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View Full Version : Cataloochee Report 6/23 and etiquette question


ChemEAngler
06-24-2007, 06:48 PM
Took the wife over to Cataloochee for the weekend and decided to set my sights on a slam. For those who don't know, Cataloochee is possibly my favorite place in the Smokies. Anyway, my plan was to start off working water that I was familiar with looking to catch a bow, figuring it would be the easiest to accomplish. Not long into fishing hooked into a little 6" bow, then kept fishing the area since I have landed browns in the area. About 30 minutes later got another 6" bow, after long distance releasing another. So, I chose to load up and move higher up stream looking for the brookies. On my first cast into the first pool landed a little spec. A couple of casts later managed to get another little brookie, both were very small but extremely active. I was having so much fun with these little brookies that I kept fishing for them and missed way more than I should have. My next target was to head downstream near the group camp and look for a brown. Never got my brown, the temperature was picking up, and fisherman were coming out of the woodwork. So, I left the valley without picking up my first slam. I had never seen so many FF's there (I counted 12 FF's in a 27 site campground), and some of them could use a helping of etiquette.

Question for those of you out there.....
I was parked on the side of the river gearing up to head into the river. Someone pulls up behind me gets out, grabs their gear, and heads down into the river right beside me. Keep in mind that there are pulloffs all up and down this area for access, and this is not a very large stream. This frustrated me to the point that I loaded up my gear and told my wife we were heading home. I know it was probably wrong of me to leave after the event instead of moving to another location, but was I wrong in being frustrated at this person's actions?

Travis

mtnman2888
06-24-2007, 07:42 PM
I agree with you wholeheartedly and probably would have been just as frustrated. Some people just have no manners or etiquette at all...... I have ran into similar situations before and i have just felt so disgusted that i, like you, just left.

Craig

Gerry Romer
06-24-2007, 11:09 PM
Just got back from fishing pretty high up the gravel on Tremont. Had started out with the intention of going up high, just below the trail head parking lot. Didn't get out of Maryville 'til about 5:00 so I knew it was only gonna be a couple hours. On the way up I stopped about a quarter mile below the first wooden bridge. The last car I'd passed was about a half mile back. I pulled off the gravel into the woods - there really wasn't a turn out here, which is why I decided to try it. Got out, geared up and hiked about 300 yards downstream and about 50 yards in from the road. Immediately noticed another FFer about 300 - 400 yards downstream, so I put in and started fishing upstream. I figured I was far enough upsteam to not disturb his fishing, and if he wanted, he could leap-frog me.

About a half hour and 200 yards later I caught my first (and what would be my only) bow. He hit a size 16 SMBBSH in a small pool below me. I was perched between two boulders fishing both a riffle above me and a riffle flowing into a pool below me. As I was releasing my bow, I caught a flash of red upstream to my left. I knew it wasn't the guy below me 'cause he was well camouflaged. No, the flash of red was the first of four Sunday evening swimmers, complete with bikinis, flip-flops and beer.

They were coming downstream right toward where I was fishing, and clearly they had seen me. Well, I decided I wasn't going to be butted out and, besides, I wanted to see what they would do with this unintended obstacle to their swimming. So I held my ground and tried to continue fishing the pool/riffle above me and the pool/riffle below me. They continued toward me and stopped at the pool right above me where they settled in for the party. One of the guys even took the lull in their downstream trip to hike back to their car for more beers. I fished for maybe another 20 minutes and only quit when I broke off a 14 Tellico. I was so completely frustrated by then.....

Hiked out to the car and headed up to the top. Found a spot just below the top. Anyone familiar with upper Tremont would recognize the last big bend to the right below the top between markers 5 and 6. Well I was headed to park at 6 and walk down below the plunge pools and work my way back up. As I got to the bend I noticed a Visitor perched on the rocks overlooking the first big plunge pool before the bend. Perched with a cooler, a couple blankets and a couple camp chairs. No use stopping there. Continued up toward the top, got there, turned around and headed back down. Spotted a pretty nice section just below the parking lot and pulled off to give it a shot. Geared up, hiked in, started working a nice riffle and caught another flash out of the corner of my eye! This time it was lightning followed by thunder....

Kinda put an end to my fishing day.

So, I guess if it had been me in your shoes I would have driven up above the guy a little bit and started fishing. I definitely wouldn't have gone home (even though I understand the sentiment).

