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AL trout bum
08-28-2012, 10:47 AM
The smoky mountains are synonymous with fly fishing for brook trout to me. When I go there, they are the only trout I wish to pursue. Not to say I wouldn't like to catch a brown in the park, or that I mind catching a rainbow here and there. My target is solely brook trout though. There is something special about getting away from the smell of burning breaks, cars speeding by, and hikers everywhere. Back in the backcountry, and up in the small headwater streams lives a native gem that most visitors to the park rarely see or even know about. Most are concerned with catching glimpses of bears, elk, or turkeys. I enjoy those too, but when I come to the park, I have one thing in mind: catching brook trout. You can find them holding in high altitude streams, swimming and sipping any unfortunate bug that lands on the surface of their pool, just like they have done for centuries. There is something magical about this. I don't know if it's my curiosity, or the sense of adventure, or the hunting-like stalking that makes this so much fun, but I love it!

I had been dying to fish the first stream that I fished in the park again, and decided this was the weekend. Before things get too crazy in the fall, I retreated to the mountains for some boulder hopping fun. I left at 1:30am to hopefully beat any locals that might have the same plans I did. Driving through the Ocoee and Nantahala gorges woke me up long before my coffee did, and the heavy fog was an added cheek pucker effect. I arrived just after daylight.
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As I drove into the park, I stopped to watch the elk graze...
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I continued on to the trailhead. I arrived to see that I was the first visitor and jumped out and humped it up the trail. It was almost cold up in the high altitudes, a welcome change from the Alabama heat. A few minutes later I arrived to where I would enter the stream. Once I stepped into the cold mountain water, every worry I had was left on the bank. This was about me and the brook trout.
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As I fished up, things were slow. Which was expected as early as it was. I picked up mostly smaller rainbows, which I had never caught at this point. So, I decided to hike on up to a higher barrier (waterfall) and begin fishing there.

This should do it...
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The next pool after climbing that waterfall, I cast into a likely holding spot and I brought to hand what I had come for.
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I kept moving up, picking up several other small brook trout. I stopped every now and then just to look back and admire the beauty of the stream.
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I came to a nice deep run that had some red fins swaying in the current. I could tell it was a nice sized speck.
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I made numerous frugal attempts and fooling him and even changed flies a few times. Most people will tell you that brook trout are easy to catch, as long as you don't spook them (a challenge in itself). I tend to agree, but this fish was every bit as picky as a large brown. I tied back on the original fly and either out of frustration or finally getting a good drift, he slammed it!
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This guy was dressed in his Sunday best already and is probably one of the most beautiful and bigger brookies I have caught.
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After a few quick snaps, I sent him back to hopefully be caught by someone else....
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I had used an old snuss tin I found as a fly box for this trip. I layed some magnetic sheeting on the bottom to hold my nymphs, and packed the dries in on top. I was considerably lighter than my small Cliffs fly box, and smaller.
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AL trout bum
08-28-2012, 10:50 AM
I was fishing on a small yellow stonefly pattern, since that's what I was seeing. However, I used several different dries throughout the day that all produced.
http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k534/mrl0004/P8250106copy.jpg

I continued working up, picking up a brookie in every likely pool. I missed a whole lot more than I caught, but I did connect every now and then!
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As I neared the end, I decided to stop for lunch.
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AL trout bum
08-28-2012, 10:53 AM
It was a good day. I caught lots of nice brook trout, had some fun hiking around the stream and sat satisfied at the mountain view around me as I drove to my next destination.
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The next morning I woke up and headed to an area that I have never been to before. I had read about a few streams that can hold some nice brook trout, so I made the nerve-wrecking journey the next morning. This road is tiny, with a very steep drop-off and lots of blind curves.
http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k534/mrl0004/P8260193copy.jpg

I hike in to a good spot on the stream and get to work...
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This happened a lot...
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But so did this...so it evened out in the end
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I saw one of these that made me a little more attentive..
http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k534/mrl0004/P8260237copy.jpg

AL trout bum
08-28-2012, 10:56 AM
Fishing slowed down, but I caught a few more and took in some awesome scenery...
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I felt sorry for this raccoon that had to squeeze these crawfish-ladden joys out....
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I did catch a decent bow here too, but we all know that's not what I was after...
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Saw a fuzzy caterpillar on the way out...
http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/k534/mrl0004/P8260280copy.jpg

Had a LONG and tiring drive back the next day and crashed. Hope you enjoyed the read as much as I did the trip!

