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Thread: Snowbird Creek and Neighboring Creeks

  1. #241
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    138

    Default

    Well sorry to hear it John, I was hoping to get in on that action this year. I figured getting skunked a few weeks ago down there was my fault, but maybe it is worse than that.

  2. #242
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    633

    Default Snowbird Lake Run Fish

    Jay,
    There are good years and bad, hopeful it is no more than an ebb in the run cycle.
    May be that my luck is running low, but when I don't see fish where I historically
    have seen them, (whether I could catch them or not) I believe something is wrong.
    I will probably head over ths weekend, and hopefully will find that the run was just late.
    We fisherman are nothing if not hopeful that something will bite!
    Tight lines,
    John

  3. #243
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    8

    Default

    John, I'd love to hear what you find if you go this weekend.

    This is a great thread. I've been intrigued with it pretty much since you started it. And I've even referred a number of friends to it. Finally, I was thinking that maybe this would be the year that I'd get off my couch and make the drive over the mountain, and I may have even talked a couple of fishing buddies into going with me sometime in the next couple of weeks.

    As for the comments on Anakeesta, it's a bit late to be responding, but I was fortunate to be a tag-along at a meeting with some folks from the Carter administration back in the winter of 1980 when they were just getting serious about construction on the Cherohala Pkwy on the Tennessee side.

    Randy Brown, the president of the Chattanooga TU chapter at the time, and Don Byerley, a trout fisherman and geology professor at UTK had set the meeting up over concerns about sulfuric acid leeching into McNabb Creek and a couple of neighboring tributaries to North River in Tennessee as a result of blasting through Anakeesta rock formations near Rattlesnake Rock.

    The meeting resulted in a good bit of remediation (allowing piles of lime to leech into the creek to balance out the pH) which has finally brought McNabb creek back w/in a range that brook trout can tolerate at least if the recent droughts would hold off.

    But as for Jim's supposition that this might have happened naturally, I'm not so sure.

    The mechanism for the acid leeching goes something like this. The Anakeesta rock contains iron sulfate, naturally, but when you break open those deposits and expose them to air and water, you end up with sulfuric acid seeping into the runoff which, in turn, lowers the pH of the affected streams. Forgive my sloppy science, and please no one tell my dad who is a retired chemist, but that's the gist of it.

    Anyway, at that meeting back in '80 someone mentioned that the precedent for this problem was set by construction of the Newfound Gap road in the Smokies. They also said that over time the exposed iron sulfate gradually dissipates, and the pH gradually heads back to whatever was normal.

    I had no idea just how gradual that might be, though. Fast-forward to early last Spring. Again, I was tagging along with one of the teams of volunteers made up, primarily, of E. Tennessee TU members on their long-running acid deposition/stream sampling project in the Smokies.

    I can't remember the name of the first creek that we checked, but it's the first large tributary to the Ocanaluftee River that you cross after heading down 441 on the NC side of Newfound Gap. The first sample was taken at the pull-off, there, upstream from the highway, and was normal.

    However, the next sample was taken immediately across the road and downstream from where the creek flows under the highway. At this point, the roadbed is built up from fill that resulted from blasting through the Anakeesta rock formations.

    I was startled to see that the stream bed appeared to have been scoured clean. Not clean of dirt, but clean of anything alive, like moss or algae or any plant or bug life. It appeared that someone had dumped in a bottle of bleach somewhere upstream. I've never seen anything like it. It looked like a ribbon of brand-new, shiny rip-rap for the several hundred feet from the road cut to where the stream fell out of sight.

    So will nature heal itself? Sure, given time. Just look at the Smokies, themselves. But the Newfound Gap road cut was made about 70 years ago. And you can be sure that if the Cherohala road crews hit Anakeesta near Rattlesnake Rock on the TN/NC state line that they also hit it on the NC side.

    Anyway, enough of the history lesson, we never seem to learn from those, anyway, but please do report back on how the fishing was on Snowbird if you go this weekend.

    Thanks,

    Jack

  4. #244
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    633

    Default Anakeesta

    Jack,
    Thanks for that post. I will have to stop and have a look at that stream on NF gap rd; Conners Creek I think. Don't let me discourage you from making the trip. If I can show you around at some point, I would welcome the opportunity.
    Best,
    John

  5. #245
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    8

    Default

    John, I just checked a topo and I believe it's Beech Flats. It's less than a mile down the NC side of Newfound Gap. There's a parking lot, there. If you cross the road, scramble down the hill, after crossing the old roadbed, you'll come to where the creek emerges from under the highway and see what I'm talking about.

    Jack

  6. #246
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
    Posts
    992

    Default

    Jswitow--Don't know whether you've noticed it, but my sources in Graham County (and they are local fishermen who are as good as they get) tell me that otters are playing the devil with the lake run fish. My best fishing buddy says they have gotten increasingly worse for years and that he often sees them on the opposite bank right below the "doctors" bridge. I have no doubt at all they are a factor, and in all likelihood a significant factor.
    Jim Casada
    www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

  7. #247
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    633

    Default Winter Fishing

    I am sorry to say I did not fish Snowbird (or any other creek) after New Year's Day. I got into Cycling and seem to have become obsessed with it. Wasn't too hopeful about catching lake run fish, so when I had the time.... I rode my bike. Shameful I know! I did have a couple of reports from a young fellow who fished quite a bit this winter. He did catch a few fish right at the end of the season (end of February). Caught 4 fish from one hole, and a thick (lake run?) brown, his best to date. So maybe some fish did come in late. I hope some of them were successful in spawning. The NC creeks open this Saturday, presumably stocked and ready to go. I may go for a little while Saturday, if I do I will post my results, good or bad. Just good to be on the stream regardless. Always interesting to see the changes a few months can make in a stream.
    Tight lines,
    John

  8. #248
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    939

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jswitow View Post
    Tight lines,
    John
    John, good to hear from you. I've been meaning to shoot you an email lately to see whats up. The cycling obsession, I can sure relate to. Hope the family is well.

    Cody

  9. #249
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    5

    Default Big Snowbird backcountry Question

    I know this thread isn't as active as it used to be but there are a lot of knowledgable participant that I hope can answer my question. I am planning a trip into the Snowbird backcountry in early November. After reading this thread I'm a little worried about the hunting activity during this timeframe. I was planning on setting up a basecamp around Sassafras. Is this wise since it will be Bear and Deer season?

  10. #250
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    633

    Default Fishing Big Snowbird in November...

    Yeltad,
    I would check the link http://www.ncwildlife.org/Regs/2011_...12_Seasons.pdf to see when the bear and boar hunting seasons take place. Don't think I would go during those seasons. You should be able to find a window though when they are not open. Seems there are two [2] week hunts for bears, not sure about the boars/wild hogs. Actually you should be fine with a blaze orange cap, but you may not have a lot of peace and quiet. I have day hiked up there before during the season, saw men and dogs, nothing else. If you have the flexibility though, schedule around the hunting seasons. From what I can tell the creek's resident population has rebounded pretty well from the draughts in 07 and 08. Seems some people have done very well in the back country this year. Not sure what the water has done the last month though, whether thar area has had rain? The ground is cracking in Knoxville. Copy and paste that link, should take you right to the site.
    Best,
    John

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