View Full Version : 12/22 Metcalf Fishing report

12-22-2010, 09:42 PM
First off, hello. I've never posted here before though I've been lurking for about a year, and have to say that daily this forum has been a great source of information and entertainment.

I started out the day by dropping by LRO and I have to say that I absolutely love that place. The people are absolutely wonderful and without them I'd have to use corn or a taser to catch a single trout.

So I ended up fishing just above Metcalf Bottoms to Elkmont. Started off with a Girdle bug, then went to Montana Stone with a Rubberleg Hare's Ear dropper, then to an Orange Stimulator, then to an Olive Serendipity with a Gray Ghost chaser, then to a Purple Zonker, then to Bitch's Creek, and ended the day on a Klinkhammer Olive. In all, I didn't get a single bite all day. (And I only used the dries because I like not catching trout better on dries then on nymphs or streamers).

I approached cautiously, cast only to possible lies, weighed them down (except the dries obviously), and even prayed a couple times. Is there some other secret to Winter fishing in the Smokies or is it just my novice skills that produced a biteless day?

Anyway, I'm happy to finally post on here and though the day was fruitless, it was still a wonderful day. And Merry Christmas to all.

Rainbow Warrior
12-22-2010, 10:05 PM
First off, welcome! I did the same as you and lurked around a while. I eventually joined. Really there is no particular "secret" except get down near the bottom and work the water good because the fish won't want to move very far to get food. This is because of the extremely cold water. Believe me, the fish ARE there, but are just harder to catch. A few weeks ago you could have caught maybe a few post spawn browns because they were re-fueling from their spawn. I personally would wait until some warmer days in March or maybe even early April to expect some of the better days the Smoky's can offer. I am not saying it doesn't fish that well in winter, but it is just tougher. You might want to try to head over to fish some of NC's DH streams or a tailwater stream. You should have better action at these.

12-22-2010, 11:57 PM
Welcome Flyjunkie; great to have you join us.

Persistant bugger, aren't you? That's a whole heck of a lot of options to throw at some sleepy fish. There are folks who are obviously more skilled than you and me that can catch trout in LR when there's ice on the rocks. But for me it's a great time to practice casting without all the leaves and people and stuff.

Keep at it, man. The guys who can catch in the cold started out just like you and me. Or at least I keep telling myself that.

12-23-2010, 11:03 AM
JMHO, but I would hike up some of the smaller streams in the area since those fish tend to be a bit more aggressive toward dries.

12-23-2010, 11:07 AM
Wait for a warmer than average sunny day and fish in the middle part of the day when the sun is highest. The fish will become a good bit more active even in Dec/Jan/Feb. They can be caught in winter even on dries.

12-23-2010, 12:03 PM
Flyjunkie, I usually feel pretty lucky to catch 1 or 2 fish on a winter day in the mountains.
I use small, dark nymphs (14-16), and bounce them along the bottom. If a fish takes it, it might be the most subtle strike you've ever had. If you're using an indicator, it may be that the indicator turns, flips over, or hesitates for a split second.

It's still one of my favorite times of the year to fish because it's so peaceful.

Pick up a copy of Chris Camuto's "Fly Fisherman's Blue Ridge" and read the chapter about winter fishing. It's not a "how to" book, but you'll know why I reccomended that chapter once you're done with it.

12-23-2010, 12:52 PM
Hey Flyjunkie welcome to the board! You did pick a hard time to start fishing. I started fishing in the smokies in January a couple of years ago and I didn't catch a fish or get a bite (that I could tell) until April. Then I caught a couple on a trip to Hazel Creek and was hooked. Persistance is the key if you aren't going to get a guide. Sounds like you have that just keep at it and you will start catching. Even if you don't you will learn stuff as you go. I stay low and hidden as much as I can and usually fish traveling upstream. I did't even know that my first couple of months I was barrelling downstream standing straight up wearing a white shirt while blowing an airhorn (just kidding on the last item). Finally I caught my first 2 trout on Hazel Creek (which I caught drifting nymphs downstream letting out all my line and almost all my backing wow I didn't have a clue I just let it drift hundreds of feet and actually caught a dumb brown). I didn't catch any on the next outing but caught one again after that. Started catching them albeit inconsistently I was finally catching. Now a year and a half later it is pretty consistent since I have learned a LOT and my confidence is much higher. I don't do the thousand yard drift anymore lol. I have since fished with lots of good fisheman including a couple from this board and know some more about how to actually fish ha.

Trout fishing is a strange and magical pursuit. If I fish without confidence using the same fly I have noticed I won't catch much. If I "know" I am going to catch one (high confidence) with every cast I catch a lot more. The confidence level probably translates just a bit into my presentation I am guessing but just enough to make all the difference.

12-23-2010, 01:51 PM
Hey guys and thanks for all the responses and welcomes. I actually start fly fishing about a year and a half ago. The first six or seven times, I didn't catch a thing. They'd hit the fly and I would wait for them to take it and run so I could set the hook. And I'd wade in the middle of the stream while wearing my lucky deep sea fishing shirt (bright white with pink stripes). I never caught a thing but I still loved it.
My wife got me private lessons for an anniversary present. So late this summer my friend and I had the lessons with Chuck at LRO - apparently I was doing everything wrong. The next weekend I went up to WPLP and caught 4 over 7", one being a spec, and caught about 5 more under that. I've gone about once a week since and average catching about 10 to 15 a trip, with at least two being over 7". Those lessons were the best thing I could have possibly done. I'm going to take LRO's Entomology class this summer and maybe even the Advanced Nymphing class another local guide offers.
Anyway, I kind of knew winter fishing would be tough but I also know that if I don't try and practice I'll never be able to fish in the winter. Though I'm planning on fishing the Tailwaters, sometimes their generation schedules don't fit my plans and I'll have to hit the park.
Thanks again for the welcomes everyone and hopefully I'll run into a some of you on the streams.

12-23-2010, 11:43 PM
Flyjunkie, Welcome to the message board I must say as well you are persistent! Using a dry fly this time of year your not going to have much luck if any. The water level being around 400+ cfs is also an issue cold and fast water is hard to fish. The only luck I have had is using a Tellico nymph with a couple of #16 split shots attached just above the nymph.

I cast upstream maybe 15-20yds and high stick keeping the line tight mostly just leader in the water....trout are lethargic this time of year so don't expect a strike, it will be more of a soft bump kinda like a snag. I hope this helps and good luck winter fishing. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lethargic)

01-04-2011, 11:59 PM
Hey Fly junkie; you are certainly addicted to FF; maybe this would be a good time to learn fly tying since your not doing any catching?

Your wife must really want you out of the house; perhaps she pay for fly tying lessons...?

The key to catching trout is to present the fly where a trout expects to see it at the given time.... Imagine yourself a brown trout and fish accordingly.