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ChemEAngler 05-18-2013 10:16 PM

Smokies Report - 5/17/13
Sometime back around January Buzz McManus and I exchanged emails about doing a backcountry trip. Well, work and weather got in the way, and that trip seemed to fizzle away. Thankfully, things seemed to start looking better and we made plans for this weekend. As the date drew closer, the trip shrunk from a two night trip to just Friday night. However, we wanted to make the most of the day, so we planned to set out from the trailhead around 10AM. This would allow us to fish all afternoon and evening. Surprisingly, the online booking tool showed that Thursday was completely booked up, but Friday only had five occupants including us. So, it was with some anxiety that we began the day on Friday not knowing whether the camp had been inhabited by a party crowd that would leave it trashed, a group of boyscouts, or worse fly fishermen...:p

A quick stop at LRO to get some last minute supplies and Daniel told me about a group that had just stopped in and had some success fishing the day before. Although, I also talked with others who had poor luck and I didn't know what to expect. Additionally, the weather forecast had changed significantly, and the chance of storms had increased.

When we arrived at the trailhead, we saw a large group of guys leaving. We stopped to chat for a while and learned that they were the group from the camp and only one of them in the group had fished the day before with some success. Things were starting to look up.

The mandatory hike in photo:

Hanging out around camp, planning our fishing day.

It wasn't long before we got into the water. I can honestly say there was more fishable water in this area than I have ever seen before. Buzz working the first run as soon as we stepped into the water.

While I was putting my camera away I hear, "this is what we are here for". He had already hooked up and landed a rainbow, not 30 seconds into our fishing day. This got me excited. So I moved on up to the next little stretch, and hooked into this guy on my second cast.

I pulled this little guy from this tiny little side run that probably 90% of the fishermen would pass right over to reach the bigger water.

Five minutes later, I had this guy to hand.

Buzz and I continued to play leap frog up the river hitting every other hole and landing many fish in the process. Almost exactly one hour after landing my rainbow I completed my slam with this guy.

Amazingly, it took one hour and ten minutes to achieve my slam and all within a couple hundred yards of each other. It wasn't long afterward that we began to hear the rumble of thunder, and so we hoofed it back to camp just in case. Thankfully it passed north of us and we ate some dinner and got back on the water. About 7:00 the yellow sallies started coming off heavily, and there was a very large light cahill spinner fall. We fished until we couldn't see where we were walking and called it a day.

Around 1AM it began to rain, and continued to do so until we reached our vehicles at 11AM. As I was driving back to Knoxville, the sun popped out briefly only to quickly be overcome by rain clouds for the rest of the afternoon. All my gear is currently setup in the garage trying to dry out, but it was all worth it.

Buzz caught a lot more fish than I did, and completed a slam himself shortly after I did. Unfortunately, it was quite evident that my lack of fishing last year really hurt my presentation efficiency. However, I would consider this a tremendously successful outing regardless of how poor my presentation was. I have a video of Buzz that I will try to get on youtube and share on here later. This was also my first real overnight backcountry trip, and I think I am hooked. Can't wait to do it again!

I hope Buzz can chime in and add some of his own thoughts and photos to our excursion.

JoeFred 05-18-2013 10:22 PM

In my book you did have a tremendously successful outing. Thanks for sharing.

duckypaddler 05-19-2013 05:03 PM


Glad you made the best of the conditions. So many people would have blown off the trip with the forecast, and they would have definately have missed out on the great day you had Friday. I never think the rain is that bad as long as your hiking out and not countinuing to use wet gear. Pictures look great, and congrats on the slam:smile:

That's a pretty stretch of water, and I like the size of the water much better than where the big boys chase the big boys downstream;)

buzzmcmanus 05-19-2013 06:21 PM

My addition
My wife is in Ireland with a group of her girlfriends right now, so let me pour myself a Guinness and continue on with the post.

I don't really have a lot more to add but I will post my pictures.

I'd had some reoccurring car issues on my way to LRO and was running later than I had wanted to, so I intended to make up for lost time by hauling arse up the trail. We took our only break about 2.5 miles up the trail. There just happened to be a friendly couple there that were kind enough to take our picture.

We got camp set-up and ate lunch.

Rule #1; take a picture of the river before you start fishing. If the fishing is good, you might not stop to do it later.

Rule #2; always take a picture of the first fish you catch. It might be your only one and without it, a fishing report turns into a "walking with your fishing pole" report. Maybe this should be rule #1??

The river looked awesome.

Travis working a run.

One of my better rainbows.

This was my only brook trout. Travis caught several, but I only managed this one solitary brookie.

I also caught a brown, completing my slam, but failed to get a picture of it. At least Travis saw it and can confirm that I did have one. I don't always tell the truth when it comes to fishing.

We will be doing this again in the near future. I still owe Travis some backcountry fees, so the next trip is on me. I hope you enjoyed our little trip.

flyred06 05-19-2013 09:50 PM

totally cool. Thanks to both of you guys for posting both pics and reports. It has been a while since I slammed in the park so congrats on that also. A good trip with a friend fishing the smokies has to be what heaven will be like.:smile:

ChemEAngler 05-19-2013 10:04 PM

Good pictures Buzz, thanks for adding to the post. I sure did have a good time, and I am already making a list of other locations I would like to try. I think with the summer rush starting in a few weeks, we may have to stick with somewhere off the beaten path...

However, I am thinking about buying either an UL solo tent or hammock for these single night trips. I think my two-man tent would be great for more than one night, but that was just a bit too much weight to pack in for a single night.

By the way, here is the link to that video clip I shot of you landing one of your many bows...

Breck 05-20-2013 05:58 AM

Great pics guys. You have just motivated me to get off the tail waters and back to the mountains.

Cheme, like the BG's. Have you had good luck wearing them. I've had mine about 2 yrs. now with no problems. Have you found a quicker way to get them than mail order from overseas?


Bran 05-20-2013 09:54 AM

Great post guys!! And that water really looks good, some beautiful pics, topped off only by landing a few fish. Nice report, thanks!

Grannyknot 05-20-2013 10:24 AM

Looked like a really fun trip.
I've missed the reports from you 2 lately.

David Knapp 05-20-2013 12:45 PM

Great trip report guys! I'm super jealous! I may have to lug my backpack with me when I visit TN this summer. You guys fished what may be my favorite stretch of river in the Smokies (although aren't they all favorites... :rolleyes: ).

Travis, isn't it amazing how those brookies will sit in those little side channels and pockets? I'm always amazed at how predictable those spots are with the brookies, especially considering how they look like there wouldn't be anything in them.

Glad you guys had a great trip despite the weather...

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