We just got back from our whirlwind trip to the Smokies. After we got skunked on our last trip back in February, I wanted the girls to have a chance to get in some spring fishing, preferably on dries. I had to wait until soccer season was over to have a free weekend; as they had the entire week after Easter off, I figured that time would be ideal - they wouldn't be buried with homework. However, due to a previously scheduled trip I am taking next week, and my boss recovering from back surgery, I couldn't take any time off during the week. We had to settle for the weekend, and as I followed the long range forecasts, the situation looked pretty grim. I was pretty much resigned to scrubbing the trip when I looked at the "discussion" section of the forecasts from the Morristown NWS site. On Friday, they seemed to think that, while the mountains would get some rain, possibly a lot, the most severe weather would pass to the south. So, I decided to roll the dice and go ahead with the trip - after all, we're from Louisiana...we're used to rain.
We started the trip by going out to dinner - I was going to drive straight through the night and go right to the stream; it's about 9 hours, and I didn't want to get there too early and have to kill time in a deserted parking lot in the dark. We wanted to go to Rip's in Mandeville - right on Lake Ponchartrain. They were wiped out by Katrina, but they've rebuilt (with an elevated structure). However, I had forgotten how busy restaurants get on a Friday night...too long of a wait. So, we went to another place nearby - I had a real craving for an oyster po-boy. We ended up killing more time than I wanted, and didn't leave here until almost 11 that night. We went straight to Cosby Creek - I wanted to have a shot at some brookies. The weather was fine - a bit overcast (which was good) and very windy (that was bad). Each of my children would take a turn and would go with me to fish a few pools - I would cast it out for them, and if anything hit, it would be their fish. We saw all sorts of fly activity, but nothing rising to eat them. After several pools with no results, I switched to a bh prince. My oldest and I worked a promising stretch of pools - she saw a spooked trout, then I saw a few. Even though we had spooked them, we continued to work the area...good thing:
They seemed to want a nymph working towards the surface, like an emerger. It was like they wanted to feed, but the water temp (about 4
and the unsettled weather had them a bit confused. We caught a few (one to hand, one long-distance release), and might have had a few other hits. I also saw one very nice fish in a pool just below a trail crossing; we saw it from above, and somehow didn't spook it. However, I couldn't get to his pool from below, at least not easily....I'll remember where he lives, though.
It was worth driving all night - now the kids are definitely hooked on this small stream trout fishing (they already love to fish down here). They couldn't get over how pretty these wild fish are. We didn't get any rain until we had packed it in for the day - we were truly blessed.