View Full Version : Trophy Browns

03-14-2008, 07:18 AM
I have caught several trophy rainbows but am having a hard time catching a good brown trout. I catch lots of small browns but can't break that 20" barrier. I know South Holston has plenty of fish of this calibar because I could see some while fishing there Wednesday ( my first time on S. Holston). Maybe someone could give me some hints on what kind of fly works best.

tn scout
03-14-2008, 12:04 PM
Try the Hiwassee (heh heh).

milligan trout degree
03-14-2008, 12:20 PM
Stick with the S. Holston and eventually you'll stick into one. You devote a whole day to fishing streamers only. Or you could throw a mouse pattern at night. You won't get a lot of hits, but chances are they're gonna be big browns when they do. Other than that you're best chance will be throwing nymphs at them. If you're just looking for the big browns, I'd skip past stillwater altogether, and focus in on the riffles and runs, and wouldn't overlook the riffles that look to fast for a fish to even see a fly. Eventually you'll stick a big one. small tippet and flouro will help you out too, although it makes it a little tougher to land the big un's.


03-14-2008, 04:13 PM
Thank you for the info. I plan to be back on S. Holston every chance I get. I love fishing the riffles with lots of big rocks and pot holes. I get goose bumps just hearing the water running over a big rock.

Thanks for the reply


milligan trout degree
03-14-2008, 05:01 PM
Another good idea is to stand at the bottom of the riffle and cast just above the head of the riffle. strip you line as your fly/flies come back down toward you to make sure you can get a hookset. I don't know if its true, but I feel like I get a better hookset fishing like this rather than if I'm pulling the hook from out in front of the fish. You also get a good drift this way too.


03-25-2008, 12:30 AM

I've always heard that there are BIG BROWNS in the Clinch. I didn't believe it until a few weeks ago, though. "Big fish eat big food", ever heard that one? It's true. While fishing a well known spot on the Clinch, some top water action turned on a little, so I matched it as best as I could and managed a few 8 to 10" bows. I tried some more calm, deeper water and caught a bow about the same size when all the sudden BAAAMMM. As my fish began it's fight for freedom from my fly, what I thought was a carp ate my fish. I've heard of this happening but never expected to see it. While trying to coax the carp to the net, however impossible it seemed, it made it to the surface when what to my wondering eyes did appear but a big old brown. I'm not going to speculate on the size, but in my 12+ years of trout fishing Eastern and Western waters, that guy occupied more area than any I have ever seen. I don't blame you if you don't believe this, heck, sometimes it doesn't even seem real to me. That was one of the most wonderful sights God has ever allowed me to see. So to answer your question, throw big flies. Streamers, boogers, whatever you can find that looks like it might work. Since then, I throw big stuff and am amazed at what chases after it. I've not caught anything yet, YET, but there is a whole new world out there I'm enjoying getting to know. By the way, he got about 6 feet from my outstretched net and decided he'd let me have the little dude back.

Not that big fish don't eat small stuff, too, I'm sure there are tons of times trpohies have been netted on a small fly, but if you're after trophy fish, try trophy size flies.

03-25-2008, 07:46 AM
yep, small tippet & small flies generally don't land big fish, if it does, it blame near kills them:eek:
If i ever get over the "jerk" reaction, i'm going to catch one, everytime i see one of those big brutes going after my fly, it scares me & i jerk it away:redface:


03-25-2008, 11:33 AM
Sage - I had the exact same experience fishing in the bay between Destin and FWB. I hooked a 12" speckled trout and by the time it got to the boat, a blue fish started eating it. It was something that's never happened to me before. I still have the picture of landing nothing but the speckled trout's head & gills.

03-26-2008, 09:55 AM
Streamers! cover lots of water and find the fish..then rip and strip!


03-26-2008, 03:42 PM
I believe you are right about big flies for big fish. I fished S. Holston yesterday and had made up lots of extra small flies hoping to entice one of those finicky browns. Didn't work. Didn't catch a single brown but caught over 50 small rainbows and 1 14 incher. Next time I will be loaded with large streamers and will break a lot of line in the rocks.


03-27-2008, 12:06 PM
OT - Try and get your hands on Kelly Galloup's "Streamer Fishing for Trophy Trout". His technique is fun and is aimed specifically at trophy Browns. I used his method of using the current to help retrieve your fly when I was Steelheading in February. There was a deep pool just past some riffles we had been fishing and I put on a 4" Gummy Minnow and stated streamer fishing. Instead of using a sinking line, I just added 4-5 split shot spaced out along my leader and after a few casts I had it down. On about the 6th good cast I made, my rod stopped and I almost broke my wrist. It ended up being close to a 10 lb'er and was a blast to fight and catch. The only other tip I might have, is that I understand many big Browns feed after dark.

