3/16-3/22 a week in the forney watershed
Just got back from my spring break trip to the smokies. My cousin Matt and his roommate will came up from the citadel for their first smokies trip. I paid our backcountry tax and got the whole week planned out, but the weather changes caused us to bend the rules a little bit and do things a little differently. We hiked in on Saturday to 74 and set up our camp. It's not. The nicest site, but it wasn't super trashed out.
We immediately got to fishing
The fishing in the big water was a little slow, but we had a good quill Gordon hatch a little before dark and I managed two 9"+ fish one on the dry and one on a wet fly. I lost several more. Will caught a small rainbow.
When we were getting ready for dinner, the forest came alive and there were big toads everywhere
The next day, we made our way up to bear creek and campsite 75. At the first footbridge, we decided to take a break and try the stream.
I caught this guy pretty quickly.
Will caught a small Brookie under the bridge.
Once we got camp setup, I took Matt out on the stream to help him get the hang of smokies fishing.
After not too long, he had his first smokies trout....
This was about typical of the stream
We got a weather report that next morning and decided that it would not be a good idea to stick with our original plan and decided to change it up. We were going to head over the ridge to hazel and cs 82, but with thunderstorms and heavy rain we decided to go straight to cs 70 instead.
That morning, we went to setup the camp stove and realized we were missing a piece. The only way we could cook was with a campfire, which was worrisome considering the weather forecast. Fortunately for us, some lazy horse campers trash saved us....
We used a spare 5x7 Walmart backpacking tarp to collect and pack out a good sized pile of small sticks
We packed up and headed down the trail. Before we reached cs 71, the storm hit us hard. The lightning was close enough that we took cover for about a half hour in a rhododendron ****. We pulled a full sized 12x12 tarp over us and hoped to stay as dry as possible but we got soaked and were pretty cold by the time started hiking again. Reaching cs70 was a huge relief.
We got a tarp set up and some dry clothes on and just sat and watched the rain until dark. Using the tin cans I packed out of 75 left by the horse campers and our bundle of dry sticks, I fashioned a crude twig stove like I have seen on smoke of the ultralight backpacking sites. It worked like a charm and we had a hot dinner
The next day, the weather was good and the guys were ready for some combat fishing
We all went our separate ways and I went up above 70. Unfortunately, I left my camera at camp and wasn't about to go back and get it by the time I realized this. At first it was really slow. Mostly small rainbows. About 4, I picked up a 6 inch brown on a tan never sink. Later on I got a good 8 inch rainbow which I kept for dinner. I was catching a lot of small bows but when I got closer to the crossing below 69 a large fish hit my dry. When I was pulling him in, he broke the surface and I saw the unmistakable dark body and orange underbelly of a Brookie. He got off with a quick shake. I was not going to have a another slam with an * so I swapped out my dropper with a pink weenie. A couple of casts later, I had a 9" Brookie to add to my dinner and a slam in the bag! I went back below 70 and keep fishing until dark. By the time I stopped, I had a limit and was pretty happy with that. The other guys had only had smaller fish so the 5 fish were what we had for dinner with a big pot of white rice.
The following day we fished around 70 again, but it was much colder and we tried to stay dry. Matt managed 3 keepers and I got 1.
I didn't have good enough signal to look up the weather but was able to get updates from duckypaddler via text message. We were in for a colder night and and worse weather on the way.
Sure enough the next day it was so cold there wasn't any action by the fish. We sat around a fire and relaxed most of the day.
That night right after dinner. Matt remarked that it was warmer than last night at this time and maybe it wouldn't be as bad. About as soon as he said that....
The snow quickly turned to light rain which in turn, turned to sleet. Fortunately it wasn't as bad as it could have been.
The next day we had a light covering around most of the camp.
It didn't hang around too long
With nothing much else to do that day, I climbed to the high spot above 70 between Jonas and forney creeks.
We got another weather advisory from ducky that it would get bad Friday night so rather that hike over to Nolan's creek, we stayed out and decided to hike out on Friday, rather than stay until Saturday.
We packed up as much of the trash as we could which included a big tarp, half burnt, 10 tin cans, some fiberglass tent poles someone had tried to burn, and a pair of shoes...
So if you want to visit 70, now is the time because its pretty trash free for now.
There was a fold up chair across the river that we couldn't get to... The things people ditch in the woods...
We hiked out to the car, and it was pretty uneventful. We were all happy when we reached the tunnel
A chocolate bar and big dr pepper later, I was ready to go back already...
All in all a good trip. My cousin has gotten bit by the smokies trout fishing bug and is already talking about going again this summer. It was a great week, even though the weather put a halt to excellent fishing. And everyone managed to catch some which is always a plus.
Special thanks to duckypaddler for keeping me up to date on the impending and constantly changing weather situation.
You mean to tell us that the fee you paid for the backcountry upkeep didnt seem to work out too well?
Great trip glad yall had a good time. Just a tad too cold for me right now.
Thanks for posting a great report. Sorry you didn't get my last update until you hiked out. It seemed like they were changing the forecast every 5 hours or so.:frown: Glad you guys had fun.:smile:
Those boys from the Citadel must have much bigger wrists than you.:rolleyes:
Glad you stayed warm for the most part.
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