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By woolly bugger
#699341

And then it rained, and rained and rained some more. The lake began to fill up and reach historic levels. It didn’t look good for wading the river for a month or longer

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Huge releases from the dam made fishing impossible as the river crested and flooded low lying areas.

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14.5 inches of rain in just 6 days filled the lake up to the brim and for the first time in its history the water flowed over the spillway.

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On May 24 a severe thunderstorm dumped 4.5 inches of rain in an hour! The caused more flooding and a landslide at the powerhouse which knocked out the new switchgear building, backup generator and damaged the surrounding equipment and buildings.

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Repairs to the river road as sections were washed out.

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Park at the foot of the dam remains closed.


Landslide damage.

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*Photos courtesy of
Brian W. Stewart
Assistant Manager
Philpott Lake

The length of the repairs is unknown at this time, perhaps stretching into the fall or early winter.

" …photos of the damage from the landslide at the Philpott Powerhouse. These were all taken a day or two after the event, and the area looks significantly better since the cleanup. As of now, there is no estimated time of restoration for generator services. For the time being, we will continue to release water through the sluice gates. As inflows to the lake drop, we may need switch to low flow valves to conserve water. This means that that river flows below Philpott Dam will remain more consistent than while generation is taking place. Typically our releases will mirror inflows to the lake to try to keep the lake level near the established guide curve." – Brian W. Stewart


For those with access to rafts, fishing has been good. For those without a boat to float it hasn’t been possible but that may change if the lake level drops and they cut back the flow, so keep an eye on the river gauge.

User avatar
By woolly bugger
#699389
with my local fubared fro the foreseeable future I had to hit the road to take advantage of the first wadable water of the SoHo in quite a while....

June 14, 2020 #? 24

Drove up and down Big Springs looking for a favorite spot to pull off, they place was packed, should have stopped at the first one I saw. Turned around and pulled into the open spot. I was actually located right in front of a nice riffle. Might be a tad shallow for big trouts but here was some nicer water downstream. The rod was already rigged from my last Smith outing and I didn’t felt the need to change flies.

I saw a few sulfurs in the air and on the water where the occasional trout would rise, nothing steady, but they revealed their lay and I targeted them one at a time. I wasn’t long before I had seven to hand and the puff daddy was beginning to look a little ragged. Changed out to a snowshoe rabbit emerger and and whacked six more. I broke off on number 13, and tied on another one of the same flies. (next fish to hand was counted as 13)

The skies were darkening and thunder could be heard coming from over the ridge. It started to rain somewhere around number 17 or 18 and I was headed to the car by the time I had landed the second dozen.

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The rain stopped and the thunder became more distant. So back out to catch a few more fish before another cell popped up.

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Things didn’t look good on the radar, I popped another beer and nursed it hoping the line of storms would pass shortly. But the rain continued and I finally gave up and took off my waders. Packed up and began to drive home, but as I traveled down the road the skies clear and I decided to stay.

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The pulse had hit and the fish weren’t rising like they were earlier. I switched to nymphs and BBs, I caught some fish and also managed to tangle the rig a few times. Maddening. Switched back to dries and fished until the water rose from the late generation. None of the fish were really big, it’s always nice to get an 18 incher or better, but that didn’t happen, a few were bigger than the ones in the photos, but they were camera shy. I was good to be back over the mountains, I hope I can return again soon and use that One Hundred and One Dollar License.

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and this pretty much brings me up to date with the exception of three attempts to got onto some carp during the brood IX hatch.
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#699448

June 23, 2020 #26

$101/3 = $33.67 per trip…

I’m invested in that Tennessee license so I’m trying to make the most of it especially considering that there aren’t a whole lot of other opportunities, the New might be fishable in mid-July and Pilpott dam won’t be fixed until much later this year.

I planned to fish some different spots but there were cars parked in those areas so I drove on down and not seeing any cars at one of my favorite pullouts I looked no further. Rod was rigged from the previous trip and I was on the water in my leaky Simms wader pants, a brand new pair are arriving on Thursday!

I worked my way down to the run and right off hooked a feisty bow it had a time getting it up to the net in the current. As I looked up I saw a guy standing in my run, where did he come from? Damn it, and he’s standing on the fish. Oh, well I’ll work my way down to the top of the run and then move on If he’s still fishing my spot.

