Rain. Temps in the 30s and low 40s. Camping. Not normally a recipe for good camping, some friends and I decided to battle the elements as we were all free this past weekend. We wanted to do a long hike in preparation for a trip to the Grand Canyon in another couple of weeks. Amazingly, despite the bleak forecast, the weather actually turned out very well. Friday night featured just some very light drizzle that quit once we set up camp. Saturday turned out to be partly cloudy which meant we had some great views once we got to the higher elevations.
For the most part the camera stayed in its case. The light was a little weak, and I knew that the pictures I stored in my mind were much better than anything my camera could accomplish. Our hike took us up the Anthony Creek Trail out of Cades Cove to the Bote Mountain Trail. Ascending up to the AT, we then took a right turn and headed west for three miles. In the process we took in views from Spence Field and Russell Field. Our route back down was the Russell Field Trail which connected to the Anthony Creek trail. Several hours and close to 15 miles later, we were back in camp, all a little sore, but everyone agreed that the hike was well worth it.
Sunday I planned to do a little fishing. The morning dawned overcast and stayed that way up until we headed out of the Cove. I was excited because the low light conditions increased the odds that some large browns would be out feeding. Sadly, as we drove back down Laurel Creek Road towards Little River, the clouds thinned and soon broke completely. The day turned out beautiful but not so good for fishing. I still managed some small rainbows and even got a 14 inch brown to come attempt to eat. Unfortunately I set the hook too early and missed out on pictures of the nice fish.
Hopefully I will be out fishing again soon, most likely on the Caney Fork this next weekend. This is the time of year to be fishing streamers as much as possible on the tailwaters and I'll probably try to do that some...with a little luck, the big guys might come out and play...
UPDATE: 5/24/2015 -- Streams in the Smokies are getting lower with the recent lack of rainfall. Dry/dropper rigs are accounting for a lot of fish, especially on the dropper. High gradient streams in the mid and higher elevations will fish better because of the broken water but water temperatures are still acceptable all the way to the Park boundary on Little River. We could use some rain so keep praying, doing rain dances, or whatever it is you do to get the water flowing.
The Caney Fork continues to fish well. Conditions vary from good to great with some days being easier than others. On days that start out slow, a pattern change or two will keep the rods bent. Contact me about a float trip if you want to get in on this great fishing at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com or call/text (931) 261-1884. With the holiday weekend and summer coming up, expect the fishing pressure to steadily increase on this river so get out and enjoy it while you can.
Cumberland Plateau smallmouth fishing is definitely getting cranked up. Two weeks ago, I landed my new personal best smallie from a favorite local stream. This fishing will only improve. Isonychias are hatching on the smallie streams here on the Plateau and Golden Stoneflies should be just around the corner. Over the next few weeks, the streams will transition to great surface terrestrial and popper fishing.
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