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View Full Version : Tremont report from Sunday


Brian Griffing
03-17-2008, 05:36 PM
I hit Tremont on Sunday just downstream from where the road ends. The water temperature was 47 degrees at 3:30 and there were bugs around, but not as many as I had hoped. I tied on a size 14 parachute adams and went upstream. The weather was beautiful, cool, slight breeze, but not enough to pull at my line. There were enough clouds, and enough dark clouds, that several times I thought the sky was about to open up. But every ominous-looking bank that crested the ridge, quickly blew across the sliver of sky above me and was followed by periods of sunshine that seemed that much the brighter.
After moving about 50 yards upstream and having carefully worked several "good" spots, I started to think fish on dry fly today might be a little premature. And then, at the end of a deep pool below a car-sized boulder, the parachute abruptly disappeared from sight into the fast moving, green tainted water. I set the hook, and almost pulled that agressive little three inch bugger out of the water. I pinched the line against my rod, lifted the little guy up to eye level and grabbed the fly. I squatted down in the moss and rock, holding the fish just above the surface and said, "Thanks little guy. You just kept me from getting skunked." With a quick flip of the fly, the little rainbow, that would have barely covered the breadth of my palm, fell into the water and was off in a silver flash. There was no way I was taking that adams off the end of the leader now.
The next run up I was high sticking over a large boulder and a 8.5 inch rainbow came clear out of the water to take the fly. Honestly, it suprised the **** out of me. I thought I had already caught the one fish in the stream feeling froggy enough to make the trip to the surface for a meal. Apprarently not. I took a quick measurement of the second fish and hit him over the head with a small rock. Some of you just flinched, so I'll include this disclaimer. I don't keep many fish, in fact this was only the second fish I have kept in the last three years. On my way out the door that afternoon, my 4 year-old daughter told me she wanted to try a trout and asked if I would catch her one for dinner. I told her that I would try. In some circles I feel I have to explain why I would keep a trout. On the other hand, I have friends, not flyfisherman of course, that can't understand why I wouldn't.
Anyway, several more little rainbows (probably the size of the first) hit my fly over the next hour. Most missed the fly, had it pulled from their mouths, or were otherwise long distance released. But I did see one that was different. Shortly after I killed the one legal fish, I saw a bigger one. I was concentrating harder on the water above these rocks where he was holding, but as the fly drifted downstream I thought, "Eh, it has a good drift, leave it on the water for a second." As the fly got between two rocks, the head, dorsal, back and tail of a foot-long trout broke the surface like a Pacific Life Insurance commercial. I don't know if he missed my fly, changed his mind at the last minute, or took something else, but he was gone, and nothing would bring him back. I worked that patch of water for awhile, and then decided that I had a good afternoon and it was time to leave.
The drive back down the valley reminded me of my childhood in the summertime Rockies. The Smokies are very different, of course, but there are enough similarities to bring back memories of sitting on the bench seat of an old Chevy pick-up between my father and uncle. The stream noises, the gravel crunching under the truck's tires, the crisp air smelling of pine, and the faint aroma of fish slime still on my hands.
So there is one less trout in the Middle Prong left for the rest of you, but there are plenty still there. And they are coming to the surface to eat parachute adams.

Byron Begley
03-17-2008, 05:59 PM
Great story Brian. Well written too. Don't you just love it when a day of fly fishing takes you back in time? I go back to the 1950's. Things are different now or things were different then.

Byron

BlueRaiderFan
03-17-2008, 06:56 PM
Brian,

That's the same area that I was fishing on Sunday afternoon and caught that 8" brown. Sounds like you had a great time!

Brian Griffing
03-17-2008, 07:06 PM
Thanks, Byron. Re-hashing a fishing trip, even a short one, on this board helps me organize my thoughts on it, and so better remember the day. Its strange that so many experiences in flyfishing, like a strike on a fly, happen so quickly that we almost miss them and they later exist in our memories as a still image. Others are more subtle, encompassing much more than a single event, and will easily remain in the background if we don't stop and bring them into focus.

