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Thread: Snowbird Creek and Neighboring Creeks

  1. #231
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Jim
    I fished santeetlah about a month and a half ago. I caught one bow and missed about four more in three hours.The water was very low. The otters are on every creek and in all the lakes around here. Some one told me when the skyway to Tellico was built what we call hot rock was found above Whigg Creek. The speck fishing in Whigg has really declined. I think the hot rock run off has hurt Santeetlah it heads up just below the Skyway. It sure is a beautiful creek but I don't fish it like I use too because of the lack of fish.

  2. #232
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
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    Guys--Your reports on Santeetlah in particular and otters in Graham County in general echo what I've heard from other folks I know in and around Robbinsville. I know some folks have pooh-poohed my rants about otters on this forum, but they come from a good bit of personal observation, input from folks whom I've known for decades and whom I trust implicitly, and the undeniable evidence of a greatly increased otter presence. I hope I'm just being an alarmist, but I've seen a major downturn on an increasing number of creeks in the last decade.

    The information on Anakeesta formation leaching in the aftermath of the Cherohala Highway being built is news to me, but it's certainly possible. I wonder if there is any scientific information in this regard? Anyone know? If it is true, that's a double whammy coming on top of otter depredations.

    Graham County streams are, almost without exception, a mere shadow of what they were as I knew them decades ago. Without a doubt the two most dramatic declines have been on Slickrock and Big Santeetlah, but I see troubling negatives elsewhere.

    One final thought on the otters. Anyone who doesn't believe me just ask anyone in Graham County who spends much time on streams. Or maybe spend a few hours at the mouth of Big Snowbird this time of year when the steelhead start to congregate. You'll see otters.

    Me, I have to wonder if, to use mountain prhaseology, the stock hasn't begun to run out in Graham County. There was a time when this would have been addressed locally in a pretty emphatic way with some pronounced finality.
    Jim Casada
    www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

  3. #233
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowbird fly View Post
    Jim
    I fished santeetlah about a month and a half ago. I caught one bow and missed about four more in three hours.The water was very low. The otters are on every creek and in all the lakes around here. Some one told me when the skyway to Tellico was built what we call hot rock was found above Whigg Creek. The speck fishing in Whigg has really declined. I think the hot rock run off has hurt Santeetlah it heads up just below the Skyway. It sure is a beautiful creek but I don't fish it like I use too because of the lack of fish.
    Snowbird fly, the "hot rock" you speak of is similar to the anakeesta formation found near the Alum Cave bluffs. When exposed to oxygen in the air, rain water that runs over it gains a high level of acidity. To the best of my knowledge, the only stream that has been heavily affected along the Tellico-Robbinsville road is McNabb Creek, which is a tributary of the North River.

    One other note...brook trout are far better at adapting to acidic water, whereas, Rainbow Trout have a lot of trouble and tend to die off if the acidity persists. In my opinion, this is one of the factors that plays a role in Brook Trout regaining territory against the Rainbows on some creeks.

  4. #234
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    Jun 2009
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    Rock Hill, SC
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    Grannyknot--My thinking on the return of specks runs pretty much along the same lines as yours, but not specifically with a focus on Anakeesta formation rocks. In much (most) of the Park I'm pretty sure that is less of a threat than once was the case. The residual impact of building 441, the portion of the Road to Nowhere that was constructed, etc. should be lessening, and the same is true for the floods of 1951 (I think that's the right date; if not, it's close) and the more recent slide high up on Walker Camp Prong drainage. On the other hand, acid rain continues to fall.
    I'd love to know whether any studies have been done trying to differentiate between the various sources affecting pH in the Smokies.
    Whatever the case, one thing is undeniable. Specks are far more widespread in the Park than they were say 30 years ago, and the changes I see or hear about are for the most part not in areas where there have been restoration efforts.
    That of course raises the whole issue of the healing hand and impact of nature versus what man can do, and the next step from that train of thought is to ask whether the speckled trout restoration efforts have been worthwhile or if, without the hand of man, we would have seen a gradual return to the status quo as it existing in the pre-logging era.

    I don't know, but it's a question well worth asking and I don't see it being addressed anywhere. As a lifelong skeptic and a bit of a gadfly, I always tend to pursue such thought patterns. I may be opening a figurative can of worms (well, we are talking about the Park so maybe I better say a fly wallet holding many patterns) here, but I'm genuinely interested in knowing if I'm the only one who has paused to ponder the question of the efficacy of man-based speck restoration efforts as opposed to those based on nature's healing hand. If nothing else, the price tag is dramatically different.
    Jim Casada
    www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

  5. #235
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    633

    Default Opened a "Major fly Wallet"!

    I have to get to bed, but have much to ramble on about this as well! Will try to get to it tomorrow night. I had heard in Robbinsville that the Skyway exposed anakeesta(sp?) leaching toward Big Snowbird's headwaters, but it may be rumor as well. I also hear that people take 4 wheelers up there and often from the Little Snowbird side, bait fishing. Anybody know for sure?
    I too believe the specs were all but wiped out by the clear-cutting and the slag in the creeks, then the warm water from the lack of shade. That and maybe a little dynamite, spark generators.... sluicing dams....
    Best,
    John

  6. #236
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    633

    Default October 15th-17th Fall on Snowbird

    Thought I would post some pictures mostly of the foliage on Snowbird last month. Looking forward to the late fall run from the lake. Hope you enjoy. I am going to try to post a link for a short slide show. IF it doesn't work I will post them individually. Here goes.....

    http://s103.photobucket.com/albums/m...view=slideshow

    Something tells me that didn't work.....

    Best,

    John

  7. #237
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    633

    Default Success!

    Well it did work, that was easy too, just pasted the link to the slide show.
    Best,
    John

  8. #238
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
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    Hey John...is that your son in those pictures??
    If so, looks like he is progressing nicely as a fly fisherman.

    Great pictures.

  9. #239
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    633

    Default Son fishing.

    Granny Knot,
    Yes that is, thank you! He caught three fish that afternoon. And when he said he had had enough, we went home.
    Hope he will be a little more "up for it" next time.
    Thanks again,
    John

  10. #240
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    633

    Thumbs down Status Report

    I had a couple of emails this evening regarding the fishing on Snowbird. Evidently there is another article in Easter Flyfishing, I have not yet seen it. I have not fished as much lately, but did spend the week over there between Christmas and New Year's. I have had no luck for lake run fish this year, none. I have heard a lot of people complaining about the otters, and they are definitely present in the creek. I wonder too if the harvesting of so many fish the season before last may have decimated the population? Conditions were not too good when we were there, so maybe I just hit a bad spell. But while I was there the water warmed nearly 10 degrees and cleared considerably, though it was very high. Those are usually pretty strong influences this time of year, for the better. I had like results over Thanksgiving as well. Wish I had better news, and others may.....
    If I have better information, I will report and post. For now though, my news is not good.
    Hope all have made a good start for 2011,
    John

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