bank was covered in thick rhododendrun and I just knew that I was going to run into mama while trying to crawl through it. Luckily I never saw mama bear, but I sure hiked out in record time :D.

Rog 1
01-23-2006, 01:03 PM
Boy, great topic.....while I don't live nearby I have spent many summers and falls in the Park camping and fishing. My mom grew up in Sevierville and the Park has become a second home. The most unusal event occured about three years ago when my long time fishing buddy and I were sharing the water over at Greenbrier just above the fork with Porter's Creek. My buddy was on the right side of the river and as he is about to move around a big bolder in the river he jumps back yelling snake....figuring it was one of those banded water snakes I looked up to see a 4 foot timber rattler swimming down the middle of the river. It wedges itself on a flat rock in the middle of the stream and watches us take a couple of photos before leaving the vicinity. I saw snakes in my sleep for the rest of the trip. Kind of like Jaws...just when you thought you were safe to go into the water.

01-23-2006, 04:02 PM
This is not my "fishing" story, but one that happened to another flyfisherman. My wife and I and our two daughters were walking the trail near Abrams Creek when I spotted a black bear about 200 feet in front of us coming our way. We started to back up the the trail and the bear just moseyed along looking for insects and such by turning over small logs and leaves. As we retreated down the trail the bear took a turn toward the river and there was an older man flyfishing in the creek. I yelled to him to warn him about the bear and he too retreated out of the water and the bear continued along and eventually crossed the creek on a downed tree. The bear then went his way, the fisherman resumed fishing and we went back to the truck knowing that we had had an experience that we might never have again. It's experiences like this that makes fishing and hiking in the Park such a great joy.

01-24-2006, 06:25 PM
I would have to agree about the water snakes, they can really give you a "laundry surprise", and I have seen plenty of them in the park. I once saw a one on a tree limb about 2 feet above the water, as I was wading along the bank, I would have died if I would have come face to face with that thing, and everyone would have thought that I fell and drowned.

Back in 1972 I was fishing along the West Prong and had bear cub and it's mother run down the back to the creek, I droped my pole and took running just knowing that they were after me, when I stopped when I reach my father, he took one look at me and said "what's wrong?", I said that a bear is after me, and he looked and said "what bear", we went back down the trail, back to the creek and they were gone, but plenty of tracks around. That is the only bear that I have seen fishing in the park, 34 years of fishing.

01-25-2006, 10:09 AM
For me there is a heighted sense of awarness when I come into contact with wildlife while fishing. Depending on the fishing, it is many times the highlight of my day.

Here are couple of things that I can draw from memory...

- Once had a young otter swim nearly up to my feet and pop it head up to check me out while I was fishing Abrams. A few moments later here came momma looking for her lost child.

- Fishing Hiwassee one day and heard some hunting dogs up on a ridge line. We had just pulled anchor on the drifter and started to drop the right side of Colonel's island when a 10-12 point buck jumps into the river and starts to swim accross the river. There was just a light fog on the water with the sun on our backs. It was gorgeous.

- Was up on a small stream off of Tellico and had gotten a fly stuck in tree limb. I gave the fly a couple of good yanks trying to free it. Out of absolutely nowhere flew in a falcon. Landed on the limb I had just got done shaking trying to free my fly. He sat there no more than 15 feet from me. I was as still as I could be, but wanted a photo so bad. My hand was already by my camera, I no more than moved my hand an inch.... it was gone.

I have yet to see a Bear while on the river, though I have seen many snakes. I have seen several wild turkeys and the occasional boar on my way to a stream while in the car.

I have had a couple of close encounters that made me wonder how close I was to the real McCoy. Came accross a fresh pile of Bear dung on a trail that was still steaming. Also hiked back into a remote part of a stream and started to get out to take a lunch break. Looked down in the soft mud by the bank and saw a perfect undisturbed paw print at least the size of my fist. Now that made the hair on my neck stand straight up and put my head on a swivel.

Great thread guys...

