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  #11  
Old 05-18-2010, 09:59 AM
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JoelO JoelO is offline
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I haven't been back there in probably 25 years. Thanks for bringing back the memories. Hopefully, the stream is starting to make a recovery with the good amount of water we've received last year and this year.
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  #12  
Old 05-18-2010, 03:33 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Grannyknot--Thanks for an interesting report. I've never been into Slickrock the way you traveled. Where does the trail come out in relation to Wildcat Falls? I've always gone in from Big Fat Gap--easy going, terribly tough haul coming out.
There was a time, say 15-20 years ago, when Slickrock was truly something. There was a fairly predictable green drake hatch every spring, and if you could be there when it came off the action was the kind you seldom see in this part of the world.
Then things gradually began to go downhill, and I'm mystified as to exactly what happened. It's pretty darn difficult, if not flat-out imposssible, to "fish out" a brown trout stream, and even if poachers were in action (and some were) I don't think that was the problem.
One interesting Slickrock tidbit some might find interesting is how the stream's browns got there. They were carried in as fingerlings in specially made backpacks toted by members of the CCCs. So you were catching direct lineal descendants of trout which have been there since the 1930s.
I've never caught a rainbow in Slickrock and don't think there are any. There are mountain trout up high.
Your report gives me heart and hopes that maybe the stream has come back a bit, and reckon I'll have to stir this overweight and aging body to wander down from Big Fat Gap and once more cast at the base of Wildcat Falls (and elsewhere).
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com
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  #13  
Old 05-18-2010, 04:06 PM
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Grannyknot Grannyknot is online now
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Jim, Little Slickrock Creek and the Stiffknee trail come in downstream of wildcat about a mile. We tried to go up to wildcat falls saturday afternoon, but the storm moved in and pushed us back to camp. The trail is not long, but the gradient in the last 3/4 mile is comparable, in my opinion, to some of the toughest trails in the park or National Forests. As my friend Dj said "they don't believe in switch-backs do they?".

I have seen some pictures of the special backpacks and read a short story about the stocking process. Pretty amazing what the CCC would go through to accomplish such feats.
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  #14  
Old 05-19-2010, 06:54 PM
eastprong eastprong is offline
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I can tell you live in NC, Jim. For us on the TN side, the Little Slickrock trail is the easiest way to get in. Drive up Citigo Creek, then Doublecamp Creek, and you're there at Farr Gap.

Even 25 years ago, fishing for those wild browns was tough. I always thought the water clarity of Slickrock was very high, higher than most GSMNP streams, and the browns tended to like the slower eddies. It was best to backpack in, that way you could be on the water in the low light of morning and evenings, and that greatly improved your chances.

I've caught rainbows there, but below the lower falls, and that was 20-25 years ago.

--Rich
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  #15  
Old 05-19-2010, 07:29 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Rich--Thanks, and I certainly agree on the fact that browns are most active at dawn and dusk. I must say, however, that the thought of hiking out on the Tennessee side sounds daunting. For all that it is a backbreaker, at least the Big Fat Gap Trail has some switchbacks.
As for the rainbows, I'm guessing they came up from the lake. I don't know that I've ever fished below the lower falls, having always found that a good starting point (and the best fishing around and above Wildcat Falls).
Thanks for the info.
Jim Casada
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  #16  
Old 05-19-2010, 08:40 PM
eastprong eastprong is offline
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I've been down Big Fat Gap too. If I'm remembering correctly, and this is true of most trails in these parts, it's the section closest to the ridge that's the steepest. The Little Slickrock trail is no exception, and once it picks up the creek, it's easy going. I've have to say there's practically no difference in difficulty coming out with either of the trails; the last 1/2 mile will kill you on both, but it's short.

Jim: With regard to the Green Drake hatch you mention that was present at least 20 years ago -- was it duns or spinners you fished to?

--Rich
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  #17  
Old 05-20-2010, 11:49 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Rich--Yep, the last part of the climb out to Big at Gap is where it is a booger. I saw the Green Drakes several times over the years in both forms. One thing which was totally predictable was that browns, including big ones, became voracious when the Green Drakes appeared.
Jim Casada
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  #18  
Old 05-22-2010, 01:32 PM
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duckypaddler duckypaddler is offline
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Smile Big Fat Gap trail is one of the easiet trails in the system

Granted there are a few bursts to humble anyone, as any trail in the system. And the trail on the Tennesse side isn't too bad for Joyce Kilmer/ Citico trails. Compared to Deep Creek (Joyce Kilmer), Jenkins Meadow, or South Hangover Lead (even after thr trail rerouted making it much easier) both of these trails are moderately difficult at best with back packing gear. That said, if you only hike in the Smokies where most trails are perfectly manicured, you could easily go into shock after hiking over blow down after blow down, and up steep grades where you soon realize the trails were not designed by world renowned designers as in the Smokies.

As for the decline in the stream, I know there where some rockslides exposing alot of rock about a decade back. Could that have exposed the stream to some acid leaching along with the drought and it being lower elevation and all?

Nice trip report and nice info onthe 30's stocking.

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  #19  
Old 05-22-2010, 03:30 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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duckypaddler--I don't think the Anakeesta Formation is found in the Slickrock drainage, but I could well be wrong. I've just never heard it mentioned in the area. If it does exist, a lot of exposed "hot" rock and leaching could certianly be part of the problem. I'll have to ask one of the NCWRC folks the next time I talk to them.
Jim Casada
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  #20  
Old 05-24-2010, 11:58 PM
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rbreedi1 rbreedi1 is offline
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Hate to see trash like that.. Thanks for the report and nice fish!
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