View Full Version : Biggest Trout to Hand in the Park

01-27-2006, 12:34 AM
Just how big do they grow in the Park?
Hollis started a good thread discussing the average size catch in the park. *If you have not read it and/or replied, it is worth the time. * * *

What I am curious about is just HOW BIG *do the trout get in the park? *I have heard a story at LRO about a 28 incher. *

My best for browns is 17" caught at ______________, nah, I'll keep it a secret. *I was fishing a size 14BHHE in very swift water roughly 6 feet deep shortly after a heavy summer rain.

The biggest bow I've brought to hand is 16". *It was caught on a size 18 bead head Copper John. *Once again I was in very swift water, but it was maybe 3 feet deep and clear.

Maybe one day we'll all find a 'Park Monster', but for now my best will have to do.

We would all enjoy hearing your stories of your personal best. *I know there has to be many stories of 20" and better, so let's hear them!

01-27-2006, 09:21 AM
My biggest would be about 15-16 inches in the Little Pigeon River at the 2nd pullout past the handicap access trail. *Got him on a #14 Prince and it was in late January. *I have a handful of 12-14 inch fish to my name but after all the years of fishing they have been far and few. Doesn't seem too productive for 20+ years of fishing up there.

I've seen them. I know they are there. I know the giants exist. I've even set out with sculpin patterns in hand to spend a weekend trying to catch one. However, no luck...........................yet!

Bigguns are there!

Rog 1
01-27-2006, 10:23 AM
To me the Park experience is not about size. I have fished its waters for more years than I want to admit sometime and have never placed the size of its trout anywhere on the list of reasons I dearly love this place. I too have seen some of those monsters and have cast to many without much success. Of the trout I have managed to bring to hand my biggest has been a 16" bow out of the Little Pigeon, a 10" brookie from the same river and a 14" brown on the Little River above Elkmont. All these "bests" were caught on an Elk Hair Caddis dry fly which makes them all the better in my eyes.

01-27-2006, 10:52 AM
I spent an hour casting to a 20-22 incher one day last fall He was in a pool about 3.5 ft deep and just taking it easy. I got one rise out of 10 or 12 different fly presentations. Still no luck.

David Knapp
01-27-2006, 12:18 PM
I've seen some absolute monsters but so far they have eluded me. My personal best is 14 inches for both rainbow and brown trout. The brown happened twice, from the same hole 2 years in a row. That was sorta strange. Quite a few in the 11-13 inch range also, but just can't get above the 14 :( ::) 8-). Interesting topic....

David Knapp

01-27-2006, 03:17 PM
You guys don't realize how good it makes me feel to know that I'm not the only guy with the same experiences. I agree- if I only caught 6" bows for the rest of time, I'd still love the Smokies.

I hear lots of guys throw around bigger numbers and it may be true. However, what I have heard on this site 8-) makes me more confident about what I'm doing up there.

01-28-2006, 09:30 PM
I'm in the same boat as one of the other posts, the enjoyment I get from just fishing in the Park goes way beyond the enjoyment I get from a fish that is a certain size, that's not to say that I don't care of course I care but those dang bigguns are alot smarter than I am. I saw two good size browns one was on the________ creek/river and the other was just off the road going into Elkmont. Both were probably around 13-15 inchers, they might say I am out4trout but they are outtolive! So in complete disclousure the largerst I have brought to hand was a 12 inch bow down near metcalf.

01-29-2006, 07:54 AM
Hello all,

Well, my biggest trout from the Park so far have been a 10" brookie from a secret place ;), and a couple of 11" rainbows from the W. Prong. I tend to fish the smaller and less crowded streams so my odds of catching a big one are lower, but I have had larger ones look at my fly on these streams, and then go on their way :'( I enjoy the solitude and scenery of the smaller streams in the Park as much as the trout fishing so as long as I don't get shutout I am having a great time no matter what size fish I am catching.


01-30-2006, 03:41 PM
Biggest bow, 14" out of Abrams - though there are some bigger ones floating around...Hugh Harstell has managed a 22...
I happened into an 18" brownie outta the Crusher Hole , most likely out of sheer luck, blind casting a PT at the tail end after spooking a larger one foolishly thinking that the one I spooked would somehow come back and eat my fly... the sad thing is, the brown I did catch had this bright gold aberdeen bait hook in its jaw with about 10 test trailing off it...I kept the hook with the picture of the fish....but believe you me, there are some much bigger hoss's that sit there glued to the bottom and you can see 'em down there just a grinnin' at ya...
And my personal "holy grail" is a 12" spec, wich I believe I have seen as one came lauching out from under a log in a plunge pool trying to snag the little fingerlin bow on my caddis - I tried everything to tease that one back out, but he never showed again....the closest I have come is 11"in a place most people would'nt suspect in the Park, though that was a few years ago...now if I can only catch a tiger trout...