Petey 8-)

06-04-2006, 11:15 PM
Had my first sighting of a coyote in the Park the other night. While turning right toward Townsend at the "Y" he (maybe she) was milling around the parking lot close to one of the trash cans. Figured they were up there, but hadn't seen one 'till then. Does anyone have an idea of how many are estimated to be in the Park?

06-05-2006, 12:17 PM
I have hiked, camped and fished the Smokies for many years and have had lots of bear encounters (more in the 60s and 70s than now, however). One of my fishing pals (Steve) had never had a bear encounter until a couple of years ago when we were fishing Little River just above the Little River/Huskey Gap intersection. At the time there was still a sign there warning hikers that a woman had been killed in this area by a black bear. Seeing the sign, Steve asked about the details. I told him what I knew and inquired if he knew how to react if he encountered a bear. He replied that he did -"run". I educated him on the steps to take - wave your arms, make noise... but do not run.

We seperated agreeing to meet for lunch, but he was not in the designated area as agreed. After looking for him in both directions I found him standing in the middle of the foot bridge down stream from the Huskey Gap Trail. He approached me stating that he had seen a bear. While standing in the river, he heard something behind him entering the stream. He turned and saw a large black bear coming toward him. I asked if he followed the instructions I gave him and he replied "I sure did. I shouted oh s___! and took off running" I asked if the bear pursued him and he said he didn't know because he never looked back. Steve now carries a bear whistle in his vest anytime we are in bear country.

06-05-2006, 03:10 PM
There are 2 requirements that must be met for it to be acceptable to try to run from a black bear. *
1. *You must have someone with you when you see the bear
2. *You must be able to run faster than the person that is with you ;D

06-05-2006, 03:28 PM
Good advice, Russ. I pass that on to Steve - I know I can out run him!

05-21-2007, 03:58 PM
My Wife & I were coming out of Townsend Friday night after the Banquet and would you believe we saw another coyote? He was hugging the tree line beside the road just downstream from the big pull-off where the old fella sells p-nuts & walking sticks. I guess those suckers are pretty much everywhere.

05-21-2007, 05:10 PM
I have never encountered a rattlesnake or copperhead in the park, and I don't want to. But, I did step about one foot from a coiled cottonmouth at the Spring River in Arkansas. My friend was walking down the bank behind me and spotted the white of its mouth. He said, "don't move." I stopped, looked down, saw the snake, and jumped about four feet down the bank. I thought it was too cold for snakes. It was in late April. We saw three more snakes that day. I think the cool weather did keep me from getting bit that day. I still have panic thoughts about that. Some other wildlife adventures I have had are listed below.

Deer - 4 this weekend fishing out of Camp # 24
Rattlesnake crossing my path - Oregon's Deschutes River
Turkeys flying across the river - Caney Fork
Bear crossing the river - Pigeon river above Gatlinburg with my 12-year-old son - his eyes were as big as silver dollars
Otters - several places
Bear - Big creek, fall of 2005
Bald Eagle - diving for a fish in Arkansas - it was simply beautiful

In 2002, I was coming out of Yellowstone, and we stopped where a large number of cars had stopped to view a Grizzly bear with two cubs. She was across the river. The next day I had a guide scheduled to fish that river. We went about a half-mile below where the Grizzly was. Needless to say I was scared. He told me not to worry; he had brought an extra-large bottle of bear spray. It didn't provide me a lot of comfort.

I hate snakes!

This was a great thread!

05-21-2007, 10:35 PM
Came uppon a very large Copperhead Sunday fish the Abrams. Came out of the water about 2' from me. Snakes don't realy bother me but that was a little closer that I like. Been struck a couple times by small one when stepping between my rabit dog and snake. Stick the sole of my boot and let them strike it instead of dog. But I think this could have bite through a boot sole. One question? Arn't snake cold blooded? How do they surive in 40-50 degree water?

05-21-2007, 11:39 PM
Growing up down here, I've seen a greater number and variety of reptilian life. I've seen more cottonmouths than I could ever count, along with plain old water snakes, rattlesnakes, copperheads, etc. I've seen a bunch of gators in the wild, from 8 inches to 12 feet. I've been fortunate to have seen a number of bald eagles, and I saw an osprey along the lakefront in New Orleans once. Last summer, the girls and I saw a pretty good sized bear up in Virginia, crossing the Skyline Drive in broad daylight.