03-27-2008, 03:45 PM

Thanks for the info. I wouldn't mind a broken wrist for a 10 pounder. I will be looking for "Streamer Fishing for Trophy Trout".

Brook Fan
03-27-2008, 09:37 PM
Can you effective fish wooly's and steamers with a floating line or do you need to have a sinking line to be effective.

03-28-2008, 09:25 AM
Brook Fan,

I think it depends on what type of water you are fishing. Small streams that are not very deep does not require a sinking line. Tailwaters are a different story. I fish the Cumberland River a lot. I use a 30 foot sink tip line for streamers. On generation, this is about the only way to get your streamer in the strike zone and keep it there. Streamer fishing is tiring but will produce larger fish most often. After about one hour of streamer fishing, I am ready for a break.

03-28-2008, 09:56 AM
You can use any kind of streamer. Galloup uses unweighted flies and a sinking line. But you can use a floating line with split shot or a weighted streamer. The weighted streamer is less realistic. You can also fish streamers like you would a nymph, with or without a flost. Sometimes I just don't have enough space to cast a streamer so I switch techniques. I caught my first ever Brown (16") on the Mad River doing just that with a Murray's Strymph.

FLYFSN - Have you seen the Galloup method, it is a lot less tiring as you are not throwing a lot of line? One thing is that he recommends a 5 or 6 wt.

03-28-2008, 10:47 AM

I bought " Galloup's Streamer Fishing for Trophy Trout" about one year ago. I found it to be very informative. As I remember, he was fishing somewhere in Pennsylvania and on the Madison River. He was fishing his famous zoocougar unweighted. I use weighted and unweighted streamers on the Cumberland. My streamer rod is a 9 1/2 foot six weight G. Loomis fast action. I am often fishing in six to twelve feet of water. The problem with fishing this deep is getting the line out of the water for the next cast. This involves stripping in close to the boat and roll casting to get the line and fly out of the water. As soon as the fly hits the water, you can make a back cast and shoot the line out for the forward cast. I just find streamer fishing in deep tailwaters on generation to be tiring, but it is a big fish technique and I will keep doing it as long as my shoulder holds out.


03-28-2008, 02:28 PM
I like doing this as well, just depends on the conditions. Fishing the Cumberland around timber can bring some heart stopping reactions! You might try practicing with a larger rod (8 or 10 wt) then the six will feel like a 4! I'm just 145 lb (of twisted steel and sex appeal) too! You will catch fewer fish but generally larger. I've had many days on Little River and Snowbird when I never hooked a fish ................ but my biggest to day came on a streamer. Otherwise fish deep where the water leaves a riffle into a deep run, got to use a heavy nymph or lead on the leader to tick the bottom.

Brook Fan
03-28-2008, 09:48 PM
Buck eye
Where to you place the split shot. I would like to give this a go since I only have one reel and I don't want to strip the line of for a sinking line

03-28-2008, 11:51 PM
I use heavily weighted nymphs most of the time rather than shot, I feel like it is easier to cast, less tangling. For instance a tungsten stone maybe above a soft hackle or smaller nymph. I put the large nymph about 10" above the bottom nymph/soft hackle. Same for weights though 6-18" above the nymph. You can get down by adding weight or if you have the room upstream of the run you want to fish, you can throw it above the riffle several feet and let it sink as in flows over the edge of and into the head of the riffle.
See what others have to say.

04-02-2008, 11:31 AM
I put a shot every 6" starting about a foot above the fly. The one drawback I have found is that this can cause a lot of line twist. Just be sure to check your leader every few casts. I also use a loop knot for the fly to get a little more action.

There are also weighted tips that you can buy that just loop onto the end of your fly line and I want to try those this year. I know Orvis makes some.

04-02-2008, 12:51 PM
man guys I love the streamers. I tend to throw more weighted than I do unweighted streamers. Usually because I have a floating line on. When I'm getting serious about fishing streamers I but out a 9' 7wt. with intermediate sinking line and I will throw either weighted or unweighted. A cool trick I saw was to carry extra coneheads in different sizes with you to put on the leader to add weight to unweighted flies. this works good with Orvis's nutcracker.
Put in your time and it will pay off. I usually try to make several Streamer only trips to the SOHO in the spring (Unless sulphurs come off).