Thursday, March 27, 2014


This is a two part entry tonight because I took Shade to Panther Creek State Park early this morning and then went to Nance Ferry on the tailrace of Cherokee Lake with the Gheenoe to look at trout and insects.  Exciting huh?  I know.  Below are three short movie clips of an extraordinary hatch of insects on the water that absolutely set the trout into a feeding frenzy.  The insect hatch was localized in one area of water which in its self is very interesting and warrants further investigation.  All the dimples in the water are trout sipping in the floating flies on the surface.  Trout and insect relationships like this on the tailwater makes this a first class, blue ribbon trout fishery.  Hope I don’t bore you with the clips but this is exciting information in the world of fly-fishing for trout.  The clarity may be better if you click on the U Tube box on the movie screen and watch it there.
Ring of the rise at Nance Ferry
I can’t wait to get back down there with my fly rod.  Guess I better tie some special fly patterns for this water pretty quick and I know just what to make.  I was concerned about not having wading gear but all I have to do is use the electric motor on the Gheenoe to position myself where I need to be and cast off her deck.  That will suffice for the deeper water areas.  I’ll still need to eventually wade the shoals.  All in good time.
Its interesting to talk to fly fishermen down on the tailrace and get their perspective about the trout and the water.  I am, however, amazed at the number of anglers who are chasing the wrong process and betting on the incorrect fly.  Many just haven't taken the time to figure it out.  Trout are special fish that require special methods of magic to trick them and it requires tenacity and a bit of dedication to understand the insect/trout scenarios that take place on each section of water at different times.  Figuring all this out is what makes fly fishing for trout so fantastic.  Its essential to understand the fish, the insects the fish feeds upon, preferred water temperatures and a whole host of other essentials that make a fly fisherman a great fly fisherman.   I used to go to the streams in Pennsylvania on the motorcycle without the fishing equipment strictly to observe the stream or streams in question.  I'd scan the water with binoculars to note the insects present and to see if the trout were eating them.  On some streams I'd take note of where a particular large brown trout made his lair so I could come back and do battle with him.  Anglers approach the water on this tailrace differently.  Well, some do - not all.  Most seem to rush out on the water and thrash around with fly rods, moving here and there and leaving after a disappointing hour or two.  The knowledgeable anglers are moving slow, fishing all the water and just raking in the fish one after another.  Its interesting to watch fly fishermen in action.  Oh well - we'll see how I do when I finally cast a fly down at Nance Ferry in the near future.

I can't resist these old buildings.
I was going to head down to Nance Ferry early this morning to float around in the Gheenoe for awhile but Shade got to me.  She waited at the door staring up at me as I was ready to walk out of the house and I just felt terrible not doing something with her today.   I opened the door and said, "come on".
We arrived at Panther Creek State Park at around mid morning and there were no cars in the parking lot.  We had the trails to ourselves at least for awhile.

This trail is perfectly manicured as are all the other trails in this park.  There is no degree of difficulty present and I found myself flying effortlessly down the trail behind Shade, eating up the ground.  It felt really good to be out here in the woods without other humans about.  Just Shade and me together on a chilly morning.  

This trail skirts the edge of Cherokee Lake.  The little stream you see above on the desert (mud banks) is Panther Creek.
As Cherokee Lake fills up with water, all this desert looking shale, mud and rock will disappear under water as will Panther Creek.  At that point this entire inlet will be known as Panther Creek.  Make sense?
 The tracks below are bicycle tracks.  I'm not a proponent of bicycling in forested areas.  I know you probably think I'm a stick in the mud because I frown on so many things people do out here in the wilds.  Bicycles simply don't belong on walking trails or in wildlife habitat for that matter.  Everyone wants to bring their favorite toy into the wild places and all the toys just aren't welcome there by the wild things that live in the wild places.  Wild habitat wasn't made to accommodate bicycles, quads or all terrain vehicles.  What the heck is wrong with walking anyhow?  Wonder why it's necessary to spin wheels and throw mud, dig furrows in hiking trails and run very loud engines in the forests.

 So, why should I be allowed to bring Shade to the forest then?  Well, Shade compliments the forest.  She is quiet, doesn't chase animals (maybe a squirrel) and leaves nothing but tracks.  And she is a real canine and canines have been more a part of forests than man ever was.
Look closely at the shot below.  That picture was a total accident.  I mean the deer running across the open space.
The deer is almost in the center of the shot.  Isn't that something?  I love photography.  

My sweet Bayber just had to get in the water.  This stream is very clean and the soil surrounding it is more sandy than muddy.  Shade will still come out with a brown tinge to her hair but it will wash off.  She's having the time of her life here.

 Below:  The black beast fixes his eyes on the pray and prepares to charge.

 "Come on sweetie, time to get going".
 Oh Geeze!

I could hear some vehicles approaching the area and we headed back toward the parking lot.

I was following Shade down the trail when I heard loud flap, flap, flapping of feet coming up behind me.  Fast, loud breathing could be heard as whatever the critter was gasped deeply for oxygen.  Limbs were breaking close behind me and all of a sudden a monster human dressed in a gray jogging outfit floundered past me.  Might have been pajamas.
Good grief, he was a big-un
  Shade turned toward the commotion and instantly barked once, laid her ears back and tucked her tail between her legs tight against her tummy, turned and ran away up the trail frightened to death as the rotund behemoth appeared to be chasing her up the trail - in her eyes he was chasing her.  It was definitely time to get the he-ck out of here.  I call this kind of woods a city woods.  Now you understand why.  Oh, for the Cherokee National Forest and its pristine back country trails.  Oh well --- Shade was sitting beside the passenger door of our truck.  Good girl.
 And yes they are doing quite well back at the nest.
This has been a full day of activities for me and I'm going to enjoy relaxing on the porch tonight.  Its great to have some warm weather for a change.  Of course we are to get heavy rain tomorrow.   Rain is a good thing.  Oh, the fellow below better keep his head down starting Saturday morning because its the first day of turkey season and he is a big gobbler.