View Full Version : browns...big fish?

10-27-2011, 11:25 AM
I fish the park a couple of times a year. I almost never catch browns. In fact, I can't recall the last time I caught one. Also, the rainbows I catch are average size (6" - 8").

I typically stick with what works...for me...which tends to be a smaller flashback BHPT dropped off of a stimulator. I often fish just above and just below Elkmont. Sometimes Bradley Fork out of Smokemont. Typically I fish seams next to swift water. It tends to work fairly consistently. Occasionally, when it seems to be working, I'll fish dries...the usual, timely suspects.

My question is this...if I were to want to go after bigger fish...presumably browns, though big rainbows would certainly do...do any of you have suggestions about changes I'd make in my tackle and/or my approach?

I'm going in a couple of weeks and would like to expand my repertoire and experience to target some different fish.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated!

Hugh Hartsell
10-27-2011, 11:57 AM
Hello Cube,
I noticed that you said you usually drop a nymph off of a Stimulator when fishing in the Park and if you are looking to catch bigger fish at this time of the year you might want to practice tandem nymphing without any indicator or some form of tight lineing with weighted nymphs to get the flies down deep and continually bumping the bottom. The dropper from a dry fly or a strike indicator is good in warmer months but as the water cools ,and it is now, you'll want to slow everything down. The bigger fish are almost always deep and tandem nymphs are the best way to acheive good consistant results. It takes a little practice to learn how to lead your flies and be able to tell a subtle strike but the rewards are worth it. Good luck and good fishing.

10-27-2011, 12:19 PM
As usual, Mr. Hartsell gives sage advice. One thing I might add is that timing and approach methods are also critically important. Try to fish the first and last hour of the day. If it rains or is cloudy, drizzly day, be on the water. Approach as slowly and quietly as possible, then slow down some more! Find deep, secluded spots with lots of cover and make sure your flies are bouncing bottom. If you aren't losing a few flies or at least hanging up on bottom, you ain't deep enuf, sonny. Heavily weighted flies and plenty of split shot are your friends.

10-27-2011, 12:41 PM
awesome! two more related questions:
1) any changes to pattern and/or size?
2) (just for discussion purposes) would you expect to catch more browns or more larger fish or both? I'm assuming my overall numbers decrease in terms of catches...that's not really why I fish, but I'm just curious if the definition of a slow day changes with the adoption of this technique.

Hugh Hartsell
10-27-2011, 01:44 PM
The larger your fly is the larger the fish is apt to be, to a certain point. Generally speaking, in a stream like Litttle River, size 10-12 will get larger fish and a few medium sized ones. If you go any larger that that you will probably not catch any fish except the very biggest fish in the river and you will be lucky to catch one fish in a day. Fishing the medium large sized flies like a sized #12 will get you several medium to large size fish and possibly a real good one. The Oconaluftee, Hazel Creek, Deep Creek, and Little River all hold really nice sized fish. All of these hold browns. The Davidson River , outside of the Park has good fish as well. You might want to consider these spots when it's big fish that you are after. Find someone that knows how to fish tandem nymphs real well and spend some time with them.

10-27-2011, 05:52 PM
Thanks, guys. I'm going to give it a shot.

10-27-2011, 07:21 PM
I'm guessing you're going after something a bit bigger than this. :biggrin:


10-27-2011, 09:53 PM
Hey...it IS a fish, right?

10-28-2011, 09:02 AM
All great advice but I would add stealth. As we all know, trout are easy to spook and the larger ones are older and smarter, therefore, they are even easier to spook.

10-28-2011, 09:36 AM
JoelO's picture tells it all. The dictionary doesn't put a size to the definition of fish. I have caught some decent fish in the Park- all three species. Just haven't had the time to get back there in recent years.
Advice given is very important. I wear camo unless I am fishing during hunting season outside the park- then it's orange.

David Knapp
10-28-2011, 09:36 AM
Cuberfisher, another aspect of catching big fish is time on the water and patience. Most of the people who routinely catch 20+ inch fish in the Park do so because they know where to fish. If you spend a few hours each trip slowly walking the banks and looking for big fish, it will pay off big dividends down the road. Once you locate the fish, you just have to keep going back until you find the fish out feeding in a position that you can reach. Once you start locating big fish, you will learn more about what type of water to be looking in for other large trout...

Finally, if you are fishing seams next to swift water, you are mostly fishing rainbow trout water. The browns like the calmer water which means they will sit in big slow back eddies, towards the middle or back of large pools, etc. This is not to say you will never catch a big brown at the head of a pool or run, but you will find a lot more in general if you look further back in the pool...

If you want to catch big rainbows, keep fishing the same water and it will happen eventually. My last trip produced a 12 inch rainbow on a nymph at the very head of a pool along the seam between fast and slow water...

10-29-2011, 12:17 PM
I 100% agree with david!http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/images/icons/icon7.gif

10-29-2011, 10:56 PM
So now you have all talked me into one more trip. what flys would be recommended?

10-31-2011, 07:02 PM
I can say I am going to have to put some time in on this also. One thing is for sure if David Knapp says it works thats gospel for me. This guy catches more big fish on a consistant bases than anyone I know.

11-01-2011, 03:45 PM
I've heard about fishing toward the back of pools, and that always brings up another question...

Often, the back of a pool is where water is already being drawn into the falls at the head of the next pool. That water that appears to be dipping down just before going over the "falls"...does that hold fish? What sort?

I've always assumed that was a kind of dead zone and that sitting there would require more work than any fish would be willing to exert.


David Knapp
11-01-2011, 03:48 PM
By back of the pool, I am referring to that part of the pool that still maintains depth and cover for a fish to hide in/around. The fast water where the pool is getting very shallow is generally unproductive water in a stream like Little River...

I have a book by Dave Hughes entitled "Reading Trout Water." It describes the types of in-stream structure you will encounter, and while it is largely geared towards larger streams like you will encounter out west, the principles still apply. It's a great read for anyone wanting to better understand the streams and rivers they are fishing and I recommend it highly.