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Old 04-11-2011, 06:46 PM
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mattblick mattblick is offline
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Default Little River #24 4/7-4/9: my first trip report

Broke a 3 visit skunk streak last weekend. I need to get a waterproof camera that will stand up to abuse, sorry no photos. Over the weekend I brought 12 fish to hand, all were small and feisty rainbows 3" to 7" in length. Most of the fish were caught on #14 Parachute Adams; perhaps a couple on a Quill Gordon when I noticed a few dark large Mayflies hatching Saturday.

My Father-In-Law (Pat) and I camped at site #24 Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. We arrived late afternoon Thursday, and setting up camp and finding firewood took enough time that we didn't get a chance to fish.

The site was quite busy all 3 nights; filled above rated capacity Thursday and Saturday nights. I have been backcountry camping in the park for at least 15 years now, and have previously avoided reservation sites for fear of crowds. Thursday had 19 people there, including a family of 7 we passed on the way up who volunteered that they hadn't made reservations. The Father said he was last there 10 years ago and it didn't require back then (my guidebookss from that time say otherwise). We had our fire ring (24 A) to ourselves each night, though I offered to share share it Saturday. While I was fishing I noticed a young couple hiking back down the trail, they said it was too busy and denied my offer to share the space. I have to wonder if the couple had reservations or not, and how many of the 14 other people there Saturday night had them. I would have been mighty ticked off to have to hike 5 miles back down (or risk a spot 2 miles up at 30) after finding the site full. I am wondering how much of a problem this is at reservation sites.

On a brighter note, Friday morning I managed to bring 5 bows to hand. Following lunch and firewood mission we headed out again. Pat brought 1 fish to hand, looked to be about 8" from where I was standing. I brought 2 more to hand, lost a couple during the fight.

Saturday morning I landed another 3, and Saturday evening 2. Unfortunately the old man didn't catch any more. Still, his one fish Friday was an important one to me as he has been skunked for three seasons. This trip was a celebration of his retirement a week before. I am not a great angler, and he has been unfortunate enough to have me as his instructor. The other big achievement of the trip is that I think I might have finally convinced him to stop standing on a big rock and casting downstream into pools. He caught 2 fish on backcasts in a swimming hole area three or four years ago; as a result he has a hard time understanding how easily trout get spooked. When we got back last night I gave him Ian Rutter's book to read in all of his free time. If that comes back in one piece I will loan him my copy of Jim's book. I am hoping reading the books will reinforce the importance of stealth to him.

On the hike out Sunday morning we stopped after the first bridge to change out of our wading boots into hiking boots. Pat's hiking pole rolled off the bridge into the water and caught on a submerged tree limb. I was trying to loop the wrist strap with a long stick and Pat tried to lift the submerged tree at the base when the pole went floating downriver. I really didn't want him to get in trouble with my Mother-In-Law for losing another pole; he has a habit of forgetting them stream side. I ran down the bank and managed to save the pole, unfortunately my right boot and sock were now wet for the remainder of the hike. My wet boot managed to rub my heel the wrong way and I had to apply a moleskin over a big blister by the time we reached the waterfall. I happily gave Pat a friendly ribbing about it on the rest of the hike.

When we got back to the car blistered, sunburned, and constipated, I felt the sadness for leaving that follows great backcountry trips, as this one had been. I then thought ahead a few weeks and said to Pat, "we get to come back in 17 days!" We packed our gear to start the 6 hour drive home. An early Dinner at El Dorado Mexican in Corbin, KY even cured one of our ails.

-Matt-
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:04 PM
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ifish4wildtrout ifish4wildtrout is online now
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Sounds like y'all had fun.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:57 AM
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duckypaddler duckypaddler is online now
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Smile Thanks for the report

Campsite 24 is a busy site for sure. I think it's worth the extra hiking to go up to 3 forks of Little or campsite 23 if in that area. And this happened on a slow time in the park, so I'm sure it gets worse.

Everytime I have been at a shelter that was too full, or a campsite that was over capacity, a trail runner, or ranger would eventually come by and run them off.

