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  #1  
Old 09-04-2009, 10:51 AM
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duckypaddler duckypaddler is offline
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Smile Road Prong 8-6-09

It's been several weeks now, but I was wanting to share this trip with you guys. The Road Prong is one of the sickest stretches of whitewater in the Park. While some rapids on the Raven Fork Gorge may be considered harder, they are pool & drop letting a boater choose to run a rapid or not. The Road Prong is a different story. It is highly continuous with very few eddies leaving no mercy to the paddler. While I don't have the skills or the balls (neither do 98% of boaters) I am interested to see the cutting edge of boating and experiencing this beautiful section of creek. This day I started at the 4th bridge and fished about a hundred yards past the 5th bridge. It was only my second time chasing Brookies, but I am now hooked! Since school was not back in session yet, it was packed. Although as soon as I hit the stream not another person till the hike out.



My first Brookie of the day. CAUGHT BY HAND! Yes you heard me right. Just as I got to the stream I rigged up and changed from my tennis shoes to my wading boots. I then crossed the stream to hide my tennis shoes behind a big tree. Low and behold I see this Brookie stuck in a small area of water trapped from water going down. It's about 6 inches wide by 2 feet so it's a pretty small pool. I see if I can touch him when he shoots to the edge of the pool. I figure maybe he could jump the 2 to 3 feet to get back in the channel so maybe I should just let him be, but then I thought maybe I could free him. After 3 scooping attempts I get him on this moss covered boulder. I took this shot right before I released him into the main channel. I thought it was a rather cool experience.



I still pretty new to fly fishing. Is this a caddis fly? It sure looked alot like my neversink. I definately could use some Bug Education.



Feels like heaven on this smaller but surprisingly easy to cast stream.



The second nicest Brookie I landed that day. The best one wiggled out of my hand when grabbing tha camera. I also missed one sitting in about 6 inches of water that was easily 10-11 inches. He was too smart for me though.



The boaters call this rapid that is formed by this obstruction Peg Leg Falls!



To give some scale to the above picture the top drop is shyline falls a 35 footer! Like I said pretty sick stuff. When I got up to the base of the falls I thought I was stuck and had to hike back downstream. Luckily I saw the tunnel through the rhodo about 20 yards downstream that went up to the trail.



As the late afternoon set in I saw this fly. Is it a yelllow sally? If not could someone please chime in.



Right above Skyline falls if this waterfall the boater call Fender Bender.


Like I said it was another fine day in the Smokies, and one I will long remember. On my next trip to the Road Prong I will start at 5th bridge to look at the top set of rapids such as Green light Falls.

Happy Fishing!
James Locke
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  #2  
Old 09-04-2009, 11:38 AM
Rebelsoul Rebelsoul is offline
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Man those are some nice brookies and beautiful water...but you gotta be kidding...people kayak down THAT!?

That's not a caddis but some sort of mayfly I think,I don't know which kind.A caddis fly has it's wings folded over it's back like a little tent.
I'm sure the bug experts will educate us.
Thanks for the pics.
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Old 09-04-2009, 06:58 PM
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First fly is a light cahill, looks to be in the spinner phase; the second is a definately a Yella Sally. Nice fish from a great piece of water. Same bugs were peeling off that creek when I was there in late July.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:02 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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James--Some nice photos. Someone help me and maybe it's my feeble memory, but didn't a kayaker who started out on Road Prong in high water get killed sometime in the last 12 months or so. If I'm right they found his body well on downstream in West Prong.
I fully expect the same thing to happen in the Gorges on Raven Fork if the activity continues.
On Road Prong it's only possible in high water conditions, and even on Raven Fork, which is much bigger, I gather that the "ideal" time for such adventures is after a big rain.
One difference is that on the Tennessee side run-off is much quicker, on the whole, than on the N. C. side. There are a bunch of reasons for this--steeper terrain on most drainages, less vegetation/topsoil to catch rain, and more rain (most fronts hit the Tennessee side first). It does explain why you found the casting pretty easy--smaller streams on the Tennessee side tend to be more open because of "cleaning" freshets.
As for the kayaking, I'm well past the age where I need death-defying thrills, and for that matter, I'm not ever sure I needed this kind of activity. I'll be satisfied with an arduous climb in a steep stream as I work my way from one pool to the next.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:14 PM
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Unhappy Answer inside

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Casada View Post
James--Some nice photos. Someone help me and maybe it's my feeble memory, but didn't a kayaker who started out on Road Prong in high water get killed sometime in the last 12 months or so. If I'm right they found his body well on downstream in West Prong.
I fully expect the same thing to happen in the Gorges on Raven Fork if the activity continues.
Yes you are correct that someone did indeed die on the West Prong at way high water. 3 put on on Road Prong (All qualified experienced kayaker and not someone who shouldn't be there). The water was really high on Road Prong & 2 of the 3 kayakers soon took off. While no one can say for sure what happened, the consensus was that he missed the take-out eddy and proceeded down the West Prong at a level that no mortal could handle. His name was Issac Ludwig. It was a tragic event for sure. An end to a young promising life. Very Sad!

As for Raven's it gets done by hundreds, yes hundreds of people every year, and there has yet to be an incident. I promise there are plenty of people with the skills to be there. Let's not judge what we don't understand. You should have NO REASON TO BELIEVE that something is bound to happen here. I respect you, but think you are a bit unqualified to make such a judgement about kayaking. These guys are well trained in rescue and know what they are doing. I know it's hard to conceptualize that it could be sane, but I assure you it is. Let me say that more people get killed on Class 2 than ever get killed on Class5+ water. And much more people die in their car on the way to the river to fish or kayak.
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:17 PM
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Smile Thanks for the Bug-ucation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bones View Post
First fly is a light cahill, looks to be in the spinner phase; the second is a definately a Yella Sally. Nice fish from a great piece of water. Same bugs were peeling off that creek when I was there in late July.
Spinner phase - Is that where they are young and hot before they get old & fat? Just kidding!
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Old 09-05-2009, 05:21 AM
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Nope that is when they are old and ready to kick the bucket.
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