View Full Version : WPLP is back in play!

04-17-2009, 11:29 PM
Went up to WPLP this afternoon, a little apprehensive about water temps but couldn't stay away any longer. I put in at the upper end of the Chimneys Picnic Area around 1:30 and the water temp was about 49. What a gorgeous day! And I was quickly reminded why this is just about my favorite stream. The water was still up a bit from the recent rains but very fishable. The trout were coming up everywhere to dries (stayed with a Parachute Adams most of the day). Saw a few nice size ones, one that banged my fly twice from the bottom of a pool that took my breath away both times. Would have stayed and kept trying for it but there was another fellow who had come up not far behind so I left it for him to find. Ended up catching 3 small bows but it was enough for the first venture onto this stream for the Spring. Here's a shot that I couldn't pass up - what a beautiful place and it's now open for business! :biggrin:

David Knapp
04-18-2009, 03:27 PM
Awesome! I love fishing that stream...we drove past there yesterday on the way to Cherokee for a few hours of fishing and I was wondering how the fishing was for the wild jewels in the West Prong... Looks like I might have to fish it sometime soon...:cool:

04-18-2009, 09:18 PM
What a beautiful spot Charlie. My husband asked me yesterday if I would like to fish the Smokies in June. I think the answer would be YES!

04-18-2009, 10:16 PM

Come on up! We'll take you guys on a tour of the gorge. It's a remarkable stretch of river.

04-18-2009, 10:34 PM
That sounds great! Got to figure out dates. Where should I be looking at places to stay?

04-18-2009, 11:08 PM
Depends on what you're after. Simple and quiet hotels/cabins, I'd go with Townsend. More action and lots of places to eat, I'd go with Gatlinburg. If you like shopping and carnivals, go to Pigeon Forge. Check out the Plan Your Trip link off the LRO home page and it has both hotels/motels/cabins and camping.

I'll be in Telluride, CO (music festival) from June 14 - 24 but if you guys are up here outside those dates, give me a shout at bartonca@hotmail.com. Or come on up for Troutfest - even better!

04-19-2009, 10:59 AM
I had hoped it was still unfishable and I wouldn't have to figure out how to play hooky from work...

I see you started above the Picnic Area. How was the water level?

04-19-2009, 07:12 PM

The water level was great (before today's rain). There was a lot of water coming through but there were lots of open pools and side areas to fish. Even where water was pouring down, there were pockets next to the rapids where fish were rising to the dries. No excuses, my friend. Gotta go. One note: I didn't try anything but dries - probably could have gotten even more action with nymphs and wets.

BTW, interesting premise by Ian in the Road Prong thread on brookies getting active in cooler water than bows and browns. I'm liking that theory. If it's true, we probably should have been moving up the hill earlier.

04-19-2009, 09:03 PM

Thanks for the report and the stream pic, the gorge section of WPLP is a wonderful stretch of water, I fished it myself for the first time last autumn.
Funny thing, but my wife and I are going to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival too, never been before, should be great! By the way, the San Miguel River flows right through Telluride, holds browns, bows and cutthroat, and should be near the end of runoff by that time, might be worth bringing a fly rod along with you...

And I second your advice to Pete--go out, cast some dries, and find some fish, they are waiting! The brookies were certainly looking up when I was there on Road Prong...

Tight lines, Iain

04-19-2009, 09:25 PM

Where are you guys staying at Telluride? My cousin and I are in the Mary E. Illium campground outside of town. It would be great to hook up with some kindred spirits out there. Feel free to give me a buzz while you're there at 865.898.9687. Or email me (bartonca@hotmail.com) and we can figure out how to cross paths.

BTW, last year was a huge snow year for CO. and the San Miguel was boiling while we were out there for the festival. Totally unfishable. Hope for better this year.

04-22-2009, 10:05 AM

Thanks for the reply, my wife (Regan) and I are also staying at the Mary E. Ilium campground, so if we can bump into each other there, that would be great. I'll give you a call while we are there. Also, here is my phone and e-mail--808-573-1333, iainemmons@yahoo.com, if you want to get in touch with us too.

Sorry to hear that about the San Miguel last year, hopefully the river and runoff conditions will be more accommodating this year...how was the festival last year?


