Buzz and 46r, Great job guys! Its good to see some fat rainbows (regardless of how small they are)...They look awfully healthy.
I went back and checked my notes for the times I have fished the WPLP in the past and I can confirm what you already knew...there was too much water...Normally I would say optimum conditions in the gorge are when the gauge in Sevierville is around 2' and the flow is running around 200-250 cfs.
If you check the river gauge website (http://www.lawrencevilleweather.com/...bs&gauge=SEVT1
), it looks like you were fishing when it was about 2.8' and 400 cfs. Not unwadeable, but a bit on the dangerous side. At a normal flow you shouldn't have to backtrack but once or twice at the most.
A few other of my own observations from the past (from my notes):
- There are a few good pools down near the nature exhibit and even a bit further down, but the better fishing seems to start about 100 yards or more above the nature exhibit.
- The last 100 yards don't seem all that great either (near the Road Prong - Walker Camp confluence). It may be all the kids chucking rocks.
- I never do well in the morning in the Gorge. It doesn't matter how hot or cold the water or air is, I just never have had much luck until 11am or later.
- If you really want the full experience, take only one car...park at the Chimneys Trailhead and walk down the road through the tunnel, on the ledge (you get 50 bonus points for each car that honks their horn while you are on the ledge). Then fish your way back up to your car...
Glad you guys had fun (and didn't get hurt - 46r how's the ankle holding up?). I hope to get over there sometime soon myself. BTW, I drove over Newfound Gap Rd today and there is still snow on some of the North facing slopes so WPLP will still be chillier than some of the other streams in the park for awhile longer...