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Jswitow
05-08-2006, 05:46 PM
I spend most of my fishing time on Snowbird Creek. I am going to start giving a report from my trips over there. Any questions are welcome.
Last weekend May 6-7, 06.
Fishing was decent water temp was 56%. Not one fish taken on a dry fly during the mid-mornging to 1:30 outing. The fish were taking large golden stones. Took 6 fish most in the first hour fishing a large (#8 or #10) bead head squirrel tail nymph. Some other were caught on a second nymph (#14 bh hairs ear). Actually a chub hit the smaller nympy so I cut it off! The morning session brought two brookies and 4 rainbows to hand, two of the bows were in the 12-13" range and jumped 5-6 times each (I love the spring time!)
A few were stockers (brookies), a few wild. Water was a little off color, suspect that was the reason for the lack of attention to the dries.
Later (last hour of day light) I did find several fish rising to golden stones or yellow caddis, they took the stone! 11 & 13" brown and one smaller brookie. These fish look healthy (fat) are definately strong, the brookies were dull. Is that a stocker trait or just a trait of the season.
Anyway I bet I will fish golden stones, dry or wet or yellow caddis for the better part of the summer.
The creek is full of good szed golden stones. I was fishing about 6 miles above the Lake.
Tight lines,

Backcountry FF
05-09-2006, 11:28 AM
Jswitow,

I hate to ask a stupid question, but where exactly is Snowbird Creek? I've heard about it, but I don't make it over to western NC a lot.

I have fished some delayed harvest sections of the Upper Wautauga and had a blast. I figure since I paid for a full year of fishing the tarheel state (which was less than my home state's license??? :o), I should take advantage of the great opportunities over there.

I'm not trying to get any "honey holes" from you, just needed to know where abouts it is. Access points would be nice too. I was looking over my NC Gazeteer and couldn't locate Snowbird. Maybe I need glasses! ;)

Thanks for the report and any info you can give! :)

Jswitow
05-09-2006, 12:33 PM
Hi Charles,
Sorry I just figured.......... ! Snowbird is just this side of Robbinsville. If you follow 129 to 143 (Massey Branch Rd), turn right then follow the Snowbird road signs you cant miss it! Really not too much info about honey holes. I think the creek fishes about as good top to bottom, there are about 12 miles of mostly public access on the creek. For that matter the backcountry section adds another ~ 7 miles. Look for Robbinsville and Snowbird Mountain on the Gazetteer. I mostly fish above Robinson's Grocery, go past Robinson's, make the 180 to follow Snowbird. (if you go straight you will find yourself on Dick's Branch road. You will pass a little cattle farm and you can pull over there at a small utilties bldg, or you can continue on up toward the backcountry (another mile) you will turn right to cross a small bridge after crossing the first bridge over the creek. From here it is 6 miles to the backcountry.
If you want to fish for brookies (wild exclusively) you will need to hike about 3.5 miles minimum. Snowbird is about the largest wild brookie stream in the Southern Appalachians. I could go on and on.
Lots of fishing opportintiies! Not a delayed harvest stream though! You never know when a 15" fish will smack your fly, maybe larger! Winter is the time for the big fish though, they run out of Santeelah Lake....... Steelhead, most in the 16-19" range some larger though. I can forward pics to your email, don't know how to list them on this site.
Hope that helps, other questions; don't hesitate to ask.
Tight lines, That is funny that the NC license (out of state) is cheaper than TN in state!

kylemc
05-09-2006, 12:53 PM
Thanks for that.Sounds like a great stream.I might have a road trip in my near future.

Kyle

Jswitow
05-09-2006, 02:39 PM
You're welcome. Anyone going sometime is welcome to email me, if I am going to be over maybe we can get together to fish a little.
Tight lines,

Byron Begley
05-09-2006, 06:55 PM
John,

How are you doing buddy? Thanks for being such a good member and friend.

Byron

Jswitow
05-10-2006, 08:57 AM
Hey Byron,
I am well, not fishing enough though. I am supposed to go with a customer Friday and am afraid I will have to cancel on him because of work. Boy thats a tough decision!
Have you been down to the Panacea area yet this year?
Hope all is well with you all,
John

Jswitow
05-31-2006, 04:39 PM
Well as I said I would make these posts, so I will. Spent last weekend on Snowbird and the water was mostly high and off color.. As things cleared the fishing did improve. My swung streamers went unnoticed in the high muddy water on Saturday. Sunday morning the water was alittle clearer and lower. Managed a few fish on the Golden Stone Dry #8) Not enough to make me feel really good about it so I changed to larger and smaller and did about the same. Did well enough on the dries to ignore the nymphs. I fished with a friend until dark Sunday and we hit a big pool before dark and waited for rising trout until dark. I waited and fished the wrong fly (#14 EHC) and came up empty. My friend fished a stimulator and caught a couple in 30 minutes, one of which was a 16-17' wild (and fat) brown! He had no idea it was a big fih, it was sipping so daintily! He was fishing a 7' - 3wt. Yes the fight took a while. I will be back in that pool Saturday as the sun sets with any luck, fishing a Stonefly! In the 3 hours fishing side by side we probably managed 10 fish, broke off two, one on the strike, the other a nice rainbow should have been netted, ran downstream from upstream (once the leader was in the tip and broke off) nearly breaking the rod in the process! A hike up on Huckleberry Knob with frisbee in hand on Saturday was beautiful. If you have not made the hike, it is an easy one off the Skyway to a big bald at 5,500 ft. The veiws are fantastic.
Tight lines,

Jswitow
08-04-2006, 02:41 PM
I have not kept up with these as I had planned, but was over on Snowbird last weekend and fished Saturday and Sunday. Where I fished I did not see another angler either day. Fishing was decent for mostly smaller fish. I sat with the lantern on for a little while Friday night and saw tiny caddis and stoneflies. Not one mayfly. Caddis were cream (20's?) and the Stones were yellow and small 16's water is low and clear. I caught fish on small bh hare's ears and small Elk Hair Caddis with yellow body. Probably caught more fish on a beetle or ant dry than any other though and on one stretch with a 100 yard grass bank I should have tried a hopper! I did manage several browns on the beetles and ants which were hanging out under overhanging branches even though it was sunny. I did go down to 5x (something I really rarely do). No big fish, but a couple in the 12" range and did break off one on the hook set and did see a couple of others (bigger fish) that were just too weary for my offerings in the skinny water.
Questions, comments or snide remarks?

