Great advice, Hans...
We warn people all the time about the hazards of trying the Big Shoe alone or if leaving too late. *This is a dangerous place...a deep ravine that *has no out, except onward or into a big hole that can be tricky to find your way out of when tired from a long day. *We all know stories of folks who have inadvertantly spent the night there... *Also, Abrams is known for its "table rock", or slabs of limestone, set at rough angles - try 45 degrees and wading...oi...
To all of you, please, please do NOT do this section of Abrams alone - and it DOES take a full day of wading - hard wading...starting at first allowed entry to the Cove and ending late....
It can be a wonderful place to fish, just heed the advice of those who have gone before you...and
Good info - please enlighten me a little more! Questions: Is it easier to hike down the Abrams Falls Trail and drop in below Big Horseshoe, then wade upstream? If so, how long should I allow if I hit the trailhead soon after Cades Cove opens? If so, is there a good landmark for dropping in downstream?
Here is my Abrams Creek cautionary tale: Look out for widowmakers / dead trees! While fishing the first plunge pool below the tailout of the Falls pool, I heard a deafening cracking, crashing, whooshing sound. I thought a jet must be crashing into the gorge. I spun around on a slab in the water, not knowing which way to run. My buddy was right behind me because he had been watching me highstick for a finicky trout. His eyes were huge as he looked around, and I pushed him just as I saw a flicker of movement on my left. A gigantic dead hemlock trunk had fallen from near the top of the ridge, and it had landed about 30 feet from us. It exploded into chunks the size of televisions, and they bounced off the boulders around us. I pushed him into a crack between two boulders and fell over him, not to protect him but because he was between me and safety (primal urge i.e. self-preservation). We picked ourselves up to see some tourists snapping pictures from the base of the falls. They clapped for us since we were still alive I guess. Nothing was broken, except for his TFO Professional Series 5-wt rod! So sad that he had hiked that whole way to flyfish with his first "big-boy rod" and he had never even gotten it strung up. We hiked back out while people were hiking in asking us if we had seen the "landslide" that was heard a mile away. We just smiled and shook our heads, trying to keep our hands from shaking.
Stay away from widowmakers if at all possible! (This applies on any stream.)
Always hike/ wade Abrams with a buddy!
Fish TFO - the price / performance / and WARRANTY rock!!!