View Full Version : Continuing drought

Gerry Romer
10-17-2007, 04:54 PM
I had hoped to get this post up earlier, but I've had some issues with my laptop - don't get me started!

Anyway... this past Sunday morning, I decided to take my camera and my gear and see if I could fish some of my favorite spots while heading over to the West Prong of the Little Pigeon. It was not fun. I spent more time taking pictures than I spent fishing. What follows is not pretty. It also doesn't impart the full effect of what's going on.

I started out with a visit to Metcalf Bottoms. In this first shot I was standing in the middle of the river right where I hooked up with a large bow earlier this summer. He made a run right at me and before I could get him under control, he veered right and broke off! Today, in order to veer right he'd have to be wearing some very sturdy hiking boots. The bridge over the LR is in the center of the pic with the picnic area to the right and the Wear's Cove park entrance road to the left.


Here's a shot of the river at the lower end of Metcalf Bottoms. You can tell by the tree roots approximately where the water level should be.


Another shot of what's left of the river below Metcalf Bottoms.


I then went over to one of my favorite spots below Metcalf. This is the spot where I caught my first tube of the season on my way to my first "Smoky Mountain Visitor's Slam". Well... what's left of it anyway.


Headed over toward Elkmont and stopped to take a pic of Brett's favorite honey hole.


The last time we fished this particular hole, we stood up on the road looking down into a side eddy at a monster brown drifting in and out of a feeding lane. The eddy is gone and so is the brown.

Decided to head over to the Chimneys picnic area and see if I could fish over there somewhere. Drove thru the picnic area and saw a bunch of picnickers and a bunch of kids looking for water to throw rocks into. Parked at the bridge, geared up and had to bushwhack my way about a half mile downstream before I could find a spot where there were no kids throwing rocks at rocks. Caught two little bows in what used to be a plunge pool. They weren't even big enough to take a picture. Then I nearly broke both ankles trying to boulder-hop my way back up and out. Stupid me... I had my new felt soles with cleats in my Korkers and it was like trying to ice skate on granite! Anyway, here's a view from below the bridge going downstream and one looking back up at the bridge.



All in all, a somewhat depressing trip.

Here are a couple links y'all might find interesting. The first is to a story that ran Sunday in the local paper, The Daily Times, and the second is to a story that ran on the NBC Nightly News the other day.



Back to the tailwaters for a while.

Gerry Romer

10-17-2007, 05:04 PM
Does anyone know how the water conditions are on the nc side? I have heard that they are a little better but i don't know if it's worth the 3 hour drive to go fishing. Thanks


David Knapp
10-17-2007, 05:14 PM
Rain is on the way!!! (supposedly that is...) It is looking like we might actually get a fairly significant rain event over the next couple of days and then again early next week. I'm just hoping that it doesn't happen all at once...

10-17-2007, 07:03 PM
November will be my first trip to TN and I was really looking forward to trout fishing, but those pics have me scared. I hope you get the rain forcasted. Thanks for taking the time to take pics and share them.

10-17-2007, 09:29 PM
Thanks for the pictures Gerry. Now I can really see the damage. The Little River is to me one of the most special places I've ever had the pleasure to see let alone fish. I don't know whether to cry or spit; either way I would rather it would land in the river. I was hoping to camp and fish in dec. ...
I really feel sorry for those of you that have watched your home rivers turn to stone. Being a visitor to the Smokies, I've met other people fishing or just staring at the river that came every year and from goodly distance, to hang around what to them has become a good friend. For years I've gone to the same spot in Elkmont and fished the tail of small pool while sitting on a mid-steam boulder to keep cast and profile low. That rock is probably high and dry now. I wish there was something I could do. I'll keep praying.

10-17-2007, 09:53 PM
Very depressing...Metcalf looks the same as it did the last time I was up, in late August. To answer one of the questions above - yes, the N.C. side, in places, has done a little better. Of all the major watersheds, Little River has definitely faired the worst. It will be good to see a bit of rain the next few days, especially since we're headed up this weekend. However, what the mountains really need is a shift in the pattern - long-term relief from the drought. Right now, the winter forecast looks iffy at best; most of the South will have below-average precipitation, particularly to the south and east of the Smokies. However, the Tennessee Valley is slated to get above-average precipitation this winter. The mountains are in the middle, with an equal chance of below or above average rainfall. If we don't get the rain this winter, we will have to hope for a wet spring and summer.

10-17-2007, 10:23 PM
That looks extreme. I wonder if those monster browns are even still in there?

Rog 1
10-18-2007, 10:08 AM
I know of one such fish that has made it upstream above Elkmont Campground...now go find him.

10-19-2007, 08:21 PM
I know of one such fish that has made it upstream above Elkmont Campground...now go find him.

Be back Sunday fellas.