14yearoldflyfisher
08-04-2006, 04:09 PM
Jswitow,

Im going to be stayin in black mountain with my dad sometime next spring at the ridgecrest place(a conference). last time we went to curtis creek and the south toe river and did pretty good,are there any other good streams. well try to look you up and do some fishing with you if you want to.

Jswitow
08-04-2006, 05:10 PM
14 year old!
Give me the weekend to research that one. I have never made it to the Black Mountain area. I will see what I can find out for you. That is quite a long way from Snowbird. I am thinking that you will be pretty near Brevard NC and the Davidson River is there. It can be very good, can also be very difficult. There is a trophy section with some real trophy fish. Anyway I will see what I can find.
Tight lines,
John

14yearoldflyfisher
08-04-2006, 06:44 PM
Alright man thanks! we fished the davidson river and didnt catch anything but saw some that looked as long as my leg. they were under a bridge and we tried the crappie jig technique from about 15 feet above them with a wooly booger, but it didnt work :'(. ill look up snowbird on google and try to talk my dad into driving out there.(I wish i could drive :'(). Sounds like a great place to fish, thanks again.


Tight lines
The kid

Elk riverrat
08-04-2006, 10:54 PM
Snowbird has been on my short list for years but have never made it, over the hill yet. I mostly fish by myself due to my work schedule, off Monday-Thursday. I left Townsend last Saturday and drove over to Calderwood to Robinsville, turned onto the Cherohola Hwy towards Tellico, actually turned at Stratton Meadows and headed down North River. Was Snowbird the creek running into Santeetlah from the left as I headed up the mountain?

I was always under the impression that it was all backcountry fishing.

Jswitow
08-07-2006, 09:03 AM
Yes, it sounds like you turned on 143 (skyway) off 129, or maybe you went all the way into Robbinsville? In either case you would have ended up following Snowbird for about two or three miles from the Dr. Nettie C Parrot Bridge. Snowbird actually has between 12 and 14 miles of road access water. I haven't hiked all the way through the backcountry but there must be another 7 and possibly as much as another 12 miles of water up there. The creek is still surprisingly large as far as 5 miles into the back country and some impressive waterfalls, which keep the brookies safe.

Anyway there are trout all the way to Santeelah except in the hottest summers, when some of them drop down into the lake. I have heard of some monsters being caught on the lower section where you drove along the creek, particularly in the evenings. These are fish which move up out of the lake to feed on the small fish which manage to to get out of the trout farm on that stretch of the creek.
Anyway I am rambling, give it a shot sometime, now you know it really isnt very far. In the fall there are lake run browns and in winter lake run rainbows. I got one last winter that went about 8 lbs! (Can forward a pic with you email, dont know how to post pics to this site) I may never catch another that size, but you never know, and I have heard of larger fish. I catch alot of fish in the 16 to 19 inch range in the December thru February quarter. In the midday to late afternoon period I have caught as many as 4 - 16-20" fish. Pretty rare 0n Southern Appalachian trout streams! As Harry Middleton's character Arby Mulligan ( On the Spine of Time) said; "The fish are here, where are you?" You may not be a Middleton fan.
I don't get over during the week often, but you will have most of it to yourself if you go! I am there alot of weekends, if you want to fish sometime on a weekend just shoot me an email.
Tight lines,
John

Jswitow
08-07-2006, 09:12 AM
Kid!,
Hey my apologies, did not get any good info for you over the weekend, and I will be out of town the rest of the week. Going to Canada fishing for a couple of days! An unexpected invitation was too good to pass up. May even get to catch a pike on a fly (though the guys I am going with all fish with hardware and will give grief for even bringing a flyrod!).

Tight lines!
John

Jswitow
08-07-2006, 09:18 AM
Kid!
One more thought; If those pigs below the bridge just hang out there they probably eat bread when tossed off the bridge, take some bread to chum then from upstream drift a dearhair breadfly to them. Just a thought.
Best,

Jswitow
09-06-2006, 05:05 PM
Made it over to Snowbird last weekend and managed to fish a little Sunday and Monday. Sunday I fished from about 8:30 to 10:15 am (we had guests !) I found the fish to be in the deeper holes in slightly out of the way places. In other words; places that were just not right by the road. I caught fish on ants(14), beetles(14) and a bead head hare's ear nymph(16). No monsters, my best brown was an 11" fat wild fish and my best bow was a supercharged 13" fish which rose in slow motion and ate my yellow bodied foam beatle like it was a maraschino cherry,.............. then proceeded to rip up the run like only a rainbow can do! A nice test for the 4 wt. I was fishing. Monday was actually a bust, fished my 6 wt with streamers in the off color (but low) water, donated a bunch of streamers to the cause and got nothing for it. Tiime may have been a factor as I didnt start until 11:00 am and called it a day by 1:00 pm.
Water was very low but cool and slightly off color. I hope it rose some with all of the rain we had Monday and Tuesday. Won't be long til the big browns start prowling around mauling things prior to spawning!
Tight lines,

Jswitow
09-22-2006, 12:21 PM
Thought I would try to post some pics since as the saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words"! http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/NewyearsBrown.jpg
The fishing can be pretty good on the stream. The rainbow are wild steelhead, spawned in the creek, migrating to the lake where they grow. They come back in the winter to spawn. They are gone usually by the 1st of April.
Fall and winter though you never know when you might stick a nice fish, it happens almost every time I fish from December - February. The browns are there too but they are as hard to catch here as in the Smokies. Once in a while though........
I have more of these pics, 15-19" fish are really pretty common in the winter.

Jswitow
09-22-2006, 12:25 PM
Dern! That didn't work.

Paula Begley
09-22-2006, 01:00 PM
John....

Call me...I will help you.

