Sunday Mac made another long weekend pilgrimage to the Smokies. Unfortunately his brother Colby was unable to join us. We had planned a trip for the gorge on the other side of the mountain, but once again it was not meant to happen. I had been working like crazy on a new project at the house and was tired. Compounded with Mac needing to be back by 6 PM, and with Labor Day traffic you never know how 441 will go when crossing the mountain. Plus the most important reason, the water level. Since this is a place you could easily be killed by a false move (Think Nathan had a flash of coming close, and one of the most hardcore Smokies Off-trailers I know Jenny Bennett ( http://streamsandforests.wordpress.com/ ) has a story of a close call as well. After a half dozen or more trips here I have worked out beta to be safe. Since it was at top end level wise to begin with, and with .5 inches rain there that previous day, it was better to make a safe call. In hindsight the water didn't peak till late that evening so we might have had been able to inch through. My beta also confirmed that it would do that, but I'm not comfortable to trust it yet (although it's never let me down).
Mac always want to meet at the butt crack of dawn to maximize his trips in the Smokies. As someone with bad acid reflux that is always aggravated when I get up early, I'm all for the 8:30 meet and maybe breakfast unless there is a sizeable hike involved. Since we had no time pressure and were hungry Mac treated me to breakfast at Mountain Lodge. After filling up we headed to the river and were pleased to see no other cars at the trailhead.
We rigged up and proceeded to hike in.
We ran across this spider web on the off-trail portion of our hike.
Up a couple of grades then an easy descent to the river. I ran a hundred yards below the trail crossing and Mac headed upstream. I had a few early misses but hadn't even landed one by the time I caught up to Mac. He had 3 at this point so it was my turn to jump ahead.
My first Rainbow
And first Brookie
I let Mac go ahead and fish a sweet hole. He soon landed the best fish of the day for both of us.
I think maybe crawfish patterns are the way to go.
I wasn't doing too bad myself and ended up having a really good day.
Although it rained pretty good for 20 minutes or so.