The next little spot yielded a fat brown that probably went 15 inches and I thought today was going to be excellent. Next up was a troubled spot which always holds fish, I got a couple of easy ones on the front side and then asked for trouble by casting on the backside of the downed trees. It wasn’t always so jammed up with wood and I used to pull a couple of nice fish out of this spot. Well, I cast a few times and as the fly sank over the ledge I big brown took the fly and ran back up towards me so I was just able to get it up, over and around the submerged tree only to have it run back down, under and around the tangled mess of wood on the near side. Well that was exciting, fun, but tragic.

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Finally, the guy standing in my run moved on, walked out the usual way, still couldn’t figure out where he came from, didn’t look like he was catching much other than the pune rainbows. I decided to rest the water for a bit and sat on the bank and drank a refreshing Lagunitas Little Sumpin Hazy IPA. While waiting I saw a number of risers hitting emergers, most were small but a few looked to be fun-sized, so I switched over to a dry.
Right off the bat, I caught a little brown and while releasing it, I noticed another hook in its jaw which was attached to a dropper… I can only conclude that since the flies were in good condition that the guy who left must have put too much pepper into the hook set.

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I whacked a few more on the surface and then went to the main run which I love to nymph, but I couldn’t find a fish.. they still hadn’t returned to feeding after that guy finished pounding the water. Oh well, It was about time for lunch…

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I moved on up to a different spot and found some DSFK near the deer hole.

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The skies were threatening and the rain began light at first, easy enough to ignore but then it really started to come down hard and I made tracks back to the car to pick up a rain jacket.

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By the time I made it back the rain became torrential and I sat in the open hatch and drank another Stone Tangerine Express IPA while deciding whether to stick it out or bail. Then along came the guy who had low holed me and he stopped and we talked for a while, turns out he was in a camper across the road – bastard and had recently moved back to TN from Utah. He’s also a fan of the double-handed rods and we talked about swinging soft hackled flies in the big flat area on high water. The rain continued and although he had rain gear on he sought shelter in his camper.

After another half hour, the rain began to let up and the radar indicated that it may stop soon, so I headed out and found some risers in another old favorite run. The fish were picky and it took a while to fool them. A couple missed the fly and weren’t to be seen again.

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One was sipping in the slack water up against the bank. This would require a hero cast. The first was too far above and another may have been a tad short, but the third was on the money and the brown too to fly with vigor.

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Moved again and picked off the occasional riser, could have caught more on a nymph, but it wouldn’t have been as rewarding as sight casting.

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#699474

June 25, 2020 #27

$101/4 = $25.25

Gas at $1.99/gal

Mr. Lucky FB messaged me asking about the release times on the river and how long it takes to get to a certain spot. After I replied and gave him the info, he said he was planning to go and asked, “Wanna go”?

That kind of prompt is usually met with an OK but I had to think about it… I told him I would go if I got up in time, meaning being on the road no later than 6:30

Apparently I got enough sleep and I was out the door with an ETA of 9:05, 20 minutes ahead of the scheduled rendezvous and things were going along just fine, until I got to I-74 to cut across to I-77, it was CLOSED! WFT? Here is some NCDOT info https://drivenc.gov/default.aspx?type=i ... d=591069No detour info, just use US 52, gps didn’t know the interstate was closed, and I made a na vigational error by thinking it wasn’t shut down the entire way to 77. This cost me about 20 minutes in rerouting and I was seriously thinking about bailing on the trip.

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Got to the location right on time, and it looked like Mr. Luckyl had just pulled in before me…

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After rigging up we headed down to a productive riffle. I gave Mr. Lucky the run that I considered to be the better of the two. I had never done very well in the other one.

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I was still rigged up with a #16 Comparadun and I saw a few splashy rises. It didn’t take too many cast to catch a fish.

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Next cast another fish. The game was on and continued to be easy to score fish after fish in the cool cloudy morning.

The birds were flying in and snatching the sulfurs as they began their flight. I was studying the water and followed one as it struggled in the film and took off, as I watched it flutter a Cedar Waxwing swoop in, locked onto the bug's path, it intercepted the flying insect with precision. I always find this to be amazing.

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I worked the run with long casts and had a lot of fun enticing these trout to take the fly. Most came to the net but I missed a few and broke off two with peppery hooksets.

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When the sun came out, I thought things would get even better, but it was the opposite and the fish shut down in the run, but upon the flat water there were a number of fish still working the surface. It was a long-distance game, but I made the connection.

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DSFK

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Lunch is served, the TG’s jalapeno hot sauce brings the heat, but the IPA puts the fire out.
There was no need to go back out on the water, I knew it wouldn’t be any better than the morning and the water would be rising shortly anyway.

