Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Tree

My right hand has been messed up for the last month. I'm very right handed so this has meant no fishing, fly tying, playstation 3 or excessive typing. Pretty much no unnecessary movement. Its been a long month. The hand has been feeling better this past week and I am sick of watching tv on my days off. Last Sunday I couldn't stand it anymore and thought a hike wouldn't hurt. As long as I don't fall or do anything stupid.

The Kidd and I tried last fall to hike to a big poplar tree in the Greenbriar section of the Smokies I had heard about. The manway follows along a little stream (that holds feisty little trout!) with several clearly visible homesites along the way. We didn't find it the first time due to the manway shrinking and eventually fading into in the freshly fallen leaves. Hoping the trail would be more visible this spring we decided to try it again.

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I love rhododendron tunnels.

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Is it already foam beetle time?

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No wonder we lost the trail.

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Somewhere around three miles in (I'm absolutely guessing) we finally found it! That it took two tries made it even sweeter.

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We stopped by the stream for a rest on the way out. You can't see it here but there are rocks stacked on both sides of the stream. My guess is it was an old bridge since there is a homesite I have visited before while fishing. I tried but couldn't talk the Kidd into crossing for a visit.

There are a few more pics from the hike if you are interested. The other two links are pics from past visits to the area.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Y prong

After last weeks ill advised trip to the smokies ended up being a bust, I decided I had to get back up there and into some spring hatches. Last week I only saw one mayfly hatch off of the high water, and my new big black stonefly nymph got a few bumps, but I knew it would be better with lower flows. I didn't try very hard and my time was limited so I made sure I had plenty of time and effort this week.

When I arrived around 1030 it was lightly raining off and on. Sometimes it was more of a mist than rain. The water was still a little bit high, but nothing to fear. I stopped at a spot along the road just to get a feel for what was happening. There were a few bugs flying around but none on the water and no trout splashing. I jumped back in the truck and headed upstream as far as I could drive then walked to a nearby tributary where I was more comfortable wading and crossing when needed.

After a half hour of refusals at my shiny new big black nymph I finally saw a big mayfly struggling to fly upwards and switched to a big dark bushy fly with a pheasant tail dropper. Bingo!

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Where I fished

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First of the day

I came to a pool with a big rock and an eddy on the back side. There were a lot of stick cased caddis hanging on just below the surface. Last week I saw a lot of rock cased caddis on top of the rocks in a different tributary.

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 There were more than just caddis hanging around. See them all?

It took around a half hour but they soon started to hit the dry fly. I didn't see any trout rising otherwise. I worked my way upstream catching plenty of little rainbow trout along the way. I wanted to find the mouth of another tributary I have fished before but never seen the confluence. The manway used for access brings you in above a waterfall that prevents rainbow trout from passing and is all brook trout beyond. I've never seen this waterfall so I wanted to try and find it too.

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The mouth of X creek at Y prong

I found the tributary and made my way up the lowest stretches of the stream. It wasn't as easy going as the lower tributary, and thats saying something since it wasn't exactly like climbing stairs either.

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I had to climb a few of these

I came to a spot where I either had to swim to continue or climb out, and wearing waders, swimming was not an option. Once I climbed up I thought I could see the manway just above so I kept climbing, bushwhacking my way through laurels and doghobble. I came to a flat spot but no manway. I could see another flat further up the hill, steeper but less vegetation to push through. On the way up I spotted a rock wall I had never noticed before and wondered if I missed the trail and was heading up the ridge. It looked flat just above the wall so I climbed up and found out why I had never seen this wall before. The manway is literally on top of it!

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Not swimming today...

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See the manway?

I started up the trail and after coming over a hill I came to an open area. There was something big on the manway about 50 yards ahead that I thought was an adult bear but it was a big ass boar! It hadn't noticed me so I slowly backed up several steps before the chicken in me took over and I ran down the trail as fast as I could, constantly peeping over my shoulder, and looking for a tree I could actually climb. I don't know much about boar behavior so I wasn't taking any chances.

Smokers can't run very far and I didn't. Luckily it didn't chase me. I caught my breath as I walked down the trail toward the truck. The brook trout can wait.

I stopped at a few spots along the road, picking up a little rainbow here and there on the dry fly. Then I hit a wall. I'm not 25 anymore and my legs were starting to gimp out on me, betraying my trust while wading, so I called it a day at 6. After a long and lazy winter, I'm still sore today.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Just a couple

Have you heard about this place called the lunchtime pond? That's what I call it. Its a few miles from my work and an opportunity to indulge my addiction 20 minutes at a time. Though I do stop by sometimes on my way home if I still have the itch...

Well I finally reupped my fishing licenses for the 2015 season  this past week and I couldn't wait to break it in. I dusted off the Ol Scum rod and the little sling pack I made for carrying gear and stashed them both in the truck before heading to work.

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My purse

I actually made this a couple of years ago from the cargo pockets of my torn pants, and the cheap belt that came with the pants I bought to replace them. YouTube can teach you more than just how to double haul!

When I got to the pond it was lightly raining and as full as I have ever seen it. I didn't go by there but a couple times all winter, and I didn't fish when I did so I didn't know what to expect. My neighbor hit them pretty hard last year and it showed in my catch rate but I know he can't catch them all.

I walked up to the water, dropped my rubber legged dragon in and gave it a few twitches to get it wet. Mr bucket mouth was waiting nearby and he ambushed me. Before I ever cast!

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Pete can't eat them all

I don't know what it planned to do with the food it thought it was eating. It clearly just had a big meal and a tail was sticking out of its throat.

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I lost my RLD a few casts later so I switched to a black wooly bugger and got a few more smaller bass to bite. I lost all but the one on the very last cast.