Tuesday, June 11, 2013

In the Smokies, Day Two

Overnight storms felled trees and dumped a ton of water on the mountains. Marc ran late meeting us due a tree blocking the road out of his house and it was still raining when he arrived at our motel. We drove into the park in search of trout water. The rivers were up a bit but were clear and the rain was only coming down in sporadic torrents so things were looking up.

Things have odd names in Tennessee. At least odd to the Yankee tongue. Pigeon Forge. Metcalf Bottoms. Foggy Bottom.* And creeks and brooks aren't called that, they're called branches. Sure, on a map they do sorta look like branches but when you're standing in the water it looks like a creek or brook. They should call stuff by what it looks like when you're standing in it. I don't stand on maps, much.

The rain assaulting Marc on some branch.
We fished a variety of places that day in the rain, sun, and rain again and while the fishing wasn't epic, it was better than I expected from a rainy day of fishing. Even though the water temps were still reasonably cool most of the swipes at my fly came in the fast water. I managed to land a spunky brown and a handful of larger Warpaint Shiners, a local minnow. Sadly, I didn't get a photo of one, being intent on trout, but they're pretty things.

We ended the evening in Cades Cove and I picked up a bunch of wild trout in places that looked too skinny to hold em. Marc cleaned up but then one expects the homewater's host to at least demonstrate that the trout are there.

Standard Cades Wild Rainbow
Cades Cove is an odd place. It's a ghost town. The residents of the valley were shooed off their land by the Yankee government in Washington back in the 1930s so that the public could enjoy their lands. Everyone just up a left and the lands and buildings are maintained in a pristine, post-zombie apocalyptic kind of way. It's all sort nice, scenic and creepy at the same time.**

No review of Cades Cove would be complete without describing the drive around this Yosemite of the Smokies. According to the National Park website, Cades Cove features an:
"...11-mile, one-way loop road circles the cove, offering motorists the opportunity to sightsee at a leisurely pace."
They should boldface and underline "at a leisurely pace". And god forbid a friggin' deer should walk out of the woods. The one-way loop road becomes a parking lot with people ogling the white tailed rat. Black bear?! Well, if a bear appears you should just pull off, sling you gear on your shoulder and walk out. You're screwed. Some folks actually walked by us while we were sitting in traffic pining for beer.

We were off the water at twilight and a malted beverage, a cigar and good conversation capped the day. While good catching makes a fishing trip enjoyable, there's something to be said for good company. Many a poor day of fishing has been rescued with a cigar and a beer and bullshitting while waiting for a hatch or a storm to pass. It turns out our evening ended with as much rain as it began with which somehow seemed appropriate.


With the last full day in the Smokies done we made plans for the morning. Again, not too early and for a spot that was on the way back towards Charlotte. Mike and I sought out a Five Guys for a burger (only a one-way, 35 minute drive) and called it a night to the sound of pounding of rain.

So much rain in the mountains and the rivers were fine. Could it last?

* I made that up.
** I can see Rick and the gang dodging zombies and The Governor's henchmen all through these hills.


  1. Great. A picture with a beer in my hand. I'll never shake this vile reputation. :-)

    1. It's such a good picture in so many ways....

    2. Reluctantly, I must agree. I like it a lot.