Gerry

Kevin_Thomas
06-24-2007, 11:38 PM
Yep... It's sure frustrating! I was at Tremont last week and had a guy park and drop in right in front of me. I was mad, but figured he just hadn't figured things out yet. I remember when I started fly fishing I tried to apply a lot of baitfishing techniques that did not work. I didn't realize you needed to work up the stream, I just thought you looked for a good spot and hunkered down. I figured that's what he was doing since he looked a bit inexperienced with a fly rod.

pineman19
06-24-2007, 11:41 PM
Hello all,

While the swimmers would tick me off for sure, I think the deal with the fellow fisherman jumping on your spot would kinda irk my criteria. That's just wrong. I guess I have been lucky in the Park as I haven't encountered this type of activity, maybe thats because I like to fish the more remote areas to stay away from the crowds. I guess when it happens I would just have to move to another spot, wouldn't be worth a battle to me unless they really got too close to me. I guess it will keep getting worse though, seems like the Park gets busier every year, and there are more people fishing. The weekdays seem like the best time to fish if you like a little solitude.

Denver1911
06-25-2007, 06:46 AM
I see people posting all the time about getting a slam from the park. Is it that difficult to do? I'll admit that, on a lot of streams, brookies are out of the question, or it's brookies only, or rainbows only, but there are also plenty of streams with all three aren't they?

Denver

Denver1911
06-25-2007, 06:50 AM
Oh, to add to the report from Cataloochee:

Fished from the group camp to the Palmer House in about 2 hours on Wednesday and caught ZERO!!! I had several hits on a thunderhead, but couldn't hook up. Water was extremely low, but a little stained from the night before.

Fished the lower section of Caldwell on Thursday and again had a hard time hooking up. Caught 5, but had 25+ hits.

Went to the Cherokee area and fished a hike-in brookie stream on Saturday and slayed those gullible little away-from-the-road natives :)

Denver

ChemEAngler
06-25-2007, 01:00 PM
Denver,
I am by no means the most qualified person to answer your question regarding a slam, but I have found it somewhat difficult. The reason being is that it typically requires either changing streams or moving substantially upstream or downstream. Also, part of the difficulty I have had is that the style of fishing is different. When up higher fishing for brookies I am used to just high sticking a dry or nymph with about 12 - 15 feet of line out, but when I move into brown trout water I find that it requires more of a casting approach (20 - 30 ft) and having the proper drift. If I start off fishing low, it is like my body gets acclimated fishing this way and it takes me some time to adjust. The only stream that I can think of that supposedly has the three species living happily in the same area is Raven Fork, and I believe that is actually a hatchery supported river.

Regarding fishing at Cataloochee:
I had my best luck this weekend using a #16 yellow stimulator with a #16 bh tellico dropper. My wife likes to follow me around while fishing and either take pictures or just sit and watch. She watched me long distance release at least a dozen trout and miss numerous others. The brookies were hitting so ferociously that they were coming clear out of the water. It appeared that they were striking so hard that they were actually knocking the fly away from their mouths. I don't know if this had something to do with the dropper line or not, but I have never missed as many trout in an outing as I did this past weekend.

Travis

David Knapp
06-25-2007, 01:07 PM
About catching a slam, the easiest way is to fish more than one stream. I like Little River for getting the 'bow and brown and then head over to the Chimneys for the brook. Some people might not consider this a proper slam because they want it out of the same stream and there are quite a few places to catch all three in the same section of stream (I've done it all within 50 feet of stream). However, you need to understand that each species prefers different water types. Once you fish the different types of water, you'll start catching each species more regularly. It also is just a matter of putting in your dues...kind of like catching a big brown...for most people it takes a long time with lots of effort involved.

swipper 74
06-25-2007, 05:06 PM
Don't know why Mtnman didn't mention it, but we were also up there on Saturday! We had miserable luck up there on Saturday, I kept getting many strikes but could never manage to hook into a trout. Mtnman on the other hand managed to pull two out of (I think) Palmer Creek and missed about the same amount of strikes.

We had started out on Little Cataloochee with plenty of strikes and quickly moved back to the Cataloochee/Palmer stream running directly in front of the ranger's station. Even here we saw fish but no takers. We didn't see another fisherman until we moved farther upstream to Palmer Creek just past the church. We started fishing just above the bridge and fished plenty past the little campground there before seeing our first fisherman of the day (this was around 1pm). He was walking on the trail to the right of the stream, I gave a wave and nod and kept fishing. A few seconds later, about 60 ft in front of us, this guy jumps in and starts fishing. Pretty disgusted, Mtnman and I turned around only to find someone fishing about 50 ft behind us working his way up towards us.

A that point we just left. We both were sure this part of the park was not popular and would be pretty quiet. Unfortunately both Mtnman and I both like to stay away from people and be by our lonesome while fishing so I don't know when we will return. It was my first visit to this wonderful part of the park and I can't wait to go back one day, maybe when its a little less crowded.