In the aftermath of Katrina, we ended up along the Natchez Trace at one point; we saw a number of coyotes there.

05-22-2007, 08:10 AM
While the Park does offer some dangerous company along the streams and trails, I pray that there are NEVER any GATORS.

05-22-2007, 08:18 AM
LOL...I went to FSU, so I don't like the orange and blue variety, either. However, I actually like seeing them where I fish; I've always believed that they tend to thin out the trash fish like gar, and they're not shy about eating snakes, either. Plus, they are fascinating creatures - as long as they're not fed marshmallows or other junk, they generally try to stay away from us. I've never had any problems with them. I was out with the girls last Labor Day on a very popular bayou in the area, and we had one that was at least 10ft get within a boat length of us - when we got too close, he bolted underwater.

05-22-2007, 08:39 AM
I was fishing straight fork in the park just above the Cherokee fish hatchery this past winter and had a weird encounter with a four legged creature. The park had the road gated at the entrance so I parked and walked the road for about two miles then fished the rest of the day. On my way out it was getting dark and I was walking the road about a mile from were I was parked. In the distance I made out a black, mid sized animal running up the road directly at me. My first thought was that it was a bear. I carry bear spray with me all the time because of a previous encounter I had. When the animal got closer I realized that it was a dog. When it got even closer I realized that it was a pit bull. To be honest with you I would rather it been a bear than a pit bull. The dog ran right up to me a started sniffing me while I had the spray pointed right at his face. About that time I see two hikers running up the road with a leash. To make along story short I did not spray the dog but I was sure glad I had it on me that day.

Oh yeah as for the snakes I am one of those "weirdos" who love snakes. I have a 10 ft Burmese python and a 6ft king snake. I would love to see a timber ratler one day (just from a distance).

05-25-2007, 03:00 PM
I was fishing Little River last week, above Elkmont, maybe a mile or so. We were being really quiet hoping to see another turkey as earlier one had flown across the river above us and wandered into the woods. Suddenly there was a really unpleasant odor. It was not the musk smell of a fox or skunk, it was almost sweetish but not a pleasant sweet like flowers.

We looked all around, saw nothing, heard nothing.

No smart remarks you guys, this was BEFORE I set the hook in my arm! :biggrin:

So what was it?

05-25-2007, 04:30 PM
My dad told me one time that either a cotton mouth, water moccasin, or copperhead I cant really remember which one, smelled like a cucumber. I dont know if there is any truth to that but thats the first thing that came to my mind when I read your post.

05-25-2007, 05:38 PM
That's not a wives tale. You will smell a cucumber or cantaloupe smell around copperheads. I have also heard the same around rattlesnakes or any pit viper. Supposedly something they secrete through their skins. Hopefully there is an reptile expert on this thread who could tell us for certain.

05-25-2007, 08:15 PM
no snake expert, but a copperhead does smell like a cucumber when it is close to you. the remedy is balsamic vinegrette.

05-31-2007, 10:43 AM
Gross, Sam!:eek:

Now I am wondering is there was a copperhead around those rocks and if so, how close was I to it?:eek:

05-31-2007, 11:42 AM
You guys are right. Snakes give off a foul odor when they feel threatened. Im not sure about copperheads but the smell is pretty nasty.

05-31-2007, 11:48 AM
Of all the descriptions, I think cantalope was the closest. A really overly ripe one that is not a rotten smell but a sickenly sweetish odor, very unpleasant but not in the way some dead rotting animal would be. Very strange.

05-31-2007, 12:23 PM
I was messing with this guy the other day while fishing and he seemed to not like me picking at him. He gave me a great little whiff of that smell.


05-31-2007, 03:16 PM
What kind of snake is that?

