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Thread: My Smoky Mtn Skunk is Dead

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Kingston, TN
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    Default My Smoky Mtn Skunk is Dead

    Made my 6th fly fishing trip into the Park today since 1st picking up a fly rod this spring and finally got rid of my skunk. Granted, he kind of choked to death on a peanut and a little bit of shell, but he's gone none the less.

    I'd had some luck and caught a good number of nice sized rainbows and browns on the South Holston a couple of weeks ago and I just had a feeling that it was time to try the Smokies one more time. This time, after getting a late start, I decided to hike up Thunderhead Prong and find where Sam's Creek comes into it in case I ever want to take my son Sam out that way. About halfway up to Sam's Creek I couldn't wait any more. I started with a Prince nymph I had tied but didn't get any action on it, so I switched to a dry. Tied on a #14 Parachute Adams and started working this nice little plunge pool. About the 3rd cast I finally caught my 1st Smoky Mountains trout. It was just a little 4" goob rainbow, but it was a fish brought to hand and it counts.

    I worked the rest of that pool and a couple of others without any other takes then decided I'd better get back on the trail to Sam's Creek. Long story short, I found Sam's (I think I'm going to have to work on my rock climbing & tight stream skills before trying that one), fished a few more holes without catching anything but bushes, then started back to the van. Driving back out, I was passing a pool that I had fished a couple of times and gotten some strikes that I had missed and decided to give it another try before it got too dark to see. I finally caught the fish that had been toying with me before and it turned out to be a little 3" Warpaint Shiner. But I brought it to hand, and it counts too.

    So, my total Smoky Mountains fish count now stands at 2 fish and about 7" total. Not much, but it gives me something to build on.
    Fly fishing - it's cheaper than a bass boat!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee
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    1,549

    Default Were you there on Sun?

    Freddy & I fished almost up to Starkey today. Lot was full around noon. When we left at 5:30 it was empty except for one SUV and a 3 wheeler. Didn't see anyone else up there and by all the spider webs we broke it was obvious we had it to ourselves

    I don't know of it was my change of fly patterns or what, but I caught more 1.5 to 2 inch fish than I ever caught before. And there was only one 6 incher, and only a few 5'ers. On the good side it looks like future generations of Brookies are doing well

    How far up Sam's did you make it?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Maryville, TN
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    Santa congrats on the first trout in the smokies! Thunderhead is a beautiful place to get your first one too.

    Ducky I fished Sam's about 3 weeks ago with Spotlight from this forum and it was a most interesting experience. Down lower (where the manway first comes in) and on upstream for the first half mile we caught lots of little 1-2 specks (very small). Usually I am seeing bigger fish there but none this day which was odd. Then as we worked our way higher up we started finally catching bigger fish and got into some nice ones but we had to go a good ways upstream to find them. I was wondering at that time what was going on. First of all what was with all of the little baby specks and where were the adult ones. I wondered if the bigger ones had moved upstream like the browns to spawn or something but not sure if specks do that but if that was the case it might explain why you didn't see many larger ones even as far up as you went.
    Last edited by Crockett; 11-01-2010 at 08:06 AM.

  4. #4
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Crockett View Post
    Santa congrats on the first trout in the smokies! Thunderhead is a beautiful place to get your first one too.

    Ducky I fished Sam's about 3 weeks ago with Spotlight from this forum and it was a most interesting experience. Down lower (where the manway first comes in) and on upstream for the first half mile we caught lots of little 1-2 specks (very small). Usually I am seeing bigger fish there but none this day which was odd. Then as we worked our way higher up we started finally catching bigger fish and got into some nice ones but we had to go a good ways upstream to find them. I was wondering at that time what was going on. First of all what was with all of the little baby specks and where were the adult ones. I wondered if the bigger ones had moved upstream like the browns to spawn or something but not sure if specks do that but if that was the case it might explain why you didn't see many larger ones even as far up as you went.
    Must have been the daily conditions (Water up, 50 temp). Got my first 10 incher form up there last time

