Saturday, March 26, 2011

Trey's First Camping Trip

Last weekend as we were returning from a conference in Nashville, Trey asked to go camping. What was unusual was that it was completely out of the blue, and we hadn't even been discussing camping. So, my mind immediately went to work thinking about how we could do it. Considering we were still driving home on I-40 with about another two hours left ahead of us, I started calling my parents. I figured that if we got home and threw the camping gear in the truck we could at least go out to the farm and put the tent up for the night. This way if Trey didn't like it or got scared we could drive up to my parents house and let him sleep there for the night. We didn't even bother changing clothes after the conference, we just put the camping gear in the truck and drove to the farm. I was even putting the tent up and starting the campfire in what I had worn to the conference earlier. Thankfully he loved it, and behaved himself well around the campfire.

That night we were all sitting around the campfire talking about how big the moon was. It wasn't until the next night that we were experiencing a super moon, and it would be a long time before the moon was this close to earth again.

The next morning I was awakened by the sound of a turkey gobbling. So, I unzipped my window and nearly fell out of my bed when I saw a flock of turkeys walking past. Four of which were in full strut trying to track down the hens. What a way to wake up.

I let Trey and Amy sleep in some before going to wake them for breakfast. When I checked on them I found Amy had moved up to my cot and Trey was asleep on the air mattress. Unfortunately the air mattress had deflated on them during the night, and has officially seen its last camping trip.

As we were leaving Trey asked to go camping again, so it looks like I now have myself a little camping buddy from now on. YES!

Spending more time in the mountains

I took the Tuesday afternoon off from work and et up with a couple of message board friends for a short fishing outing. Met Buzz at LRO around 1:30 and then Jeremy at the trailhead around 2:15. After a few minutes spent gearing up we headed up the trail. Jeremy and I elected to wear waders while Buzz chose the more manly alternative. Shortly into our hike, we came upon this little jewel. It was the only trillium we would see the whole day.

We walked up the trail for about 45 minutes before hopping into the river at our first spot. It was tight quarters, and I primarily hung out in the back taking pictures.

It wasn't long before Jeremy had one on using a double nymph rig.

We all three worked our way upstream for probably 1/4 mile, all of us catching fish regularly as we went. I would occasionally get out and move farther upstream so as not to put too much pressure on the fish. Many looked like this:

Buzz was fishing a Quill Gordon, I had on a QG with a BHPT dropper, and Jeremy was using his double nymph rig. Buzz and I missed countless fish on the dry, but we still managed to hook our fair share of surface feeders. Most of the fish I caught were significantly larger than those that were caught along WPLR in previous outings, including the one below.

After catching my first couple fish, I took a short break again. Mainly I was just taking in the scenery and snapping a few pictures along the way. It was such a beautiful day, and the river and its fish were so beautiful.

I had to cut my trip shorter than the other guys in order to exchange a cot at BPS, however just before leaving I managed to see Buzz land a very nice rainbow from the last run. It was a very enjoyable trip thanks to these two fine fisherman, and I hope to meet up with them again in the future.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Taking Advantage of Smokies Hatches

I to got out for a little while on Sunday. I had the option of fishing either the high flows of the larger rivers for big browns, or looking for calmer conditions of side streams and a possible hatch. I chose the second.

I expected to have to dredge the bottom with heavy weight to get any hookups. However, I was surprised to see Quill Gordons and blue quills coming off by the dozens in the little area I was fishing. So, I tied on a #12 Quill Gordon and alternated between a #16 BHPT or a #14 Quill Gordon wet fly dropper, and was into fish consistently all afternoon. All of my better fish came on the nymph and wet fly, however had lots of takers on the dry. Surprisingly lots of the small fish were hooked on the outside of the head. When I say small I am talking about 4", so I assume it was because their mouths were too small to take the whole fly. I tried to catch a couple Quill Gordons for a photo, but it was a little difficult to move around very quickly in the higher water.

I actually ran out of Frog's Fanny in the mid-afternoon, and had pretty much fished my area thoroughly. Not to mention I was book ended by a couple other fisherman. So, I chose to try and find another small stream and swing back by LRO to replenish my supply. I then made my way up to Jake's Creek in hope of finding some decent pocket water to fish, but was surprised to see it still flowing extremely heavy. I guess maybe the snow runoff kept it a little higher than the stream I was fishing previously. However, there were still lots of bugs fluttering around above the surface. On my way to Jake's Creek I saw one brave angler standing in the middle of a very high and swift Little River. About 100 yards upstream from him was a kayaker coming downstream very quickly. Didn't see how that turned out for either of them, but I hope both came out okay.

Looking back, I probably should have never left the original spot I was in as the hatch probably just continued to get better as the day progressed. Regardless, it was a beautiful day, and my best day fishing in the Smokies in a long time. Just in time for those of you coming into town for spring break. Now, if we can just get the weather to cooperate for a while. Be sure to have a good supply of quill gordons, blue quills, and pheasant tails with you.

Here are a couple pics: (No pics of fish with dry fly since they were all really small)
Little bow taken on a Quill Gordon emerger

Best bow of the day on a BHPT

P.S. - While I was in LRO checked out some of the new Fishpond gear. Wow, they have really outdone themselves this year. I love the new Piney Creek tech pack. Gonna have to get me one of those.

Here are some shots from the Jake's Creek area. These old houses really intrigue me, and anyone interested in the history around Townsend and Elkmont should read the book Last Train to Elkmont.

19" Clinch River Brown