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  #21  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:28 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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JoelO and JoeFred--There are brown trout in Straight Fork from the Park boundary to a point well above the Million-Dollar Bridge (the point where the road leaves the stream and becomes one-way). Or at least that was the case until the flash flood back in the summer. I fished Straight Fork a bunch in 2010 and caught a Smokies Slam every time I was there but one. There are specks pretty much all the way down to the Park boundary and they are increasingly found from about Round Bottom upstream. I caught a couple of good browns (12-14 inches) and a good many keepers.
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  #22  
Old 11-03-2011, 12:29 PM
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Thanks, Jim. Come spring, I heading "straight" there.

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By the way, it is so good to see you and Jim posting again...
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Thanks, Mike, for your support of the forum... from there in the Sunshine State.

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  #23  
Old 11-03-2011, 02:23 PM
JayB JayB is offline
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Cool report Ducky, you're still hitting all the fun places. I'd been thinking about that area for next year. So much water, so little time.
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  #24  
Old 11-15-2011, 01:57 PM
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DP, I like your marked map. Mac & I had discussed my creating two larger maps of Upper Deep Creek (for a different reason) to replace the single one which is about 1:29,000 scale, smaller than that of the USGS quad (1:24,000). I've not looked into where to best do the slicing, but a couple of maps at 1:18,000, for example, would enable more access details being added...
2/15 Update: Deleted image previously posted.
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Last edited by JoeFred; 02-15-2012 at 08:16 AM.. Reason: To help protect the wellbeing of the waters, etc.
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  #25  
Old 11-15-2011, 02:10 PM
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JoeFred,

That is perfect, I need to see if Santa will get me one of those maps for the stocking.

I have been somewhat good.
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  #26  
Old 11-15-2011, 04:06 PM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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Adam--I have exchanged e-mails with Baird Watson and others regarding Tsali Rock over the years. I have my doubts about the rock some call Tsali Rock just because it doesn't seem nearly large enough to function as a place to stay for any length of time or in inclement weather. I've often thought that a more likely location for Tsali Rock might be in the rattlesnake den area well up on the ridge in the Keg Drive Branch drainage. Old-time Deep Creek ranger Bill Rolen, who knew the Park as few did in the 20th century (and unlike modern rangers he spent most of his time in the backcountry, not the frontcountry), leaned toward that being the site. In truth no one will ever know.

I do find it curious that Sam Hunnicutt, who was in and out of that area time and again as a hunter, never mentions Tsali Rock at all in his rare little book, Twenty Years Hunting and Fishing in the Great Smokies. To my knowledge there's nothing hard and fast in the way of historical material on Tsali Rock, and indeed all sorts of myth surrounds the realities of Tsali and his place in history. Some historian, John Finger I think, has poked a lot of holes in the standard tale. A boyhood friend of mine, Rick Bryson, also has some interesting thoughts (in fictional form) in a book on Tsali.

It's interesting to wonder as we wander, but as someone who is (or was) a trained historian, I always treat this kind of thing with a considerable degree of healthy skepticism. Again, we'll never really know, and there's not even anything approaching certainty that Tsali actually took refuge on the Left Fork. After all, Sahlee Creek on the Right Fork could be named for him. Who knows?
Jim Casada
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Interesting Jim I didn't check this thread again till today so just now seeing this. I didn't know there was so much speculation over the real site. I have seen that the SMHC is leading a hike there next week. I won't be able to go but I am guessing they are going to the smaller rock den site. Jim you may be interested in this article about Tsali rock and it describes Bill Rolen's visit to what was purported to be the rock in the 1940s:
http://www.smokymountainnews.com/iss...ack_then.shtml
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  #27  
Old 01-17-2012, 01:54 AM
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T.E.Shuler T.E.Shuler is offline
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Living in, and being rasied in Bryson City, the same as Jim. I was always told that Tsali Rock was on a ridge overlooking Keg Drive.
I've not visited the " Tsali Rock site", but my father, in his younger years did. Just like Jim, my father doubted the long term sustainabiltiy this rock croping/cave could provide.
I have over the years noticed a large opening on the main stem of Deep Creek high above the creek, that upon looking at first glance could provide a likley place. I've never investigated it before as my fear of snakes both is comical and legandary! Maybe one day I'll check it out. But if its obvious enough for me to notice it, then others surely have and have explored it thoroughly.

