I got a chance to fish the mountains this past Friday. I stopped by LRO about 11:30 with hopes of heading above Elkmont for a few hours of solitude. Daniel told me that a guy just left the shop reporting about how crowded Elkmont was that morning. So it was recommended that I pick somewhere else to go. I passed a group of probably 300 motorcycles, so apparently Elkmont was heavily crowded.
I don't know what possessed me to pass up the zoo-like atmosphere at Elkmont for the circus-like atmosphere of Forge Creek, but I did. It has been a long time since I last fished Forge Creek, but the results that time were quite surprising. Unfortunately this trip it wasn't the case, and I saw and caught more chubs than I ever thought was possible. After an hour and too many trash fish, I packed up to make my way to Tremont. Little did I know but apparently everybody in the area must have selected that same time frame to do the Cades Cove loop. I didn't imagine anybody in their right mind would try to drive the loop looking for wildlife on a 90 degree day at 2:00. I was wrong! Boy, was I wrong!
It was so bad that there were actually park rangers out directing traffic past the one and only deer to be seen that day. You read that correct, one deer had the traffic at a standstill. I am talking about a 40 car backup to see one deer! I will give that young fellow credit, he was quite a decent specimen with all six of his velvet covered antlers. However, I hardly believe he was worthy of a two park ranger escort....
About an hour after I set out from Forge Creek, I arrived at my destination above the Institute to try my hand up there. I was quite surprised to see water running off the hillside and into the river quite heavily. Also, the water clarity was somewhere between tea colored and chocolate milk. Apparently it had rained quite heavily on the middle prong while I was fishing Forge Creek, and I got there just as the water was getting muddy and rising.
I put on a large nymph and tried fishing some of the deep runs around that area, but had no luck. Eventually, I chose to call it a day and head on back home to rescue my 8 month pregnant wife from our 3-yr son who was basically having his run of the place. Seeing as how this will probably be my last chance to wet a line until late fall due to the upcoming baby, I was hoping to have a fruitful day on Forge Creek. Unfortunately, this trip allows me to scratch Forge Creek off my list of potential hidden gems for the time being.