Paula

Jswitow
09-22-2006, 03:20 PM
Thanks Paula,
I will call first part of next week.
Hope you all have a good weekend,
Johnhttp://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/January05Rainbow19inch.jpg

Jswitow
09-22-2006, 03:23 PM
Hey it worked! I finally made sure it was in the middle of the icons!
Thank you Paula!
Now I am dangerous............... well maybe not to the fish.
Best,
John

David Knapp
09-23-2006, 10:35 PM
That is a great looking fish! I have an eye on some streams that are said to contain lake-run fish. Hopefully I'll have some time to try them out this winter. Do you try to specifically target lake-run fish with different methods or just catch them during your regular trout fishing? Any advice on fishing for lake-run fish would be appreciated!

David

Jswitow
09-25-2006, 11:19 AM
Hey Plateau Angler,
I do specifically target them in the winter, a couple of tactics seem to work pretty well. Keep in mind Snowbird does not have any really deep runs, six or eight feet is about as deep as I am fishing. I fish a sink tip line (teeny mini-tip) with streamers( olive or black or brown (bh or ch) wooly buggers or your favorite); allow a slight belly in the line to keep it taught ( you will feel the strike and be able to set the hook before the fish spits it) You can either toss it to the head of a riffle going into a deeper hole and follow it back with a dead drift or allow the belly. The other tactic is to toss it slightly down and across so that it will cross the likely spot. I caught my best fish to date last winter after having dead drifted the streamer through the run 8 or 10 times....nothing. I had seen a swirl there though that didnt look like current, so just for grins I tried swinging it through the run right from the head of the main flow over a break into the tailout. The fly didn't travel 3 or 4 feet before it stopped (presumably hung) I struck though, (as I am want to do!) and he opened up a hole the size of a truck tire! (like the swirl I had seen!) I was using about 5' of leader tapered to 3x flourocarbon and a six weight rod (normally only use this rod in the winter,high water, or for smallies)[IMG]http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnowbirdBuckSteelheadFeb06.jpg
I hope that worked, not too sure yet.
The other way I like to go after them is with a big biot bug (size 8 or larger)or stone fly about 4 feet below a big indicator, I will drip a glow bug off the back or the stone. Some days they like the stone some days they like the glow bug. Browns seem to like the glow bug, they must be hanging behind the steelies feeding on loose eggs. Usually the current bring it to the surface after the drift, sometimes the hit then. I probably missed something, ask any other questions you like.
tight lines,

justfishing
09-25-2006, 01:31 PM
Hey j,

That is one great looking fish!!! *:o

Have you ever fished below the Nantahala Powerhouse? I was looking at coming there from Blue Ridge, but it sounds as if I should keep coming up 129/19 a bit further and hit Snowbird. Are there any campsites up the Snowbird? Do you know if 143 will get me over to the Tellico/ North River Road? Thanks



justfishing
<'))))><

Jswitow
09-25-2006, 04:05 PM
Thanks for the compliment on the fish, I may never get another that size, but if I caught that one, there must be others, and I have heard of steelies up to 31"!
Yes, 143 will get you to the Tellico river, 42 miles (Cherohala Skyway; beautiful drive) from the turnoff to the Joyce Kilmer and yes there are campsites up on Big Snowbird. I will warn you though they are generally a mess or at least the ones I was in yesterday were. Why do people have to be such pigs? >:( I tried to fish some eddies up there yesterday........... because I was there, the creek was definately blown out though! I would bet today it is high and clearing up, tomorrow the fishing will probably awesome.................. and I will be working :'(. Such is life though.
As for the Nantahala, below the powerhouse; no have not fished it, either the current or previous state record brown came from that water. Well I have fished the dh section and have fished the area around the park and on down to the NOC. Caught alot of small fish in the big Nan. I would bet the big browns are stirring around there now though.
If I can be of any more help, let me know.
Tight lines,

justfishing
09-25-2006, 04:57 PM
J,

Thanks for the info. Sounds like Snowbird creek might be a better bet. I'm looking for a few spots not so far from home where some nice fish reside. Townsend is a little over 4 hours, Hiwassee is a little over 3. The Hooch is right under 3, but the setting is not as nice. I'll have to figure a way to head that way soon. Thanks for the reports.

justfishing
<'))))><

David Knapp
09-25-2006, 06:06 PM
Wow! That fish is absolutely a PIG!!! Very nicely done... Thanks for the advice about catching these fish as well!

David

troutwag
09-25-2006, 10:25 PM
David,
Thanks! I nearly fainted (literally screamed!) when I got it in the net, its tail stuck out about 8 inches! I yelled to my wife that I had caught a salmon, she said; "oh, thats nice". I did put it back by the way, maybe it will be back in the creek this winter and larger still. Regardless I will be out there!
Tight lines,
John

troutwag
09-25-2006, 10:34 PM
Just fishing,
Sorry I did not note that the distance from Blue Ridge, Ga(?) is about two hours. You are just south of Franklin aren't you? Franklin is 1.5 hours easy.
Tight lines,
John

justfishing
09-26-2006, 12:07 AM
TW,
You're right about Blue Ridge. It's about 2 hours south. I'm actually in Alabama, but would come through Blue Ridge to fish the Toccoa before I head north. Or I might hit the Hiwassee first and head east.
decisions,,,,,, decisions ;)

justfishing
<'))))><

troutwag
11-28-2006, 11:58 PM
Well I have not posted in a while but the time is near for the Steelhead to run and I am getting antsey! I fished a couple of hours last Friday on Snowbird and caught a few pretty, wild fish! All rainbows too, one small male in spawning regalia! One hen about 13" and bright, things should start picking up with the full moon and the next good rain event. I am pretty sure I saw a nice fish in a big pool on the bottom hanging behind some suckers, but it spooked on about the third drift past it. The water is at a good level and clear (too clear in my opinion!) In the last two weeks the rain guage showed 3.75", no telling about the headwaters but the flow is good. Water temp Friday afternoon was ~ 45 deg. Caught fish on a Burkes aggrivator, size 8. Fishing was fairly slow though 3 fish in 3 hours. Could be the angler!
Tight lines,

ruggerfly
11-29-2006, 03:11 PM
troutwag,

Like you I absolutely love to fish for steelhead, but unfortunately for me I can't make it up there for a while because of work. I at least get to fish for bigger steelhead next month (I am taking a trip out to Washington state)! Leave a monster ot two for the rest of us ;)

Jswitow
11-30-2006, 06:54 PM
You'll be fishing for fish that would eat mine! Bring back some good pics! Want to do that some time.
Best,
John

ruggerfly
12-01-2006, 10:21 AM
troutwag/jswitow,

I will bring back some pics, hopefully I will land at least one on my trip. ;) You definitely need to make a trip up to the Pacific northwest and catch a steelhead (their size & strength make it a great challenge--not to mention the awesome leaps out of the water when they are hooked). I have family out there, and I also worked/fished up there for a year too. It makes for addictive fishing (at least too me)! If you ever plan a trip to Washington state, let me know and I would be happy to help in any way that I can.