BlueRaiderFan
03-17-2008, 07:29 PM
http://s258.photobucket.com/albums/hh261/blueraiderfn/?action=view&current=100_3068.jpg

brownhunter
03-17-2008, 08:06 PM
One minor correction though, that isn't a brown in the pic, but a rainbow. Just trying to clear any misconceptions.

By the way, nice looking fish and thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

PeteCz
03-18-2008, 12:43 AM
One minor correction though, that isn't a brown in the pic, but a rainbow. Just trying to clear any misconceptions.

Actually, BRF posted a picture from his excursion this weekend, which was different than the fish Brian, caught (and presumably ate...)

Brian, you brought up something that I think is interesting. While I C&R my fish, I have no problem with anyone keeping fish (within the prescribed limits, of course). I think there are folks who do, but I'm not sure why they have that opinion, after all there is enough scientific evidence that:

1) Fishing has little impact on overall trout mortality (obviously the guy you smacked on the head with a rock has a different opinion:eek:, but I'm speaking of the collective population...)

2) Many of the streams are actually overcrowded compared to the food sources, so some culling of the dumb fish will actually help the overall gene pool (not saying your fish was dumb, but he was chasing after a 1/2" piece of metal with a sharp pointy thing, wrapped in gray stuff and feathers, thinking it was food...)

3) Most trout have a very short life expectancy, so better to put him to good use, than...

btw, what do you use to carry around the fish once you have smacked'em. My sister-in-law keeps asking me to keep a fish or two for her every once in awhile, but I haven't looked into the best way of keeping them fresh while I continue fishing.

ijsouth
03-18-2008, 12:56 AM
That's a good point...what to put them in. I've read that old-timers in the smokies used to grab a stick and thread their fish on them, then hide them in a hole somewhere on the stream. I guess if one wanted to really go all the way, a wicker creel would be the ticket.

We're coming up next week, and I told my girls that if they caught any that were legal sized, we could keep a few to eat. I'm bringing a bag of charcoal - I'll find a grill at one of the campgrounds and we'll eat them right there - fresh fish.

Speckleman5
03-18-2008, 01:10 AM
Though I rarely do it unless I am backcountry camping, I use a plastic freezer bag and just keep my water changed, or if it is too hot clean them then bag them...works well for me

BlueRaiderFan
03-18-2008, 08:22 AM
I keep a stringer with me nearby (When I used to keep my catch) and just carry it around with me. Then put them on ice on the way home.

BlueRaiderFan
03-18-2008, 08:23 AM
One minor correction though, that isn't a brown in the pic, but a rainbow. Just trying to clear any misconceptions.

By the way, nice looking fish and thanks for sharing with the rest of us.


That's a rainbow in my pic? I really thought it was a brown. It looks completely different from the rainbows I have caught in Townsend.

PeteCz
03-18-2008, 08:54 AM
The reason why fish from Townsend and the park differ is stocked v. wild. Stockers seem to be usually whiter/pinker than park rainbows.

Take a look at this site for some good pictures of each species
http://www.troutnut.com/pictures/of-trout

Keep in mind that fish in different streams can look different, as well, due to the fact that the breeding is not controlled in the park (like hatcheries), so some variation has crept into each species.

Rog 1
03-18-2008, 09:02 AM
I have been fishing these waters for almost 50 years....the plastic freezer bad has always worked to keep any fish that I have kept...occasionally rinse the fish with some fresh water....in the old days with the wicker creels you would wet several fern leaves and evaporation would keep the fish fresh...have never cleaned my fish until ready to leave the river and have never had any go bad.....

