Icy Weekend on Smoky Mountain Streams

It was a cold weekend; one better suited to ice fishing than fly fishing here in the Smoky Mountains. Overnight temperatures were below zero high in the mountains and daytime highs were only in the 20’s. Needless to say, fishing wasn’t worth it, but we went out to see the rivers and streams.


Anchor ice is rarely seen here in the Smokies. Ice forms in small micro-eddies on the bottom of the stream in riffles

Water just doesn’t get any colder than this. It was 32 degrees and frozen anywhere it wasn’t moving. Not good fishing conditions, but pretty to see. This small waterfall on the West Prong of Little River, just upstream from the confluence with Middle Prong was particularly impressive. That’s not a long exposure, the cascade is mostly ice!

And you thought the rocks were slick in the summer!

And you thought the rocks were slick in the summer!

We went on to Cades Cove parked at the bridge over the spring creek section of Abrams Creek. At 3:30 the temperature was 19, but it was just nice to get out. While the other streams were icy, the spring influence was evident on the stream. There was absolutely no ice anywhere and it was so cold that putting your hand in the water felt relatively warm. We saw a 10 point whitetail buck browsing along the stream and watched a beaver maintaining a dam.

On the way back home we saw these fish in Little River just outside of the park. It was tempting to pull over and fish, but the floating ice was enough to convince us to head for home and the fireplace.