Sterling

wndeagle
12-01-2006, 11:44 AM
jswitow,

check your pm's

troutwag
12-01-2006, 08:00 PM
Wndeagle,
I can't get to my pms for jswitow from this computer, something wacky. I have to sign in as Troutwag to get on from home. I will check it Monday at work. You are welcome to send an email, I will check that over the weekend.
Best,
John

Jswitow
12-18-2006, 05:56 PM
Well I got to do alittle fishing this weekend and it was as usual; unpredictable!
Only managed about an hour's worth on Saturday, the little woman wanted to pick something up in my truck in Dillsboro. I am the driver of the rig (toyota T100!)
Anyway I started fishing at about 3;30 and by 4:00 had managed to land 3 fish. Probably landed those fish in about 5-10 minutes of finally tying on an egg pattern, below my golden stone fly. About a size 10 oregon cheese glo-bug. Caught those fish on 3-4 successive casts. They were hanging in the riffle above where I normally expect to catch them and the largest was a solid 15" male was right in the trough below a small creek mouth which I bet was feeding some warm water off the sunny hillside. I was using 5x on the dropper about 4' below the indicator and ticking bottom. I only caught fish on the glo-bug this weekend so they are definately looking for them and that tells me the run has begun!
I fished several hours on Sunday and had one 11-12" fish to show for it. The water was cold (low 40's) but the level is good the rain guage showed almost 4" in the last two weeks. With the rain this week and the moon phase coming on I would bet the run will get a good kick after the first of the year, seems I saw the moon should be full the 3rd of January..... I wouldn't bet the farm, but maybe lunch that the fish will be moving with the push of the high water and the moon.
Water is pretty clear as well, which I think makes them spooky. I really like to fish 3x or heavier because they will occasionally hammer the fly (and I tend to revert to the bass fisherman on the hook set.)
Merry Christmas and tight lines!

ijsouth
12-18-2006, 10:02 PM
and I tend to revert to the bass fisherman on the hook set.
Merry Christmas and tight lines!

I know exactly what you mean...I grew up bass fishing, then got into the saltwater stuff with redfish and the like, and now I'm into trout..it's tough to avoid the temptation to "cross their eyes".

I really enjoy your reports from this area; I've driven by Snowbird Creek a few times, but have never fished it. Hopefully, I'll be up in that neck of the woods around New Year's, and I might give it a try.

Jswitow
01-02-2007, 02:30 PM
Happy New Year!
It's lunch time, so I will type while I eat my Taco Bell! I think I actually lost a little weight over the holidays because I didnt eat this junk for a couple of weeks!
Anyway, more important matters, and I will post pics in a day or two. I can say the lake fish have shown up! I didnt have alot of luck catching them, but they were in plain sight in a few spots. One pod we found had about 30-50 fish from 12" - 24" plus! Couldnt get them to eat though. A fellow I fished with stuck and quickly lost a monster on an egg pattern, the fish slashed (head shake?) the surface and was free. He said he had it on long enough to think; " I am severely undergunned, then it was gone". The fish had swam toward him when hooked, he said he really didnt want to talk about it! It went right back to the spot it occupied before being hooked!.... and displayed lock-jaw after that. These fish were staging about a mile above the lake..........evidently waiting for something (the moon and water to rise?)
Sunday the fishing was better for another friend who had come up from Atlanta to fish. He managed to land 4 fish in about 3 hours; 21", 19" and (2) 11" . I only managed one in that time, it might have gone 13". We fished from about 12:30 to 3:30 at which the water started to stain and rise. I think the fish got their signal Sunday though, we fished in a downpour. By New Year's day the rain gauge showed 2.75" had fallen and the creek had risen nearly 4 feet over night! By Monday afternoon the creek was nearly fishable and the water nearly clear. Today and tomorrow should be awesome if anyone can get there.
Oh and so much for my glo bug statement; he caught all these fish on BH wooly buggers below and indicator(size 8-10), This is why I almost always fish a big bushy fly for the weight and drop the egg off the bend.
Tight lines!

ijsouth
01-03-2007, 10:27 PM
J,

Well, we really didn't have time to fish Snowbird, but we did get to drive over there in the rain on Sunday, just to scout it out. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I took Big Snowbird Road, past the grocery store, and then across the stream...and took it until it changed to a gravel road and state maintenance ended. I'm asking this because I am really interested in fishing the upper end of Snowbird for brookies. How much more of the gravel road would I have to take until I would reach the trailhead? Also, is it halfway decent, or does the road get rough enough to require a truck to get in? Sorry for all the road questions, but I just didn't have enough time to really explore the area.

Jswitow
01-04-2007, 01:09 PM
IJ,
I guess you read how we fished in the rain Sunday! Lets see, from the bridge where you crossed into the back country; Big Snowbird Creek it is 6 miles to the end of the gravel. The road is not too bad for a car. From there you will hike ~ 4 miles to the first waterfall, from there on you will be in the brookie water. It is pretty up there, can't say that I have done very well up there, but I may not have walked far enough. I would plan on a 5 mile hike to get to better water (less pressured). You're not likely to see too many people up there. If you're ever going to make it and want a partner, let me know. I don't get up there enough myself! It is the biggest brook trout water I know of, even way up there.
There is a rumour locally that it was damaged by the construction of the Cherohala Skyway. The word is that a big seam of Anakista (sp?) shale was exposed which raised the acidity of the creek. Don't know whether that is acutally true. Probably more than you wanted to know. I have seen some good brookies up there never caught one over 8", but as I said I dont get there very often. Just too far to go by myself. I used to not worry about it, but came upon a rattler one day, had it bitten me 7 miles from the car and no one around, I would have been in a world of hurt.
Anyway best to you, any other questions; fire away!

ijsouth
01-04-2007, 08:59 PM
Thanks a bunch...that's exactly what I wanted to know...sending you a PM.