Brian Griffing
03-18-2008, 09:20 AM
Pete,
I had always built small cairns along streams as I moved (I kept a lot of fish when I was a kid), and then cut the "Y" out of a willow branch along the stream when I was done to string the fish. Having learned that this practice is frowned upon in the GSMNP, I keep a small stringer in the bottom of the pouch I clip to my belt. On Sunday I strung the fish and attached him to my belt, letting him hang far enough down that he dipped into the water everytime I waded into the stream and crouched a little. I wasn't very far from the truck, and I knew I'd be leaving soon, otherwise I would probably have pinned the stringer under a rock in some shallow. moving water and come back for it.
I cooked him on the grill on a sheet of tin foil with some lemon juice and pepper. He curled up within seconds and cooked through within three or four minutes. My daughter tried a little but wasn't too impressed, even after I meticulously peeled the meet of the backbone, removed the skin and poked through the flesh catching every little rib that tried to sneak its way onto her plate. All that for "I don't think I really like it, Daddy." Oh well, maybe she'll like it later. After all, she developed a real taste for venison this last fall, and she is already asking when I am going to bring a turkey home.

fishNlady
03-18-2008, 09:44 AM
We occasionally keep a few stockers from the tailwaters. But normally don't keep any park fish.

When we do go to the tailwaters planning to keep a couple for dinner. We use a wicker creel.

Rog 1
03-18-2008, 11:08 AM
I have eaten trout from the Park waters since I can remember coming to my grandparents home for the summer....my grandfather and uncle would stockpile enough for the family's first meal....they were dusted in cornmeal from the mill in Sevierville and fired up brown and crispy...still the only fish I have ever eaten that were served with the heads on....pull off the dorsel and lateral fins and eat them like corn on the cob....I will usually keep enough to eat a meal each fall on my annual trip....the flesh is sweet and firm and cannot compare with a stocker....if you ever get a chance to clean one of each at the same time the differences are striking....from the color and texture of the flesh to the color of the organs....totally different fish.

Brian Griffing
03-18-2008, 01:34 PM
Something I forgot to add...
I cut open the fish's stomach to see what he had been eating and it was pretty full. Most of it was completely undiscernable black digested muck, but there was a very large recently eaten cricket taking up most of the stomach. Not really all that important, just something I found interesting.

BlueRaiderFan
03-18-2008, 04:28 PM
The reason why fish from Townsend and the park differ is stocked v. wild. Stockers seem to be usually whiter/pinker than park rainbows.

Take a look at this site for some good pictures of each species
http://www.troutnut.com/pictures/of-trout

Keep in mind that fish in different streams can look different, as well, due to the fact that the breeding is not controlled in the park (like hatcheries), so some variation has crept into each species.

Pete, thanks for the info. I'm a newbie to the park streams and don't know much. I learned a tonfrom the guys at LRO. I thought I was going to bug them to death last weekend.

ttas67
03-18-2008, 04:33 PM
I've never kept any from the park, but have thought about it. question: if I clean them on the stream, is it acceptable to throw the guts back in the stream, or am I supposed to bury them or something?

russ
03-18-2008, 04:44 PM
I've never kept any from the park, but have thought about it. question: if I clean them on the stream, is it acceptable to throw the guts back in the stream, or am I supposed to bury them or something?

When i keep fish I always clean them at the stream and throw the guts back in the water. It is easier and cleaner for me plus I figure i am giving something back to the ecosystem that would have ate that fish when it died. I don't know if there is a law concerning cleaning a fish in the park though. Probably is somewhere.

BlueRaiderFan
03-18-2008, 05:18 PM
I think someone on here mentioned that it had to be cleaned at least 200ft from a campsite.

Flyfishjeep
03-18-2008, 08:16 PM
My uncle would clean the fish when we got home from the stream. he would take the stomach out and put the contents in a small glass with some water and swish the contents around. This would break apart the clump of partially digested and undigested food so we could see how small the bugs were that they eat.

I had a creel that was fabric with mesh ends to allow water flow. It had a ruler built into the side for easy measuring. I would hang it low so it would dip in the water. This worked well until I lost it during a move.

Rog 1
03-19-2008, 09:09 AM
I have always cleaned any fish I kept at the end of the fishing on the stream...this allows for water to clean and to cool them down again....usually by the time we leave the crayfish have found us and have bellied up to the bar.