Big Creek Journal:

Hiking up the Big Creek of the Smoky Mountains (5/20/07):

It was our first time to fish Big Creek this year (2007). We had decided to hike
upstream about a mile before starting to fish. I was busy getting the camera
equipment together when Angie departed for the stream with her rod in hand.
She is good at that -leaving me to finish the work while she test the water.
We were going up the main trail instead of the angler made trail we normally use
that is above the campground.
When I got down to the bridge below the parking lot, Angie had a fish jumping on
the end of her line. She was just below the bridge. I scrambled to get the camera
going but was not able to do so until she had already landed the fish. I did get a
shot of the fish and the release. I tried to get her to come on and follow our plan
but that was not going to happen.
Within two or three minutes, she had another rainbow. This one about eight or
nine inches long. The action continued as she passed under the bridge and
upstream a few yards. She landed five trout, all rainbows of course, while I ran
the camera from the bridge. Finally, she went about ten minutes without catching
a fish and we were able to go on where we planned.
After hiking upstream for at least a mile and fishing for another three hours or
so, we were able to catch only one more rainbow trout. It was a small fish that
was about five inches long.
How many times have you had this happen to you? It is not the first time we have
seen that. Year before last we were at the $3 bridge on the Madison River in
Montana when there was an angler ever few yards on both sides of the river.
Determined to get a cast in, I walked down below the bridge, almost under it, and
proceeded to catch an 18 inch rainbow.  Withing the next hour, I caught 2 more
nice rainbows and one large brown trout, all within 50 yards of the bridge. We
were stopping traffic crossing the bridge.
I think there is a lesson here we all could learn from this. The grass isn't always
greener on the other side of the hill. Just because a location looks like it is fished
a lot, doesn't necessarily mean it is. In the Big Creek case, maybe everybody
else leaves the bridge and goes upstream thinking the same thing. I don't think I
have ever seen an angler fishing under the $3 bridge.
Here is another reason not to always go upstream, (head water streams) at least
very far.

Copyright 2007 James Marsh