It was great to see Mr. Lucky and share the river for the day...
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700413
maybe i'll post some stuff here again...

Dad passed away at the end of July just shy of 96.

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in October of 1941 at the age of 17. He served as radioman/gunner in Torpedo Squadron 14. He flew in Grumman TBF Avengers and Douglas Dauntless Dive Bombers aboard the second WASP aircraft carrier (CV-18) in the Pacific until the end of the war.

jumping ahead a bit...

October 14, 2020 #45

Gas $2.09

I’ve been looking at maps and decided to go to the middle section of Wilson Creek above Edgemont. There was an unmarked trail down Laurel Mountain Branch. There used to be a small pull-off and a tree had a small, ½ “ x 3” white paper with a quote about fishing which marked the trail head.

As I drove along Wilson Creek I noticed that the bear hunters were out in droves. I stopped a chatted with them, asking about their luck. Some had dogs that had been working a bear but they lost it, others had no luck at all. There were a lot of fisherman out on the DH water.

As I approached the trailhead I noticed that there was yet another group of hunters parked in a new, to me, parking lot and an official forest service sign for trail 264. The one hunter at the vehicles indicated that the rest of the group was on the way out after losing track of a bear that had crossed the high water of the creek. I drove on. Thought about taking the trail to walnut bottom creek which also now has a forest service sign, but decided to go on up the road to where the lower road crosses upper Wilson Creek at 2800 feet. I was thinking I might run into rainbows and brookies. The upper road crossed the creek at 3500. I took a serious look at Little Wilson Creek but in the end opted for the bigger water.


There was plenty of water flowing in the creek and it was clear as glass, the sky was cloudless and I began my trek up the creek. Went with the hopper dropper and was surprised not to get any lovin at all. I kept working up the creek which is fairly slow going especially when stopping to take photos of everything, the water, the fall colors, it was beautiful day. Even in “bomb proof” pools I didn’t even see a fish. Well now I was getting miffed, rigged up a new leader and continued on. Finally getting a fish to rise to a small stimi. I was thinking rainbow but was surprised to see it was a brown up at 2904’. I continued on catching only more browns. Shoulda taken the higher road, oh well there is always next time.

Only went about a half mile up the creek and only 100’ in elevation, but it seemed like much more.

There was now a truck parked across the way with a women sitting in the passenger side looking at her phone, I had put up all my gear and almost finished my beer before she finally looked up and saw me. She got out and we spoke for a while. Her husband was fishing downstream. Fly fishing was on his bucket list, they are from Morehead City, he is almost 69 and they are semi-retired from a marine service co.

Here’s the photo dump….

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Damn rock stackers…

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User avatar
By Transylwader
#700416
I thought the Slut-ho was more your gig. The punelines have been tough fishing between high water and inconsistent temps. The brook trouts will be spawning any week now. Don't be that guy, breh. :cool
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700431

October 14, 2020 #46

Gas $1.85

Last time I was up here I wanted to go to the falls but fell short. This time I was on a mission. In years past it wasn’t such an endeavor, the trail was in much better condition. I counted the creek crossing on the way up but lost the trail again at 13 and ended up crossing in the exact spot as last time. On up the trail I kept looking for the chimney that I remember seeing decades ago.

It was tempting to start fishing the further up I got, but I kept going only stopping occasionally on the way to catch a fish from pools that were just too good to pass up, At 4 miles I finally made the 18th crossing, the trail in this section is beginning to be reclaimed by rhododendron and the many fallen trees. It became easier to just walk through the woods at this point.

It was fifty degrees when I started, but when I reached the fall in full sunshine it felt like 80. All of the browns and brokies that I caught up to this point were on a yellow stimi. I had to go deep with a mr. rubber legs to catch one out of the pool below the falls.

I made a halfhearted attempt to follow the trail above the fall, but when I reached the first rhodo hell and decided that I had gone far enough today. I love fishing that gorge above the falls, but that will remain a memory for now.

Here is the photo dump.

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700439

October 12, 2020 #45
Gas $1.99

Streams were still juicy from all that rain. Fall colors are and warm weather have made getting out really spectacular. Went to a place I had not been to in 25 years. With the water rushing through the narrow slots wading was a bid dicey. I sort of wished that I had taken my wading staff with me and I had actually planned to but got distracted and left it behind…

I gave my new Wet Wading Shoe a try out. Wore a pair of neoprene booties with them and found them to be quite comfortable and gave good traction on the rocks and hiking on the trail as well. They come it both rubber and felt sole, I opted for the felt.