Jswitow
01-10-2007, 02:05 PM
Well one more post and regrettably not a whole lot to report. I am not having alot of luck. I am certain the fish are there, I have seen many. I am not holding my mouth right or something. My fall-back excuse is that the water was really high and off color over the weekend. There continues to be alot of rain falling in the area and the creek is/was running high and more importantly fairly off-color. I met a guy from Atlanta on the stream, he is building a cabin. He said his builder's wife landed a 31" fish over the New Year Holiday. If I can substantiate that one with a picture :-? :o, I will post it! For me, so far this season, a 15" fish is the best I have managed, not a bad fish, but not what I am looking for this time of year! My buddy from Atlanta's 21" fish is the best I have actually seen this year, and may well be the best fish I see this season, need to get that film developed.
If the rain holds off for a couple of days the creek will clear and levels get back to normal fishing should improve . It may be good anyway, I just may be me having a run of bad luck........?! Wish I had better news. If anyone else gets over please post your results. I can't make it over this weekend.
Anyway tight lines,
John

Jswitow
01-18-2007, 09:50 AM
I'm planning on going over Saturday for the day. If anyone wants to go shoot me an email or pm. I could drive from there. Would want to be in Maryville by about 7:45 planning on getting there around 10:00 am. Will fish until 3:00 or 3:30 or until ttttttoo cccccold to fffffffish any more.
Happy Thursday,

Jswitow
01-22-2007, 02:40 PM
Well .......... Fishing for me was tough Saturday. Could have been several factors (excuses) but the biggest reason was the water temp (I'm guessing). I did miss several short strikes on my streamers and landed nothing on those. Switched to a floating line, nymph rig and had no more success until the sundown. I ended my day and the biggest run on the creek (to my knowledge), one which is deep in the middle on the outside of the bend of the pool then becomes shallow as it runs into a riffle. Anyway I chose to wade out at the head of this thing and then wade into as I can and then then feed a long drift into the deep middle in one of the two current seams which are apparent in the head of the pool. This tactic makes for about a 90 foot drift, paying out line as it goes and ends with the fly about 70 feet below me. I had at this point given up on my stone egg rig and tied on a fly I saw last week which looked good; a hare's ear tied on a size 6 or 8 salmon egg type hook with a big copper bead at the head. Between the bead and the heavy short hook I had a fly which looked about like a size 14 with a big hook and weight. You may think I'm crazy but I have to sell myself on these things or I never catch a fish! I tossed this little jewel upstream about 20" to start the drift, mend drift, (man my feet are cold), checked the thermometer which I had dropped in a few minutes before, it read 40 on the mark, warmest of the day! Anyway watch the drift, slow............not quite as slow as the drift above the weir on the Clinch, but slow. All of a sudden the indicator goes down slowly, set the hook! (way too much slack because of the snake s's in the line) There is life on the other end and it feels pretty strong! Strip, Strip cant go to the reel for the fish is swimming toward me. Well anyway, I lost at the net, a decent bow, 13-15" range. Well at least I am awake and hopeful, who cares if my feet tingling!
Try it again, this time at the bottom of the drift, probably 2 minutes the indicator dips again I lift (make that rare back like the bass fisherman trying to get past the slack) Another fish; this is the one I am looking for the 6 wt is double and the tip is dancing with the head shakes of the big fish, get to the reel, arrrgghh he is running toward me, strip feverishly, he turned still there, then he ran toward me again and I couldnt gather the slack quickly enough and gone. **!!XXXX !!!!. Finally the light goes on and I check the fly, it is barbless. I really don't like barbless hooks, not until I have landed at least two fish! The fly works though, its getting dark and my hands are cold. The fly stays. Two more casts, drifts and I hook another, not as good but not bad, a nice bend in the rod. Finally I land one, a 13" brown. I lost one more fish before it was getting pretty dark and cold.
I bought a paper while there and there were two pictures of fish in the paper, a 23" brown (noted as 6 1/2 " top to bottom) log, big hook jawed male. The other fish was a 22" rainbow! So others are having better luck than I! Such is life.
Make the trip if you can. I will be over there next weekend again. Persistance is my ace in the hole!
Tight lines and have a good week.
Cross you fingers for some mild weather Friday, Saturday and Sunday!
John

Jswitow
01-22-2007, 06:29 PM
Sorry for that posting. I was in a hurry at lunch and did not proofread it before posting. Hope it makes enough sense that you get the gist of it!
Best,
John

ijsouth
01-23-2007, 12:22 AM
Good report...the days are getting longer - it won't be long now.

Jswitow
01-23-2007, 01:05 PM
Yes, but the creek is closed in the month of March until the 1st Saturday in April. By then the lake run fish will be back in the Lake. The fishing can still be good and often is, but the good chance at a trophy is much reduced.
Best,
John

Jswitow
01-24-2007, 11:11 AM
Hey, I finally got the new years pictures developed. Cant wait until the make a water resistant digital for a reasonable sum! Anyway .......... http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/EdBaggettBigHenNY06-07.jpg
And with a little luck, one more http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/EdBaggetFish.jpg
I hope these work, if I did this more often.........
These are the NY eve fish I mentioned, the big hen taped at 21" and the smaller bright fish 19"
Anyway best,
John

Jswitow
01-24-2007, 11:16 AM
Dern,
I will have to try that again later! Don't know why that did't work this time.
Sorry,
John

Jswitow
01-24-2007, 12:54 PM
I checked and none of the photos I have posted through photobucket are showing this morning. Maybe they will show up later. Or maybe some of the rest of you can see them even though I cannot.
Best,
John

Sivad
01-24-2007, 01:41 PM
I CAN SEE THE PICS AND WOW!!!!!!!!!

Jswitow
01-24-2007, 02:58 PM
Sivad,
Thanks! I am a big Starwars fan as well. Lately with my fishing (make that catching, or lack there of) the force isn't with me!
Best,
John

Sivad
01-24-2007, 03:44 PM
John,

I soon as I can make the time I would like to fish snowbird. Would be able to show me around if I give you a week or so notice? Thanks for the reports and pics.

