Got the Chimney Tops Parking area first this morning (saw a bunch of fisherman round Metcalf Bottoms on the way up - hoe the did well) at 7:30am. Had not done enough research before starting my trip. I hiked in to the last bridge crossing of Road Prong on the Chimney Tops trail (where everyone says not to start!) and started fishing. Water temp was 59 degrees and the water level was awesome! Worked a few pools before starting to catch any fish. After about 15 minutes I finally caught my first brookie (and of course did not have a camera). Wound up catching about 20 before I started to get the feeling I was in the wrong spot.
I had climbed, crawled and dodged my way up the stream over numerous cascades (by myself-not too smart) for the better part of three hours, while fishing and it didn't look there was a trail anywhere near where I was. Kept climbing upstream and finally stopped fishing and quickened my pace. I was starting to feel like maybe I wasn't on Road Prong, at all, but some tributary and that going up was not going to get me anywhere near where I was supposed to be. The little bit I had read about the area was that there was a bridge crossing about .5 miles up the Road Prong Trail. I kept waiting to see it, but never did. Then I ran into the 15' impassable waterfall. There wasn't any good path over it, so I decided to try and bushwack out. Unfortunately, I had climbed in to close to the waterfall and the only route out, was straight up through a thicket of branches and tangles. In the process of pulling myself out through a rhodie bush, I broke off the upper part my flyrod (it was a cheapie, and I've wanted a new one, so now I NEED a new one!). Miraculously, as I looked up when I'm free of the tree, the trail was about 10' above me! As I hiked down I realized that was about the only spot to get out of the stream and back onto the trail, since the spot I first entered the stream.
Morals of the story:
- When you're 43, you aren't in the same shape as when you where 23
- When going into to a new area, do your homework
- Don't go alone!
All that aside, it was maybe my best fishing experience ever!
How is the fishing above the waterfalls? I definitely will go back, at some point...now I need some Advil...