Hopper dropper for the rig. With the river up but still clear most of the fish were hanging out on the bank or under rocks. Caught enough to make it a worthwhile trip.

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Sticker applied!

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The iPhone Livephoto long exposure mode is pretty awesome!

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Views of the creek as I hiked up the trail

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Stepping into the creek the canopy of trees illuminated by the sun made this an interesting shop. I kept looking at this type of scene and took many many photos

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The trail diminishes as new growth takes over.

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Another creek crossing and the splendor of moving water and fall colors. Wild water abies.

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There was enough rain over the past several days to qualify as a frog strangler. I offer exhibit A!

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Up above the creek looking to the west as the trail skirts around the gorge.

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New wet wading shoes….

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Beginning of the end.

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aggressive brown trout bite

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Most on the hopper!

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Just awesome!

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Back down the trail.

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I’ll give this pool a try! There used to be a large tree down across this pool protecting it from angling attempts.

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Almost there.

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Loved this fungus color contrast.
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700463

October 6, 2020 #44??
Gas $1.99

Started later than I wanted to, didn’t even know where I was going for sure when I left, but I wanted to fish a different rod. Choice was the Orvis One Once 2 wt or the Flea Bamboo 3-4 wt. I choose the boo rod and then the next decision was what stream.

When I arrived at the location I didn’t think anybody else was up the creek. I wanted to see how far I could go, maybe to the falls. I hadn’t been up that far in decades.

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Well it turned out I was wrong and there were fishermen on the creek. I watched this guy for a while before shouting out to him asking if he was alone and if anybody was fishing above him. His dad was below him and he didn’t think anybody was above. I told him I was going up at least 3 or 4, maybe more stream crossings.

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I finally couldn’t stand it and jumped in the water to fish. The old trail is well overgrown and there are many blowdowns across the trail and creek. I was catching dinks and small browns (didn’t bother with a net and many returned to the water before I could grab the camera) The fish in the tailouts spooked and sent alarms throughout the small polls and runs. I used to call them black lightening as they ran for cover.

The last time I fished this creek was with Troutjedi before he moved to Montana, I recall him saying there were no fish in the creek, so I told him to watch this! I laid down in the creek bed and crawled up to the next pool and flipped the fly into the bubble line and bam fish on! Easy peasy. Well 20 years later I’m not crawling around like I used to.

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The Flea with a CFO!

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I would hit the trail and then bounce back in the creek for a while as I worked my way a couple of miles upstream where I found a nice mid-stream boulder to lunch upon.

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Sardines, hot sauce, and a NB Wit.

Kept moving up with the plan to fish / hike until a 5 o’clock turnaround time. I sure is pretty up there.

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The trial was wet, almost boggy in spots as seeps were flowing. Plenty of boot prints in the mud, couldn’t tell how fresh they were, perhaps a couple of days old. I don’t think anybody was above me.

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Tons of honey mushrooms up and down the trail.

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About 3 miles in I spied this Creekside and harvested a pound or so, about ¼ of it.

Up a little further and the trail was getting sketcher, lost it a few times, followed game trails for a bit, checked the USGS topo and realized I was on the wrong side of the creek. I was at another creek crossing and it was ten till five, I was at 1800’ when I turned around. Took some more pics on the way out…

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700531
moving back in time...

September 23, 2020 #42
Gas $2.09

Was feeling a bit lethargic after a late night, so I made a late afternoon trip up to the new local. Looks like all the apples have been harvested for the season. The last time I drove up the orchards were filled with yellow and red orbs.

Met three cars driving out and there were two left up at the parking lot. Since it was 3:30 I jumped in just a short was up the trail. Tied on a small orange stimi with a green Tellico dropper. The water looked great and I was perplexed that I wasn’t getting any hits. Then I saw fresh wet footprints on the rocks as I moved upstream. What to do, if it had been earlier in the day I would have gotten out and hiked further upstream, but as it was late in the day, I chose to sit down and have a snack and a beer! That let increased our separation by at least 10 minutes, but it didn’t do much to improve the fishing. I did manage to get a slam with a brown, a rainbow and a dink brookie.

Just past the campground the other fisherman passed me on his way out and asked how I was doing, “Not as good as you I suspect” “Sorry, I stopped a little way up, I started at 2:45” he replied. No wonder I found so few willing fish. Fished up a ways further, not sure if I got into undisturbed waters, but the fishing was getting better. With the light getting low, I called it a day and headed back down the trail.

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