View Full Version : Hello and help!

07-27-2006, 11:54 AM
This is my first post on this board. *I've been reading some of your posts and have enjoyed them quite a bit. *Makes me want to head out now for the Smokies fishin'.

I live in Murfreesboro and fish for smallies and such in the Stones River, and I occasionally head to the Caney for trout. *It'll do til I can get to some real trout fishin' in E TN or out west.

My son and I will be hiking in to LeConte Lodge in mid-August. *I've not fished any of the areas around there. *Any advice on what/where to go on the hike up/down or while we're up there?

Also, we'll be bring a group of campers in late Sept/early Oct to fish for three days. *We're camping in Elkmont and plan to fish there, but our plan is to fish the "shoe" on Abrams. *I fished Abrams a couple of years ago - below the falls - but didn't get as far as the "shoe". *I've heard a lot about it - slippery/takes all day to fish/lots of fish/etc.

Any info you guys could give would be greatly appreciated. *Until then, may the fish be big and the bears small.

"I believe the Lord has blessed us all today...he's just been especially good to me." :)

Gerry Romer
07-27-2006, 11:18 PM

First things first. If you're camping at Elkmont, you can get warmed up by hiking up the Little River trail right out of Elkmont and fish your way up to about 4,000 feet (Brook territory)or cut off onto Fish Camp Prong on the Goshen Prong trail and hunt down some bows and brooks. Just watch for postings about bear activity.

Then, when you head over to LeConte, look for the Alum Cave trail. You'll have access to Alum Cave Creek and you'll be at Brookie altitude.

If you're serious about "the shoe" plan a day trip and go with a "buddy". It's hard to visualize from a map, but when the trail leaves the creek, it LEAVES the creek. If you stay on the trail, you can hear the creek off to your left and the volume gradually drops off to near nothing and then cranks up again as you get closer to the other end of the shoe. If you get in the creek where it leaves the trail, you've commited yourself to a fairly hard slog over and around some challenging obstacles. It's fishable and the fish are gorgeous, but it'll wear you out.

Finally, take Byron's words of advice to heart. By mid-August these fish spook very, very easily. Remember, they've been putting up with the same tourists/swimmers/tubers that we have for the last three months. Wear clothing to blend in with your surroundings, stay low, and use the environment for cover. The waters will be low but still fishable in the higher elevations.

Earthwalk Press puts out a great trail/topo map on the Park which is avalable locally, and LRO stocks the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map.

Good luck and be safe!


07-28-2006, 04:01 PM
A couple warnings if you want to fish the "shoe" . I've almost spent the night in there once. I know others have spent it!!!!!! ;D
1) Make sure you have enough time. You'll need to be out there early and check to see if the Cades Cove Loop Road is open to cars before 10:00 AM on the day you want to go there. Also the Tourist traffic can be very slow on that road.
2) Watch the amount of daylight, it get dark quickly in the valleys in the Early Spring and Fall.
3) Bring a good flashlight and extra food and water with you and be prepared to spend the night- NOT KIDDING . The trail back out becomes becomes pitch black and dangerous after dark.
4) The Dolomite rocks have a layer of algae on them and are extremely slippery- Wear Felt soles always in the park, especially there.
My brother, from Michigan, wanted to fish it one spring. A lot of little minor things slowed us down getting there,against my better judgement we went on in. Then we got caught in a major thunderstorm and had to sit it out. We had to back track out and ran out of daylight as we got on the trail. It was a long extremely dark, rough walk back through a very black tunnel. If our wives would not have been worried, I would have spent the night.
I don't want to comment heresy but "in my opinion" I'll find fishing other areas just as good at that time of the year.
Tight Lines
Randy Sale

07-30-2006, 12:29 PM
Yeeesh!! You guys are scarin' me! Better to be that way, though, than not respect the potential problems that could be out in front of us.