I've always thought there were many better caves in the Nantahala area, that I know could have provided long term shelter. Unfortunatley no one will ever know for sure
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Last edited by T.E.Shuler; 01-17-2012 at 02:24 AM..
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  #28  
Old 01-17-2012, 04:33 AM
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T.E.Shuler T.E.Shuler is offline
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I was glad to see the study conducted on Deep Creek again back in August. Had I not been working, I would have gladly taken the opportunity to help.
By most years records, I spend 130 days per year on Deep Creek. It is my home water, and I only live about three miles away. While I never really thought we had a decline in trout populations, I did seem to think we had an explosion of other species, such as dace, shiners, and sculpins. Since the droughts, the numbers of these fish have gotten higher. The trout population had, in my mind, not gotten any better or worse. I have noticed that numbers of bigger fish have declined. A conclusion I drew was this was caused by adult fish that were at the end of their life cycles not making it through the added stress caused by the low water we saw a few years back. What I have noticed was that while most fish in 2009, and 2010 were smaller, this past year 2011, the trout were noticeably bigger with fish averaging 7-12 inches. I only saw a couple fish this year that were 14 inches or larger.
What has increased is the number of skilled anglers fishing Deep Creek. I've noticed that in recent years you don't get away with simpler patterns or techniques. Now it seems, that you must employ a variety of techniques and the best dead drifts humanly possible to stay productive. The use of fluorocarbon is now a must instead of a passing thought. I feel the fish in several easier to access Smokies streams have become more educated because of many anglers now practicing catch and release, and I'm glad they have. While its true most folks just passing through will, and do, go fishless. Those who approach the stream methodically and use the term stealth with more than just an after thought, will catch trout.
Deep Creek is as good as it's always been, well at least the last thirty years.
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  #29  
Old 01-17-2012, 01:17 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Eugene--While I agree with much of what you say, I don't feel Deep Creek is as good as it has been in the last thirty years. Or maybe I'm just losing my touch (if so, though, it's happend all at once in recent years). A decade ago in the lower reaches of Deep Creek I could reasonably expect to catch 20-30 trout, or more, about any time I went. Today that is not the case for me, and I know another local angler who fishes the stream about as much as you do, Jim Estes, feels much as I do.
Pressure is unquestionably a factor, and I think otters are another one. Then too, and this is pressure in a way, it's pretty darn difficult during prime times of the year to find a stretch of water anywhere below the turnaround where there isn't someone fishing or where someone hasn't fished that day. I think recovery from "scare factors" is longer in heavily fished streams, and if so that's definitely an issue on lower Deep Creek.
If you go back 40 or 50 years, the difference is absolutely striking. Many times when I was a teenager I would hike above the Bumgardner Bend and fish all day. I didn't ever count fish, but most days I probably landed between 50 and 100 trout. Many would be in the 9-12 inch range. I almost never caught browns then, though they were there. I simply didn't know how to fish for them or, more precisely, where to fish for them. Maybe one out of every 200 fish I landed was a brown.
Finally, good to have you on the Forum. For those of you who don't recognize his name, Eugene is a longtime guide, competition caster, local guy, and genuinely good fellow. He also brings a lot of experience on the N. C. side of the Park, to this Forum.
Jim Casada
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  #30  
Old 01-17-2012, 05:21 PM
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duckypaddler duckypaddler is online now
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Smile Thanks for the input Mr Shuler

It's nice to see a post, especially from a person as familiar as you are with Deep Creek. I hope to see more of your posts, as well as from you lurking Smokies Masters who don't post much. This board had been pretty slow lately. I think we just had a bad day, or maybe were influenced by the low water we had the month before. It was just last week, I got an e-mail through my website saying he knew about the Green Rope I found hanging over Left Fork. Turns out it was a guy fishing with his son the month before, and they used it to hang their packs while they were fishing. He never said why they left it, but I'm guessing it got tangled, and they couldn't get it down. Anyway, he said the fishing was excellent, so I'll have to get back in there and find out for sure

I also went on the SMHC hike to Tsali rock. We took Fork Ridge from the Dome road a little over 3 miles just past where the trail used to cross over Keg Drive (doesn't anymore, and the map is wrong and not updated) then dropped down to Keg Drive

View of Keg Drive



following stream to about 100 yards from Left Fork, where we vered right and worked upstream on Left Fork which eventually opened up to reveal Tsali Rock.



Hardly looks big enough for 12 people, but is where the best records indicate Tsali was found. I'm sure he didn't spend the 30+ days there. I would love to know closer locations to explore from others that might have some knowledge on the subject.

Here is another shot




It does have fresh water within 6 feet, but I could only last a night or 2 there

There are also some nice trees including this big Poplar



On the way out we just hiked up behind Tsali Rock on the parrallel rigde to Fork Ridge where we hiked to its high point before eventually dropping back down through some decently thick rhodo back down to Keg Drive and back to the Fork Rigde trail. Cool place
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