Stana Claus
08-28-2012, 11:03 AM
Nice report and GREAT pics! So, did you end up not taking your girlfriend's dad, or did you convince him to try some smaller water? Just curious. Either way, looks like a wonderful trip was made. I may just have to head back up that way sometime soon myself. Thanks for sharing. SC

duckypaddler
08-28-2012, 11:53 AM
Really nice Pics! You put most of the rest of us to shame

That water looked pretty low, we could use a hurricane:rolleyes:

Glad you got out, and it looked like you made the best of every minute:biggrin:

yonder
08-28-2012, 12:45 PM
This is one of the best fishing reports that I have ever read. Nice pictures. Glad you had a good time!!!!!!!!:smile:

AL trout bum
08-28-2012, 01:06 PM
Thanks everyone!

Stan, he went, but that wasn't small water compared to where I have taken him before! He caught some fish and had a good time!

Stana Claus
08-28-2012, 02:22 PM
Excellent! Maybe you've made a new convert out of him, now that he knows he doesn't HAVE to crawl on his hands and knees through rhodo hells (like some folks we know and love around here) to get to where some of the brookies live!

duckypaddler
08-28-2012, 03:31 PM
Excellent! Maybe you've made a new convert out of him, now that he knows he doesn't HAVE to crawl on his hands and knees through rhodo hells (like some folks we know and love around here) to get to where some of the brookies live!

Sometimes you have to crawl through (Rhodo) **** to get to (Brookie) Heaven.:smile:

Sometimes you don't even have to do that:biggrin:

Stan if you ever need ideas of easy to access places to get some good Brookies please don't hesitate to give me an e-mail.

Matthew your father in law must be pretty hardcore to get up that early with you for a trip. Again thanks for a great report

AL trout bum
08-28-2012, 04:16 PM
Matthew your father in law must be pretty hardcore to get up that early with you for a trip. Again thanks for a great report

Whoa whoa whoa......GIRLFRIEND's dad. :biggrin: He is in Maggie Valley, the drive up was all me. I met up with him Saturday night

Stana Claus
08-28-2012, 04:22 PM
Hey, DP, I have managed to find a few brookie spots that don't require a genuine Death March to get to! But I made the mistake of trying my hand at fishing for smallmouth bass a couple of months ago and I think I've developed a new addiction. I've been chasing the bronzebacks almost exclusively this summer. But I may get with you in a couple of weeks (once it cools off a little bit) to check your recommendations against what I've been compiling. Looks like a couple of brookie creeks have been getting visited pretty regularly this summer, but there are a few I want to check out this fall. Be looking for an email soon.

AL trout bum
08-28-2012, 04:59 PM
But I made the mistake of trying my hand at fishing for smallmouth bass a couple of months ago and I think I've developed a new addiction. I've been chasing the bronzebacks almost exclusively this summer.

I also have that addiction. The most important thing is remembering to tone down the hook set when going from smallmouth to brook trout! ;)

Stana Claus
08-28-2012, 05:17 PM
I also have that addiction. The most important thing is remembering to tone down the hook set when going from smallmouth to brook trout! ;)

No doubt! But I love the way you can watch the smallies follow your fly, just looking it over, then finally deciding to EAT it. Then it's GAME ON! What a blast!

duckypaddler
08-28-2012, 06:35 PM
Whoa whoa whoa......GIRLFRIEND's dad. :biggrin: He is in Maggie Valley, the drive up was all me. I met up with him Saturday night

Sorry for the confusion:biggrin: That makes much more sense.

Scott H.
08-28-2012, 11:40 PM
Great report! Those are some awesome looking bookies and it looks like a great time.


Scott

MadisonBoats
08-29-2012, 06:55 AM
Great pictures and report! Thanks for sharing!

Troutman
08-29-2012, 09:58 AM
Great pictures and story to go along with them. I really enjoyed that! :biggrin:

ChemEAngler
08-29-2012, 10:52 AM
Post of the year nomination....

Great report, story line, and photos. Fantastic!

Out of curiosity, what camera are you using? I am needing to find a new P&S for my adventures, I am getting tired of lugging my 5lb DSLR up the trails with me.

AL trout bum
08-29-2012, 12:54 PM
Post of the year nomination....

I am humbled by that comment, but I am nowhere near the quality of some reports I have read on here.

As for my camera, I am using an old Olympus Stylus tough camera. I shoot most of my fish pics in macro, which helps capture more detail. I have a big problem doing that though, and some of you real photographers might be able to help. If the flash is on in macro, the picture doesn't turn out well as the glare of the fish reflects the flash. If you turn flash off, it is extremely hard to get a non-blurry image. Luckily I manage a good one or two out of the 10 or so I take.

Bran
08-29-2012, 03:09 PM
I really enjoyed that, but probably not as much as you enjoyed taking all those pics and lipping those specks! Great job!

David Knapp
08-29-2012, 03:17 PM
Incredible trip report and pictures!!! I needed to see this to remind me what I'm missing out on back in Tennessee. Thanks for taking us along with you...