View Full Version : Big Old Dominion Brookies Mem. Day weekend

05-30-2013, 09:49 PM
For Memorial Day weekend Nathan drove up to meet me and the boys in Richmond, and we off we were to the West Virginia border to search for brookies in the George Washington National Forest. It was colder than expected, and the bite was shutdown. The first two days were spent playing exploring more than fishing, for me at least.

The boys caught crayfish...
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/crayfish_zpsf04b5cdf.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/crayfish_zpsf04b5cdf.jpg.html)

and salamanders...
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/salamander_zpsafde28a3.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/salamander_zpsafde28a3.jpg.html)

and grasshoppers in mountain meadows.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/meadow_zps22a7039f.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/meadow_zps22a7039f.jpg.html)

On Sunday, the warmest day of the trip, we setup camp next to this gorgeous pool, where we could watch the brookies feeding.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/pool_zps4b3c2577.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/pool_zps4b3c2577.jpg.html)

So while the youngest boys played tetherball with a bearbag full of rocks...
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/tetherbearbaggame_zps00e8c864.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/tetherbearbaggame_zps00e8c864.jpg.html)

I gave Jack, my oldest son, a few fishing lessons.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/focused_zps4ec4569f.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/focused_zps4ec4569f.jpg.html)

It felt great together fishing with my son in a most beautiful setting.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/together_zps133e795d.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/together_zps133e795d.jpg.html)

We weren't having much luck there, so I moved to the head of the pool to show him how its done.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/flex_zpse3835a29.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/flex_zpse3835a29.jpg.html)

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/fight_zps3218a526.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/fight_zps3218a526.jpg.html)

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/brooktrout_zps8be87eb9.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/brooktrout_zps8be87eb9.jpg.html)

Thats 11.5 inches of native wild brookie. notice the wet fly still stuck in the tip of his nose. That was probably the most exciting trout I've ever caught.

And then I caught a 10 incher on the next cast.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/No2_zpsa4013139.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/No2_zpsa4013139.jpg.html)

And then another 11 incher and this one on a dry fly!HAHA my top three biggest trout in the span of an hour or so.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/anotherbigone_zps4609186f.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/anotherbigone_zps4609186f.jpg.html)


05-30-2013, 09:56 PM
Not to be outdone, Jack caught a brookie on a wet fly as well, with absolutely no help from me other than tying on the fly.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/Jack1_zps89011dfd.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/Jack1_zps89011dfd.jpg.html)

And then another!
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/jack2_zps330e802c.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/jack2_zps330e802c.jpg.html)

Overall I'd say the fishing was pretty good that day.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/grill_zps2d069506.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/grill_zps2d069506.jpg.html)

And dinner wasn't too shabby either. Yes we found ramps ... and branch lettuce, to go with our stuffing and grilled trout.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/dinner_zpsb33368ff.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/dinner_zpsb33368ff.jpg.html)

On Monday morning I followed this dirty critter back to the van, concluding another grand adventure with the crew.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e383/beljason/Laurel%20Fork/hikeout_zps08db5604.jpg (http://s43.photobucket.com/user/beljason/media/Laurel%20Fork/hikeout_zps08db5604.jpg.html)

I'm sure Nathan has some pictures to contribute as well!

05-30-2013, 10:38 PM
Awesome! The winning trophy would be good enough, but you had to win first, second, and third place:eek:

Those are some monster Brookies! What do they put in the water there? I doubt even Mr. Knapp could top that:smile:.

After seeing yours as well as Mac & Colby's report, it looks like I need to get up to Va for some fishing

Looks like a great trip, and glad to see your still getting out with the boys. Let me know when you head this way, I'd love to explore a remote section of park with you and Nathan.

05-31-2013, 06:35 AM
What a cool trip! Thanks for sharing.

05-31-2013, 09:44 PM
Great post! Looks like everyone had a good time. Thanks for sharing!

06-02-2013, 12:24 AM
So I drove up from knoxville lat Thursday only for Jason to inform me of the impending super cold weather which I wasn't prepared for... After hitting up a couple stores in Richmond to get some supplies we headed up to the little section of the George Washington national forest on the West Virginia border. The hike in was pretty good and on the way down we collected a large cache of ramps and branch lettuce which we consumed over the next several days. Thanks to the magic pants I picked up at dicks sporting goods in Richmond, I slept so warm and comfy in my hammock that there was no getting me out until at least 10.

The first morning by the time I finally felt like getting up, Jason's kids had a good fire going.


Since I had done a bunch of this work this last semester with a senior doing his thesis on terrestrial salamanders in the GSMNP, and Jason's kids are really into salamander hunting, I spent a little bit of time showing them how to find the terrestrials


Nolan found a Pygmy salamander


Eli's southern redback


Jack found a big Pygmy


They were all pretty happy with their finds

That afternoon, the group hiked up to the top of a bald, while I scoped out the fishing. I caught just one small Brookie, but I managed to find a cool campsite on a island, which we used the next night.



06-02-2013, 12:38 AM
So after getting up at the early hour of 11:30am... It was time for fishing! The water the previous day had been 46 and despite huge hatches, there was little to no action. I had spied some very large fish, so I knew they were there, they just had no interest in my flies.

Since Jason had three kids in tow, I hiked about a mile or so Downstream and started fishing there.


First Brookie of the day


The next one was better


Definitely not in the smokies anymore...


But the fish kept getting better...


While I was adding that 9"+ fish to my dinner collection, I heard a splash from the pool I just pulled him from. Waiting a few seconds, I saw another splash, in the shallowest most sun baked part of the stream. So was thinking, "i just pulled a fish from the pool, and he ran all around the whole thing, so whatever this is must be a neophyte dink of a Brookie"

But I cast to him anyway.

Third cast, I finally got a good drift into his run and he slammed it. It was not at all what I was expecting


Just at 11.5"

Lets see him again, in all his Brookie glory



06-02-2013, 12:46 AM
As I worked upstream, the fishing continued to be great, but the good fish only hit the dry if you saw where they were feeding first and sight casted to them... Which was awesome fun




I got back to camp and caught one more out of the pool Jason had nearly obliterated with his wet flies.


Jack was working the pool with his rod


And Jason switched up to a dry

He forgot to mention on that last 11" fish he caught who was up on the bank spotting them out for him... :rolleyes:


A split second before the big hit

And the reward


An awesome dinner


06-03-2013, 03:13 PM
I am not proud at all. I for one would love to know what stream that is. If you are felling generous please enlighten me. Even a strong hint would be nice. email me at edmondselectric@bellsouth.net if you feel like sharing. Where is the Cheesy grin icon?:D

Fantasic post by the way! Nice pics too!

06-03-2013, 07:55 PM
I am not proud at all. I for one would love to know what stream that is. If you are felling generous please enlighten me. Even a strong hint would be nice. email me at edmondselectric@bellsouth.net if you feel like sharing. Where is the Cheesy grin icon?:D

Fantasic post by the way! Nice pics too!

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