We'll be fishing the "shoe" the last weekend in September. I'm going to take ya'lls advice and fish the Little River Trail on Friday. I've fished that before, but I want to get on up a little higher this time. We'll fish the "shoe" on Saturday...make it all day event, providing we can get in there before 10:00 am. I've been on tha loop before with all the tourists and it can drive you nuts (I'd love to put on a bear suit and ramble out in one of those pastures about 200 - 300 yards from the road . When all those nuts get out of their cars and start running toward me, stand up and wave and run off. Anyway, I digress!). We'll have about 10 people on the "shoe" - spread 'em out and work it from there.

Not to join in your heresy, but if things didn't work out for the "shoe", what would be a comparable place to fish? We'll be fishing all day Saturday and then Sunday morning. We could go to a variety of places if need be.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. We want to make this a great trip for all the guys going.

Hugh Hartsell
07-30-2006, 03:12 PM
:) Flyinby, I have been reading this post with a great big question mark in my mind, and after this last reply from you, I'm going to recommend that you rethink this trip. You may be able to do the Little Horseshoe, but you will have lost an hour and 1/2 of daylight at the end of Sept. That is going to put you in a critical situation, time wise, to be able to get thru the Big Horseshoe before dark, even if you get an early start. Since you are going to have several folks that are new to this area, you're really going to be taking a gamble with someone getting hurt. Some alternatives to the full trip would be going in at the upper end and walking downstream for a short distance and fishing back up to the trail. Another group could walk down below the lower entrance to the Big Horseshoe and fish back upstream for a short distance into it and in a few hours you could walk back down stream to the trail. Four hours is long enough either way and that would give you plenty of time to get back out. Good luck and be safe.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.

07-30-2006, 05:14 PM
Howdy Hugh,

If you happen to read this, could you send me or post for me some contact information. I've tried emailing you a couple times but have received no reply yet. Not sure if my emails are getting through to ya!


07-31-2006, 12:32 AM

I like Hugh's advice on fishing two groups from the top and bottom and backtracking out to the trail to end the day. If you or any of your group had experience on the shoe then I'd say jump on it. It's not that bad but its long. If you didn't have an idea of how to pace yourselves you could get in a pickle by running out of light. That terrain is semi-rugged but with the lack of light you may as well be in the Alaskan wilderness.

Come back next June and hike/fish it lightly with a buddy to get the feel for it, one day. Otherwise, I recommend a hearty guide.

Use a wading staff anywhere on the river. You'll thank me later. ;)

07-31-2006, 09:58 PM
Here's my 'shoe story:

12 years ago I was a college student and bugged my roommate into going with me to Abrams. I had studied a map of Abrams and figured we could get away from other anglers in an area that looked like it horseshoed off the main trail. I didn't realize that it is practically a small mountain inside that horseshoe, making it very difficult to get back to the trail until you have completed the horseshoe circuit. I had fished Abrams before and thought this would be a piece of cake.

Gosh was I wrong. If you catch it on the wrong day, those rocks can be SOOOOO slick. And often at those weird, break-your-ankle angles. And my roomy didn't have felt. Luckily, he was a football player, so he was robust. That was a good thing, because well fell about a hundred times each. I am not kidding. It went over our waders several times. I don't think everyone was big into wading staffs back then. We certainly weren't.

It started getting dark. No sign of the trail. Where could it be? We kept slip-slide-falling our way up the creek. The sky was a pretty deep purple before I caught sight of the trail. We walked out in the dark and had to explain ourselves to the ranger (hrm... I just posted another story earlier about "explaining" things to rangers...) because you aren't supposed to be fishing after dark.

Anyway, the fishing is often pretty good there! I haven't fished Abrams much in the last few years, but I don't think it ever gets nearly as slick as it used to, now that cows aren't in it any more.

08-01-2006, 12:15 AM
From what I'm reading (and from the stories I've heard in the past), I think Hugh's idea is a good one. Because we'll have several people fishing, we'll split up and fish the ends of the "shoe". I'll have to do the "shoe" some other time - maybe late Spring.

I appreciate the help you've given me. I'm taking a group of guys from church and I want this to be a good experience all around...not just the fishing, but the fellowship, too. The last thing we need is for this thing to end in someone getting hurt or a bunch of guys spending the night on a rock.

Thanks for the help! :)