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View Full Version : Colorado Rockies versus The Smokies, part II


HuskerFlyFisher
08-13-2013, 12:16 PM
Me being first a Smokies fisherman, it's really the Smokies where I learned to fly fish (though I'm still quite a novice).

I've fished Cosby Creek more than any other Smokies stream since I have a cabin on that Creek, followed by Cataloochee and Roaring Fork, and a few days at Elkmont.

Since I live in Amarillo, Texas, I rely on flying to TN to fish. As the airfares were out of sight this year, we instead took a couple of trips to the northern NM and southern CO rockies to fish.

This last week, we fished near Southfork and Creede, Colorado. While I am still partial to the Smokies, I thought I would write down a quick comparison for those of you that have thought about going out west to do some fishing!

Here goes:

- You get A LOT more accommodation for your money in the Smokies. For $150 a night, you can have a luxury log cabin in the Smokies. That amount in the Rockies will barely pay for you a roof and a bed. Real estate is at least twice as expensive in the southern Rockies as in TN and NC near the GSMNP.

- Fishing is SIGNIFICANTLY EASIER in the Rockies streams and rivers. Much of it is wide open fishing where you can literally point your rod straight up in the air on your cast. My guide in CO kept giving me a hard time about my "side cast". That's because I'm used to fishing under canopies in the Smokies streams.

Long casts are very manageable on the streams on CO that I fished - there's not much in the way of overhead trees and brush to snag.

- The fish are SIGNIFICANTLY LARGER in the Rockies streams and rivers. We fished a private stretch of Clear Creek near Creede CO, and it had similar flows to the Luftee, Cataloochee, or Elkmont. The rainbow trout were comparatively HUGE. If you caught a 12 incher, that was a baby. Most were 14-16-18 inches.

My son hooked a 19 to 20 inch brown that he fought for about 15 minutes before the fish got smart and snapped him.

- We then fished a creek called Park Creek about 8 miles outside of Southfork. This was a 100% brookies stream. Most CO fishermen don't bother with streams like this because the fish are so "small." But a stream like this in the Smokies would be considered "blue ribbon." The flows reminded me somewhat of Cosby Creek. Again, the casting was comparatively easy, and those trout were all from 9 inches to 11 inches or so.

- It is significantly COOLER in the southern Rockies. Of course, we were at around 8500 feet elevation. Temps at night were getting into the mid 40s, with low 70s the high. And there is very little humidity.

- It rains virtually daily at around 2:30pm in the southern Rockies. If you book a guide, ALWAYS opt for the half day trip, as you will be "done" by 2:30pm regardless. The storms will hit, and then you're pretty much done for the day.


All in all, the southern Rockies are a fly fisher's paradise. BIG fish, EASY fishing. But you can forget about all the nightlife, dinner shows, Ripley's Aquarium, etc., etc., because that sort of stuff just doesn't exist in the southern Rockies. It's strictly an "outdoors" place!

Have a great day everyone - I'll try to post some photos when I get a chance!

ChemEAngler
08-13-2013, 09:26 PM
All in all, the southern Rockies are a fly fisher's paradise. BIG fish, EASY fishing. But you can forget about all the nightlife, dinner shows, Ripley's Aquarium, etc., etc., because that sort of stuff just doesn't exist in the southern Rockies. It's strictly an "outdoors" place!

Aaaah, perfection!

Personally, that is the way I like it and why I avoid PF and G-burg like the plague! It is amazing how many people we talk to who only think of Townsend as the middle of nowhere town they go through on the way to Cades Cove. They don't know what they are missing out on.

Next time give Durango or Pagosa Springs a try. Durango, is absolutely our favorite vacation destination. Also, White Mountains around Show Low, AZ are nice (plus a good chance at the elusive apache trout)...

buzzmcmanus
08-14-2013, 08:50 AM
Aaaah, perfection!

Personally, that is the way I like it and why I avoid PF and G-burg like the plague! ...
^^^^^ This ^^^^^

I'm looking forwards to the pics.