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View Full Version : First time in Smoky Mountains!!!


chicagoguy
03-19-2009, 02:27 PM
I'm driving from Chicago to the Smokies for a long weekend fishing trip. I'm super excited to hike and fish, but have some questions for you guys. My buddy and I are spin rod fishers. I recently bought a fly rod and have been practicing. It's a lot of fun but I'm not sure I should even bother bringing my fly rod down for this trip.

What are your opinions? Is it a lot harder trying to catch the Smokies' wild trout with spin rods instead of fly rods? This is an important issue because fish will be our main food source this weekend.

What kind of a setup should I use for my spin rod to catch trout in the area?

Would I use 2lb test or 4 lb test?

What lures should I use? Would it work if I put a dry fly (wooly bugger or something) on the end of my spin rod's line?

nvr2L8
03-19-2009, 02:48 PM
....to our board and to our mountains! You've picked a great time to come as the fishing is really kicking off in a big way for the year.

Spin Fishing: I fished casually (4-5 times a year) in the Smokies with a spinning outfit for about 30 years and here was my preference: ultra-light rod and reel, 4 lb test line and a small Rooster Tail, mostly black or black with sparkles and 1/24 oz. Any similar light spinning lures will do. I've never tried using fly fishing tackle on a spinning rod so I can't advise you on that one.

Fly Fishing: I learned to fly fish 2 years ago and haven't picked up my spinning rig since then and it's turned from a casual past time to an obsession. This is a perfect time for fly fishing if you are ready to give it a shot. Take a look at the Fishing Report of the LRO home page any day and it will give you an idea of the best flies to use and how to fish them (basically, nymphs and wet flies in the a.m. and dries in the afternoon).

If you are going to spin fish, be sure that you use only single hooks, no natural bait or attractors and you have a 7" length minimum and a creel limit of five if you decide to keep what you catch. There are fishing regulations also provided off the LRO home page and tips on how to fish the Smokies. Take the time to read them - they'll keep you out of trouble and in the fun.

Have a great time in the Smokies and be sure and post a report for us. Best thing you can do is to seek out Little River Oufitters in Townsend and make that your first stop before you hit the Park. They'll provide lots of great advice on where to go and how to fish it.

old tom
03-19-2009, 07:30 PM
I don't mean to rain on your parade, but...

I guess I'd call myself an average flyfisherman. I don't catch double digit numbers of fish too often, but I don't get skunked too often either. Many times, a 5" fish is all that keeps me from getting skunked.

That said, I would not go into the backcountry counting on fish to be the mainstay of my diet. At least pack in a couple of packs of Ramen Noodles and some granola bars. There are too many factors, not the least of which is the weather, that can work against you.

And by all means, bring the flyrod.

chicagoguy
03-20-2009, 04:48 AM
Also, will I have a chance to use waders if I'm fishing the Little River or are they not necessary? I know that some fishing locations require a hike, so I'm trying to get a better feel for the area but also the types of equipment I need to bring or purchase.

nvr2L8
03-20-2009, 08:05 AM
For Little River, I would consider waders. You're going to be spending more time standing in the water in LR. For some of the smaller streams, I've already gone to wet wading but there you are on rocks a lot and time actually in the water is shorter. A caution about wading - if the water in LR gets much above where it is now, it can be dangerous to wade because of the strength of the current. If I'm remember correctly, Byron's recommendation is to be cautious of wading if the depth gage on the fishing report is above 2.5 feet and the reading now is just above 2.3 feet; check out Stream Info link on the Fishing Report page. (Just a note about the Stream Info link, the temperature chart is off because the USGS monitoring station temperature gage has been out of whack for several months now. It's reading about 20 degrees F too high.)

Bottom line for right now in the Smokies, if you're going to be standing in water, you should probably have waders but be cautious with Spring rains not to go wading if the water gets much above where it is right now.

jross
03-20-2009, 08:42 AM
hey, I might be able to help a wee bit. I'm a full time spinner and part time fly caster. What NVR2L8 said is what I'd say also. I just bought a brand new ultralight for my trip this week. Last year I used a spinning rod for trout the first time and was suprised how well I did. SINGLE hook spinner, black with silver blade is best. I'll give you what I learned: I used a fluorocarbon leader. I'd cast upstream into the "choppy" water and real back right through the seams that were created by the rocks/current. I would do my best to not disturb the water, so cast into broken water or hit a rock and let it fall in.
Remember in the smokies you can use two lures at once. So you could rig up a double nymph rig with a heavy indicator (don't call 'em bobbers!:biggrin:) and use a short distance flipping technique.

flynut
03-20-2009, 12:10 PM
Bring the fly rod. Practicing on the water is way better than practicing in the yard. You will not regret it. Good Luck!

cherokeeflyboy
03-20-2009, 05:25 PM
If you’re going to be fishing inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park be sure to bring your fly rod. Most of them are small to medium streams and you will not be casting that far. In the smaller streams you may be casting only a line twice the length of your fly rod. I have fished with just 1 to 1 1/2 lengths of my fly rod wading and caught fish. Some say a 20' cast is a long cast, then they’re some that may disagree with that.

