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Old 07-30-2009, 01:59 PM
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fly fisherman DK fly fisherman DK is offline
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Default Our week in the Smokies 7/11/09-7/16/09

Sorry for such a late report. On the first part of our trip we hiked into a very remote and rugged section of the park that we went to last year and decided to do it again. After going their twice now, I think it is also best kept a secret, but a lot of you will know it by the pics and information.

We started the hard hike up the mountain at about 10 and weren't looking forward to it. My Dad and I had gone here last year, but my cousin and uncle didn't know what to expect. I know the only thing that keeps me going on that trail is that when we get to the campsite and stream, the fishing is going to be unbelievable. Anyways, we arrived at the campsite around 1 and quickly got our fishing gear ready and hopped in the stream. We caught around 40 that day for the few hours we got to fish with a lot of brook trout in the 6-8 inch range. The best fly that day in my opinion was a dry fly in the water. You honestly couldn't keep them off your fly. I am going to guess it was because the light rain we had right before we started fishing. Then, we didn't want to, but we had to start the instream hike back down to camp at about 6:30 because we still had to put camp together and cook. Boy were we tired from all the hiking and rock climbing we had done that day, but it was definitely all worth it.

The next day we decided to go to a downstream tributary that we hadn't been to yet because of the possibility of rain the next day. We started the hike around 10 and arrived at the stream around 10:30. I immediately caught a trout and then we knew it was going to be a good day. I was using a yellow stimulator, which seemed to be the ticket, and after a while everyone else switched to one too. By lunchtime, we had brought around 20 to hand, and we kept pushing upstream and catching brookies. The size was surprisingly very good on these trout too with a lot of 8 inchers and a few pushing 9. We even got a video of my uncle catching an 8 inch brook trout. That was really cool! Anyways, by the end of the day we had caught about 60 brookies with a lot of really nice ones too. Then, we had to make the hard hike back down the stream to the trail, and then back down the trail to camp. Finally, we ate our mountain house meals around the campfire and talked the night away.

During the night it rained its butt off for about 5 hours straight, and my cousin's tent somehow leaked and had about an inch of water in the bottom of it. So instead of staying one more night, we decided to go fishing for the day, then pack up and hike out before dark. We started fishing around noon, but the fishing was a lot slower then the two previous days. We started out catching around 10 by about 4:00, but then the fishing caught fire with a yellow stimulator. My cousin even caught 8 out of 1 hole and 5 unexpected rainbows out of another. After that though, we had to start hiking back down to camp, but right before we did we saw one of the funniest things ever. We were fishing a very deep long pool, when we saw something jump in the water from about 5 feet up. Then, it started to swim downstream to us and we were trying to guess what it was when it went under my cousin's fly line and hopped up on a rock. It was a rabbit.lolIt just sat on that rock for a few minutes in front of us and couldn't have been more than 10 feet from any of us. We then took some pics of it and got as close to it as we possibly could until it ran off. The thing is is that we were probably the first humans it had ever seen. Finally we went back down to camp, packed up, hiked out and got a hotel in Cherokee, NC. All I can think of now is Silly rabbit trix are for kids.

The next day my uncle had to go back home so it was only the three of us now. We decided on trying out Bunches Creek since we had never been there before. We took the beautiful scenic route on the Blue Ridge Parkway and arrived at the stream around 1. Then, I think we all made one of the biggest mistakes in all of our lives. We had decided on going to Flat Creek, and then hiking down it to the confluence of the two creeks. Then we were planning on fishing our way back up Bunches to the trail crossing. What we found out though was that there was an impassable waterfall near the confluence, and we had bushwhacked down there. So we had to climb straight up the mountain to get back to the trail. Talk about scary. It felt like you were going at a 90* angle and for every one step we took we fell back down two. My new word of advice is that if there is not a trail to a place there is probably a reason why. We are example A. We did find one of the old railroad beds down their with cool artifacts so it wasn't all bad. Now to the fishing.

We got back to Bunches with about 3 hours to fish and what we hadn't realized in the first place was how much Bunches opened up downstream of the trail crossing. Anyways, we caught around 40 with 2 my cousin caught that were pushing 9 inches, but most of them were in the 3-6 inch range. The best flies that day were yellow stimis and para adams.

On Wednesday we went to Cataloochee Valley to mostly sightsee and to do a little fishing. Wow, talk about a pretty place. I loved all the fields, houses, and especially all the elk and turkey. I definitely can't wait to go back their again this fall. Okay now to the fishing. We started off down the Rough Fork trail and started fishing just below the Woody House and caught a few. The fishing was actually pretty good, but I couldn't seem to get my timing down on any of the hooksets that day. We didn't get to fish that long because it started to rain, and because we had to get back to Maggie Valley before all the restaurants closed up. I think we ended the day with about 10 or 15 trout with a lot of them being brookies. The best flies yet again were yellow stimis and para adams. I almost forgot, I want to warn everybody that goes their of a hornets nest on the left side of the trail right before one of the stream crossings. Now I can't remember which stream crossing it was, but my cousin was setting his rod down in the rhodo. they were in and didn't realize it and almost got stung.