06-01-2007, 03:10 AM
Thats an eastern garter snake. All snakes will musk when they are nervous or aggitated. They just don't want to be eaten. Hoping that there predators don't like the smell of cucumbers, melons or whatever they may smell similar to. If you smell one its probably not far off but is more than likely hiding.
I've come across a couple of the banded waters snakes this year, and a nice 5 foot rat snake crossing the road going to Treamont.
I love snakes but would rather not run into any climbing up a bank. I always keep watch for them espcially when stepping over logs or large rocks that they like to lie up against. Its a good idea to use a walking stick when walking over larger rocky areas. They blend in so well its better to suprise them with a stick than a leg.

One day last year while sitting on a rock by the river in Treamont I became very involed in trying to tie a blood knot. Having problems with it I became completely unaware of my surroundings when I heard a sizeable splash on the opposite side of the pool I was sitting beside. It is interesting the progressions the brain makes when awaking from deep concentration.
Hmm, that wasn't a fish....that looks like something swimming this way....thats strange, it looks like a bears head....bears head,.hmm...OH A BEARS HEAD...Little Bear...Where is Mommy (the bears of course not mine)
Now as I have become aware of life outside my knot I am standing Very alert wondering if I was oblivious to the Mother crossing already or was she still on the other side. With the young bear looking at me from about 10 feet away I decide to retreat to my car just about 8 feet behind and above me on the bank leaving rod and vest on the bank for easier climbing.
Once in the car my nerves begin to settle a bit and now all I can think of is the young bear may see my new rod (that I had just built with my friend and fishing mentor Jim Evans) as a chew toy. Well luckly and sort of strangly I never saw the bear again after getting in my car. And after thinking about it, the bear was probably just old enough to be on its own. I looked around cautiously for the bear while gathering my equipment guessing it had hidden in the culvert under the road, but I wasn't interested enough to stick my head in there looking for it.

Not long after that day I was fishing on Lynn Camp not far past the cascade, I had spotted a nice trout and in mid cast I hear something coming down the opposite bank and think here we go again. I turn to see two otters looking curiously at me for a breif moment and then jump in and swin downstream before I can get my camera out of my pocket.

These brief encounters are such a great reminders of the wonders of God and the world we are to protect.

Sorry for the lengthy post, espcially being my first. I apologize for any grammer or spelling mistakes, it is little later(or earlier) than I realized.
Nice thread and thanks to LRO for this board.

06-01-2007, 08:14 AM
I prefer to think I was climbing around a garter snake rather than a copperhead.

Speaking of otters, we saw one under a bridge where I was fishing. He popped up out of a pool, checked us out and went back to fishing. In a few minutes, he appeared on the far bank, and ate breakfast, a trout, I guess. He did not mind that I kept fishing, and smirked a little when I left without a fish, while he was eating one.

06-02-2007, 08:30 AM
I have enjoyed fishing in the first few hundred yards of the park and had a group of geese flying about 4 feet off the surface of the stream, coming up the river right at me, honking as they went. They flew on either side of me close enough to almost touch them. It was as though they accepted that I was there and know I would not harm them.

This happened one afternoon just after a shower and there was a mist over the river. I wish I had a photograph of it. It was beautiful.

Flying Trout
06-02-2007, 02:35 PM
My most memorable encounters with wildlife seem to be with bees in the park. Outside the park I was on the Hiwassee and a black bear was swimming over to meet me and a buddy while we were in the middle of the river at Fox's cabin. We made enough noise and it decided to turn around and climb out. I was one of the largest bears I've seen.

Wildlife is a wonderful part of this activity. I really do not like it to suprise me though.

06-02-2007, 06:48 PM
I've seen many serpents in the Park over the years. I have only seen one dead copperhead, and one live one. I've hiked more miles than I care to recall, (at least my feet don't care), and since I took up trout 20 months ago, I have yet to see a copper or ratt. I fish above the pave at Tremont most all the time. From the reports I feel lucky, but I am ALWAYS on the cautious side.

Tomorrow I'm headed to Townsend for Smallies and Stockers. Leaving at 6 am and should be home by noon. Gonna try hardware (small rapala's) only. I'll let you know!