View Full Version : very tough conditions in the park

07-07-2007, 08:41 PM
Went to upper Lynn Camp above Panther this afternoon. The conditions are miserable to say the least. Water temp are okay, mid sixties but there are no water. I'm not going to fish the park until we got some good rain. The stress on the fish is not worth it. I did catch about 4 bows and lost a pretty good one but it is just not enjoyable under this conditions. I noticed a sprinkling of rain on the hike back down but it quit as soon as it began. We all need to do a rain dance.

07-07-2007, 09:48 PM
The only place in the park I've been thinking about is Abram's. The temp may be a little high, but if you got there early, you could probably fish until 1100 or so. I want to go back to the SoHo...

07-07-2007, 09:55 PM
I say you got other things on your mind right now. Yellowstone anyone? http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/images/icons/icon7.gif

It's funny that when I was in Finland they had low water also and the temp at one river was pushing 68, They had a heat wave the week before I got there with temps in the high 80's. Remember this is in Finland at more than 60 degrees north latitude. Kevin, did you float South Holston? or did you wade. I just hate to drive all the way up there due to the limited access for us non boaters.

Anyway, I hope you have a good trip out west and think of us in the drought.

07-07-2007, 10:14 PM
The park did get some rain today, but it was definitely scattered, per the radar. Most of the rain was just to the south...same old story.

We're headed up there next week, fishing mostly the N.C. side of the park. The last time we were up there a few weeks ago, there seemed to be a lot more water on that side of the park, and the temps were good. We passed by Little River a number of times last month, and it sure is low. For some reason, the Tennessee side just doesn't get as much rain, and it shows. My favorite stream is Cosby, and it was much the same story as what you saw at Lynn Camp today - the water temps are fine, but it is way too low; I won't fish that stream until probably next Spring.

If the streams in N.C. are hurting, we'll move north to Virginia - they've been getting rain.

07-07-2007, 10:20 PM
I hope you will have a good one, I know from the past that it seems like the eastern foothills always get more rain than we do here in TN. I guess it has something to do with the wind patterns, I don't know. I remember from the last drought a handful of years back, that NC always had more precipitation.

07-07-2007, 11:18 PM
It's definitely something with the prevailing winds...they must be southeast - otherwise, you would think the Tennessee side would get more; a good southwest flow would pump a lot of gulf moisture over the mountains. I've often wondered how much rain we would get if we were a mountainous area down here. As it is, we average over 60 inches a year, and we've had a few with over 100. If we had mountains facing the gulf, I'd bet they would get over 400 inches a year.

The rain situation has been very frustrating for those of us who love the park. Areas to the north have received a fair amount of rain, and it looks like the drought is breaking to the south. Today, the instability that had been over us for the last few days moved northeast into Alabama, and they had some severe weather, including a few tornado warnings. It crept up to within a few miles south of the park, but the big rain shield never quite made it that far north. So, the park had a few showers, and they tended to be rather stationary, so it was feast or famine. The Straight Fork area, for example, looked like it got quite a bit of rain, at least an inch. Cosby got some rain, too. The Little River basin, meanwhile, got a few sprinkles, but not much else. On one of our trips last month, we briefly fished Tremont one evening. Well up into the gravel, and at about 8:30 at night, the temp was 68, which didn't bode well. Meanwhile, Straight Fork on the N.C. side seemed to have a nice flow, and the temps were around 61; that stream seems like it could carry a lot of water during flooding conditions - deadfalls were everywhere in the upper sections.

What the park needs is a weak tropical system to dump about 3-4 inches of widespread rain on it; the fear is, it won't be weak (which means someone on the coast will go through what we did with Katrina), and its remnants will dump too much rain on the Smokies, scouring the streams.

Sooner or later, things will even out.

07-07-2007, 11:54 PM
We waded when we went up there, and I felt like we had plenty of options. It was my only time, but it was fun!!!

07-08-2007, 07:12 AM
I think that the nc side of the park has gotten a little more rain, but not really enough to make a difference. The water on this side is still very low and is making the fishing difficult.

The northern parts of nc and tn seem to be faring much better so maybe that is an option. There aren't as many streams to fish but there are some and that is where i will most likelly be concentrating my efforts until the situation gets a little better in the smokies and surrounding areas.


07-08-2007, 02:33 PM

Check out Hugh Hartsell's reports at the following link:
The July 7 and June 30 entries are all about fishing the South Holston and it appears they are strictly wading.

Happy fishing!

