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Finally, after months of anticipation and planning and marking off the days on the calendar, my annual Hairy Man weekend had arrived! My fishing buddy JPL and I arrived at our primitive campsite about midmorning on the Thursday before Memorial Day, primed and ready for 5 days of flinging flies and pitching hardware for mountain trout, both stocked and wild. What a welcome sight! Been looking forward to this sign for a year.

All the lower sites being full, we had to find a site on the DH portion of Big Snowbird. (For those who didn't know, Big Snowbird Creek has been redesignated DH from Junction all the way down to the concrete bridge that crosses the creek just upstream of Chestnut Flats Branch). Wasting no time pitching camp, we donned our waders and boots, strung up the rods, drove to Junction, and began a short hike up the creek of about a mile or so before we bushwhacked down to the creek and finally got the lines wet.

This is what the portion of the creek from Junction all the way to above Big Falls looks like- rough and tumble pocket water with an occasional deeper pool or run to break it up. A little dangerous as it is usually a fair distance down from the trail and often out of sight. A lot of dappling and short flipping (too short for what I call roll casting- usually no more than a foot or two of flyline extending past the tip).
Right off the get go the trout started hitting. We were both using a large stimulator as the dry and small nymphs as the dropper. This day, as with all the days we were here, they preferred the dry. I'd say for 5 days, at least 85% of the strikes came on the dry.
4 hours later, with many trout, all rainbows between 5 and 10 inches, caught and released, we bushwhacked up to the trail and headed back to camp.I'd guess we caught between 20 to 30 trout total- not a bad half day sneaking and stalking wild trout. (Shoot, a great day, considering all the times we've been skunked on the wary wild ones!)
Deciding that we were too wore out to cook and needing supplies, off to Robbinsville and Bojangle's we went. All the way, with no cell signal, a little voice in the back of my head kept chirping "check the weather! Check the weather!" It wasn't until we had eaten and were coming out of the grocery store that I remembered to check the radar. (It was a little late by then- the sky off to the NW was darkening quick with menacing looking thunderheads).
With an audible "huh-oh" and a "hurry!" to Jimmy, we took off headed back to camp. I had made a rookie mistake and left several things out that shouldn't get wet! My back pack, my fishing pack, my dry wading socks, and most importantly, my toilet paper!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Memorial Day trout trip, Part 2

We hit a serious squall around the Massey Branch fishing pier. The surface of the road was nearly covered in leaves and debris, limbs were down and falling all around. Several times we went around larger limbs that had fallen, and once ran over a 6 inch limb that stretched all the way across the road. Pulses quickened and dreading the possibility of the next limb hitting us, we breathed a great sigh of relief as the storm let up, once we had passed Robinson Grocery. All the way through Ammons Cove and the meadows, up the forest service road, and pulling in to the sites, I was glad to see that only a sprinkle had fallen here. Grabbing my damp gear and pitching it into the tent, I yelled across the way to Jimmy- "I guess were off again this year for smallies on the Little T!"
The sweet sounds of Wildcat Branch by my site, and the main creek across the road, lulled me to sleep that night. One of the 4 best nights of sleep I've had in at least a year...
 

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Memorial Day trout trip, Part 3

The next day, Friday, was as good a day weatherwise for trouting as a person could ask for- partly sunny, and relatively cool. This morning, as with every morning we were here, i chose to stay dry for an hour or so by walking up or down the road with the spinning rod, cherry picking the better holes in the DH sections near our camp.

This pool I hit every morning. The mountain laurels were blooming about 3 weeks early this year. There was also 1 trout in this pool, at the head, that would have been near impossible to bag with a fly rod. Conjures up the image from Apocalypse Now where Martin Sheen is wading in the river with only his nose above water- only in the image in my mind, it's me trying to sneak up on a pod of wary trout in a deep pool, with only my nose, hands, and fly rod above the water. There's a pool on the Davidson that I'm gonna try this on someday!
No luck for me at all this trip with the spinning gear- doggone trout kept short striking and I missed all that hit the spinner baits.
Jimmy being relatively new to flyfishing, and relatively out of shape, we decided to go downstream to the HS portions of the creek, starting at the meadows at Ammons Cove.

There were plenty of stocked and wild trout down here to keep us happy. Jimmy ended up pulling in the best trout of the trip right in front of me as I directed him where to cast- a nice 20" brown. Almost whooped him with me laughing and hooting the whole time. I told him he was grabbing the net too early!