01-30-2006, 05:20 PM
I don't feel too bad any more about my fishing ability. *I figured all the "real" fly fishermen were hauling in 20 inchers every season. *This thread has given me much more confidence. *My largest rainbow was a fish that went around 12 inches out of Little River last fall on a partridge and yellow. *My brother and I have landed several (5 or 6) browns from our favorite Smokies stream (my personal secret spot, everybody needs one) that would go between 12 and 14 inches. *We didn't measure them, so this is a guess but I feel a fairly good one pulling on my past experience guessing bass length during tournaments and we have a good photo of one of them. *I lost one last fall there that I believe would have gone over 15 inches. *We saw two in a slow pool on Tremont several years ago that would have gone over 15 inches but they laughed at our presentations as I do now thinking back on the encounter.


hoosier troutbum
01-31-2006, 12:11 AM
The Smokey Mountain streams are my favorite type of stream to fish, I love fishin' small streams and the beauty down there is hard to beat. My biggest brown trout (14") came from Medcalf Bottoms about 4 years ago. A couple of years ago I landed my biggest (10") Brookie. Last year I caught two 14" rainbows that were feeding in a pool up toward Elkmont. They both were taken on a dry fly. I love fishing and camping down here and the size of the trout don't really matter, they are wild and beautiful and I feel pretty good if I can fool em into biting me. *I just wish we could spend more time down here. * * * *H.T.

01-31-2006, 04:29 PM
17" rainbow last October just below Tow String bridge on the Luftee on one of Walter's Smoky Mountain Candies.

01-31-2006, 05:20 PM
My Largest brown was 18" landed just above the "sinks" in early April and if I could figure out how to post the picture I will. As far as a Rainbow, it would be a 18"(+-) taken on Abrahm's Creek about 400 yards below parking area in late June.

Chip Maner
02-02-2006, 08:40 PM
Rock Hopper always bests me in the park (now let's talk Wyoming...<smirk>). I am with you guys who are amazed to even see a 10" or 12" trout in the net, and 6" fish are brutes to me. But I love the Smokies, and I'll cast to the 6" brutes as long as I'm living. My biggest local trout, though, was downstream from the park... wait. That's another topic. I'll call it "Oddest Catch."

02-06-2006, 09:55 PM
Last spring I hit a 12" and a 13" on back to back holes at the very base of the Blowdown.
Felt like Christmas day.
They both hit on the ugliest excuse for a Blue wing imaginable.
Havent managed to talk many Browns above 12" out of the water,but the next trip is just around the corner ;)

02-08-2006, 05:08 PM
I stopped off at the Abraham's campground one afternoon on a business trip from Chattanooga. I had my flyrod and I almost didn't stop because it was so late. I didn't expect much from that section of the creek, It was just easy to reach. My second cast out of the trunk of my car was attacked by a 15" brown. It was very exciting because of the fight in this one fish. This was in early March and I assume she had worked her way up from the lake. It was the only fish I caught that day but it was my favorite moment in the park last year.

02-09-2006, 12:24 PM
I caught a 15" rainbow in Abrams Creek January 19 on a 16 pheasant tail nymph in about 3 feet of swift water and have spooked a brown in the Metcalf bottoms area that is somewhere in the 28" plus range. My fishing partner caught a 20" brown in the Metcalf area and we saw much bigger fish in early December. The best time to see big fish, in my opinion, is in early November during the redd. My fishing partner and I spent the day with Tom Dole (LRO Guide) in early November and saw many large fish. The large fish are difficult to catch - they have learned to out smart most of us.

02-12-2006, 11:38 PM
My biggest catch was a 13 inch 'Bow' out of LR last May. I was fishing a (green)yellow stonefly dry which I purchased from LRO. I caught 4 that day using that fly including a 10 incher below Tremont. I have seen bigger browns up around Elkmont, but couldn't get them interested in anything I had that day.

I agree with an Rog1 that size is probably not the point in the Park. I come down just to spend a week of solitude in the mountains. When I want big I go to Michigan.

02-12-2006, 11:41 PM
For me, I've seen browns in the 28-30" range. *But they don't get that way by eating flies. *By best to hand:

Brown 24"
RB *19 1/2"
Brook probably 9"
Sucker Fish 20"


02-15-2006, 01:52 PM
New to the board but not new to fishing the Smokeys. I have a pic of me about five years old on a rock in the middle of the river with my Dad's fly rod.

My biggest fish for the park are:
2 Rainbows 21" and 22" second hole above the Y on Little River- I caught them a couple of times in the same year then they where gone.

1 12" Brook

1 16"Brown

Two flies that I learned when lessons were still free that have always produced for me- Georges Nymph and Thunderhead. Taught by Walter.

02-16-2006, 03:03 PM
I "witnessed" this fish last March "somwhere" on Little River. My buddy David Fisher and I had just stepped into the water and noticed two other guys fishing.I was trying to figure out were to go as to give them a wide berth to fish, I watched this guy blind cast and get bushwacked by this brown. Dude didn't have a net, started screaming at the top of his lungs " I need a net..Net help..Net help"..Fish asked if he could help, guy wanted his buddy to land the fish. The buddy almost drowned everyone in the process of trying to bulldog this brown. Finally came to net, guess what ..They didn't have a camera. Fisher, again, being the stand-up guy, took photos, wrote the guys e-mail down and upon returning home, sent photos. Guy claimed to be a guide..Fish would have probably gone a bit over 20".....http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v728/dblhaul/Hugebrown1.jpg