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View Full Version : Smokies Report July 18, 2011


David Knapp
07-20-2011, 12:04 AM
I headed up to the mountains yesterday with the goal to introduce a friend to fly fishing. We stopped by LRO for some tying material and a supply of tippet material and leaders for my upcoming Yellowstone trip. Also picked up a fishing license and then we were off. First off we headed over to Greenbrier. I like smaller pocket water streams for beginner fisherman because of the forgiving fish that will rise consistently to dry flies.

We fished a little here and there and got the first fish out of the way and then another...all on dries! Helping people catch their first fish on a fly rod is always enjoyable to me. Over the last few years I've helped people catch their first fish anywhere from small trout streams in the Smokies to farmpond bluegill. Every time, the smile says it all...

http://i283.photobucket.com/albums/kk311/drknapp83/IMG_9929.jpg


http://i283.photobucket.com/albums/kk311/drknapp83/IMG_9933.jpg

I wanted to show her some brookies and since we didn't want to hike too far, decided to head up 441. This proved to be a good call except that I missed the first several brookies that ate. Lots of rainbows came to hand here as well, and since I hate seeing that many rainbows up high in brookie water, I'm afraid I might not have been as gentle with them as I should have. (Un)Fortunately they probably all survived to be caught another day.

http://i283.photobucket.com/albums/kk311/drknapp83/IMG_9944.jpg

Seriously, if anyone wants to catch some fish to eat, hit up Walker Camp Prong and keep as many legal 'bows as possible. I catch tons of rainbows where I used to catch only brookies...too bad... Anyways, we finally got a brookie and then it was off to Little River.

I was planning on trying in one or two places for a big brown to cap off the day. Finally, inspiration struck and I stopped at a favorite pool. It was the perfect time to be on the water, right around sunset which meant I better hurry and get my fishing time in before it was too late. I tied on a wooly bugger and trailed a soft hackle (more on this fly later on my blog) behind it and proceeded to catch two nice rainbows, the better of which pushed 11 inches.

Then, on what was going to be my last cast, it happened. The line twitched, I set the hook, and was soon battling a fish that grew as I fought it. When it first rolled, I was positive that I had a 11-12 inch rainbow on. However, you can tell this fish was definitely not a rainbow and obviously larger than 11-12 inches. Definitely an awesome way to wrap up the trip!

http://i283.photobucket.com/albums/kk311/drknapp83/IMG_1042.jpg

http://i283.photobucket.com/albums/kk311/drknapp83/IMG_1039.jpg

duckypaddler
07-20-2011, 09:11 AM
NIce stuff as usual:biggrin:

While I haven't been thinning the Rainbows out in Walker Prong, I have been trying to do my share on the Middle Prong:smile:

Great that you got to show a newby, and that Brown is pretty impressive

BlueRaiderFan
07-20-2011, 02:51 PM
Solid! VERY nice brown!

JohnH0802
07-20-2011, 02:54 PM
Great brown, and great job getting the newbie on the water and into her first fly rod fish.

Teddyp
07-20-2011, 04:11 PM
Awesome fish! nice work!

smccarter
07-20-2011, 06:40 PM
Great pics! So where is walker prong?

David Knapp
07-20-2011, 08:10 PM
It is the stream that flows along hwy 441 above the Chimney Tops trailhead. That is where Road Prong and Walker join to form the West Prong of the Little Pigeon....

rbreedi1
07-20-2011, 09:25 PM
Awesome fish! Thanks for sharing.

2weightfavorite
07-21-2011, 07:06 AM
Regardless of how you feel about the rainbows in your "brookie" stream there is no reason to injur or kill fish you are not willing to take home. My own two cents, brook trout or wimpy small fish that are not too bright and will eat almost anything, realistic or not. I understand they are the "native" species, but if that;s the case start bouncing your beloved browns off the rocks as well.

MBB
07-21-2011, 08:07 AM
Regardless of how you feel about the rainbows in your "brookie" stream there is no reason to injur or kill fish you are not willing to take home. My own two cents, brook trout or wimpy small fish that are not too bright and will eat almost anything, realistic or not. I understand they are the "native" species, but if that;s the case start bouncing your beloved browns off the rocks as well.

The problem with rainbows in the Smokies is that they are not native AND they are small, generally the same size as brook trout in the same stream give or take an inch or so. If a non-native trout is only marginally larger than the beautiful native trout, and both are competing in the same stream, it makes sense to remove the non-native trout, at least to me anyway.

