Little T Tribs in the Park and the Dragon
On Sunday, Steve and I went scouting along the SW corner of the park (along the Dragon) in search of lake running fish (like a few other folks have been doing lately). We were going to try Tabcat Creek first, but after looking at it from the parking area, we decided against it. It was very slow moving, had lots of leaves still in it and looked to be a bit of a hassle getting down there. There were a number of other bluelines we wanted to check out, so we went on.
We next hit Parsons Branch. Its a pretty small stream, it put me in the mind of the WP of the LR, but with more plunge pools. Parsons Branch Road crisscrosses through the stream numerous times (over concrete pathways) which might make it susceptible to siltation, although it looked pretty clear. The stream was 47.5 degrees, so it was still a bit cool for a lot of activity. Steve managed to catch a nice 9" rainbow (and a shiner) on a small BH Prince and we did get some strikes, but no other fish. We probably only covered about .5 miles above US129, but the fishing didn't look promising at the time, so we moved on. Its probably a nice stream at the right time, and its location limits the amount of pressure it would get, but it has fairly tight casting conditions.
After passing up on a few really small rivulets, we then completed the swing through the Dragon and made it over to Twenty Mile Creek. TMC looked to be more the type of stream we were after. It was much wider and had a lesser gradient. We fished up the stream about a mile and had some more strikes and my first fish of the year...a sassy 3" rainbow on a #16 Olive CDC EHC, but didn't see many more fish. This might be a good option in a few weeks, and into the spring. Its somewhat easier to cast in and there looks to be lots of "fishy" spots that would hold trout. However, its a haul to get to from the TN side of the park, so it may not get much pressure, either.
On the way back over the Dragon, we were flagged down by a girl on the side of the road crying hysterically with blood on her face. You can probably guess where this story goes...she and three friends were driving a bit too fast in their little car, with bald tires on a wet, windy road when a strong gust of wind hit their car and they lost control. The car slid off the road, hit a tree and slid down the embankment about 30' before getting lodged in a deadfall. Thankfully they were all wearing their seatbelts. They were all bloody and bruised, but other than a few broken noses, a broken jaw and a broken leg between the four of them, they were ok. We of course had no cell phone coverage at that spot, so we flagged down cars going in each direction to get them to call 911 when they got within cell range. We were also able to flag down a park ranger as he headed by and between all of them, they finally contacted help. It took about 45 minutes for anyone to show up at first and then another 30 minutes for the ambulances to arrive.
A traumatic afternoon, but I think they are all ok. The rescue folks said it was the first accident on the Dragon that they had covered this year. The first of many to come...be safe out there...