Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Little Fishing And Some More Hiking

Fish Camp Bow

This past Saturday, I made it back up to the Smokies for another hike. This time I took along the fly rod hoping to catch a couple brookies. We headed to Elkmont, and hiked in about 3 miles before deciding to wet the line. This was my first time in this area, and I was completely amazed at how peaceful and easy of a hike it was. The grade was very shallow and the trail was wide. This will probably be one of the first trails we take Trey to when he gets older. The weather was slightly warmer than the previous weekend, but it was still a nice day to be out and enjoying this wonderful resource we have so close to home. The water was scarily low, it was in desperate need of rain. I only managed to fish for a little over an hour total time, but caught 2 bows. I missed more strikes than I care to recall. As fall approaches and water temps cool down, I look forward to making another trip to this area looking for spawning browns.

This area has had some recent bear activity, and I am hearing many more reports this year of bear sightings. Also, supposedly there have been lots of rattlesnakes present above Elkmont in the previous weeks, and luckily I didn't run into one while climbing in and out of the river. That would be a perfectly dreadful end to a wonderful day. Until next time, God Bless and tight lines.

Warning Sign at Goshen Prong Trailhead

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hiking to Charlie's Bunion

Charlie's Bunion

Charlie's Bunion Trailhead (The AT)

Today, my neighbor Jeff and I headed up to the Smokies for some hiking. We expected to see lots of people out and about since the weather was wonderful, so we wanted to go with a less popular destination. We originally wanted to go to Spence Field, but after looking at the length and elevation change, we chose to go to Charlie's Bunion. Neither of us had ever done this hike and it was extremely relaxing. I hadn't been out on a hiking trip without a fishing rod in a couple years, so this was a decent start. A website that use to learn more about some of the trails in the park rate Charlie's Bunion as a diffulty of ~11.5. Just for comparison here is how this trail rates with some other more popular trails: Chimneys - 6.7, Alum Cave to Mt. Leconte - 16.5, and Ramsey's Cascades - 12.7. When we arrived at the Newfound Gap trailhead we were surprised to find the parking lot relatively empty, especially since the Chimneys and Alum Cave trailheads were overflowing with vehicles and people. Shortly into the hike we encountered a couple other hikers coming toward us very rapidly. They informed us that there were a couple bears up ahead in the middle of the trail munching on berries. We waited around for awhile and then started making lots of noise before we restarted our hike. As we rounded the bend we could hear sticks breaking just down the bank and some small trees moving. So, our noises must have worked because we never actually saw the bears and so we continued on. It was in the low 70's and overcast all day, making for a very comfortable hike. Once we arrived at our destination we sat down for lunch and to take in the views. Looking at the barren almost sheer slopes, one could almost imagine how this landscape was formed by a raging fire and flashflood that scalped the surface of all vegetation and soil. This hike is one I look forward to making again, maybe on a low humidity very clear day. The views would be even more spectacular.

View from the AT

Lots of flowers along the way

Cool Looking View

Sunday, August 10, 2008

First Smallie Attemp

Well, I have been hearing lots of reports about amazing local smallmouth fish, so I thought I would give it a try. The weather was absolutely phenomenal, beautiful blue sky, low 80's, and not much humidity to speak of. We don't get many days like that in August. I got off work on Friday around noon and headed for Townsend. Since this was my first attempt at smallies, I was somewhat lost as to where I should begin my search. I knew of a public access area just past Walland, and figured that would be as good of a place to start as any. When I arrived there were some people there playing in the water and another guy just upstream fishing. I got geared up and made my way into the water fishing downstream as I went. Not long into the day, using a tiny chartreuse popper, I hooked into my first rock bass. Not big, about the size of a bluegill, but a decent fight nonetheless. So, I continued to work my way downstream and picked up a couple more rock bass on the popper. When things began to slow down, I checked the water temperature and it was around 79 degrees. Wow, I couldn't believe it was that warm. I chose to move farther upstream looking for cooler water and a little more privacy. Unfortunately, I found neither, and needless to say no smallies. Well, after talking to Daniel and Bill at LRO, I learned that I was probably out there at the worst time of day. They suggested that I give it a try during the two hour window around sunrise and sunset when the smallmouth are most aggressive. Well, the opportunity to get out and enjoy the mountain scenery was nice, and I am looking forward to my next smallmouth trip. I plan to do some more research into locations and how to approach this wary fish.

God Bless and tight lines to all.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

It's Been A While

It has been a while since my last post, so here is an attempt to catch up somewhat. I have only been fishing once more this month, and the guys I went with made me promise to not tell the river we went to. The fishing was quite nice, and all my fish were caught on dries. Not only that, but all the trout were in the 13 - 16" range.

I have a hiking trip to the Smokies planned in the coming weeks, my first such in a long time. I am planning on leaving the rod at home so I won't be tempted to fish. I plan on just enjoying the scenery and spending time with friends hopefully experiencing new trails that I have never hiked before.

The rest of the month has been devoted to the little man. He is growing so quickly, and we are just trying to enjoy as much of it as we can. I am spending lots of time behind the camera taking pictures of him and various other scenes. Below are a couple photos of Trey and a couple more where I am playing around with Depth of Field with my camera. In two of the photos shown, I was intentionally trying to induce as much blur as possible to make the item in the foreground standout. I had to buy a particular lens to accomplish this task, and it also works very well for portraits by causing the same effect. I am also working on my white balance skills. My point and shoot camera that I take fishing has preset white balance settings, and it is often not correct. My D40 allows me to fine tune my white balance or even measure it for each manually before taking lots of pictures that are incorrectly colored. I think I am making pretty good progress considering I have never had any classes and have basically taught myself how to do all of these techniques.

I also need to update my fly pattern of the month. I hope to be able to get to that this week, but with it being our 3rd anniversary and the little boy, I may not make it that far.

Depth Of Field Practice

Play Time

The Fruits of Our Labor: Blackberry Jelly

Silly Boy

19" Clinch River Brown