Advice - campground & fishing alone
Hello all. Well, I'm planning on heading down next Thursday night and fishign Friday and Saturday morning before heading home. I was planning on staying in Elkmont Campground. I just have a tent and can't stand RV campgrounds where everyone is on top of each other. Any thoughts on Elkmont or other campgrounds?
Also, what is everyone's thoughts on fishing alone in the Smokies? I figured I would plan on sticking close to roads and trails. Figure I would be fine, but just wondered what the consensus was.
See you on the water!
Foxhollow--If crowds bother you, I'm not sure you'll be real happy in any of the frontcountry (drive to) campgrounds in the Park. However, since I've never been one for anything other than backcountry camping, I'm not really the ideal source.
As for fishing alone, that's what I do 90 percent of the time. I don't really think much about proximity to roads but when getting into the backcountry I do leave an itinerary of precisely where I plan to be. Except for truly remote regions off trail, I don't know that there is anywhere in the Park I'd give a second thought to venturing on my own.
Of course I don't know your level of fitness, your woodscraft skills, and the like. But I certainly don't think you need to worry about fishing alone. Indeed, to me fly fishing is essentially a one-man sport.
Can't really comment on Elkmont. My wife and I camped there about 15 years ago and it was OK. Like most any NP campground but nice enough.
As for fishing alone, I do it most of the time I'm in the Smokys (3-4 time a year unfortunately). Sometimes I'm with my son.
Unless you're going waaay back, the risk is minimal. Getting lost on the stream is not a big risk. Follow it downstream and sooner or later you'll run into your car or another road (at least with most of the streams in the Little River and WPLP watershed). Can't speak about the NC side and I think some of them do end up in a lake somewhere.
I think the worst risk is getting hurt and how long it would take to find you. When I'm there by myself, I do one of two things. I either call my wife back home and let her know what stream I'm going to be fishing (sometimes an email) or I write a note about where I'm going to be and put it under the windshield wiper on my car. I know that increases the risk of someone breaking in, but I rarely have anything of value in my car and what is there is insured. If I were really back up some creek with a broken leg or worse, at least the rangers would have a good idea where to start looking when they found my car.
Fox, you'll find most of the people on this forum fish alone more often than not. It's already been said, but just make sure people know where you are gonna be and when you'll be back. That's super important and could easily save your life.
Also, when I'm fishing alone, I try to be a bit more careful in general. If a crossing looks risky, move up or down stream to where it looks safe. If a rock looks extra slick, it probably is. That kinda thing. Use your brain. Carry food, water, and some emergency supplies (good knife, fire starting equipment, whisky, etc.).
Is backcountry camping an option? If it is, I would highly recommend it over camping at Elkmont. It is only marginally better than RV camping. The campsites are very close together, and the whole area is a fog of campfire smoke. #24 and #18 are easy to get to and sit on some good water.
Stayed in Elkmont three nights earlier this month during the week, it was very nice. The little river was having a great hatch in the evening but I couldn't get the fish to bite, spotlight joined me and was successful. The campground is very clean, and the people were really nice. No showers though.
I hiked up to fish camp prong one day due to the high water and caught fish. Not a bad hike even though I'm out of shape.
Things I thought of to make sure I was safe:
-water filter, didn't want to pack water up the trail for added weight.
-GPS, just in case I got off track.
-very small, compact first aid kit
-small amounts of high calorie food such as trail mix, granola bars.
Elkmont doesn't have cell service but I told my wife exactly what day I was going to hike and were I was hiking too.
It's only been a couple of weeks and I'm ready to go back. Any time spent in the park is a good time.
Elkmont is a fairly crowded campsite. If you have gear with you for backcountry, you should park at Elkmont (at the end of the road) and hike in. I've been up to #24 twice now and that trail is a converted railroad grade and is a super easy hike. Some sites (#24 included) require reservations so make sure you reserve a spot.
If you do frontcountry camp, it's pretty easy to get away from the crowds. Take "shanks mare" as Mr. Casada says and just walk a couple of miles in. It amazes me that folks fish right on top of each other when 15 minutes of easy walking would put them in water that's much less crowded and overfished.
I do have backcountry camping gear, although I haven't backpacked for 5-6 years. I wanted to fish a few streams, which is the main reason I wanted to camp in the front country. Plus, I didn't want to find all my crap, plan all my meals (front country = eating in Townsend!).
Thanks for all the info, guys. I'm going to have to plan a back country trip later this summer.
Jim, I would agree....fly fishing is a one man sport. But who doesn't love outfishign your buddy and rubbing it in a little. Good BSing with a buddy can make a trip!
Foxhollow....You have chosen the best of all worlds...Go for Elkmont...in my humble opinion the best campground in the park....check the reservation service before you go to see what is available....I would walk up the LR trail one morning and fish anywhere above the huskey creek falls...where it goes under the trail....afternoons I would come back and fish some of the bigger water down low for the evening hatch....second day I would ride over to the WPLP....park at the Huskey Gap trail head and walk down to the river....either downstream or upstream is large plunge pool fishing....
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