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View Full Version : Oconaluftee brookie


CuriousLayman
02-18-2012, 11:49 PM
I don't fish there often, but today I caught a little brookie not too far up from the visitor's center (a good ways before tow string road turnout). I had not realized they were down that low. They are my favorite species, so it was a pleasant surprise!

http://curiouslayman.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/P1020592_thumb.jpg

JoeFred
02-19-2012, 12:06 AM
A nice looking speck, CL. Thanks for sharing.

spotlight
02-19-2012, 12:57 AM
Wow nice sized fish!

flyman
02-19-2012, 05:21 PM
Looks like another Reservation escapee :smile: I've caught stocked brook trout from tribal waters a couple of miles up the Bradly Fork several times.

Jim Casada
02-19-2012, 09:34 PM
I suspect Flyman is right. The tribe stocks plenty of brook trout and they regularly make their way up Luftee from Raven Fork.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

CuriousLayman
02-20-2012, 09:16 AM
That makes sense to me. By the way Mr. Casada, I keep your book near the top of the stack next to my reading spot. It's my most used fishing book.

Jim Casada
02-20-2012, 09:44 AM
CuriousLayman--Thanks, and I'll add a bit of "migratory" trout from the Reservation. The past couple of summers I have caught quite a few refugees from Raven Fork in Luftee, some of them as far upstream as Bradley Fork. I've caught both rainbows and brook trout and some of the former have been large fish. The flip side of the situation is that speckled trout (I refuse to call the natives brook trout and the difference in wording is an easy way to distinguish between wild and stocked fish) have made their way well down Bradley Fork in recent years. I caught one below Chasteen Creek and several just above it.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

swamp
02-20-2012, 05:03 PM
Where does the park boundary begin?I pulled over at the blue ridge parkway, just before the visitor center, one day last year and walked down and started fishing my way upstream and came upon a sign informing me that I was fishing Raven fork trophy water.According to the road signs I was inside the park and on the oconaluftee river.

JoeFred
02-20-2012, 05:38 PM
Swamp, it's a bit complicated. Shoot me an e-mail to info at saintclairmapping dot com and I'll help ya out.

JF

Jim Casada
02-20-2012, 08:16 PM
swamp--Park authorities, in what I consider a fine example of money talks and principle walks, ceded the stretch of Luftee from the Parkway Bridge to the juncture of Raven Fork and Luftee to the tribe (never mind that it flows through Park land. Well, to be more precise, one side of it is Park since the tribe managed a land swap which traded archaeologically significant bottom lands (where the high school sits) for mountain terrain of no significance whatsoever that is steep as a horse's face. If it sounds to you like this angers me, you would be right.
As for where you can fish without buying one of the ever costlier tribal permits, you can't fish Raven Fork at all until you are above Big Cove and in the Gorges area. You can fish Luftee anywhere above where its juncture with Raven Fork.
That's it in essence, and anyone who thinks the Park didn't shortchange anglers on this one isn't viewing things in the same light I am. Incidentally, the long pool on what is now tribal water which runs under the old stone bridge (built by the CCCs) opposite Cherokee High School was one of the loveliest in the whole Park, and full of wild fish, long before tribal authorities gained control or stocked the first fish from the Straight Fork Hatchery. Don't get me wrong, I'm not faulting the tribe here. I'm faulting Park bureaucrats who caved.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

swamp
02-21-2012, 08:19 AM
CuriousLayman,I`m sorry for butting in on your fishing report.Forgive me for being so rude.That is a nice trout you caught.I have fished that area several times and have never caught a brook trout there.

ifish4wildtrout
02-21-2012, 08:35 AM
Nice fish. I may be wrong, but that looks like a wild brook to me, parr marks and all. There are natives found in some of the Oconaluftee's feeders on upstream. I have caught quite a few above Kephardt, which would actually be Beech Flats at that point.

Regardless, those stocked fish do run pretty far some times. I have caught a few in wild Pisgah waters 5 or miles from any stocked water.

