View Full Version : 24 Hours

08-07-2007, 07:19 PM
We have been coming up to the Smokies quite often this year; I thought about it, and I figure that every trip we make up to the mountains contributes at least $300 to the economies of Townsend or Maggie Valley (depending on what side of the mountains we stay), not to mention money spent on gas in the towns between home and the Smokies. Since we feel like semi-locals now, I've decided to go ahead and look for some land - to camp on for starters, and eventually to build on; I have to think about retirement, too - someday. Anyway, I had a few leads on some properties, and I wanted to look at them before pursuing anything further. So, my oldest daughter and I left early Saturday morning, on a drive that has become very familiar to us. We got there early in the afternoon and tried to find the first property on the list; I emphasize try, because the directions I had from the realtor weren't the greatest...to make a long story short, I ended up on a goat trail where I almost got stuck, then when I turned around in the driveway of the only place where I could turn around, I was informed by the owner that I was tearing up her road, and that she "just had it fixed"...I would hate to think what it looked like before it was "fixed" - anyway, I didn't hang around long enough for her to get her 12 gauge.

I eventually found the property, and I moved on to the Cosby area, where there were more properties that I wanted to see. After that, we drove into the park and checked out Cosby; I had wanted to see what the recent rains had done for the health of the stream...as many others have reported, it certainly looked (and fished) a lot better. I caught 4, and my daughter got one beautiful brookie:


She also has an eye for photography - she took this shot, with me, oblivious to her, in the background:


The next day, we drove the Chimney Top trailhead; unfortunately, no pictures - the batteries ran out. The plan was to hike all the way to where Road Prong Trail splits with the Chimneys Trail, but we were a bit short on time, so we started fishing at the third stream crossing. It sure is a beautiful stream, but it was a bit unusual to "perform" in front of an audience...it was also interesting watching people scramble up that trail in flip-flops. I picked up a couple more brookies, and my daughter caught a little bow. The stream was nice and cool - about 61 degrees.

We later moved down the road a bit, and fished the West Prong itself. I picked up another little bow, almost had another to hand, and a very tiny brookie. The action wasn't exactly sizzling, but hey, it is August. Around here, the freshwater action is totally dead, and the saltwater is great, if you can avoid the wind and thunderstorms. I keep meaning to post a good saltwater trip thread, but the trout have been keeping me occupied this summer ;)...I promise, we'll be heading out to the marsh soon.

08-07-2007, 10:06 PM
Know exactly what you mean about wanting to call this place home. We moved here from Louisville 14 years ago and have no interest in going back. These mountains get a hold of you and you're done for!

08-07-2007, 10:37 PM
Great report and pics ijsouth. I think it's great that you get to enjoy flyfishing in the Smokies with your daughters. That is a nice brookie, I caught my first brookie under a bridge at Elkmount when I was 12-13. That was when they were still stocking a few in that area so it wasn't a native. I will be moving to the Jefferson City area in the middle of Sept. I am anxious to explore the area further, I have always had to drive at least 6-7 and up to 10 hours to get there, so it will be nice to be able to do day trips and long weekends without a long drive. I wish you luck on your on your land search.


08-08-2007, 12:19 AM
Thanks...I'm still working a few leads. I like to drive, but even I find it a bit much, particularly like last weekend, when I had to turn right around and drive back.

The one constant thread to all our trips this summer has been catching brookies in places where I wasn't quite expecting them. Now, Cosby is a brookie stream, at least from the campground on up, but I've caught them in the same areas where we were catching bows and browns on other streams, Straight Fork in particular, where I was fortunate to get a slam in about 4 hours of fishing one stretch of it. I know that my experiences hardly take the place of scientific study, but perhaps it is an encouraging sign - that the brookies are starting to adapt and cope better with the other species.

08-08-2007, 11:54 AM
well, I don't want to rain on anyone's parade but when I caught a brookie as low as Cambell's overlook on West Prong of Little P I also thought it was a good sign. According to Matt Kulp the fisheries biologist, when I asked him about it he said it isn't necessarily a positive thing. He said some get washed down by floods, but obviously that's not the case this year. No, his theory is that with increased acid rain and pollution up high they don't have anywhere to go but down. It is kind of like survival at all cost. We all know that down means higher temps. I guess when it comes to low ph they have no choice but going down. Hope this doesn't sound negative but this comes from a biologist.

08-08-2007, 12:09 PM
Well, that would certainly explain it, and it is something I should have thought of, particularly in that watershed. I know that 441 was cut through an Anakeesta formation, and that as a result a couple of the feeder streams, Walker Camp in particular, have very acidic waters - in fact, in some cases, the trout cannot spawn in them.

I wonder how much a ph meter would cost - I know a number of years ago, bass fishermen were using meters to eliminate unproductive water, but that sort of meter ran on the battery system of a boat. I wonder if there's something (beyond the ph strips you can get), that you could use to check the ph. I used the strips years ago in high school, for a science fair project on acid rain.

Of course, we saw/caught plenty of brookies further up that day, on Road Prong, and my daughter also caught a bow in the same stretch - the water was certainly cold in both places.

08-08-2007, 03:12 PM
It depends like anything else on what you're willing to spend but they're out there. In my business we use a few variations. Lab safety supply has a number of portable units and you can get a good one for about $300 or a
"cheapie" for probably a third of that.
How long does it take you guys to drive up every weekend?

08-08-2007, 03:35 PM
About 8-9 hours, depending on how often we stop and what area we are fishing...it isn't too bad.

08-10-2007, 02:23 PM
Ijsouth, you can buy pH paper that can read down to +/-.25 units. You simply tear a piece of paper and dip it in the water. The paper will turn color and you compare the color of the paper with the chart and it will tell you the pH. You can get pH paper for $10 to $25 depending on how many rolls and what range you want. The pH meter route requires batteries plus you must keep the electrode immersed in distilled water while not in use or the electrode will go bad in a short time. You must also have buffer solutions to calibrate the pH meter or you can be off up to .5 pH units.
( If what follows is known by you I apologize, I just thought I would give a simple explanation of pH) In regards to pH the pH scale goes from 0 to 14 with 0 being very acidic like hydrochloric acid and 14 being very basic like strong sodium hydroxide. The pH of water will typically run in the 6 to 8 range, I believe. The range for acidic versus normal is something I can't speak too. There are people on the board who I am sure can give you ranges to look for.

You can google pH paper or go to the website of Fisher Scientific to see what types of pH paper you can buy.

Jack M.
08-10-2007, 03:17 PM
Buy some inexpensive pH test strip here: http://www.ph-ion.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=205

Adult Brook Trout have a tolerance for pH readings from 4.5 - 9.5, but the optimal pH for brookies in between 6-8. A pH of 7 is considered "neutral." I sort of remember this is the PH of distilled water.

Most aquatic bugs are more pH sensitive than brook trout. So when that pH gets below 6, you are likely to see less bug life. Another thing to consider is that heavy metals which can harm both fish and macroinvertebrates are increasing soluable in lower pH and so acidic water presents an additional danger because of this.

08-10-2007, 08:33 PM
Thanks y'all...I guess the strips will do the trick. I am curious as to what I might find, ph-wise...it could be another tool, along with my thermometer.

08-10-2007, 09:03 PM
if you want something cheap and simple(with my brain this is important) try a ph test kit from any well supplied pet store. saltwater fish are very ph sensitive and these kits seem to work pretty good

08-10-2007, 09:21 PM
Thanks for the tip...I'll try it.