04-22-2009, 08:55 PM
Thanks for the info. I'll drop you a line and tell you about the Telluride when I get back from Merlefest this weekend (Doc Watson's bluegrass festival in Wilkesboro, NC). You will love definitely Telluride, fishing or no. :biggrin: BTW, the river runs right by our campground.

04-22-2009, 09:14 PM
tell you about the Telluride when I get back from Merlefest this weekend d.

Dang Charlie, you're quite the bluegrass guy! Me too, wish I could hit some of the festers...


04-22-2009, 09:22 PM
Charlie B and Iain,

just moved out to Knoxville from Fort Collins, CO. Could be a pretty huge year for runoff again, especially with over 7 feet of snow coming in late March and April.

Hope you get some good fishing while at the festival, should be a grand time with or without fish!


04-22-2009, 10:18 PM
I'm taking my fly rod this year just in case - you never know when you might find a quieter tributary.

My best friend growing up and my first cousin that was more like a brother have been to Merlefest for the past 5 years and wouldn't miss it for the world. Telluride was supposed to be a once in a decade experience last year until my wife encouraged me to go again this year (and who am I to argue? :rolleyes:). The only bad thing about going this weekend is forgoing a trip to WPLP - things should really be hopping in the gorge!

04-23-2009, 05:05 PM
Don't miss Bela, Emmylou and Todd Snider. Bela turned the banjo from an annoyance to a gift.

"Friends don't let friends play banjo"

04-24-2009, 11:36 AM
Say, Charlie, that must've been you that bumped into my wife and me Friday as you came back down to the picnic area. Must say its an absolutely gorgeous area! First time I've hit that spot.

I'm still a hack/amateur/newbie at fly fishing... so I caught trees and not fish. But, I'd still do it again!


04-27-2009, 09:46 PM

Glad to put a name with a face. Keep it up - I've had something of a dry spell this spring but looking forward to better. Hope springs eternal with those who stand in the river waving a stick. :biggrin:

04-29-2009, 11:47 AM
I fished WPLP yesterday for the first time in a while. Caught lots of rainbows, some were very nice. When I finally made it up to the Brookies I noticed that they seemed to be a little on the small side, even for Brookies.

Is this the norm for that stream?

I decided to stop by Metcalf Bottoms area on my way out to pick up my first Park grand slam. I had never seriously pursued the slam before. I had, in the past week, caught browns in the section that I decided to fish. Several nice drifts produced a sucker and a very nice bow that gave the fight of the day.

Any suggestions for the browns?

Rog 1
04-29-2009, 11:51 AM
Try the LR just below Elkmont....up to the campground

04-29-2009, 12:06 PM
Thanks Rog 1.

I have never fished that particular section.

05-01-2009, 02:19 PM
Played hooky from work and fished the Gorge with CCMMCC, from the Nature Exhibit up to above the Tunnel. Didn't manage to catch many fish between 10a and 1p, but things picked up in the afternoon. Caught lots of small rainbows (4-6") below the Tunnel, but finally managed to start catching 7-9" fish at and above the tunnel. Caught all of mine on a TroutDude CHC Caddis. Chris used a few different flies and did as well, if not better.

Due to their small size (and lack of teeth) of most of the beginning fish I actually managed to catch 28 fish with the same fly (without losing or retying it). By the time we quit, the bigger fish had chewed the fly to pieces and it would no longer float. Before this trip, the most I caught on a single fly was 6 fish. More than anything else it took a lot of luck to catch that many on one fly...(I was in the trees twice, got taken under a rock a half dozen times and had to use my forceps about a half dozen more times, but the hook kept coming out and the 5x Flouro tippet never slipped the knot)...

The flow was down on the WPLP, but the level was still quite fishable. The rains today have obviously changed the flow situation. It should be good fishing again later this weekend.

05-01-2009, 07:49 PM
Had a great day fishing with PeteCZ. He was kind enough to give me a handful of flies that he tied. The first thing that came to my mind when I examined them was "detail". Pete's tying is particular and you can tell he pays attention to detail. Which explains why he probably outfished me! The fishing turned on and turned off for no reason that I could tell, but there was still plenty of fish caught.

05-01-2009, 11:51 PM
Congratulations, guys.

I had every intention of taking a half day on Thursday and going up there but at 4:30 on Wednesday, someone scheduled a meeting for me at 3:00 Thursday afternoon. :frown: Just wasn't meant to be. My turn will come.