Now, I love big rainbows every bit as much as I love big browns. But, they are rare in most Smokies streams and exceedingly rare where brook and rainbow trout coexist.

David Knapp
07-21-2011, 11:12 AM
Regardless of how you feel about the rainbows in your "brookie" stream there is no reason to injur or kill fish you are not willing to take home. My own two cents, brook trout or wimpy small fish that are not too bright and will eat almost anything, realistic or not. I understand they are the "native" species, but if that;s the case start bouncing your beloved browns off the rocks as well.


2weight, while I might not have been as gentle as I normally am with fish, I can assure you that I did not "injur" or "kill" any fish. If you ever fish with me you will see that I am one of the gentlest people you will ever see with the fish. When I am not as gentle as I normally am, I am probably still as gentle as the vast majority of other people ever are. While it did occur to me that tossing the 'bows in the woods might be a good idea, I never actually did it and wouldn't.

The problem with the rainbows is that they crowd out the brookies with little to keep their own numbers in check. In this particular stream, the rainbows are stunted and really need thinning, regardless of whether you prefer to catch them or brookies. The interesting thing about seeing all three species in one stream is that they coexist fairly well together. The browns seem to keep the 'bows reasonably in check without hurting the brookies too much. The problem with having just rainbows invading brookie water is that they outcompete them. Generally in the Park, browns and brookies DON'T exist in the same water and the brookies would NOT do well anymore in the large streams that are inhabited by the browns and larger rainbows. Thus killing big browns and 'bows doesn't make any sense.

You obviously love the rainbows and that's good. All fish need a little love, and I normally enjoy catching them as much as anyone... :cool: I apologize if I offended you with my sarcasm but would like to point out that I did also mention that all fish survived just fine to be caught another day. If you ever want to fish together, I'm sure we would have an enjoyable time on the stream, and I think my catch and release technique will ease your worries.

ChemEAngler
07-22-2011, 09:36 PM
Great report David.

Congrats on another fantastic brownie!

BlueRaiderFan
07-23-2011, 12:53 AM
I'll be up that way to fish Walker Camp in a couple of weeks. I will be keeping any legal bows up to my limit and taking them home. David is absolutely correct: bows should not be up that high. I keep one or two on occasion from down low now as well because it's clear the streams are overpopulated. The herd needs thinning out a bit.

2weightfavorite
07-23-2011, 07:32 AM
Just to clarify my point a little. I have no problem with keeping fish. It is completely legal, they taste good, and I agree that harvesting some fish is good for the stream. I just get bent out of shape a bit when people mishandle fish they have no intent to keep. "the rainbows should not be up that high" however is a rediculous statement. Should there be an elevation cut off point? Shall we eradicate the bows over, say, 3000 feet. Who should be the one the decide the elevation cut off point. Im done with this thread.

Bran
07-23-2011, 12:21 PM
Nice Brown, I'm envious! Always wanted to catch one. I kept some bows from up there at Walker Camp and a few from Roaring Fork also a couple weeks ago. We had a charcoal grill at the cabin and did up a nice Trout dinner one night! I have also noticed that the Brookies are getting few and far between up there and, keeping in mind that the road construction made the stream's highest elevation deadly to the fish, it's kind of sad that the Brookie could be in serious trouble on that particular stream.
I caught a bow on Walker camp that pushed 11 inches and was very healthy just recently.

flyman
07-23-2011, 12:42 PM
Nice work David:smile:

BlueRaiderFan
07-23-2011, 07:22 PM
Just to clarify my point a little. I have no problem with keeping fish. It is completely legal, they taste good, and I agree that harvesting some fish is good for the stream. I just get bent out of shape a bit when people mishandle fish they have no intent to keep. "the rainbows should not be up that high" however is a rediculous statement. Should there be an elevation cut off point? Shall we eradicate the bows over, say, 3000 feet. Who should be the one the decide the elevation cut off point. Im done with this thread.

