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Thread: Emory/Little Emory/Obed for smallmouth?

  1. #1
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    Jul 2010
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    Default Emory/Little Emory/Obed for smallmouth?

    Before I head out prospecting on empty water, does anybody here have any experience they'd like to share regarding wadeable smallmouth fishing in the Morgan County area? I was thinking about maybe the Emory upstream of Oakdale and around Nemo bridge, or the Crooked Fork below Potters Falls. I know a lot of the creeks in that area are run by whitewater kayakers when the water levels are up, but how do they fish?
    Fly fishing - it's cheaper than a bass boat!

  2. #2
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    Emory upstream of Oakdale might be a little big still for wading.

    At Nemo it should be about right.

    Crooked Fork has suffered in the past from sewage discharge (at 27 crossing), not sure of habitat there either as it is pretty much bedrock.

    Might want to consider Devils Breakfast Table on Daddy's and also Obed Junction area too.

  3. #3
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    I have a lot of experience in that part of the world, both floating and wading. When it comes to wading, it is tough even on the Obed and Clear Creek, not to mention the emory. Everything will be wadeable then you will get to a 500 yard long 10 foot deep hole with house sized rocks. Getting out and walking through the woods is a risky bet, the rhododendron is dense, and the venomous snake population is off the charts. So caution is highly advised.

    Floating any of those rivers is another option, however, extreme caution has to be used. I am lucky to be alive today after a thunderstorm caused the river to rise 6 feet while we were floating. The boat we were in got pinned under a giant under cut rock with only my head sticking out. I wisely stayed in the boat and eventually the current swelled and spun the boat out, or I would have been dead. Do not ever float those rivers when it has rained in the last few days, or is forecasted to rain at all on that day. Floating is also trying as the rapids become super low and portaging is a must, which leads back to snakes and rhododendron hells.

    Beautiful places, but certainly as rugged and remote as it gets.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the input Bfish and waterwolf. I was just thinking that all of the things that make a creek interesting for whitewater paddlers at high water ought to make good holding areas for smallies at lower water levels. Of course, as waterwolf points out, getting to some of those places could be a challenge. Still, it might be interesting to check out some of the local paddling guidebooks and go exploring a time or two. When it's not raining nor forecast to be any time soon, that is.
    Fly fishing - it's cheaper than a bass boat!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stana Claus View Post
    Thanks for the input Bfish and waterwolf. I was just thinking that all of the things that make a creek interesting for whitewater paddlers at high water ought to make good holding areas for smallies at lower water levels. Of course, as waterwolf points out, getting to some of those places could be a challenge. Still, it might be interesting to check out some of the local paddling guidebooks and go exploring a time or two. When it's not raining nor forecast to be any time soon, that is.
    That drainage is as gourgeous as any piece of river in this state, and maybe the southeast. It really is stunning, and the fishing can be really good on the Emory end below Nemo. I have caught some really big bass down there over the years, and not so many in the Obed/Clear Creek. The Sunfish are neat as well, usually I wouldn't give a bream a passing glance, but the ones in those streams are spectacular.

    Worth the trip just be careful, and prepared when you go.

  6. #6
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    I have lived in this area all my life and I want to caution you about Obed. I made a post about a trip on the Obed my brother and I made 3 or 4 years ago in July/Aug. You need to do a search on this forum for the full story in a previous post. To sum it up we waded a 2 1/2 mile stretch from Jet or Barnett bridge to Lilly bridge. we alloted 3 1/2-4 hours for the trip. We started at 9:00 in the morning but were unable to get back until 1:00 am. The problem is that you can not get off that river bed until you hit one of the bridges. You are down in a gorge and unless you can repel up 30-100+ ft cliffs and walk through an untamed wilderness for 10-20 miles to the nearest road.

    Part of the problem is that the gorge does not allow for cell signal or GPS signals to pass through. My brother and I have two different brands of GPS units and both are good quality. It doesn't matter if you can't get 3 sats to track. The other possibility is that the park map is wrong.

