View Full Version : Abrams Creek 10-27-07

10-28-2007, 10:27 AM
What were we thinking about??

I'm not sure what possessed me to even suggest this idea, but I wanted to try out Abrams Creek to see if all that I had heard about it was true. Steve (sdetoro59) did not protest too much, so off we went at 8:30am from Maryville yesterday morning heading to Cades Cove...

Ok, everyone who knows anything about Cades Cove on a Saturday in the Fall will know where this is headed...

We spent about an hour traveling the last 5 miles of Cades Cove to the Abrams Creek Trailhead. There were deerjams, bearjams, leafjams, viewjams and plain old I-think-I'm-going-to-see-something so-I-better-stop-in-the-road-and-hold-up-traffic jams. I'm not sure when I have last spent a more annoying hour in traffic (even on I-40).

Anyhow, we finally made it to the parking lot, rigged up and hit the trail. Not ever having hiked to Abrams Falls before we were not sure how far to hike before jumping in the stream, so we wound up hiking over Arbutus Ridge and down to the far end of the big horseshoe.

There were two things I had heard about that stretch of water that I was somewhat skeptical about: 1) The horseshoe takes a full day to fish and 2) the rocks in Abrams are slicker than anywhere else in the park. Here are my observations:
1) If you fish slowly, and only fish half the 'shoe, you better hike quickly on the other half or you will take longer than a full day and may have to pitch a tent. It seemed like a lot more than 1 mile.
2) The rocks are slicker there than anywhere else. The silt on the rocks below the water line is ridiculously deceptive. I fell in three times and Steve has an Abrams Creek tattoo for his efforts (He slammed his shin against a rock and has the stripped skin to show for it).
3) If you're fishing with a buddy, don't ever put your brand new, favorite fishing rod on the ground while you're landing the best fish of the day (a nice 9" rainbow) or it will most certainly get stepped on and crushed...I get to see how good the TFO warranty is. Not only did the rod get broken in 3 places, but I lost a broken section of it hiking out of the stream. I'll keep my fingers crossed that I can get a full replacement...

Now for the fishing:
Abrams was a bit lower than I had hoped but not so low that it wasn't fishable. In fact, there were a few areas that were tricky wading (due in large part to the slick rocks, but also some deep water. There are a lot of fish! But they don't always act like they do in other streams. In fact we probably only caught a dozen rainbows between us (Steve caught most of then since I didn't have a rod most of the time - I got to thinking that my wife paid him to step on my rod after all of the fishing I had been doing this year:smile:).

We caught about 50 shiners (and that may be low). I think the shiners are proof that Brown's don't exist anymore, because if they did, all of the shiners would be eaten, and there would be some monster Browns in there...

The few nice rainbows that were caught, came to hand on a #16 Yellow PA. Most of the trout that we saw were hanging out low in deep pools. They looked like they were schooling. I have no clue how many nice fish we spotted, but it was a lot. On the lower 'shoe there were no trout in the faster water, only deep in slow pools and there weren't interested in anything (dries or nymphs). The action was better on the middle of the horseshoe, where the trout were acting more predictable (in the faster water, behind rocks, etc...). We didn't fish the upper 'shoe, because we were running out of light and were in "hiking only" mode.

In general, the fishing wasn't great (it was OK) and certainly didn't warrant the effort to fish it (traffic, broken rod, slippery rocks, shiners, etc). Maybe if the water is up and the tourists are gone it would be better...

On the way out we decided to take Hyatts Lane to Rich Mtn rd (which really didn't save anytime, but avoiding the 6 miles out of the cove). On Hyatts lane we passed in between a tourist and a deer (a nice 6 point in Eastern terms). And when I say passed between, I mean we almost hit her and the deer at the same time! She couldn't have been more than 10 feet away from the deer. I decided to drive in between them and try to get the deer to jump back up in the field and away from the idiots. I think all of the people who hop out of their cars must think the Park is one big petting zoo!!

10-28-2007, 12:17 PM
Tough day!

We need to plan on going back in the spring. It can be a beautiful place and the fish can be plentiful. My best day on a spinning rig was at Abrams - fished downstream through the horseshoe wearing tennis shoes and not having the slightest idea what I was doing but catching 14 small trout. Fun day! My brother-in-law later told me that I had done everything wrong. Oh, well.

I remember seeing the biggest rainbow I've ever seen in the park on the lower end of the shoe patrolling a stretch of river - never could interest him in that rooster tail. You do have to move fast, particularly in short days or dusk can catch you.

Take heart, better days ahead.

10-28-2007, 10:26 PM
PeteCz, Tough day on Abrams, but great report. I lost a section of my Sage rod. I would have been covered if it had been crushed. I had to pay for the lost section. Sure hope you have better luck with TFO.

10-29-2007, 08:21 AM

This is my first post. I read your report and I had to respond. You did the upper and I did the lower. Sunday I was thinking about going up there to the upper but I knew it would be a challenge with the visitors. I do have a question though. What time does the gate open on Saturday and Sunday mornings? I canít seem to find the time on the Smokey Mountain website.

A friend and I were planning to fish lower Abrams on Saturday (at the campground and up). My friend wasn't feeling well so I went myself.

I got to the Ranger station at 8:30 and slapped the water there for about 45 min. Nothing. I moved up past the campground and started fising. I caught a few shiners. As I moved up there were some great trout runs with no trout in them. I didn't see any in the deep pools as well. I bet I caught about 100 shiners (in fact I think I am going to start fishing for them because It seems I am better catching them than trout). LOL.

I bet I fished about 1-1/2 miles of stream from the campground. No trout. Now to the streamís defense I am not the best at presentation. The water was low and clear. However, I did not see any trout fleeing from me.

Has anyone else fished this area lately? Did you do any better?


10-29-2007, 09:50 AM
ML, The section around the Abrams Creek campground looks like it would be great, and even had a few mentions in Don Kirk's Book, but I have not run into many (any?) people who have caught Trout in that section. Its a good smallmouth stream, and that's about it. I spent many trips 5-10 without a fish before giving up, thinking I was never going to figure out how to catch trout (And the biggest problem was that there weren't many trout to be caught in that section!)

When you cross the ridge over to the Little Bottoms section of Abrams you will find Trout at certain times of the year. There are folks who have caught some pretty large fish in March/April, (running up from the lake) but very few at other times. The water warms too much to support good trout habitat in the Summer and parts of the fall.

Consistent Trout fishing in Abrams starts in the section between Little Bottoms and the Falls (known as the Gorge, I believe). And the sections starting at the Falls and fishing up into the cove are some of the best (if the fish are agreeable).

Monk, I'm afraid I will have to pay for the section, as well...

Charlie, it was a tough day. I wish I had stayed over on the WPLP. Every time I go somewhere else, I wish I was over there! That being said, I would like to give it a try in the Spring...

10-29-2007, 10:11 AM
Thanks for the info. I'll try where you suggested.

I have caught trout there before. Like you said not many but it is possible. I think I was there in the dead of winter though. I remember hooking into one that started stripping line off my reel but he got off. Maybe I'll get back there this winter.

What time does that gate open on the weekends? I want to be the first in line. I have been up there before. If I remember correctly I put on my 4 ways and I seemed to get through the people quicker. There were a few that would not let me pass.

10-29-2007, 11:26 AM
This is from the NPS website:

Cades Cove Loop Road
Open all year from sunrise until sunset. This road will be closed to motor vehicles on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10:00 a.m. from May 9 through September 26, 2007 to allow bicyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the cove.