BlueRaiderFan
03-20-2009, 11:17 PM
Try and cast from the bank. Getting into the water disturbs the fish. Do a google search on "high stickin'" and read about it. Work the close water first so you don't line the fish. Work the edges of the pools up to the lip. Save the middle of the pool for last (probably nothing in it). Good luck.

Carolina Boy
03-21-2009, 09:04 PM
If you haven't fished in the park before....Bring Food!

ijsouth
03-21-2009, 10:34 PM
1. Bring both, but concentrate on the fly rod - on the smaller streams, even a small spinner would probably spook the fish.

2. As said by a lot of others above - don't count on fish dinners. First of all, you're limited to 5 a day, and the minimum length is 7 inches. While that might not seem very big, a 7" trout on many of the streams is a very good fish, particularly on the smaller streams. I like to target the specs (brookies), and I would have to say that most of them are in that 4-6" range...I caught one this September that was close to 9" that was far and away the biggest brookie I've caught in the park. Plus, I wouldn't count on a bonanza of fish starting out - there is a bit of a learning curve on these streams, and it takes a while to unlock the secrets.

chicagoguy
03-21-2009, 11:37 PM
Thanks for all the comments. Hopefully I'll have some good pictures to post.

chicagoguy
03-26-2009, 03:59 AM
Got skunked most of the days using Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, Parachute Adams, Muddler Minnows and Nymphs but I did manage to catch my first fish on a fly rod. It was a 5" rainbow and the colors were beautiful. Almost as exciting was when a real version of my fly landed right next to my artificial fly. For a first time fly fisherman, that was cool to see.

Either way, those of you local to the area are very lucky to have some great looking fishing streams and a top 10 caliber national park. Very nice indeed.

cherokeeflyboy
03-26-2009, 07:58 AM
Got skunked most of the days using Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, Parachute Adams, Muddler Minnows and Nymphs but I did manage to catch my first fish on a fly rod. It was a 5" rainbow and the colors were beautiful. Almost as exciting was when a real version of my fly landed right next to my artificial fly. For a first time fly fisherman, that was cool to see.

Either way, those of you local to the area are very lucky to have some great looking fishing streams and a top 10 caliber national park. Very nice indeed.



Sorry that you got skunked most days. Where did you fish? I was hoping that you did great and caught fish out the wazoo. Did you stop by LRO and talk to anyone there? Next time you go you may do a half or full day guided trip...those guy's can help a newcomer to the park like you would not believe. Better luck next time.

chicagoguy
03-26-2009, 10:59 AM
No problem, the weather was fantastic and I enjoyed every frustrating minute of my fishing, hiking and picture taking. Actually....not every minute. I left my shoes outside in the rain on Weds morning.

I stopped by LRO as soon as possible by entering the park via Townsend rather than Gatlinburg. They were helpful. That's where I picked up my BQ, QG and Nymph. I also stopped by the Fly shop in Cherokee. The store isn't as big as LRO, but the person there was friendly.

I spent most of my time fishing the Little River between Metcalfe Bottoms and Elkmont campsite. I also fished along Bradley Forks River. I did see one fella catch a monster rainbow near Bradley Forks. It was probably in the 11-13" range but other than that I talked to many fisherman and not many people were having luck during the days I was there.

cherokeeflyboy
03-26-2009, 09:49 PM
No problem, the weather was fantastic and I enjoyed every frustrating minute of my fishing, hiking and picture taking. Actually....not every minute. I left my shoes outside in the rain on Weds morning.

I stopped by LRO as soon as possible by entering the park via Townsend rather than Gatlinburg. They were helpful. That's where I picked up my BQ, QG and Nymph. I also stopped by the Fly shop in Cherokee. The store isn't as big as LRO, but the person there was friendly.

I spent most of my time fishing the Little River between Metcalfe Bottoms and Elkmont campsite. I also fished along Bradley Forks River. I did see one fella catch a monster rainbow near Bradley Forks. It was probably in the 11-13" range but other than that I talked to many fisherman and not many people were having luck during the days I was there.

Post some pictures...would love to see some. I have 21 more days and I will be getting wet there in the park...cant wait. Little River is fished pretty hard. I am going to fish Deep Creek and Cataloochee, and in Greenbrier. I will hit the Little River on the way to Abrams one day and Bradley Forks too.
Anyways post so pic's and get my blood flowing if you have the time..:biggrin: