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By woolly bugger
#700941

12-10-20

Gas $1.89

Since my friend, Al, was nice enough to give us a “heads up” on the damn dam flows being shut down to just the low flow valve I had to make plans to get up and fish the ole gal. With all the rain and damn dam issues it’s been a rare event to be able to wade her.

I let the sun come up and begin to warm the day up before I hit the road. Hit the empty parking lot at 11 and hiked in to Sally’s Pool, tried a BWO emerger until I realized it was fruitless and then went with a nymphing rig, splitcase / rs2 combo. The wild browns took the fly ever so gently and I’m certain that many strikes went undetected, but enough came to hand to keep it interesting and I was glad that I made the trip.

I wondered what the trout would be thinking after about 7 months of flows ranging from 400 to several thousand cfs suddenly being cut to 45 cfs, the previously “normal” low flow wade fishing level. Would they all hunker down and freak out at the low water? It took a bit of time, but I found them along the seams of fast water and in some of the deeper slower runs. It was great to be back fishing the old spots again. I did get into a pod of stockers, normally I haven’t found many down this far from the stocking points, but I guess with the increased flows they have been dispersed further down along the river.

Around 3 a couple of other anglers showed up, one crashed through the woods, low holeing me, why he didn’t take one of the many cut-throughs is beyond me, and then he turned around and reentered further downstream at one of the paths. And then Roy, from SRTU high holed me, I could tell it was him by his hat. Hemmed in now I called it quites and headed back to the car for some sardines doctored up with some hot sauce,

The day sort of looked like this…






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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700973

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cistern, coal bucket, coal, chimney, toilet

these are a few of the things I saw today...


December 15, 2020

Gas $1.83

By the time I got my work done around the house it was well past noon and it was after 1:30 before I got out the door. Drove up the road a ways and hurriedly geared up grabbing the rod in the number one spot and took off up the trail. It was only when I got in a half mile that I realized that I was carrying the 9’ 5 wt! I briefly thought about returning to switch out rods but there wasn’t time. So I hit the water and didn’t catch anything.

I’ve always looked at the high south bank and wonder what was up there, it appeared to be a large relatively flat area possibly a good site for a homestead. So with that in mind I crossed the creek an climbed up the bank on a game trail. Right there on the trail, near the top there was a piece of porcelain tile, how odd I thought. As I reached the top of the incline I spotted another white object that seemed out of place. It was part of a broken commode. I walked around and found an interesting tree and took some photos. I heard flowing water to the south and continued across the plateau and down into the tiny branch, a dotted blue line on the topo. I wondered it there was a pool large enough to hold a trout and scrambled in and along the water. There were a few spots that looked promising and I hit them with a bow and arrow cast and caught nothing. I took more pictures before deciding I had had enough since I didn't catch anything.

I climbed up out of the branch and saw the cistern, how odd, but I also noticed the remains of a road that paralleled the branch and saw that it was marked with white metal blazes Not sure if the cistern was built for the CCC or something else.

I went up hill for a bit to where the branch branched off and then turned around walking along the road. Next I saw a lean-to and then continued back on down. I ran across several piles of coal and looked around and found what I believe to be the remains of a chimney.

Here’s the rest of the photos…


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The road...

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700990

December 23, 2020 # 5?

I said, “fuck it, I’m going anyway” as I got off to a late start on a three hour drive to a river I haven’t fished since Troutphisher left for parts unknow (Texas) . I walked in to an old favorite spot only to find that the river had changed course and was now 120 feet to the north. Obviously a huge flood had occurred as washed out trees were scattered and jammed across the flats between the old channel and the new river bed.

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I only saw the tiniest of midges in the air and tied on a tandom of Pat Dorsey’s patterns, Top Secret Midge, which I have renamed TLF, Tiny Little Fucker and a Mercury Blood Midge.

Worked the new water and caught fish and rhodos, damn that water is deep, fast, and cold, with only wader pants, I had to leave a few flies in the bushes as I didn’t sport enough freeboard to retrieve them.

Surprisingly, I only took two photo.

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Fueled up on the way home; Gas $2.16 at a BP where the Kenan tanker has just filled the tanks. The driver came out of the store and hollered at me, “I just put racing fuel in the tanks, so if you get a speeding ticked blame Kenan” I didn’t know what to say.


User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700993

12-29-20 5?
Gas $2.06 - .25 fuel rewards = $.1.81

I’ve always wated to fish this creek, I tried going in 25 years ago, but without cell phones and driving a Plymouth Voyager I backed out of the two track not knowing what was ahead. Now armed with cell service, GPS and satellite imagery I set out again. The road is well graded without any potholes, washboarding, or clearance issues, however there was a nice coating of snow as I headed down the rather steep incline. This gave me some pause. Checking the phone I had three bars, so I was good to go and hoped for the best. No problem whatsoever and I pulled into the wide graveled parking area in front of locked gates on roads that go further into the gamelands.

One of these gated and closed old roads followed the creek to the lower game lands boundary and crosses the creek several times. On the way down I checked for access and conditions and every natural line of drift was soon thwarted with rhododendron tangles. I would access a section and cast to one likely pool before having to back out and scramble around deadfalls and rhododendron hells to get to the next little pool. I soon gave up on this endeavor and continued along the old road to where is crossed the main branch for a second time. Here the stream was more open and I could opt for roll and back s instead of only bow and arrow.

I had a little brookie nibble at the fly but I don’t think it could engulf the fly. I did catch a rainbow, just the one. Pretty fish though. Then it was back to bushwhacking my way upstream.

I finally had enough and I contemplated heading back further downstream, but decided to save that for another day, say in March or April!

Photo dump

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Wore my jacket reversed to show some color.

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The road goes about a mile to the boundary.

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Combat with the rhodos.

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Man on the land, perhaps a foundation of sorts.

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Bridge at the second crossing.

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Ice formations.

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Casting room!

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Took the stimi.

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Exceptionally beautiful down here.

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Wild Water Abides, so it does, so it does.

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On the hike out I ran into a father and son deer hunting, They were from Florida.

The drive out was uneventful.
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700994
and the last one for 2020!

12-30-2020

I should have gone back the day before when the sun was out, but I had some other obligations. No need to get there in the frozen morning so I arrived at noon. The same Floridian father and son were having lunch at their truck. This was their third day hunting and they hadn’t seen one. They had scouted and found fresh rubs and scrapes and had flagged some of them. I told them of my plans, I was going down to the lower boundary and fishing back up to the bridge, which I figured would take about an hour and then I’d be hiking out around 3. We wished each other luck and I headed on down the trail.

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I passed their stand on the trail.

Once over the bridge the old road is much more overgrown and then crosses the creek a short ways down. Then the trail moves above the creek with steep banks and large rock formations, sort of a mini gorge. As I approached to within 600 feet of the boundary I took what looked like the best natural line of drift down to the creek. The forest is more open down in this part of the creek and casting wasn’t restricted to bow and arrow all of the time.

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There were some great fishy looking pools here and I thought for sure that I would catch some fish right off the bat. That didn’t happen and I had to work for them. I found them in the deeper slower pools, up against root wads and undercuts.

I turned away from the stream to look at a rock formation and saw the owl. It was at shoulder height and about 12 feet away. At first I thought it was just some leaves snagged on the branch, but the ears gave it away. Holding perfectly still they don't look alive and the mottled gray blended in with the rock. I only had my phone with me so I tried to get close enough for a good photo. I switched to video so I would get a shot if it flew away. As I approached to within 6 feet it decided that I was too close and flew away.

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The stream is pretty shallow and I could see that it might be way more productive to fish it in the spring. It is remote and beautiful.


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The hunters were waiting patiently in their stands as I walked out. It appeared that the younger one was glued to his phone and his head was down most of the time. I don’t think he saw me passing by.
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So that’s it for 2020. Carp pond closure. Smith river floods and damn dam problems. Too much rain, high water in the smallie rivers and Tennessee tailwaters. I’m hoping for a return to normal sometime in 2021!

But for now it’s sardines and beer.

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Scouted another little creek to try in the future…

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All y’all have a happy and safe new year’s eve!
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701008
wow2020.jpg
wow2020.jpg (231 KiB) Viewed 611 times

2020
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701024

January 3, 2021

Parts unknow #1

Gas $1.89 with discount.

I headed back to do some more recon.

Plan was to work upstream at the first crossing instead of going 8/10 of a mile down and save the downstream for later in the day.

The terrain is a lot steeper and plunge pools are more common. Plenty of water flowing in the creek.
But I caught nothing. Kept going higher and hit some bombproof pools to no avail. Traversed around deadfall dams and scrambled up cascades to hit more great looking pools. Despite the sun and warm weather to water was still cold and no fish were caught or even seen.

By the time I got back down to the crossing, I decided a beer would be better than hiking to the lower boundary line.

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Looks like stone retaining wall for an old logging road.

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More stonework along the bank.

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Looks like a swing for the pool.

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I cut over to the stream as the old road moves away from the creek.

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View of my new playground.
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701337

1-10-21 #2

Gas $2.14

Sunny, 44*

Thought about the SoHo as the wheels were off from 9 -4 but when the time came to hit the road I couldn’t face the windshield time. Probably should have gone but that’s the way it goes these days. I went back to my new playground to see if the slightly warmer temps and full sun would possibly make the fish more active on this creek.
10 minutes in I reached for my phone, which I recall putting in my chest pack, but it wasn’t there. Oh, crap! I double checked all of my pockets and then headed back up to the car. That was an extra 150’ climb to start the afternoon. Phone had slipped out inside the car and with it safely stored in my pack I headed back down the stream.
I went in slightly lower than the last time I was near the boundary to hit a couple of little plunge pools that looked promising. The snow was mostly gone but the water was still frigid. A few midges were in the air but the sun wasn’t hitting the bottom of the gorge.

I got a fish to rise – it hit the fly so quick and I or it missed the hook. I didn’t see any other fish. I past by “Owl Rock”, the little screech owl was not there this time. I took to the woods to avoid climbing over deadfalls. While crawling through some rhodo I pulled a muscle in my back and a sharp pain took my breath away. Oh crap, now each step up was painful and I sat down on a rock and collected myself while drinking a bottle of water. Feeling a bit better I continued on, but crouching down to be stealthy was no longer in the game plan.

As the River Rambler says; “I don’t go where I can catch a lot of fish, I go to where there aren’t a lot of people.”

Photo dump:

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Despite the lack of fish, I’m still enjoying crawling through this little creek and I hope to return when the water warms.
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701349
421sd wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:13 pm Remarkable how much stays green in winter there. :cool
That's mostly rhododendron catchyourflyus



January 13-14 #3, #4

Al gave the heads up on the spigot being tightened on the damn dam yesterday and today. It was late when I saw the notice, but not having anything better to do I rode on up for an hour and a half of fishing. The sun was well behind the ridge when I got on the water and it looked cold and uninviting. The rod was rigged with a dry, so I through the BWO into the run, but nothing came of that.

I switched over to nymphing and worked the usual spots, but that wasn’t working either so when I broke off that rig in the rhodos, I tied on a streamer and saw an aggressive brown chase it down and smash it.

That was the only fish to hand that evening. The temps plummeted after sunset and it was in the 30s when I got back to the car. I was great to be out on the “Home Waters” once again.

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January 14, #4
Sunny and warm,

I tried to get to the river again the next day around 10 but I ended up not being able to leave until around 11. The water looked high at the first spot I went, so I drove on up a ways and rigged up. The water was higher than the usual low flow and I really had to work for the fish.

I was frustrated and about to give up on this run, I checked the flies, the dropper, tied to the eye of the lead fly, was knotted around the bend of that hook, I thought about retying the dropper but cast again a few more times. Well damn if I didn’t hook a fish. Had to play it carefully on the 5x tipped.

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Caught a handful of smaller fish as I moved up and down the river.

This was an out of place bow, I’ve only caught a few of them down this low.

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Good luck getting into this spot…

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DSFK

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701358

February 9, 2021 #5

Gas $2.29

60 degrees at home, had to go fish, left home at 11:30

Drove up the Trump highway, still a lot of VA for Trump 2020 signs up. Three cars in the lot.

Hiked in about a mile. Didn’t catch any for a while, finally started getting into them. Dry dropper, all but one on the dropper, mostly brookies, eight to hand, plus a rainbow. Took the 2 wt out, didn’t launch any fish. Water was friggin cold.
Still some snow melt keeping it tat way.

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701385
]

Feb 27, 2021

Gas $2.49 Temp 68

Wet wading in February. After ice and rain and cold it was really nice to get out on a sunny warm day. There were reports of ice and snow up at higher elevations and I saw some up on the blue ridge on the drive. Many others took advantage of the weather as there were already 6 cars parked at the trailhead and two more drove in while I was gearing up.

I hiked in about a mile before jumping into the stream and fished up to the start of the gorge section. After four hours in the stream my feet were complaining of the cold and wet conditions. I didn’t take the temp of the water but my hands said “Cold”! The fishing was pretty darn good, but I lost as many fish as those that came to hand and I flubbed a bunch of photos as fish wriggled out of hand and net and many just got off the barbless hooks. The battery on the TG died, so I was fumbling for the phone. Dry dropper, same flies all day, with only one knot retie. Oh, I should probably sharpen the hook on the dropper!

A few caddis and little black stone flies along with winter midges were hatching.

Photo dump…

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