    We did not prepare to be on the river for 15 hours. No food, 1 bottle of water, and no flash light. If you want to be scared for your safety set yourself in the middle of an unknown river gorge with the last glimmer of day light snuffing out. Its not about what's in the dark but how you are going to continue to walk out in terrain that you could barely stand on in the middle of the day. Not to mention the drop offs and boulder hopping. There were two times in the night that I just came to a complete stop when I was in the process of stepping down from what I thought was a 12 inch ledge and It turned out to be 4 ft the first time and over six feet the second. Why my "spidy sense" kicked in I leave only to divine intervention. With only a sliver of moon light to see by your depth perception is way off when dealing with a river bottom terrain that is all the same color. If had not stopped to check I would have broke a leg or died from a head injury.

    The Obed this time of year has little water so you are walking a lot between pockets of water. I say walking but really it is a lot of falling and picking yourself up. the silt in the still pools is slicker than snot on a glass door nob. If I fell once I fell 500 times. ZERO exaggeration. It got so bad after dark that we crawled huge portions of the river pools with flat rock bottoms.

    Needless to say, you burn a lot of calories and expend massive amounts of water. When we got out of that river and the dry heaves subsided long enough for us to drive home, my brother and I weighed because we had a very sneaky suspicion the dehydration was severe. I lost 13.75 lbs and he had lost 11.00lbs from 9:00AM that morning.

    Something really funny to my brother and I about the trip happened just as it got dark. My brother is not a fan of darkness and snakes. We had plenty of both at 9:30PM on the Obed. My brother looked at me in a panic when the dark closed in and said "What about the snakes?" I looked at him and before I could answer my belly growled so loud that a deaf bear could hear it. I said "Jbird I hope we do find one 'cause I'm gonna eat the SOB!". We both laughed until it hurt but his panic subsided. I guess you had to be there to appreciate it.

    How we got off that river without breaking a leg or something worse is nothing short of a miracle. Needless to say, I had a conversation with the man above about how thankful I was to get home.

    I will tell you couple of things. I would recommend parking your vehicle and walking up and then turn around and walk back. If you spend 3 hours up then you know 3 hours back. I know it sounds so simple that its stupid but I wish I had done that. THE FISHING IS BEYOND FANTASTIC. The Red Eye/ War Mouths in these pools are concentrated because of the low water. We were running double nymph rigs and the NORM was two fish a cast. We would take turns making fun of the other who did not get a double. I would lay cash money on a bet on whether we filled the bed of a Toyota pickup. We stopped counting at about the 400 apiece mark.

    Take a flashlight, food, and water. NEVER GO ALONE. Be prepared to fall(a lot!). The terrain is brutal! Bring a sack full of size 8 dbkstone flies in yellow.
    Last edited by DBKSTONE2; 07-29-2010 at 02:29 PM. Reason: corrections

  7. #7
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    I think any of us who have traversed that watershed have some hellish story to tell. It is not for the faint of heart, and when I go back now I carry enough food/water and some basic camping essentials to survive the night in relative comfort. I guess there is a reason no one messes with it, it's too mean and unforgiving.

  8. #8
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    Like others have said, absolutely beautiful area, but absolutely rugged. This is ROUGH wading. Do not attempt this area without felt boots. You will be miserable. With felts, it's only mildly uncomfortable. I nearly broke my thumb in a fall out there a couple years ago. The fish are eager and it gets little pressure, especially now with very low water. Did I mention it is a beautiful river? I hear that some of the smaller tribs have redeye bass in them, too.

  9. #9
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    Do you get to the obed by going threw Morgan County, or by going down towards crossville? Anytime anyone wants a 2nd person to fish with, i'll tag along.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodonthefly View Post
    Do you get to the obed by going threw Morgan County, or by going down towards crossville? Anytime anyone wants a 2nd person to fish with, i'll tag along.
    Either way, for you it would be faster to go through Wartburg via Oak Ridge.

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