View Full Version : First Smokies Trout
04-15-2012, 07:47 PM
Took the boys for our second ever back country camping trip. We sure picked the coldest night of the week as it hit 25 degrees on Wednesday night. After hiking up a short ways to the campsite, we set up our tent, gathered firewood for the cold night and went fishing. The fishing was slow due to a combination of the cold and our lack of experience fishing in Smokies streams. Last year, we all were skunked completely with no takes or strikes. This year, we all managed to hook trout. My two boys both hooked nice fish, but these fish are smart. They swam across the stream into some submerged logs and branches and once the line went slack from being caught on the branches, the fish broke off. My first fish broke off pretty quickly and my second fish jumped out of the water about 2 feet and spit the hook. Our wild trout fishing experience consists mostly of plunge pools so this was a different type of stream for us with lots of riffles and runs. If anyone has any advice, we sure would appreciate it (HELP!). We used Tellico nymphs with a BHPT dropper for the most part. In the late afternoons, we used Yellow Sallies and Yellow EHC's, with nymph droppers with all the strikes on the nymphs. We were all still pretty stoked just to be able to hook some trout. We endured a freezing 25 degree night and woke up to frost and ice. After we packed up and cleaned our site, we fished for a few more hours. I finally managed to hook, land, and photograph a Smokies rainbow! We survived the cold, hooked our first trout in the GSMNP, and all in all created some memories that will last forever! We have already planned trip number three.
P.S. Next trip, when we catch a whole lot more fish, I will try to adhere better to the proper posting etiquette. Hopefully, I get a pass because I am such a newbie!:smile:
04-15-2012, 08:35 PM
Looks like y'all had fun. I think that's the same site I stayed at a few weeks ago. I got my butt kicked up there with high water. Most important thing is that you and your boys got to spend some quality time in the outdoors.
04-15-2012, 09:59 PM
Wow ! You guys had a great camping trip ! I am always glad to see young people spending quality time in the outdoors ! Nice fish, and a neat and tidy campsite ! A GSMNP trout is a beautiful sight. Thanks for sharing your camping
trip photos. Reminds me of my old Girl Scout freezing camping trips of many years ago.
04-15-2012, 10:07 PM
Trout or no trout, that trip was a success. Congrats on time well spent.
04-16-2012, 08:03 AM
It looks like a fun time, and one that will surely be remembered by yourself and the boys.
Thanks for sharing your trip.
04-16-2012, 11:39 AM
What was wrong with your posting etiquette? Looks like a fine post to me, and thanks for sharing your trip..
Great job on keeping the campsite so clean. I was in the park with my Father-In-Law over the weekend, when we arrived the camp site was littered so we did a bit of cleaning around our chosen fire ring before heading out to fish.. When we got back from fishing, a troop of boy scouts had arrived and had done the rest of the cleaning around the other 3 fire rings. :biggrin:
Looks like you and your boys had a very good time! My son had his first backpacking trip last year and he's very eager to do it again this Summer.
You could try fluorocarbon tippet if you find fish are going for cover under submerged logs like that - it is a bit more abrasion resistant than nylon tippet. When I fish hopper/dropper, I use fluoro between the first and second flies.
My other suggestion would be to fish with one of the guys from this board via the "fishing buddy hookup thread". I have been coming to the park to fly fish for 19 years now, but am still a complete amateur as I have had around 30 trips in that time.. A local can get more fishing time in the park this month than I can in a lifetime. Last month I fished with tnflyfisher above Elkmont. I spent a lot of time during our trip watching him - he gets out fishing a lot more than me. He outcaught me 4:1, but I gained valuable knowledge by watching him and asking questions.
04-16-2012, 12:49 PM
Fantastic report! Encouraging to see our youth willfully engaging outdoor sports! Good work dad...keep them interested in fishing if you can! It will just keep getting better with experience as you well already know
04-16-2012, 01:23 PM
Our wild trout fishing experience consists mostly of plunge pools so this was a different type of stream for us with lots of riffles and runs. If anyone has any advice, we sure would appreciate it (HELP!). We used Tellico nymphs with a BHPT dropper for the most part. In the late afternoons, we used Yellow Sallies and Yellow EHC's, with nymph droppers
What site was this...
Sounds like you are on the right track to me... what I may recommend is try using a longer leader. I routinely use 9'+ leaders in the park even on small streams. I find it gives your fly just a little bit longer to drift/float around without being affected by drag. Stay concealed, use a longer leader, drift, drift, drift and then drift some more. Try to fish each run a little longer then you normally would and I bet that will get you some more strikes as well. Don't worry so much about what fly you throw, just give all the fish in the run a chance to see your fly before moving upstream.
Last month I fished with tnflyfisher above Elkmont. I spent a lot of time during our trip watching him - he gets out fishing a lot more than me. He outcaught me 4:1, but I gained valuable knowledge by watching him and asking questions.
You have almost got me convinced that I might actually know what I'm doing... thanks! :biggrin:
04-16-2012, 04:02 PM
Great report. I'm about to embark on the same outing with my 10 year old son. He's decided he wants to tackle the full backcounty experience and fish where the "bears are".
At any rate, I think another great technique to use for small stream and pocket water is highsticking. I like to pitch a weighted nymph up and across into the white water, keeping your line off the water "high and tight" as it were as you follow your rod tip through the run or pocket, letting your fly tick the bottom. Most of the time those fiesty bows will hook themselves and you'll feel it. Sometimes you'll just see the leader twitch and since your line is tight, just a small hookset is all thats needed. It takes some practice to get the feel, but its killer on mountain streams. It also keeps a lot of line off the water and keeps from dealing with all those crazy cross currents, issues with possible slack, and no indicator to constantly adjust with varying depths.
04-19-2012, 08:28 AM
The mountains are always an amazing place where things can change in an instant. Glad you guys braved the cold temps, and still made a good trip out of it. Did you happen to take a water temp reading where you were staying? It being so cold will definately make the fishing alot slower.
It may have been the cold temps, and not just your "fishing skills;)".
Middle TN Lee
04-25-2012, 02:05 PM
First off, congrats on your trip and first Smokies bow. The Smokies is one of those places that I could honestly get skunked and still be grinning ear to ear - it's that beautiful. But I would also suggest using a high-stick technique when nymph fishing fast/turbulent water. I usually fish a two nymph rig (heavily weighted) as a go to rig there when no hatch is present. I use short flip casts - keeping as much fly line off the water as possible. I believe that keeping a controlled drift with all the contrasting currents there is huge key to picking up more fish. Anyways, thanks for posting - great report.
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