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Old 07-27-2014, 10:58 PM
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David Knapp David Knapp is offline
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Default Backcountry Report and Pictures

This past Friday I got up early to head over to the Smokies for a backcountry trip with friends. They were hitting the trail early, so after a stop at Little River Outfitters, I continued on to my trail head and started hiking the several miles up to where we were camping for the weekend. This was a new one for me so I was glad to see some new water.

Upon arriving at camp, I found my friends gearing up to fish. After a quick discussion on where they were fishing, I set up my tent and geared up to hit the water. The stream I chose was roughly followed by a trail. I say roughly because the trail was often up the hillside and out of easy reach...a true backcountry experience if there ever was one. What a beautiful place to fish!



The better fish were generally taking the dropper although some preferred the dry fly.





The brookies were all on the small side, but you would be hard pressed to find a prettier fish in these waters...



Eventually, the difficulty (I know, life is tough but someone has to do it ) of keeping the dry fly floating with all the fish hitting it made me decide to try something a little different. In "Reading the Water" by David Hughes, he mentions fishing wets upstream in small streams when the sun is on the water. Basically high stick nymphing but with unweighted (or minimally weighted) patterns, this technique is challenging but proved to be worth the effort. My best rainbow from this stream fell for this technique and one of my favorite soft hackle patterns.



Soon after this fish, I crawled up the hillside to find the trail and made tracks back to camp. The next day would bring a lot more fishing adventures!

To be continued...
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Old 07-27-2014, 10:59 PM
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Default Day 2...

For day 2, we decided to all fish together, taking turns as necessary and leap frogging any time we could move ahead upstream without spooking water. The first stream we fished this day was one that didn't have a trail along it, at least not an "official" one. The creek was amazing, with small pocket water, picture perfect pools, and even rhododendron tunnels.



Along the way, we decided to get into the running for the fish of the year. Duckypaddler and Big Sur, you now have some competition!



In the woods and on the stream, I kept noticing brilliantly colored leaves. Is it fall already?





This stream treated us very well but eventually it kept branching and the branches were getting pretty tight. This was an open spot, but you can see where the stream almost disappears into the vegetation above this pool...



After a little scouting, we found a nice manway that would hopefully get us out quicker than staying in the streambed the whole way. Here it is...



A little easier to locate here perhaps?



On the hike down, I stopped for another stream shot.


Later we headed downstream from camp to slightly larger water. Along the way, I had my worst fright of the year when I glanced down and saw this guy in mid stride. Needless to say I jumped pretty high in clearing this snake and might or might not have screamed very loudly...



Heading back to camp for the night, I had to take one last parting stream shot.



The beauty of this place was incredible as are most places in the Park's backcountry. This trip reminded me how much I enjoy backpacking in the Park. I'm sure I'll be back sometime very soon...
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:57 AM
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Just was your movie "Snakes on the Trail" YIKES!
Anybody willing to broadjump rattlers to win this competition for smallest fish should win by default. Besides if we start getting any smaller fish we will need a microscope to measure them.
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Old 07-28-2014, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigsur View Post
Anybody willing to broadjump rattlers to win this competition for smallest fish should win by default. Besides if we start getting any smaller fish we will need a microscope to measure them.
I was hoping that jumping rattlers to get to small fish would give me an edge but figured I shouldn't take anything for granted...
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:58 PM
HuskerFlyFisher HuskerFlyFisher is offline
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Originally Posted by David Knapp View Post
I was hoping that jumping rattlers to get to small fish would give me an edge but figured I shouldn't take anything for granted...
Wow. So you literally jumped over the snake to avoid him? Is that a timber rattler? How common is it to see one of these in the wild?
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by HuskerFlyFisher View Post
Wow. So you literally jumped over the snake to avoid him? Is that a timber rattler? How common is it to see one of these in the wild?
Yes, my left foot was about six inches from the snake and my right foot was lifting into the next step when I saw it. Apparently I can jump really well off of my left foot... I've seen a few timber rattlers over the years but this weekend they were out in force. A couple of guys camping near us found 2 separate ones on rocks in the creek and I spoke with a couple on the hike out who had seen one on the trail. Over the years I've stepped over quite a few copperheads but this was the first rattler. You would think I would do a better job of watching where I am going...
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:13 AM
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kytroutman kytroutman is offline
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At least it appears the guy was in the yellow phase so the color was a little more defined against the surroundings. A black phase and he would have been blended into the color of the log. Maybe David can start a new Olympic sport. The Rattlesnake High Jump or Broad Jump.
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:31 AM
bmadd bmadd is offline
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He looks friendly in that photo! Doesn't appear that the snake was worried about you.

I think I would rather see one like that then have been walking and found him by hearing him rattle!
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bmadd View Post
He looks friendly in that photo! Doesn't appear that the snake was worried about you.

I think I would rather see one like that then have been walking and found him by hearing him rattle!
In my experience, I prefer when they rattle as they usually do it before you get anywhere close enough to have problems. I'm lucky my foot didn't hit this one. I've had them rattling from 20 feet away and that makes it much easier to spot and stay away from them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kytroutman View Post
At least it appears the guy was in the yellow phase so the color was a little more defined against the surroundings. A black phase and he would have been blended into the color of the log. Maybe David can start a new Olympic sport. The Rattlesnake High Jump or Broad Jump.
Even better, I think the rattlesnake jump should be part of fly fishing competitions from now on. Perhaps an obstacle course where contestants have to run through the woods to get to a secret fishing hole would work...
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Old 07-31-2014, 05:07 PM
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Default No warning

David,

I am with you on the warning. A few years ago I was fishing in a snake filled area of Oregon. I was walking down a path when I heard just a very faint noise, but being in a rattlesnake infested area, it was enough to get me to pause. About 3 yards ahead a rattlesnake crossed the trail. He made no more noise. After the incident, it really bothered me that he made very little noise. I suppose if I had not stopped he might have gotten louder, but who knows. I want them to go crazy with that tail long before I get close.

That looks like a very long snake. How long was he? Did he ever make any noise? Did you ever see any in Colorado?
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