Patrick

Jswitow
01-24-2007, 03:57 PM
Patrick,
I would welcome the opprortunity! Just let me know.
Best,
John

Jswitow
01-31-2007, 04:55 PM
Hi all,
I have been needing to post for last weekend, The fish are in the creek and the weather does not seem to have the effect on them as it does the resident trout. Saturday the weather was beautiful and the fishing might have been awesome, for me it was pretty good. I fished about three hours and landed 2 fish; one about a 13" brown on a dry and another about a 16-17 bow on an emerger. Both fish were sight fished! They hit the nearest thing I had to a little dark stonefly I could come up with! I may have done better had I not gotten hooked on trying to catch one of the big fish in the pod I wasted too much time fishing. Luckily the two I caught began rising near the pod and I caught sight of them.
Sunday was dern cold, but I was there and so ............ I fished! I found the fishing surprisingly good while I could stand it. H20 temp was below 40 degrees, air temp 28-29 degrees, guides constantly freezing. I lasted about 2 hours and hooked 6 landed three. The fish were absolutely on fire! When hooked they went wild, ripping up the holes like it was spring. Snow and cold dont seem to bother these fish (steelhead) like the residents. I will tell another about the "one that got away"; I hooked all fish on a size 12 prince tied with a black tungsten bead on a heavy large gap hook (guessing it looked like the little stones which were in evidence the day before). I caught on fish in a hole known to attract fish about a 15" bright male. On the next cast I think I had a fish take on the bottom of the drift as the fly rose in the current, should have been a good hook set. The fish went absolutely berserk! I never got it on the reel becuase it kept running toward me and I kept having to strip like a fiend to keep tension. Finally the fish nearly flipped itself out on the bank and managed to throw the hook; it was every bit of 22-23"!
If you go get some of those princes, then try every dark nymph in the box if needed! If I am going to be there, I will be happy to fish with you.
Apologies to Streamer, I missed his pm about coming over last weekend.
Again all, the fish will be there until the end of February, they seem to be mostly gone by the first Saturday in April when the stream reopens.
Best,
John

ijsouth
01-31-2007, 09:41 PM
Great report...man, I'm getting antsy to go fishing - I only hope the weather will warm up a bit towards the end of next month.

Jswitow
02-01-2007, 10:28 AM
Have faith! We always get some warm weather in February.
Send some up from Alabama!
Best,
John

ijsouth
02-01-2007, 09:09 PM
It's actually been pretty cool and rainy here in Louisiana; we went about 10 days with no sun, which is very unusual, even in Winter. That subtropical jet stream is parked right over us. For at least the next 15 days, the pattern isn't going to change much - the eastern part of the US will be getting these blasts of Arctic air. I'm hoping it will change after that, though...all we need are a few warm days to get things going. One thing about these small streams - they warm up a lot faster than a bigger body of water.

Jswitow
02-19-2007, 12:12 PM
Well all I wish I had some good information. The run either hasn't been as strong this year or more likely I just have not had the luck! I have hooked and lost a few fish and reported on a few that others did catch, so I think I just was not lucky this season......... though there is still one weekend left and it sounds like there may finally be some warming! Last Saturday I fished with a buddy from Knoxville, and it was slooowwww. Managed three fish for the day. I have mentioned a pod of fish which I could not hook. I can now report that I did manage to get one of those guys to eat........... a 20"............. Red Horse Sucker! My buddy said he had suspected they were suckers, his eyes are better than mine at dstance. It was the biggest sucker I have ever caught (only the second in five years)! The water at 5:00 pm in the blizzard was 34 degrees and ice was apparent from the banks. The two trout taken were about an 11" bow and 15" bow. We did have a visit from an otter (the first I have seen on the creek!) He popped up three times to take a quick look at us in a quiet deep pool, we quickly decided that hole was not worth fishing for a while. The trip back to Knoxville across Deals Gap was an adventure, and took an extra hour. The creek was low, we need some rain over there as well. If it warms this week the fishing will improve greatly, maybe I will have some decent pics to post after next weekend. Maybe spring is finally on the way! I hope it warms up, when my wife figures out I bought that new reel for musky and pike I will be sleeping in the jeep (for a few days)!
Tight lines,

fishlicker
02-21-2007, 10:08 PM
A friend of mine almost had heart failure once on the Nantahala...

We were fishing the DH section and he saw four or five HUGE TROUT in a pool just above a huge rock. We crawled over the top of the rock, keeping low to the surface of it to get a look at them. God has blessed me with really good "fishing eyes" and I can usually spot fish that alot of my friends can't. ( Catching them is where I fail most of the time! :) ) - anyway - as soon as I saw them, I said " those aren't trout" and his cold sweat stopped, his fever broke and he regained his sight. :) haha. They were HUGE, 2 ft long SUCKERS! :) We tried some egg patterns and nymphs on them( Oh, put your jaw back in it's place, fishin' is fishin! ;) LOL ) but they wouldn't hit anything.


We joked about them all the way home. biggest trout of the day. :) haha

Jswitow
02-22-2007, 12:41 PM
You know you're right, if it pulls back I dont mind catching it! Those redhorse are actually pretty fish in my opinion, look a little like a bonefish, streamlined fork-tail, no bugle mouth like a carp. They just don't fight much.
I have landed two of them in five years. Wonder how they would taste?!
You're awfully close to Snowbird when you hit the Nan DH, 20 to 30 minutes.
Best,
John

Jswitow
02-27-2007, 01:57 PM
I made it over last Sunday to fish Snowbird and found Snowbird the confluence of Big and Little to be blown out. Water was high and muddy. I rode upstream and found the water to be clear coming out of Big Snowbird and coffee and cream out of Little Snowbird. I gave it a shot on Big Snowbird and had a big goose egg for my efforts. I saw two big otters (30-40 lb) and a Mink or Weasel. It was a big mink, if it was a mink, pretty dark brown. I should have moved far from the otters when I saw them, but the brain was on auto-pilot by then.. Tomorrow should be awesome and the last shot at the lake run fish. The stocking trucks will be making their contributions and screwing up the lies for the wild fish. The stream will reopen the 7 of April. I caught the large fish pictured back in the listing one year ago today. I can't go, hope someone can, conditions should be awesome.
Best,
John