There's Jimmy in the distance, surrounded by a sea of green. Meadows section of Big Snowbird.
A nice easy day of wading and fishing, room to let out a little line and wave the stick around a bit... And getting paid to do it, to boot. Look Ma, I'm a professional!
And the trout couldn't be more willing. Flies of choice were again big stimulators as the dry and various tiny nymphs down below.
I'd guess by the end of the day, we caught somewhere near 40 trout between us, but I'm only estimating; after a while, who cares about numbers? It's the experience that matters, and the pure joy of catching a fish where you can't see it, and might not expect it to be. Little things like figuring out that every afternoon, as the water warmed and bugs started hatching out of the shallow riffle areas, the trout would line up like the queue at the buffet, and a person could pull 10 or more trout out of the head of the run below where earlier in the morning there were only dace and chubs to pester your flies.
The only bust Friday seemed to be the meteor "storm" that didn't happen. Too bad,really. Couldn't have asked for better viewing conditions!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Memorial Day trout trip, part 4

Saturday ended up being almost a carbon copy of the day before. Our buddy JR had come up on his Harley the night before and was to camp and fish with us through Memorial Day Monday. Easy fishing and wading, even JR managed a few on the spinner. (He's really a hunter, and a hardware man. We'll get a fly rod in his hand yet!
:). )
We fished the HS portion of the creek again with the same results, only this time we kept enough stockers to have a good meal of bacon wrapped trout cooked on an open fire that night.

There goes Jimmy again!
That night by the fire JR even said he was seriously considering becoming a fisher vs. a hunter- we get up later and fish in better weather! LOL! Wait til November on the Outer Banks, my friend!
Sunday I decided to hike to Sassafras Creek (3 miles from trailhead) and get in Big Snowbird there and fish my way up to Big Falls. (I used to have pictures of Big Falls, but don't any more, and wanted a few). Jimmy and Jeff dropped me off at Junction at 9:00, with my itinerary and a return time of 6:00. Back to the HS sections they went, and up the trail I went.:)
A good walking pace brought me to the crossing at Sassafras Creek, and who can resist a selfie with the Big Snowbird jalopy?

Into the main creek I went, and instantly hooked up with some wild little rainbows.
It was after about an hour or so working my way up creek, catching and releasing, that things got serious... And nearly deadly.
 

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Memorial Day trout trip, part 5

I had just climbed around a good set of cascades, and was so intent on where the next fish would be, that I got a little careless. Not a good thing to do alone, although the lot was full down at Junction, I had a whistle, and there were campers back at the flats at Sassafras Creek and the trail wasn't too far above me- no excuses. I got careless, slipped, and went in above my shoulders. First time ever I've gone in above my waders- and that water was cold!!! Thank goodness it was a warm day and I got away with gear and life intact, and only a gnarly bruise on one shin, a good scrape on my rod arm (save the rod, spoil the arm! Even if the flyline costs more than the rod and reel together, lol!), and a bruised sense of dignity.

War wounds.

After a few minutes on the bank catching my breath and checking that all parts and pieces were still there, I decided the risk wasn't worth the reward and bushwhacked up to the trail. Change of plans (the possibility covered in my itinerary left with the guys), I decided to take the hike up to Sassafras Creek Falls, which I had never seen before.
A half hour hike up Sassafras Creek Trail (with a grade much steeper than Big Snowbird Trail), and I came to the sign.


And a short hike down around a 100 feet or so brings you to the falls...


Alas, there is no pool to speak of like there is at the bases of the Big Snowbird falls, so I hiked back up then down to the main trail and back to where Big Snowbird Trail crosses Sassafras Creek, where I turned up Sassafras Creek and fished my way up for a while.
Brookies, brookies, and more brookies! All tiny, yet feisty little fish, with the colors that take your breath away! A couple hours slid by without a care in the world....
I sure do like these little creeks...
 

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Memorial Day trout trip, part 6

Back down to Junction I went, arriving at 10 minutes til 6:00 with Jimmy arriving almost the same instant. Back to the sites and my now redampened gear (I had sat it out to dry! I'm starting to see a pattern here! Leave gear out it rains!). Utterly exhausted, I have never been so glad to hang up my waders and change from wet clothes. That night was hot dogs and bratwurst cooked over the fire on a stick.

Monday, Memorial Day, was the saddest day. We said our goodbyes to Jeff (he was off to Deals Gap and the Tail of the Dragon), packed up our gear, and fished the meadow section one more time. This time, we kept fish for the cooler. Then off to what I affectionately call "Bust Your A** Creek" aka Santeetlah Creek, where every rock is the size and shape of a bowling ball and covered in owl snot.
After limiting out + 2 which we cooked and ate creekside, we had a nice family portrait.



And an even better one by the old Stewart Cabin.



And then sadly, it was time to say goodbye to the Unicoi and Snowbird mountains for another year....

Maybe it won't rain next year (I promise I'll make sure my gear is put away!) and we'll be able to bust some smallies on the Little T.

Tight lines, everybody! :)
 

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Enjoyed your post. My wife and I have enjoyed fishing the Big Snowbird area several times. Glad you had such a great trip.
 

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I'm using a desktop now at work and the pics are the small ones previously mentioned by Slickrocktom......

Outstanding report! Beautiful!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hey Riverhills, I see you have Creston on your location tag- I have family and relatives up that way- Lewises and Houcks. Mostly from Creston and up around Big Horse Creek. Love that Shatley Springs breakfast when we do our New River float. :)
 

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We are up on Roundabout, not far from Big Horse Creek. Great area to get away in. Love riding up Big Horse Creek as it nears Husk. Beautiful area.
 
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