Now I am itching to get up there. I still have a score to settle with the monster brown I hooked in October 2010. After a 5 minute fight, he broke the hook off my nymph. I got a few good looks at him, he was a buttery golden football shaped creature.

JoeFred
02-21-2012, 09:18 AM
Where does the park boundary begin?...

I believe this agrees with Jim's description. Streams outlined in red are Enterprise Waters.
For more info: Fish & Game Management Enterprise of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation P.O. Box 302 Cherokee, NC 28719 828-497-1786 or 1-800-438-1601

JF


http://smokystreams.com/mbpics/thread15886_pic1.jpg

CuriousLayman
02-21-2012, 09:54 AM
Swamp - no problem at all. I actually had the same question you did. I knew that it was tribal water, but I had never heard the explanation.

Crockett
02-21-2012, 01:30 PM
I walked a short ways downstream of the visitors center last year to fish. I was well above the confluence with Raven Fork but noticed signs there right on the Oconoluftee that fishing there without a tribal permit would be in violation. Jim do you know how far up the Oconoluftee the tribe controls?

Jim Casada
02-21-2012, 03:30 PM
Adam--They control Luftee up to the point where it and Raven Fork meet (never mind that the Park boundary starts hundreds of yards downstream). Go figure!
Jim Casada

Crockett
02-21-2012, 03:48 PM
Jim the signs I saw were on the Oconoluftee above the confluence. I was confused and even hiked on down to the confluence so I was in the right place. The signs start behind the far back side of the mountain farm museum area. It looks like they start a few hundred yards up the Oconoluftee from the confluence.

JoeFred
02-21-2012, 07:33 PM
Adam, was this prior to, during or after completion of the new construction work?

Jim Casada
02-21-2012, 08:16 PM
Adam--You have me totally confused when you suggest the signs are above the confluence. If so, this has happened since this summer and would mean that the section of Luftee which has the Visitor Center on one side and Park housing on the otgher side was controlled by the tribe. I don't think this is the case and if it is, it's an outrage. I'm almost positive the situation is as I state--Luftee from the Park line up to the confluence of Raven Fork is now tribal water. Above that Luftee is Park water and Raven Fork (for many miles until the next Park boundary at the lower end of the "Gorges," is tribal water. I checked the tribal web site and it isn't a bit of help because they talk about water upstream from where the Parkway crosses Raven Fork. Only problem is, it doesn't cross Raven Fork. That stream "loses" its name when it joins Luftee a few hundred yards above the bridge. It's enough to make one wonder whether either tribal leaders or Park officials know the geography of their own backyard. In the case of the latter, I'm afraid that the answer is all too often "no." I've asked questions at visitors centers at both Luftee and Sugarlands numerous times, and not just of volunteers but of Park employees, and seldom do they know the answers. Mind you, I guess you could call me a smarty pants for asking questions for which I know the answer, but if they are dealing with the public they should know.
Examples? Where are there graveyards near Luftee Visitor Center? There are a whole bunch of them and last summer a collective brain trust of six Park folks knew of exactly one. How did Road Prong get its name? Answer was because it runs along Highway 441, which is, of course, incorrect. That's Walker Camp Prong. Where could I find information about fishing in the Park? (self-serving here because I wanted to see if they had my book on display). Answer, I'm not sure, but didn't we used to have some books on that and I believe we have a fishing regulations brochure. Maybe I'm asking too much but that seems to me to be pretty straightforward stuff.
When it comes to the backcountry, outside of Steve Moore and Matt, forget it. Today's rangers don't get into the backcountry.
Jim Casada

JoeFred
02-21-2012, 09:04 PM
I expect we will learn that a well meaning volunteer placed the signs in the wrong place having less than a sufficient amount of training from the Park staff. My experience was the same as Jim's, but the nice volunteers asked for assistance from a very busy ranger who promptly produced a fishing regulations brochure. She then went back to assisting other volunteers desparately needing help clearing an elk jam. Seems, as she said with a smile, "a particular bull has taken to showing up at other than the agreed upon time of the day."

This brochure I got at the 2009 WNC Fly Fishing Expo from a nice young Native American minding the Cherokee Fish & Game Management booth.

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