Wednesday, August 10, 2011


So what's a cow got to do with going fishing, you ask?  She was blocking my driveway, that's what.  I just stepped out of the truck and hung out until she and her sister moved on down the road.
I never know what the day has in store when I roll out of bed each morning.  I watched Gertrude and Malinda sashay down the highway and noticed some donkey's in the field across the road.  Cute little guys.
I like donkeys.  I may get a pair of them someday.  Wonder if they like to eat grass?  Of course they do.  What am I thinking?  Lawnmower or donkey?  Easy decision for me.
Anyway;  I locked the dogs in the house and put a couple fishing rods in the truck.  I was intending to do some serious fishing.  Just me and the Gheenoe all day.  I drove the length of Cherokee Lake to where the Holston flows from the John Sevier Steam Plant.  I was up there in the State boat a few days ago and couldn't get close to the plant due to shallow water conditions.  I wanted to fish along the Holston on the way toward the plant.    The best place to put the boat in the lake was on the Caney Creek boat ramp located off Route 11W.  The Holsten was only about a half mile below that put-in.
The water has receded even further than it was two days ago.  I had to back the truck down further on the ramp to float the boat off the trailer.  I got wheel spin as I pulled the empty trailer up the ramp.  This is a favorite put-in when I have the state boat.  I doubt the Dodge State truck will pull itself up this ramp with that 22 foot Pathfinder on the trailer.  I don't like the looks of this at all.  
I would boat out of this cove and hang a sharp right.  The Holston River enters Cherokee Lake through a deep cut in the mountain just down stream from this ramp.

This end of Cherokee Lake is my favorite.  It's gorgeous up here early morning
I just need to go down the lake to where that stand of trees is on the right of the picture and turn right.  The Holston flows in there.
I love it on the lake early morning.  It's cool and the smells are fresh.  Everything is awakening on the lake shores and river banks and I'm right there in the midst of it all.

I pulled over to the bank and fished a little.   The John Sevier Steam Plant was far upstream and I couldn't reach it in the state boat due to shallow conditions.  The Gheenoe, however, would not suffer those confines.  I was drawn like a magnet to move on up stream to check out the plant.  But, I figured I'd try to catch a wary fish first.
I caught bluegills and sunfish by the buckets full.  Spotted bass were easy to catch also.
None of the fish had any size to them at all.  It was fun though to just toss them back in.
Enough of this.  I had to motor upstream.
This was about as far as I could get in the 22 foot state boat.  The water was only 4 feet under her that day.
I noticed the water had a brisk flow indicating the plant was generating today--now.   The water was exactly one foot deeper than it was on my previous visit.
I pushed on until I saw the overflow from the dam.  Pretty impressive when ya come up on something like this on a river.
And of course, the proverbial rock pile marked with a buoy.
I wondered how close I could get to the overflow.
It's pretty amazing what mankind can do with the natural forces.  I don't know if its all beneficial or not.  Actually I do know.  It's not.   The efforts to harness nature are driven by the almighty dollar and the natural elemnts in the scheme of things usually suffer negative consequences.  Actually they always suffer negative consequences.

I noticed a fishing boat preparing to drive up close to the overflow and float downstream while trolling off the sides and rear of the boat.  I'm a novice at approaching dams but, if they could do it, I certainly could in this boat I have.

Stacks from the Steam Plant

The very impressive overflow from the dam

The above shot is the extreme right side of the dam's spillway.  Note the trees caught on the top edge of the overflow.  I wonder if anyone removes that debre or if they just let it hang there until it breaks loose?
I put the engine at idle in neutral to take these shots and found the boat was being drawn toward the water falls.  There is a tremendous undertow at work here.
Wow;  a fella could find himself in serious trouble if his engine wouldn't start.  I doubt a trolling (electric) motor could overcome the pull of the undertow.  Whew!  I think I'll back off a bit.

No kidden!!

I've satisified my curiosity and we're outa here.
I noticed this little stream flowing under an old, old bridge that begged to be explored.  I attempted to enter but an enormous boulder blocked the way under the surface just inside the mouth of the stream.
Better move on.

Entrance to the Cloud River
 There is a small river that flows into the Holston located directly below Caney Creek.  It is tiny but, you know me.  I got to check it out. 

Cloud Creek

I proceeded with caution as there were many boulders under the Gheenoe.  It was rather shallow at the entrance but the depth increased a bit and I breathed easier and determined to go ahead upstream.
This is a pretty little stream.  I can't believe I'm able to navigate up this waterway because it is so narrow.  But, the depth is holding at four and five feet.   We'll go on.  I wish I had the big camera with me.  I've seen many turtles and odd colored Herons.  I recognize the Night Herons but there are a few that I've not seen previous to this trip.
Can you see the Kingfisher in this shot?
The stream, creek, is becoming very shallow and narrow.  I'll press on for a while longer just to see.
This water is very shallow.  The bottom appears to be mud but, I'm becoming concerned about going further up.  The boat may be able to continue but, if I get into a spot that requires me to turn the boat in mid stream;  I may not have room to do so.  Also, if there are rocks lining the shoreline, a turn mid stream may swing the rear or front of the boat into the rocks.  Just a bit further.
Ok;  that's it.  There is a boulder on the bottom that the Gheenoe may or may not pass over.  Time to use common sense and leave while the leaving is good.  The stream is narrowing down quickly.
 Cloud Creek is a pretty place.  Too bad the water is diminished to the point that navigation is impossible.  It's back to the main lake and the put-in area.  It's been a wonderful day.  I wish I had my big camera with me though.  There were many interesting feathered critters to photograph.  I miss my dogs too.
There will be a canoe camp out comming up shortly.  It took me a long time to discover regions suitable for paddling in.   Hope you found something interesting to see in this blog entry.  Thanks again for checking in.
Douglas;  are you watching me, my golden boy?  I miss talking to you while on the boat.  You'd like this creek I was on today.  It was lonely without you today, as it always is.  How I miss you!  Oh, how I miss you Douglas!