From what I understand from park biologists, yes, anything over 3,000 feet is brookie territory. Who says we can't have a cut off point? Bows have plenty of room to thrive in the park. No need to crowd the brookies out. No need to take it personally. It's just my personal view on the matter. No trying to force it on you. I'm just stating that I think David is correct and I agree that gentle handling is called for if you aren't keeping the fish no matter where it's found.

ijsouth
07-31-2011, 01:39 PM
I've been following this thread a bit - it's been a while since I've posted, but this seemed like a very interesting topic. I've probably fished Cosby more than any other stream in the Smokies - it's my default "home" stream, since I bought property in the area. I've fished just about its entire fishable length. From the parking area on up, it's pretty much dominated by specs, but there are some rainbows in the mix. They seem to coexist pretty well, but if I ever keep a fish for the grill (which is very rare), it's a keeper-sized rainbow from there.

I think the 'bows and brookies can exist fine side-by-side; I've fished Walker Camp quite a bit as well, and I've always caught more brookies than rainbows. That's probably a by-product of the way I fish - I like the small streams, and I tend to target the specs, so I drop my fly in areas that favor brookies. I've also seen brookies turning up fairly low in areas like Cataloochie, and they seem to be doing fine. I think that, if they have good enough numbers, the two species can coexist. However, up until the mid 70s, so many rainbows were stocked in the major streams in the park, their sheer numbers probably pushed the brookies out. They were stocked year after year, and most of them weren't caught and removed by anglers, so the numbers increased exponentially.

I'm heading out west, to the San Juans, in a couple of days...out there, the brookies are pests, and they have liberal limits for the smaller ones...it's interesting to see the other side of the coin.

Green Weenie
08-01-2011, 09:15 AM
http://img651.imageshack.us/img651/4906/d8ee5e8cb7a94449b6b2b63.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/651/d8ee5e8cb7a94449b6b2b63.jpg/)

ChemEAngler
08-01-2011, 10:02 AM
Chad,

You are going to get me in trouble. I haven't looked at the message board while at work for weeks because I have been so busy. Today I get on here and this is the first thing I see, and just lose it laughing at my desk!

That was great! :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

IJSouth,

Welcome back. Long time since we have seen your name on the screen.

Bran
08-01-2011, 10:30 AM
I'm heading out west, to the San Juans, in a couple of days...out there, the brookies are pests, and they have liberal limits for the smaller ones...it's interesting to see the other side of the coin.
Man it's good to hear from you, I even searched your posts a couple weeks ago to see if I had just happened to have missed you!
That's an interesting point there, one I had never considered, that our prized native fish could be someone else's trash fish. I've been out west but I've never fished out there before, at least not for Trout so I didn't realize that.
On a side note I was reading Vic Weals book again the other night and had to stop and examine that picture of the man with the 24" Bow caught at Elkmont in the 1930's. Monster!

NDuncan
08-01-2011, 10:53 AM
http://img651.imageshack.us/img651/4906/d8ee5e8cb7a94449b6b2b63.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/651/d8ee5e8cb7a94449b6b2b63.jpg/)


Best. Post. Ever.

muskrat
08-01-2011, 07:08 PM
I don't care what you say that's some funny stuff!!

ijsouth
08-02-2011, 12:51 AM
Thanks Bran! I didn't think anyone would remember me - it's been so long since I've posted...I read the fishing report every day, but other than that, I'm just so busy I just don't have much time to post. Plus, I haven't had much to post this year - my twins and I went up after Easter to the Smokies and did real well. Unfortunately, it looks like my girls don't have much interest in chasing fish up the streams - it's that age they're at, I guess. I made a deal with them - I took them to Panama City last week, so they could play at the beach - not my pick of a trip, but we all had fun. In return, I get my trip out west, starting tomorrow evening. I'm going to try to not be such a stranger...

ijsouth
08-02-2011, 12:56 AM
Gotta love the mock Dos Equis ad...the thing is, in places it is shockingly accurate. Up in Shenandoah NP, the rules are any Brown Trout caught cannot be returned to the water. I asked someone up there exactly what that meant; it means that, if legal length in VA, you could keep it (up to the possession limit), but that all others were to be pitched up in the woods for the bears and raccoons. The reasoning is, the park wants to keep the streams totally cleared of Browns, but at the same time staying "legal" with the VA trout regs. It was the dumbest thing I've heard - I've never caught a brown in SNP, but if I do, and it has to be killed, I'll be ****ed if I waste it...that's a crime.

Bran
08-02-2011, 08:02 AM
You're right, that's crazy! Good luck on your trip, and hope above all you have a safe one.