01-13-13: Elk, some bats, and a Slam*
So from my post title, you might have guessed that my second trip to the smokies in 2013 was to Cataloochie. Cataloochie is definitely one of my favorite smokies destinations.
I was really excited about getting back to the park after the day I had on Sam's on Saturday. When I got there, the air was cooler than the day before, but the water felt warmer.
When I reached Cataloochie, it was way more empty than I was expecting, but I wasn't about to complain about that.
Some the herd were standing by the road
Or just walking out in front of cars
So when I finally got to the Pretty Hollow Trail, it was about 1:45pm. I hiked in past the horse camp and fished a couple of deep holes. I managed to see a couple of rainbows smash my dry and a couple of soft takes on the dropper, but no fish to hand.
A little ways up, I was standing in the edge of the stream, casting out to a deep hole and I noticed something fluttering above the water. At first I thought it was a large moth or bird, but quickly realized it was a bat! It was scooping up insects above the water and occasionally drinking from the stream. Every so often he fly up into the trees hunting and then come back. After he circled my legs twice, I headed up stream, wanting nothing to do with a wayward daytime hunting bat. A little ways up I hooked into my first fish. He was a good sized one, about 7-8", and when I got him to shore and on to the bank, he flipped, and threw my fly and splashed back into the water. I did get a good enough look at him to see that he was a brown. I had got him on the bank, but didn't actually touch him so thus the 'slam with a *'.
A few minutes later I picked up a small rainbow, about 5". I didn't think this would be only bow of the day, or else I would have taken his picture. When I caught this brookie, I switched my dropper back to the pink weenie
From that point on the fishing improved, but for some reason I feel the fish in Cataloochie are more adept at throwing a fly than in other parts of the park. It's probably just me, but everytime I fish in this area, I feel like I lose more fish than I do in other parts of the park.
So about 4:45 I decided it was time to head back. I was way below the Palmer creek trail and so I broke down my 8 piece rod, which fit nicely in my creel and started up the steep slope. This rod made it well worth it. Having both hands free when climbing up such a steep leaf covered slope made it possible to get up when I dont think I would have if I had been carrying a rod.
Sunday was kinda of a reverse of Saturday in some days. I had more than 30 fish on, and only brought about 10 to hand. Like I said, those Cataloochie fish are slippery!
On my hike back down the pretty hollow trail, I encountered more bats! These were hunting on the trail itself and flying right towards my face. I would wave my hat at them and they would turn and fly the other way before coming right back. A couple of times, they didn't make the turn until they were less than a foot from my face! :eek:
When I got away from that area, I saw some flying in the trees above
I got back to the car with a little of light left and drove out. When I got out to the fields, I saw three male elk in the middle of the road by a pickup.
When drove up closer, they walked up to me,
and i thought this guy was gonna try to hitch a ride with me!
These two were play fighting with their antlers
Awesome second Smokies trip for 2013!!!
Really cool elk encounter. I love Cataloochie and I was wondering while I was getting skunked how it would fish. Looks like it fished just fine!
i haven't been over there in years. the elk are beautiful i have not seen them live yet. very interesting post and great pics. did you encounter many of the bats? seeing lots of post about them today.
I saw a total of about 10-12: 2 around 2 pm and the rest around dusk
Nice stuff Nathan. Looks like you made the best of the weekend. Looks like the fishing opportunities are more limited today:eek: Maybe a raft anchor could get your line to the bottom.
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