Warning: No fish were caught during the making of this blog post!
I warned you in the beginning, but I’ll say it again for those still reading. Sometimes the fishing gods find it necessary to test us.
Those words have never rang more true than on this fine week in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hampered by hurricanes before and disrupted by hurricanes during, fish had proven few and far between thus far in our adventure. With only a single rainbow trout to show for my efforts, odds did not look to be improving as we awoke to torrential rains on Thursday morning.
A rainy Thursday
Overnight, the remnants of Sally had bid farewell to the battered Florida/Alabama coast, shed her destructive winds and proceeded to rocket north across Alabama, Georgia and southern Appalachia. The day now a washout (in the most literal sense) we regrouped and decided to make the most of it. Most tourists cabin-bound by the inclement weather, we would take advantage of the diminished crowds and head for Clingman’s Dome. But first, one quick stop as we had one last tradition to keep alive…
…Pancake breakfast at Flapjacks! Though that to was met with challenges due to both Covid and the weather. Still we persisted, enjoyed a hearty breakfast and, by the grace of God, managed to not coat the interior of my truck in butter and syrup!
Salamander Capital of the World
Satiated, we began the slow winding drive past Newfound Gap and up to Clingman’s Dome. The parking lot nearly empty, we began our ascent with hopes of glimpsing a view through the clouds or perhaps encountering some of wildlife along the way.
While opportunities for the former never materialized, the latter did present itself in the form of a pair of salamanders encountered along the way.
A meager offering given the park’s standing as the “Salamander Capital of the World,” but still an enjoyable diversion on of an otherwise cold, rainy day.
Back at the cabin, I tied up a few make shift Greenie Weenie flies and dreamt of the brook trout I hoped to angle on our final day.
Just Enjoying the Scenery
Rising early our final morning, we packed our bags and headed out in one last attempt to find some trout. With only hours remaining before we were to hit the road, we settled on returning to the waters above Tremont. My wife, content to spend the morning behind a camera lens, left the fishing largely to me.
The scenery along Middle Prong Trail is stunning, and, even in the absence of fish, was well worth the visit. Enveloped by green, it is the type of place you can lose yourself in and for those last few fishless hours, we did just that. And though she humored my attempts to land that one last fish longer than she should have, eventually she hung up camera, I hung up my rod, and we began the long drive home.
The office expected me back the following day, and my father needed me in Pensacola the day after that. Life was once again calling, and dreams of wild trout would have to once again be back burnered for another year. Til then, at least we had our memories and some amazing pictures.