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Thread: Couple days in WNC

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Default Couple days in WNC

    Hey guys, typed up a report for the local club and figured some of y'all might be interested in reading it. Had to delete out day 1 to get under the length requirements but you aren't missing much except some elk pictures.

    Day 2:

    Since fishing wasn't as productive as we had hoped on Day 1 we made the call to head to a creek we know well and that usually produces some decent rainbows for us. Got to the trailhead and were greeted by 3 horse trailers and maybe 10 cars. One of which was festooned with fly fishing stickers. Not ideal, but we decided to give it a shot anyways. After a roughly 3 mile hike in past a lot of good looking water we could see a big pool from up on the trail. After a fairly lengthy but mild bushwack we got to the water. A couple casts in and we would get our biggest rainbow of the trip. We continued to pick up fish as we hiked up the creek. Had one rod with a double nymph rig and the other with a yellow neversink. 9 out of 10 fish came on the dry. I really should have switched the other rod over but figured the deeper pools would be better fished with the nymphs but we were never really able to figure it out. Hopped out and continued hiking up to the 4 mile mark where the creek split into it's two main tributaries. A propane stove and the dehydrated meals are a life changer after a long hike in. We had two different types of chicken during the trip and they were both excellent with the chicken risotto getting the slight nod. Hiked up one of the tributaries a little bit and continued to catch feisty rainbows. Had a long hike out so out we went. Ended up with 10 rainbows between the two of us which is a pretty good day for me in the Smokies.
    B8EB6D0D-996D-4ED6-8D47-5FD585395CE5 by wallace west, on Flickr
    83F441A2-8AC5-4B41-9C00-4FCA0D4B21EF by wallace west, on Flickr

    Day 4:
    There were a couple creeks off 441 that I had looked at but never fished that I wanted to try. Neither of them get very far from the road so I wasn't expecting much but they were at a high elevation which was a plus with the hot summer weather. Got on the first one and immediately began getting small hits but couldn't hook up with anything. Takes a little while for me to knock the rust off when it comes to trout fishing. Eventually got to a larger pool and put a cast down the middle of a current seam and was rewarded with a good take. A nice brown of 10 or 12 inches immediately takes off running downstream. I was a little slow and let him get out of the pool and down into the riffles below and immediately spit the hook. I've made the switch to pretty much only barbless flies for trout fishing but I would be lying if I said situations like that didn't have me reconsidering. Continued to fish up and eventually caught my only brown of the trip out of a little pocket. As I continued to fish up I was getting way fewer hits so decided to make a change.

    Jumped out of the creek and made the walk over to a well known brookie creek. Access was supposed to be poor but I didn't have any trouble getting to the water. It was a pretty creek and the plunge pools held good numbers of brookies. About 10 small brookies in and maybe a half mile up the creek I came to a dilemma. It was maybe 6:30 and if I could get back to the car quickly I had a pretty good chance of getting somewhere I could pick up a rainbow for the slam. Looking at the rhododendron **** between me and the trail I began to understand the access issues I'd noted when reading about the creek. Google maps appeared to show an area where the trail got close to the creek not far from me so I fished up that point picking up a couple more brookies. I was greeted by a cliff and no shot of reaching the trail. At that point the creek and trail head in opposite directions and don't reunite so back downstream I go. I see a route to what might be the trail that looks doable so off I go bushwacking. Unfortunately I didn't make it and took a pretty good slip but that's how it goes sometimes. I did see an area maybe 50 yards downstream where I could get out. Eventually made it back to the trail at 7:45 dead tired but with a slam still on my mind. Booked it back to the car and fished until dark but it wasn't meant to be.
    2CC720CF-AABC-429F-B3E4-49D1DF17C071 by wallace west, on Flickr
    Day 9:
    Between getting up early to mountain bike and cleaning the house we left maggie valley about noon headed for the blue ridge parkway. I'd heard rumors of a well known waterfall area with a ton of good sized brookies. Unfortunately for us this area was fairly close to Asheville and it showed. The parking lot and the shoulder for half a mile in either direction was stuffed full of cars. We break out the map and call an audible. Get to the audible parking lot and it is quite full as well but we are able to snag a spot. Most everyone is hiking to a well known waterfall but we're headed for a tributary with no trail access that I'm hoping ahs escaped being fished that day despite the hoards of people. Unlike the trails in the GSMNP these trails aren't on google maps. There is also no signage. We see a trail that appears to head towards the water so off we go. It was short and steep and definitely enough to keep the average person out. I get to the creek and notice that it is way too small for the river we're supposed to be on. We ended up following someone else's bushwack to the creek but it was helpfully marked with a red solo cup on a stick so you knew where to head back up on the way out. Downstream we go and eventually reach the spot we were looking for. We never did find the established trail but ran into some guys that came down it and they said it couldn't have been any better than the bushwack we followed.

