A week removed from physically being there, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has all but consumed my thoughts. The beautiful fall colors, the whisper of the trout streams, the ability to be amongst the crowds, yet still find the serenity of escape, are all haunting me (in a good way) as this Halloween month comes to a close.
Looking back, thought I'd share a few photos and highlights from the trip. There was so much water, I probably could have fished there each day, every day for a year and not fish it all, however having "base camp" in nearby Cherokee, NC, these were the spots I visited.
The following spot runs right alongside the road as you head north through the park, past Smokemont Campground. A small footbridge passes the stream, and with a short walk, you can be totally removed from sightseers and picture takers. I went to this event after day one of the Tenkara Jam, as it was nearby and there was not a lot of daylight left.
I managed two small rainbows, and lost probably five or six more. Picking apart the pocket water took some time and before you knew it, I had lost track of the clock to the point where I was forced to wade back to the car downstream in the near dark. Not advisable.
Day two of fishing after the Jam took me back to a place a bit further away that I had first fished with Owl Jones & his buddy "Milliam" in 2012. It's nice to see that Mother Nature has reclaimed some of its roadside charms.
I found it to be a wonderful stream that fished far better this year than four years ago. It required a fairly long hike in and a lot of rock hopping, but it was totally worth the "inconvenience." Several rainbow trout greeted me in the lower stretches, before gradually changing over to brook trout as I gained elevation.
The final day of fishing was the best. Unfortunately, I needed to work from the hotel room a bit too long in the morning which wasted some hours I had intended to be on the stream. However, once I was able to get my affairs in order, it was certainly worth the wait.
Quite simply, the fishery was on fire, and utilizing my orange and white road kone kebari like a dry fly through the shallow runs and pools, I was able to bring many a fish to hand. As before, the fish were mostly rainbow trout, with some brook trout mixed in for good measure. I found it strange that I didn't encounter any brown trout during my three days of fishing, but I can't say that I minded, or that they were missed.
After an experience like that, it's very difficult to leave the Smokies without a smile on your face. I'm now only faced with the dilemma of figuring out when to go back.