T.E.Shuler
02-28-2007, 04:24 AM
You'll probably want to shoot me John, but coming out in either in April or May's issue of North Carolina Sportsman, I was asked to participate in magazine articles for the Snowbirds and Santeetlah Creeks. Dont worry I kept it broad and didnt give up anything. For the articles we stayed on the hatchery supported water too. I did them last spring as with alot of mag articles, everything runs a year after it was shot and written

Jswitow
02-28-2007, 10:48 AM
T.E.,
You can see that I have been trying to get people to come try the fishery. I have not kept any secrets. I have not seen that there has been any increased flyfishing pressure on the creek. Ultimately I would like to see more flyfishers, more fish returned (and not all of them) and less trash. If your article brings more of that, I am all for it. Did you mention the winter run fish? I honestly didn't do very well with them this winter but in the last four years I have managed good numbers of what most would consider trophy fish in the mountains. It's not a fantastic stream, it could be if it were not abused, the siltation in the creek is awful, must of which comes out of Little Snowbird. As development increases things will have to be done right or the trout will be gone except in the upper reaches. The trout will suffer through some silt as will some bugs, but if the trees on the creek continue to be cut down the water will get too warm for trout in the lower reaches. You ever get over that way let me know, I would welcome the opportunity to fish with you. I look forward to reading your article, will have to look for that magazine.
Best,
John

ijsouth
02-28-2007, 10:25 PM
I noticed that there was quite a bit of runoff in that one stream when I took a look at it over New Year's...sounds like a riparian restoration project is in order.

Jswitow
03-01-2007, 12:43 PM
Wait, pinch myself, I must be dreaming. I have driven up Little Snowbird and it is hard to pinpoint any one problem..........there are so many. Most would tell me that was my opinion and to mind my own business. Logging, earth moving, four wheelers on public lands. If people would only put up silt fencing most of the problems would go away. That seems to be a tall order though. I need to do a little more research to see if there is any possiblity of enforcement. A couple of years ago, I did a little and found many walls, basically "mind your own business" was what I heard.

Sivad
03-01-2007, 03:56 PM
Jswitow,

You need to take some pictures when you see it happen and report it to the NC division of Water Quality. I inspect roadway constructions project in Tennessee for eorsion ans sediment control. I am doing a couple now on cosby creek in cosby Tn and get to fish on my lunch break. NC is pretty strict with the erosion and sediment relase for the state. Any deveploment should have a Strom Water Pollution Prevention PLan(SWPPP). The the web site for more info is http://h2o.enr.state.nc.us/. Please report any violation you, this will help the problem.

Partick

Sivad
03-01-2007, 03:58 PM
Here is another site that may help http://www.dlr.enr.state.nc.us/pages/sedimentation.html

Jswitow
03-02-2007, 03:42 PM
Patrick,
Thanks for those websites. I will look into them, if anything good comes of it I will let you know. Little Snowbird runs largely through Indian lands, not sure the state has any jurisdiction over that. Nine times out of ten silt fencing would fix the problem. Silt fencing is cheap too.
Thanks again,
John

T.E.Shuler
03-08-2007, 01:54 AM
I didn't mention the winter run fish to the writer. He may know of them and write about them I dont know, as I havnt seen the finished article, just the photos. We stayed on the Hatchery Supported water for the most part, and I believe Don will keep it pretty simple and straight forward, he's pretty good about not blowing the lid of something, or causing harm to a fishery that cant stand angling pressure.

Siltation is a big threat for most streams in rural counties. Poor code enforcements and develpoment codes of any kind make steep slope development a problem. I agree that the Snowbirds have some major problems with poor development. I noticed that stuff right away when driving up there last year.
Nieghboring Swain County has just formed a commitee for helping to curb the problems with steep slope develpoment here in Bryson City and Swain County. Im glad our commissioners have finally realized the dangers and are on at least some steps to remidying this problem. I suppose that Graham county will soon follow to do the same thing. It always seems that once Macon County adopts a policy, Swain is next to do so, then Graham County. Maybe a few years for now we will readily see the chances and diffrences made.
This is even more reason to support your local TU chapter and water quality groups.

I'll get off my soap box now!

TE

Jswitow
03-08-2007, 06:09 PM
Well put! I need to find out if there is any TU presence in Graham County. You know I as an outsider don't want to step on any toes.
Best,
John

HikeandFish
03-14-2007, 09:34 PM
Jswitow,

Nice posts on this thread. I have a question for you. What is the average size of brookies in the backcountry on Big Snowbird Creek (3.5 to 6 miles upstream of trailhead) ? I read this is one of the better, and largest, brook trout streams in NC. Also what is the size of a "nice" brookie on this stream? . Any information would be welcome.

Thanks,
Hike and Fish

Jswitow
03-15-2007, 03:03 PM
Hey Hike and Fish,
The brookies on Big Snowbird. Can't say that I am an authority on them, the biggest I have seen is 10", though it is a big stream, as big a brook trout stream as I have seen. I honestly have not fished it up there enough to know. I have been up there three times in 5 years. I have a 9 year old son, and most of my fishing is close to home for a couple of hours at a time. The brookie water requires at the very least a long day of hiking and fishing or a good three day weekend trip. Sometime when you are heading this way let me know, if you want to head up there and want someone to fish with. Not a terrible hike in, just a fair distance. It is another old rail grade. I bought a 3wt year before last with the plan to get up there more often and have not held to the plan.
Best,
John