    The fishing was great. It was a mixture of rock hopping and scrambling up the creek with brookies around every bend. I caught my personal best southern brookie and a couple other good ones besides it. I think the fish that will stick with me the longest was after a tough scramble up a cliff you came to a big tailout of a pool. Almost like a plunge pool that was 6ft long and maybe 10ft wide. I threw a cast in and immediately had a brookie come up and miss the hook. I then proceeded to cast 5 more times with him striking and missing the hook everytime. Getting nervous that he would figure out the game was rigged I borrowed Colleens rod that had a small light cahill on and he swung and missed at that fly twice. I sat down behind a boulder and tied on a dropper while Colleen watched him continue to chase down everything that came through his lane. I tossed in the dry-dropper and waited watching. He attacked the dropper with gusto and if you didn't know it was coming a big swing and a miss. Floated it through again and he ignored everything. Gave him a second and me a second to calm down and then floated it through again. This time it was on and I screamed like a little girl for the net. I'm hoping this memory sticks with me for quite a while. Quite different from redfish in Louisiana or a 20lb snapper offshore but no less valuable.
    6614F7C5-9135-41C4-B0A3-6A044C568D27 by wallace west, on Flickr
    92FB0720-37B9-45CC-8E89-EEF8CF721D69 by wallace west, on Flickr
    97ABB7A8-A670-4289-B6A6-A74E41C774BE by wallace west, on Flickr

    We were exhausted when we got to the car and rested the rods on the bike rack. Get changed and loaded up and as we pull out of the parking lot I notice the rods aren't in the car. U turned as the rubber is burning and rush back to the parking lot. The Orvis superfine bore the worst of it and must have been backed over with every section crunched. The reel is bent and won't spin so if someone thinks they can fix that let me know. Luckily my custom fiberglass rod escaped with some hairline cracks that don't appear to have gone all the way through. We took the superfine to the Orvis in Atlanta and they took care of us. I'll fish my custom until it breaks. It's mostly a brookie rod so as long as I avoid yanking on any trees or falling with it in my hand I think it will last a while longer. The trip ended on a high note and a low note at the same time but if I had it to do over again I don't think I would skip the day on the creek. Equipment can be replaced but days in the backcountry where you hardly see another soul come way too infrequently when located in Pensacola.

    Fly of the trip:
    C4C54040-2E3F-4A05-AA14-116059E9819D by wallace west, on Flickr

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006


    Good times. Thanks for sharing your story. Every trip is a unique story that unfolds in a multitude of ways.
    I think we all live with this notion: " In my family, there was no clear division between religion and fly fishing". -Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It.

    "Great things are done when men and mountains meet." William Blake

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Louisville, TN


    Nice trip!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Halifax, VA


    Wow!! Great trip! I'm headed back out in late September and hope to hit a couple of those spots. First though, we're headed down to coastal Carolina this weekend and next week and I'm going to have a swing (hopefully) at a few of those Reds.
    <(((>< In tribute to Ben, Duck Hunter extraordinaire, and man's best friend.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014


    This is a delayed response but thank you for posting this. Based on your description of day 4 I would assume you were on Kephart Prong, which is a great stream with lots of rainbows and the occasional nice brown. Ian Rutter’s book says there are brookies in Sweat Heifer Creek, a tributary of Kephart Prong. So if that’s where you were you may have been able to get your slam by just keep going upstream. I have often wondered if Grassy Branch and Hunters Creek are brookie streams (both are upstream extensions of Kephart Prong, with Hunters Creek being a feeder of Grassy Branch). If this is a don’t ask/don’t tell situation I apologize, but Kirk, Casada, and Rutter all include Kephart Prong in their books so I don’t think it’s any secret. By the way Kirk changed his recommendation of Kephart Prong from his first edition to his second edition, maybe in response to Casada’s favorable review, but none of the guides mention the fishing upstream of Sweat Heifer Creek (I could be wrong I’m speaking just from memory).

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