Stealth is the most important thing in my opinion in the Smokies. That and keep moving (unless they don't stop biting). I remember a few years ago, I would have been thrilled to catch the fish you caught this weekend. You are already past the hard part, and will soon be pulling in better numbers

Thanks for the report.
James
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:03 PM
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Rog 1 Rog 1 is offline
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Matt...#24 is my favorite site...if you get there early enough there are several campsites that are away from the main area...my favorite is the one just off the trail above the main camping area...a little firewood tip...head to the river banks...high water will wash a lot of wood out of the trees and it will hang up along the river banks...next time you camp there hike back down to the Fish Camp Prong trail, cross the river and start fishing where the stream comes back to the trail...if you have a full day head up the trail and take the left fork of the river...if you fish high enough you will come to a vertical water fall...if you can climb over this you are in for a visual and fishing treat...
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:24 AM
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mattblick mattblick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rog 1 View Post
Matt...#24 is my favorite site...if you get there early enough there are several campsites that are away from the main area...my favorite is the one just off the trail above the main camping area...a little firewood tip...head to the river banks...high water will wash a lot of wood out of the trees and it will hang up along the river banks...next time you camp there hike back down to the Fish Camp Prong trail, cross the river and start fishing where the stream comes back to the trail...if you have a full day head up the trail and take the left fork of the river...if you fish high enough you will come to a vertical water fall...if you can climb over this you are in for a visual and fishing treat...
Thanks Rog,

We found a LOT of wood in wash out piles along the river. Most of it was a bit wet, but we piled it across two other logs to dry during the afternoon and that helped.

I thought seriously about trying Fish Camp prong; will definitely give it a go next trip.

Thanks again,
-Matt-
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Old 04-15-2011, 12:31 PM
Middle TN Lee Middle TN Lee is offline
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Good report, glad yall had fun. My brother and I were at Campsite 24 on Sat night (4/9) and Sunday. I'll agree with you...it was extremely crowded (we had reservations). Did yall see the people with the Taj Mahal tent ha? No telling how heavy that thing was.
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Old 04-15-2011, 02:09 PM
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mattblick mattblick is offline
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Originally Posted by Middle TN Lee View Post
Good report, glad yall had fun. My brother and I were at Campsite 24 on Sat night (4/9) and Sunday. I'll agree with you...it was extremely crowded (we had reservations). Did yall see the people with the Taj Mahal tent ha? No telling how heavy that thing was.
Hi Lee,

Were you the ones getting ready to head out very early Sunday morning when I got my bear bags down? Wish I would have stopped and said "hi".

We were laughing when we saw the group with the Taj-Ma-Tent arrive Friday. Two of them had fallen at the crossing (cotton clothing) and they were taking turns hauling the tent between them. They said the tent was 25 pounds; I suspect that multi-room 8 man tent was heavier than that. What is worse is that they had also hauled up water for the weekend; each of them carried 2 gallons of water because they weren't sure if water filters worked well or not. Hopefully one of them picks up a book before their next outing, and thank goodness it didn't get cold!

How did you do fishing?

-Matt-
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Old 04-16-2011, 12:57 AM
cubefisher cubefisher is offline
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Default What a great report!

Sounds like y'all had a lot of fun. That report got me fired up for an upcoming backcountry trip. I haven't done one in over a decade. I dare even say that trip qualified as one. Catching fish and enjoying company...good stuff.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-20-2011, 12:39 PM
Middle TN Lee Middle TN Lee is offline
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Ha, that is to funny about the "Taj-Ma-Haulers." But that was us heading out Sunday morning...we ended up hiking about a mile up towards #30 and putting in. We did quite well on a hopper/dropper setup, and even managed a couple brook trout so we were both happy.

Glad yall had a great time too, and if there's a next time make sure to say hello.

Take care,

Lee
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:43 PM
Mundele Mundele is offline
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I really like CS#24 too. I like that sort of water, lots of plunge pools. I only spook the fish in a small pool when I slip and fall. I can pull myself out and fish the next pool

--Matt
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