Just for the heck of it, here are a couple pics of Mtnman doing what he does best!!!!

http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k187/swipper74/PalmerCreekJune23007Medium.jpg

http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k187/swipper74/PalmerCreekJune23006Medium.jpg

ChemEAngler
06-25-2007, 05:18 PM
Swipper,
That is why I love Cataloochee so much, I very rarely ever see another fisherman. However, this weekend it was swamped with them. I had pretty good luck there behind the church and way up Palmer Creek past the horsecamp. But early in the morning I had some luck up near the end of the valley where the barn and house are, I believe that is called Rough Fork. Were you camping there? I know there were two groups of FF's there in camp, one right beside the bathrooms in a camper and another around campsite 15 maybe?

Travis

swipper 74
06-25-2007, 05:40 PM
Wish we had met at some point! Mtnman and I drove up on Saturday morning. We left Iredell county around 530am and arrived around 8am. Arriving at 8, we noticed the campground was posted as full. We left around 2-230pm. I bet we did see each other at some point though, we were in the Gold F150.

TomW
06-25-2007, 06:13 PM
Gerry and others,
you mentioned leap-frogging. If you were the FF that was doing the leap-frogging how far up the stream would you go before dropping back into the stream and start fishing again??
Tom

swipper 74
06-25-2007, 07:19 PM
Gerry and others,
you mentioned leap-frogging. If you were the FF that was doing the leap-frogging how far up the stream would you go before dropping back into the stream and start fishing again??
Tom

In my experience, whenever I've actually seen someone fishing, I acknowledge that they are there and go very, very far ahead. I never like to get near anyone else, but when there is no other alternative I try and get out of eye sight when possible. Also when possible, which happened on Bradley's Fork not long ago, I try to find out, by simply asking, just how far the other fisherman plans to fish ahead so as not to disturb what I consider his section of stream.

ijsouth
06-25-2007, 07:48 PM
We were up in the Smokies this weekend...I had considered Cataloochee, but decided on Straight Fork instead; I saw a few fishermen, but they were widely scattered, and there were none in the stretch we were fishing.

mtnman2888
06-25-2007, 09:15 PM
Yeah we had a pretty rough day up there on saturday. We got some strikes, but wasn't able to actually land many for some reason. Not that it was all of hte problem, but the water levels were very low and it definitely had an impact on the fishing. I haven't had a day like that in forever, not saying i'm a great fisherman or anything, but still....... A little off topic, but i actually got most of my strikes off of an ant that i used as a dropper. There was a conversation on here a little while back about that so i tried it and wouldn't you know, the "drowned ant" caused some vicious strikes.

It looks like all of the smokies got some rain today. Not enough to cause a commotion, but let's hope it's a start. Next trip i'm definitely going to have to think of going somewhere in the northern part of nc or tn where they have gotten a much more significant amount of rainfall.

Craig

ijsouth
06-25-2007, 09:28 PM
I know what you mean...I've made 2 trips up there in the last 2 weeks, and when I fished Cosby Creek a few weeks ago, I vowed not to fish it again until it gets some more water - I don't want to stress the fish.

However, it did seem that Straight Fork had a decent flow; I've only fished it twice, both in the last 2 weeks, so I can't compare the flow to other times of the year, but it seemed strong. The water temperature was definitely cooler than what is being reported on other streams - right around 61-62 degrees. I'll post some pictures tomorrow; I'm still recovering from the trip - got in about 5 this morning and had to go to work....I will say this - I got my first Smokies Slam on Saturday, so I'm happy....but, I left a lot of fish out there - I must have missed at least 20 strikes.

mtnman2888
06-25-2007, 09:40 PM
Would love to see some pictures of that beautiful stream! Fished there once for about an hour on a very cold november morning with no luck, but have been wanting to go back and try it out ever since. Alot of water and doesn't look like too many fisherman in that area. Can't wait to hear your report!

Craig

Gerry Romer
06-25-2007, 10:29 PM
Gerry and others,
you mentioned leap-frogging. If you were the FF that was doing the leap-frogging how far up the stream would you go before dropping back into the stream and start fishing again??
Tom


Tom --

That would pretty much depend on the stream you're fishing. It'd be easier to maintain proper etiquette if all streams ran in a straight line, but they don't. You just don't know whether or not there's someone fishing just around that next bend above or below you. I'm sure, at one time or another, most of us have inadvertently put in either right above or right below another fly fisher.

I guess the best answer is that there's over 700 miles of fishable streams here in the Smokies. It should be pretty easy to find a deserted stretch.:biggrin:

Gerry