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Thread: The Shoe

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Murphysboro, Illinois

    Default The Shoe

    I have recently returned from our family vacation to Townsend. Had a great trip with relatives and some great fishing in the mountain.

    I started off the trip by donning my three year old Hodgeman waders and boots and entering the river below my cabin to show my 14 year old son some drift and casting techniques in preparation for the mountain trip the next day. Within the next hour I noted that my waders were filling with water and the soles of my boots fell off.

    After a trip to LRO I returned to the water with a new set of Chota waders and boots. I was soon to find out that this was the best investment I had made for fly fishing supplies in a long time.

    Prior to going on vacation I had read the board and decided that my son and I would fish the Horseshoe on Abrams. It looked great to me, few people, great fishing. The family (wife and 2 boys) arrived at the trailhead in Cades Cove the next day at about 8 am. The wife and one son planned a long hike to the falls and past while I and the 14 year old would tackle the fishing task. We hiked in about a mile and then set to the river for a day of fishing. We had packed two bottles of water and a shore lunch of tuna, vienna sausages and crackers. We started our fishing and had a great day taking bows on nymphs and caddis. We sat down for lunch on a large rock about 12:30 p.m. and then went back to fishing.

    At about 1:30 p.m. I told my son that we should cover some ground as we were to meet a relative for dinner. If you have read this far and know the shoe then you know the rest of the story.

    After three painful falls, dumping the water from my waders and 4 hours of hellish upriver hiking and slipping, we were able to spy a section of the trail about 100 ft up a near sheer cliff. We scrambled up the tree and rock area until we got to the trail. I found my wife and other son sitting in the truck and was told that they were about a half hour from heading to the Ranger Station. The next day we located a book that told us about the hazardous fishing/hiking on the shoe. I was properly scolded by my wife for nearly killing her son ( she was glad I was okay, I think).

    To all of you reading this who have not had the experience or proper explination of the Horshoe WARNING.

    Take plenty of water, extra food, FRS radio (they dont work wet), a proper USGS Map and compass. This area is a wonderful fishing area, but not for the faint of heart, or fat smokers. It is a FULL DAY and then some of fishing and stream hiking.

    The Chota waders purchased were superb, held up well, and took all of the abuse that I could put them through. I have no problem recommending them to all looking for a new set.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    Yeah, Bill at LRO hooked me up with some Chota waders and boots and they've worked well so far. Glad to hear you made it out. I haven't fished the shoe yet, but I plan on it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Halifax, VA


    I bought a set of Chota felt boots last year from LRO and love them. I went by last week and got a set for my wife, when we finished wet wading for the day she was hesitant to take them off she said they were so comfortable.

    I picked up the Smoky Mt magazine at the Institute last week and there was an article I read after we got home about wading the shoe in Abrams. Very interesting how revered this section of water is, we have similar floats here at home that are for more seasoned Kayakers and Canoers. Sometimes that saying is true about the Oz. of prevention and the Lb. of cure. The article talked about how many people have to be "found" by the Rangers each year in the shoe. It's a good reminder for us to be careful out there and attentive to preparing for our trips, otherwise they turn from enjoyment to panic in a hurry!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Maryville, TN


    The shoe is a tough place to wade. Angled rocks + silt = falls. The other problem is the length of it. Most folks (myself included) underestimate how long it will take. It is a haul. Add to that the fact that there is some great fishing and it will take anyone new to the area at least 6-8 hours (if not more).

    Move quickly, but move cautiously...and don't'll eventually get to the trail. Just keep looking to the left and don't get out of the stream to scout for the path, until you actually see people on the path (or the path itself).

    "Even a fish wouldn't get into trouble if he kept his mouth shut."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Ona WV


    We did the little shoe this May when I was down there. (Not my idea) I would not recommend that mess to anyone. I don't care what they shock up, or who catches the big ones there, IMO it is not worth it. Not even close.

    There is too much good fishing, reasonably wade-able, water in the Park to put yourself through that.

    Maybe if you are 20 years old and just returned from Marine boot camp, but I would not recommend it even then. Too darn easy to get hurt, and yes my buddy did, but not too badly, we got him out under his own power with a little help from an improvised staff.
    I am no slouch at keeping my footing and in fair shape(country boy, born and raised in the WV hills) and had brand new felt, but even I took a spill and can't tell you how many times I almost did.

    Just don't.

    If you simply must, drop in between the two shoes and fish a little up and/or downstream then go back.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    30min from the "Y"


    I took a girlfriend on it once,she made it ok.Just take a good water filter or some Polar Pure,and a good flashlight.I think most folks just panic because they don't know when it will end and are not comfortable in the woods after dark.Take a bearing on the stream every so often and keep track of where you are on the map and you will be able to tell when you get back near the trail.The creek is definitely slick though,so I think if you ain't a good wader you should find other places to fish.If you want a really tough day fish the stretch from Kingfisher to Little Bottoms now theres a long wade.

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