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by duckypaddler View Post
    Freddy & I fished almost up to Starkey today. Lot was full around noon. When we left at 5:30 it was empty except for one SUV and a 3 wheeler. Didn't see anyone else up there and by all the spider webs we broke it was obvious we had it to ourselves

    I don't know of it was my change of fly patterns or what, but I caught more 1.5 to 2 inch fish than I ever caught before. And there was only one 6 incher, and only a few 5'ers. On the good side it looks like future generations of Brookies are doing well

    How far up Sam's did you make it?
    Gee, duckypaddler, I must have been just ahead of you on the way out. I got a late start and didn't get on the water until about 2:30. I also didn't follow the manway around from where it crosses Thunderhead to where it gets back to Sam's, instead I bushwhacked from that crossing downstream to the mouth of Sam's. I fished a couple of holes right there where they join, but didn't actually go up Sam's this time. Being over 50 and shaped a great deal like my namesake, I haven't gotten up the courage to go rockhopping through the wilderness just yet. I guess I need to put in some quality time in the gym this winter (and shed a few pounds) to get ready to hit it hard next spring. In the mean time, I think I'll stick to a little bit tamer water.
    Fly fishing - it's cheaper than a bass boat!

  6. #6
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    Jun 2010
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    Stana,

    Although I think everyone should take the boulder climbing adventure up Sam's creek from the confluence of Sam's and Thunderhead at least once, I prefer to just take defeat ridge up to the top of that series of cascades. If you are looking to explore Sam's, you may find this route (defeat ridge) much easier and faster - and probably safer if you are going alone.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2008
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    Lexington, KY
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    Default

    "It was just a little 4" goob rainbow, but it was a fish brought to hand and it counts."

    You bet it counts and congrates,

    Good Job

  8. #8
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    Default

    Just remember the saying..."Trout don't live in ugly places"

  9. #9
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    Sounds like a lot of you have experience up in that area. So you cross the old steel beam bridge over thunderhead and hike about half mile further crossing a tiny little stream with an old rail road rock trussle next to the trail. then a bit farther you get to the thunderhead crossing where you got to ford thunderhead and then climb up the bank on the other side. My question is not too far after this crossing the trail splits and if I go left I end up at Sams after about .2 mile but at the split (where there is a small rock cairn) there is a trail that goes to the right. I always thought that was the defeat ridge manway since it would keep following thunderhead upstream and Sam's creek is the other way. Anyone know what these two trails are called? Where does the one on the left at the Cairn go?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crockett View Post
    Sounds like a lot of you have experience up in that area. So you cross the old steel beam bridge over thunderhead and hike about half mile further crossing a tiny little stream with an old rail road rock trussle next to the trail. then a bit farther you get to the thunderhead crossing where you got to ford thunderhead and then climb up the bank on the other side. My question is not too far after this crossing the trail splits and if I go left I end up at Sams after about .2 mile but at the split (where there is a small rock cairn) there is a trail that goes to the right. I always thought that was the defeat ridge manway since it would keep following thunderhead upstream and Sam's creek is the other way. Anyone know what these two trails are called? Where does the one on the left at the Cairn go?
    Yes where the rocks are piled up is the start of defeat ridge trail. This is the short cut as you could just continue down the trail a little further till it 180's up the mountain and take the grade here. I hiked up a mile or so this Spring after an early return from a Sam's adventure. I have 2 or maybe 3 hikes I want to do up this trail. First take it to it's crossing of Shut-in an fish there. Next I want to take the grade the 4 miles to New World and check it out. From there it would be cool to make it to Chimney Rocks. And one even dreams of making it all the way up to Thunderhead. I say dream because last post I saw on Griztrax about this said it took like 12 hours. I think the last 1/2 mile took like 6 hours of Rhodo ****. OK so it's 3 trips & one I'll probably only just dream about

    Another cool hike I want to do is up Starkey to AT. It's good trail till at least 2/3 mile up Starkey. Anyone want to venture into the Devil's Courthouse?

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