View Full Version : Brookie fishing 101 Ė The magical powers of Paula & The Fish Lady

04-21-2011, 03:57 PM
Wednesday was the big day. Freddie and I had planned this trip for years, and finally the conditions were perfect (or so I thought) for our daytrip to Three Forks to fish Left Fork. Itís funny that I actually met Freddie through this board on a post about Three Forks. While I have fished with Freddie all over the Smokies, and even 3 times in Raven Fork gorge, we still havenít made it to this location together. My buddy Trey called, who just got into fly fishing a couple years back, and decided he would tag along(**** of a first trip). Well Mother Nature decided that she had a different plan for us. Unfortunately with 2.24 inches of rain in the previous 24 hours at Newfound Gap, 1.2 inches at The Trout Farm, and a previous days visual from the bridge where Straight Fork & Raven Fork come together meant that we were shut out of Three Forks. With some of the thickest Rhodo in the Smokies, itís not the kind of place to take lightly having no trails, and being responsible outdoor enthusiasts made the call to wait for a better day (I hope it comes soon). We made the plan B, and at least I didnít have to meet Freddie at his house at 5:30.

9 AM the next morning we all met at Waffle House to load up on calories for the day. We decided to stop by LRO, and were promptly greeted by Paula and Mary K (aka The Fish Lady). Iíve been eyeing those T-shirts at LRO for some time now, and next time Iím in there I will buy at least one. Trey bought a pair of the Chota neoprene socks with gravel guard (Smoky Mountain staple), Freddie bought a few flies, and I finally renewed my fishing license (My NC license was still in effect so previously I was still legal in park). Mary K took care of that for me, and after a minute of two handed me my new license. I then bought a few fly tying supplies as well as some more tippet, and Paula rung me up and handed me my stuff and we were on our way. While Iím still not sure if itís Paulaís or Mary Kís, or their combination of touches that proved to be the magical touch that blessed me this day, I recommend that you shake their hand next time any of you are in LRO. I think itís kind of the equivalent of kissing the Popeís ring.

Anyway, I better get to the fishing. We drove to the trailhead. Freddie & I geared up, and Trey decided to hike his stuff in since we were hiking in several miles. It was a beautiful day. The water while high everywhere in the park was still at a manageable level in this stream. It pays to know your stream and rain gauges in the park. After several miles of hiking we couldnít resist the water anymore, and Freddie & I started fishing a few holes. Freddie started having success right off. When I switched to the fly he was using I did too.


We hiked up a little further at a good stopping point where Trey rigged up and got ready to fish with us. Since it was a small creek really only big enough for one or maybe two people to fish together we would have to split up. Freddie said that if we got split up letís meet back at the spot where Trey rigged up at 4:30. Freddie was planning to fish the next section where Trey & I would head up a few hundred yards and start fishing there. Freddie said letís meet up at the next crossing and make a new plan there. As trey & I headed up it was hard to find a good spot to hop in the stream, and before you knew it we were at the next crossing. I thought Trey might want a few pointers since he was new to Brookie fishing, but he just wanted to fish by himself. I soon headed upstream and continued fishing. The fishing was awesome. I was catching multiples out of each hole. One good hole earned me 7 fish, 4 of which were above 7 inches. I soon began to realize that while this wasnít the trip I initially wanted, it would be a day to remember. Freddie soon caught up to me and when I asked him how the fishing had been for him, here was his response.


Freddie and I played leapfrog for the next Ĺ mile of stream landing fish after fish. It was starting to get hot at this point and there were more bugs around than I had ever seen before. Great fish everywhere


This was also the point where my dry fly was starting to take some serious abuse.


The fish were beautiful, and the fishing has never been better. Here is a shot of one that stayed in some shallow water when I released him.


And from the front


In an ironic twist of fate here is how my dropper & dry combo looks after fish #86. I was amazed that I had caught so many fish on just 2 flies. In the restaurant business when you are ď86íd something it means you out of that particular thing. As you can see both my dry & dropper were ď86ídĒ



As we were nearing the end of our day, I was in my mid nineties and told Freddie that I was going for triple digits, and to please let me fish a little while longer (gave me all the frsh water at this point). I was soon at 99 and it was time to head back. I hit several good pools on the way out netting me nothing, but after some persistence was truly rewarded with this beautiful male as fish #100


I fished a few more pools on the way out catching one more where I decided to stop the day at 101. While I was pretty sure I had a hundred fish day last year, I messed up my count somewhere in the eighties, and canít be 100% sure. Today, I was 100% sure, and it was a great feeling. While skill is definitely involved in catching that many fish, most of the times it CONDITIONS that dictate how the fishing will be. My buddy Trey caught 35 (had only caught 2 or 3 previously), and Freddie never counts, but caught many fish. It was that perfect blend of high water, a warm day that puts a lot of sun in areas that usually stay shaded, and the most important reason Ė The magical powers of Paula & The Fish Lady. Consider me a devoted follower, and Iíll be making more stops to LRO in the future for supplies, blessings, and handshakes.

Byron, youíre a lucky man!

04-21-2011, 05:06 PM
Very nice brooks, and pretty big as well.

Dancing Bear
04-21-2011, 07:12 PM
You're killing me with these brookie trips. It will be next month before I have a chance at my first trip for those little jewels this year.

Super nice fish. Again.


04-22-2011, 07:38 AM
Top shelf.

04-22-2011, 12:50 PM
You're killing me with these brookie trips.


Then your going to hate the fact that I have yet another post on the way from doing Road Prong last Wednesday:eek:

Dancing Bear
04-22-2011, 07:15 PM
I'll just have to man up and deal with it. Seriously, I look forward to your posts. They always inspire and are great fodder for my day dreaming. You're a man after my own heart. If it wasn't a 3 hour drive I'd be chasing brookies like you do.:biggrin:


04-23-2011, 10:27 AM
Seriously great fish there. Looks like a good time.

Paula, looks like you've found a new role in the shop = good luch charm.


04-25-2011, 08:57 AM
Top shelf.