I had a wonderful weekend and got to spend both weekend days in my favorite playground. On Saturday I was lucky enough to get to paddle the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon (Greenbrier) after some strong isolated storms fell on the Greenbrier and Big Creek watersheds. Water level was reported to be 2.0 feet at 7:30 that morning. I was thrilled to still see it at 1.9 at 12:30. Since my paddling buddy had a shoulder issue we decided to paddle my double boat down for the first time. We also met up with my friends Kirk and Laura, and their 5 year old son Alex who was going for the first time. He stayed in Dad's boat and we all headed downstream (Put in at Porter's confluence, or where road turns left to Ramsey's). It was a wonderful day and we were all having a great time thrilled to have free flow in the Smokies in August (least likely month)
As we stopped in an eddy Alex had a huge grin, and commented how gnarly the last set of rapids were. We made it to the first significant rapid (big one you can see from high up in the road. Kirk had Alex get out and walk around this one. Cornett and I did great through the crux of the rapid. That was until a rock in the tailout split the current where I tried to paddle right and Cornett paddled to the L. Need less to say we both achieved our objective, but since we were in the same boat we only managed to wrap it around the rock
. We both jumped on the rock and righted the boat and again we on our way. As we made our way downstream I told Alex how we would be coming up to Laura's ledge (where his mother had a really good swim in the terrible hydraulic that forms at high water that tend to sneak up on someone) and how we needed to look for the ranger station because it's the third rapid after that. He loved that I called it Laura's ledge and continued to tease his mother. We all cruised though the ledge (not much at low water) and worked our way to the tourist spot for the next set of rapids before we took out. Since the water was low and Cornett couldn't see our line, I had to say, "You see the big fat lady - Head 4 feet to the left"
. After making that move we got hung up in the exit. I jumped out of the boat, and stupidly while jumping back in jammed my thumb that was fully extended, and felt a flash of pain followed by naseua , and a flush of sweat throughout my body. We immediately pulled over, as I recovered I realized there would be no second run for me today. We ran the last rapid, and I was just starting to realize how much we use our thumbs
On Sunday Freddie and I made plans to fish the park. He had several ideas that I killed becaude of rains making it too high, and we settled on an old favorite. We stopped by LRO to get my Brookie shirt, a few flies, and some Frog's Fanny. In walks Kevin (TNFlyfisher) and he decides to join the fun. After Freddie literally dragging me out of there ( I can talk all day) we headed to our destination. After one road turn it was apparent that while the water was too high in some places of the park, it was way too low here, and a change of plans was in order. Well if it is too low on one side, and too high on the other, the middle should be just right. I should have known the water at our first choice was too low, but I relied on a non updated reading from a boating site, and didn't go to the USGS page. 2.07 and 1.6 are big differences in the Little Rv watershed. We turned around and drove to our put-in. We were soon on the river, and I missed two and picked up one in the first 5 minutes so things we looking up.
The fishing was somewhat slow at first but picked up as the day went on. While Freddie caught only Rainbows, I was lucky enough to land 4 Brookies
Here was the first one. A bit skinny, but at 8.5 inches, it's still a nice fish
Most of the guys looked like this, and were taking the dropper
Although enough were hitting the dry fly to make me glad I was fishing a combo
This is one of the darker rainbows I have caught that wasn't tiny
Here Kevin hides in the shadows as he works a great pool
Freddie was doing some high sticking