The last day we were their we had planned on doing a one night trip to campsite 39, but because the combination of the weather forecast, and that my dad had to go out of town next week made us decide just to do one last day hike back their. I really don't think any of us wanted to put a pack back on anyways. We started hiking up the Palmer Creek trail and immediately saw a cow elk not even 50 yds from my Dad's car at the horse camp. We took some pics of her and kept walking until we got to Pretty Hollow Creek. We immediately started fishing up it and we each caught 4 in about 2 hours of fishing. We all thought it should have fished better than that, and right as we were about to head back down to Palmer Creek, we saw 2 guys that we had seen the day before and found out we had been fishing behind them the entire time. Oh well. We then hiked back down to Palmer then split ways with them and kept going up the Palmer Creek trail. Next, we found a spot that we could get down to the creek and started fishing. The fishing was pretty good, but only got better as it got later in the day. Most of the fish were in the normal 4-6 inch range, but we did catch a few 7-8 inch trout. The best fly once again was the yellow stimi and also an egglaying yellow sally worked really well later in the day. We stopped fishing where the footbridge came over Lost Bottoms Creek. Finally, we made the long hike back out, saw some elk, ate, and drove to Townsend, TN.

We all had a blast on this trip, and I can't thank my Dad enough for letting me follow my dreams by taking me their. I can't wait to do it again this fall. I'll try to post some pics later on today, and hopefully I will get some videos back from my cousin soon so I can post them here. I hope everyone has enjoyed the great fishing the past few weeks.
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:40 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Interesting and informative report, and I can virtually guarantee I know where you went, It is without question the most rugged area in the Park, and if you had gone downstream from where you camped you would have been in the Park's roughest gorge--not a place for anyone to go alone. I don't worry about secrets and it's all in my forthcoming book anyway, so I'll go ahead and say your group hiked into the Enloe Creek campsite along Raven Fork starting from the Straight Fork Road. I don't think you have to worry about the area being overfished--it's too tough to get to, and the lack of trails along the main stream adds more protection. I would venture to guess that not 20 people a year venture up any of the the three forks which form the big pool at Three Forks, and the same is true for the upper part of the Gorge (locals do fish the lower section, accessing it from the Cherokee Reservation, and to my great chagrin, foolhard kayakers have taken to going there during high water. One of them, or maybe more than one, will get killed in that Class 5 and Class 6 water.
As for Bunches Creek, there is an easier access (from the Reservation, but I guess you really need to know a tribal member or someone locally to take that approach). It's been years since I was on the Park portion of Bunches Creek, but it used to be absolutely full of fish.
Greatly enjoyed the report, and if you send verbal lashes my way for telling secrets, I guess I'll just have to live with them. jim Casada
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:56 PM
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ding ding ding we have a winner! That's where we went. I just figured other people might want it to be kept as a secret. So that's why I did.

Bunches Creek was actually very good where we fished it. We probably had 80 or 90 bites, but a lot of them were small fish. I think we are going to go back there when we take my mom with us this fall so that she can catch her first brook trout without a long hike.

I am looking forward to seeing your new book, and thanks for your reply.

We all had a blast.
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Old 07-30-2009, 04:28 PM
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I hope this works
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Old 07-30-2009, 04:38 PM
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Old 07-30-2009, 05:10 PM
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The rhododendron blooms were absolutely breathtaking all week

a pretty pool on the Raven Fork

A cool looking waterfall on Enloe Creek

My Dad holding my brookie on Enloe Creek

setting up camp. we had 47 all to ourselves except for the last night

the double

My dad with a good spec

silly rabbit trix are for kids.
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Old 07-30-2009, 05:16 PM
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fly fisherman DK fly fisherman DK is offline
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My cousin John with a really good one from Bunches Creek

A really big elk in Cataloochee

Palmer Creek

John with a good one from Palmer Creek

All of us together

Sorry for getting crazy with the pictures. I hope ya'll enjoy them!
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Old 07-30-2009, 06:58 PM
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Pretty awesome trip!
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:05 PM
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Dancing Bear Dancing Bear is offline
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Thumbs up My fave's!!!

Y'all fished my two absolute favorite Brookie streams in the park. And you camped in one of my favorite sites. I haven't been able to fish either one of them yet this year but I'm going to in September. Awesome report! You made my week with it and the pics.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:34 PM
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Excellent report. I have never fished there and your pictures brought it to life.
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