I had hoped to get this post up earlier, but I've had some issues with my laptop - don't get me started!
Anyway... this past Sunday morning, I decided to take my camera and my gear and see if I could fish some of my favorite spots while heading over to the West Prong of the Little Pigeon. It was not fun. I spent more time taking pictures than I spent fishing. What follows is not pretty. It also doesn't impart the full effect of what's going on.
I started out with a visit to Metcalf Bottoms. In this first shot I was standing in the middle of the river right where I hooked up with a large bow earlier this summer. He made a run right at me and before I could get him under control, he veered right and broke off! Today, in order to veer right he'd have to be wearing some very sturdy hiking boots. The bridge over the LR is in the center of the pic with the picnic area to the right and the Wear's Cove park entrance road to the left.
Here's a shot of the river at the lower end of Metcalf Bottoms. You can tell by the tree roots approximately where the water level should be.
Another shot of what's left of the river below Metcalf Bottoms.
I then went over to one of my favorite spots below Metcalf. This is the spot where I caught my first tube of the season on my way to my first "Smoky Mountain Visitor's Slam". Well... what's left of it anyway.
Headed over toward Elkmont and stopped to take a pic of Brett's favorite honey hole.
The last time we fished this particular hole, we stood up on the road looking down into a side eddy at a monster brown drifting in and out of a feeding lane. The eddy is gone and so is the brown.
Decided to head over to the Chimneys picnic area and see if I could fish over there somewhere. Drove thru the picnic area and saw a bunch of picnickers and a bunch of kids looking for water to throw rocks into. Parked at the bridge, geared up and had to bushwhack my way about a half mile downstream before I could find a spot where there were no kids throwing rocks at rocks. Caught two little bows in what used to be a plunge pool. They weren't even big enough to take a picture. Then I nearly broke both ankles trying to boulder-hop my way back up and out. Stupid me... I had my new felt soles with cleats in my Korkers and it was like trying to ice skate on granite! Anyway, here's a view from below the bridge going downstream and one looking back up at the bridge.
All in all, a somewhat depressing trip.
Here are a couple links y'all might find interesting. The first is to a story that ran Sunday in the local paper, The Daily Times, and the second is to a story that ran on the NBC Nightly News the other day.
Back to the tailwaters for a while.