07-08-2007, 04:24 PM
Thank you I haven't been to his site in a long while. I might just have to get up there soon. thanks again.

07-08-2007, 04:26 PM
I guess the decision everyone has to make in their own minds is, at what point should you give up trying to fish a particular stream or area until conditions improve. I've already made that decision with my favorite stream, Cosby; unless conditions are dramatically better than they were the last time I saw it about 4 weeks ago, I probably won't fish it until next year (given the distance and opportunities I'll have to fish in the Smokies once the kids are back in school). Other streams, particularly on the Tennessee side, probably also fall under that same category - don't add to the stress level of the fish. On the other hand, there are still plenty of places to fish in the park - you just might have to drive a little farther, or hike a little more to get to them, and once you're there, accept the fact that the fishing will be more difficult. Part of the fun is the challenge, and as long as the fish are in no danger, why not fish?

The tailwaters really aren't an option for me - with three young children, such big water just isn't safe for them. Plus, I just like fishing in a completely "natural" setting. Of course, after this next Smokies trip, we'll probably get into the saltwater fishing again - I just have to find time to get some work done on my boat.

07-08-2007, 04:58 PM
Craig, how's the rainfall been in the SW corner of North Carolina near the NW S. Carolina border?

07-08-2007, 08:15 PM
They are not in any better situation than the park, in fact it may be worse. It seems that the further north you go, the better off the situation is. Things are looking good though, weather.com says there is at least a 30% chance of rain every day this week, so that's a start.


07-08-2007, 08:22 PM
hey, good job on running 100 miles.

07-08-2007, 08:24 PM
things are tough up north also. Here in my neck of Ohio, we have several rivers that typically run 4ft with pocket of 8-10 ft and currently they are almost dry except for small pockets.....many of the personal ponds are drying up also......man do we need some rain....and for long periods....


07-08-2007, 08:39 PM
Try Shenandoah National Park area. I was there two weeks ago and caught a lot of brookies on the small streams. Water levels seemed to be good, we had a lot of rain there during that week. The "trails" to the streams are all straight up or straight down the mountain so be prepared to hoof it. Also beware of the little man who pulls the top of the mountains "higher" as you hike out at the end of the day.< 1 mile downhill= 10 miles uphill at the end of the day>

The feeder streams to the smallmouth streams here were full of scum with very little, if any flow.

My neighbor has been having trouble getting his pontoon party boat out as the level of water on Lake Carnico northeast of Lexington, is lower than it was
last August. I'm heading to Wyoming and the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone-Beartooth Mountains area in Mid- August, so I'm sitting in the AC tying PMD's and hoppers.

07-08-2007, 09:29 PM
SNP is a great place...it is where I got started on "trout madness". I might end up there before the summer is out; the only problem is, it's a bit of a drive for me - the Smokies are a lot closer, and there's more variety in the streams there.

SNP's brookies tend to run a little bigger - northern strain, for the most part, although some of the streams on the East side have some southern strain in them. You're absolutely right about the hikes in and out - everything is pretty much straight up and down.

07-08-2007, 09:37 PM
Mtnman is right about the NC area near the SC border. Both times I have fished with him the water was the lowest I have ever seen in my 5 years or fky-fishing. On top of that I had to try and keep up hiking with a great runner like Craig. Maybe Nike would give me a certificate for running from home plate to third base on a softball field, thats my equivalent of a mile. Hopefully rain is on the way and we can all be in the river soon catching fish without risking killing them.


07-09-2007, 05:22 AM
Thanks guys, i'm training for a half marathon in october so i still have a ways to go but i'm pretty proud of 100 miles in a little over a month.

Anyways, yeah the water has been very low and we are in dire need of it. Check out the usgs website and you can look at the water levels in whatever state you want. Alot of these rivers are approaching all time record lows for this time of year, if they haven't been there already.


07-10-2007, 08:02 PM
Thanks Craig. I was hoping to make a trip to fish the gorges in SC but will postpone until the Fall.

07-10-2007, 08:48 PM
I have been wanting to fish that area as well, the little bit of information i have on there area seems very enticing!

Looks like the area has gotten some rain over the past two days, although not enough to really put a dent in the problem. I'm not complaining though, anything will help.


07-11-2007, 12:15 AM
I was watching the radar all day today; while just about every area got at least some rain, the park just missed out on getting a real good soaking. It looks like there's a better chance tomorrow. Again, I wish we could send our daily thunderstorms up that way - we're getting rain just about every day, but that's typical for here.