Well, I have officially NEVER seen as many people in the Smokies as I saw today. There were thousands of tubes floating in the river as we made our way past the Townsend "Y" today. You couldn't stir 'em with a stick!
Bunk and I were worried as we made our way to the stream that we had been told about by the salesperson at Orvis in Sevierville, Walker Camp Prong aka West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. Every place there was any sizeable water on the way to our destination, there were people swimming or playing in the river. I kept hoping that this stream would be far enough away from the congestion of Gatlinburg that folks wouldn't find it. Well, folks DID find it. Often, just us pulling our truck in a turn-out was incentive enough for a car-load of splashers to descend upon us, but we did find a few places to fish today.
This creek runs right along Newfound Gap Road just past the Chimney Tops Trailhead and goes almost all the way to Newfound Gap before veering away from the road and plummeting to the valley out of our reach. However, our source told us to begin fishing it up above the Alum Cave Bluffs Trailhead, so that's where we started. I tied on an Elk-wing Caddis that we had purchased at Little River Outfitters on our way up today, dusted it with floatant, and put it in the water not 20 yards upstream from where a family was playing in the creek. I figured if I was going to get to fish today, it would probably have to be near some people. I fished that first little hole then moved upstream to the next one, this one a little deeper and more "fishy" looking. Sure enough after only two casts into this hole, I had my first keeper-size native Rainbow trout. He did fight, considering he was only about 8 inches long! He kept trying to run under rocks to tangle up and break loose, but I got him in, pulled the hook out, and released him. He was a beauty though!
Bunk and I were unable to fish this stream together because it's so small. He had to put in either ahead of me or downstream of me and fish different places. We decided that if we do much of this, we need a set of walkie talkies to communicate with. Most of the time, I had no idea where he was today.
As the day waned, we tied on a yellow fly that Russell Sloan had given us and told us to fish late in the day. Bunk and I both caught a fish on that fly. I'm taking one to Dad for him to replicate this for us so we'll have some extras. Again, my fish was keeper-size and a native Rainbow. Since I wasn't with Bunk, I'm not sure about his. It did get kind of frustrating today dealing with all the people who didn't mind coming into the water just where you were fishing, so we packed it up and headed home. We had a great time though and vowed to do it again soon. :)