Jswitow
04-23-2007, 10:38 PM
Well folks I have not posted for awhile as I have not fished Snowbird (or anywhere else for that matter!) since late February. Something is definately wrong with my priorities. Anyway we drove over late Saturday as my son's soccer team (which I coach) had a 3:00 pm game. Finally made it out the door around 10:00 am Sunday and was fishing by 10:30. The fishing was fine, the catching so so. The first run I hit showed clear, slightly high water, really nice water actually and a nice hatch coming off. Looked like little yellow stones or caddis, never got a close-up. The flies were repeatedly touching the water laying eggs and pretty good flyers, I'm guessing caddis. Nothing was rising to them though. I fished a 14 Elk hair caddis to start, no a size 10 or 12 seducer.........nothing. Switched to caddis and took one small fish small chrome silver bow, spent as much time out of the water as in it, and my only fish on a dry for the morning. I switched to a small #14 or #16 Golden Tungsten bead stone nymph with an indicator and promptly had a nice bow eat the indicator. Wouldn't come back for the Seducer for nothing!
I moved up through some heavy water and promptly slipped and took water, definately a wake-up call! Fished some small deep holes and took a couple of small fish (usually take a good one here) and worked my way up stream taking the occasional small bow on nymphs about 3' below an indicator or sometimes without the indicator on short line. I like to cast though and at distance the indicator helps. I think I managed 6 in 2 hours over about 200 yards of water. The best finally came on a large golden stone nymph tied with lead wrap and tungsten bead, it was about an 11" brown and sorry to say a stocker, but fat and healthy and a good distance from a stocking point, so I like to think it was a holdover. The state stocks them like crazy though in March, so I bet it showed up then and migrated upstream a half a mile. The water was cold in the middle 40's which surprised me. But the weather has been colder and they are quite a bit behind us in the season. Trees are just beginning to bud. I won't be able to get back now for another 3 weeks.
I did hear some news about Big Santeetlah on opening day. We picked up a stranded fisherman in Robbinsville on the 6th, he was in from Rocky Mount with a gang to fish BS, he was having car trouble. He was with a crew (of questionable sorts) also from his home town, but he was so greatful for the ride (left his ride at Ingles in Rville) that he let me in on a secret. He said they fish there on opening day every year and usually catch a 7 or 8 pounder, but that they are known brood fish. Still sounds like it could be fun. They didn't stay the weekend, it was cold (low 20's and wind at night) and not much warmer during the day that weekend. They may still be there if anyone is interested. I may go try it the next time I get over that way.
Anyway the spring hatches will be coming on strong soon if not already, I think I may have had to quit too soon Sunday to partake in the commotion of rising fish!
Tight lines,
John

Baldeagle
04-25-2007, 09:59 AM
I have hiked in and camped in the area that you are referring to. We had excellent brookie fishing the first time and good the second. The fish were mostly in the 4-7" range. The biggest that we caught were around 8". We caught a lot of them and the scenery was beautiful, especially around the waterfalls. We caught most of them on black caddis(#16)

Jswitow
05-14-2007, 03:36 PM
I finally was able to do a little fishing Sunday. Yes, my wife gave me permission. I got double duty by taking my son (who is 9) out for the first time in his new waders and boots. I saw some sedge caddis and golden stones the night before around the lantern and thought we might do well on some big golden stone dries. A storm on Saturday had muddied the water though and the fish weren't looking up. I did see the largest golden stone I have ever seen, a solid size 4! We fished hares ears and larger golden stone pattern nymphs. He hooked three and landed one, his first where he actually made the cast, set the hook, and fought, and landed the fish! He was a little psyched! We only fished about an hour and a couple of holes, the water was off color and a couple of inches high. After an hour he had enough and was hungry, so I asked to hit the hole with a big nymph (size 8 Tungsten golden stone) and on the first drift took a 10" brown. My son remarked that they like to come out when the water is cloudy (actually listened!) One more cast hooked and landed a 14" rainbow! (at which point the little guy wanted to fish a little more!) The rainbow made such a ruckous in the run though that the rest must have been on high alert, no more takers.
We ended with a chub, a brookie of 11-12" and the brown and bow. I am sure the brookie was a stocker, we were way below the brookie water. The others looked like wild fish. The creek looked to be in good shape and the rain gauge showed 1.5 inches in the last two weeks. I think I have hooked the little guy on fishing this weekend, he said he really enjoyed it!
Anyway if anybody makes the trip, yellow ought to be the ticket the next month or two. Golden stone dries (12 - 6) and nymphs(14- 8) as well as yellow caddis 16-10 and whatever else you like this time of year.
Tight lines,
John

DryFly1
05-14-2007, 05:57 PM
Great report John,

Always enjoy the updates! Sounds like a great day on the water with your son. If you get a chance,snap some pics of your adventures.

Mark...

Jswitow
05-15-2007, 12:37 PM
Dry Fly,
Thank you for the kind words. I will get some pictures posted. Still using film, so there is some lag.
Best,
John

one more cast
05-16-2007, 09:33 AM
Jswitow,

I will echo Dry Fly's comments. I too enjoy your updates and pictures. I am looking forward to my first trip to this area next month.

Jswitow
05-16-2007, 01:03 PM
Thank you OMC! I tried to post some pics last night, but we have a new printer/scanner and I could not figure out how to get the pics to photobucket. May have to bring them to work!
Tight lines,
John

Jswitow
05-29-2007, 01:54 PM
Well we spent the weekend over at Snowbird and I fished a couple of hours each morning. The fishing was pretty good. The creek is evidently full of stockers now and (for now) of some size. Saturday morning I was skunked. Saturday afternoon I took my wife (her first outing) and son out with me....as long as they could stand it. Patience is a virtue, and I got very little of it! They have their first lessons at LRO the 9th of June though! We did catch a few fish though, my son had one on long enough to see it jump three times before it came unbuttoned!
I went back to that hole about an hour before dark and drifted a large Seducer (golden stone size 8) through there and landed about a 12" bow and lost a larger one trying to coax it over a downed tree! Gave up because of darkness at that point. But the large (2") golden stones were out toward darkness.
Sunday morning I started at a deep hole with a size 8 golden stone nymph (heavy) on 4x. The third drift stuck a large fish, when finally in the net it showed to be 17" (stocker). I moved up to the next pool and in short order caught site of another large trout holding in front a boulder at the exit point of the pool. It took 20 mnutes and four fly changes, but she finally took a caddis emerger, twitched twice about 2' in front of the fish, the fish pounced on that fly like a cat! 18 " (another stocker of course). I made my way through the hole and had one hit a size 14 BH tellico. It immediately went airborne, 3 feet! That one jumped 3 or 4 times and I was sure I had finally hooked a nice wild fish (I could see a good looking tail as it jumped).
Upon landing the fish though (15") I saw a fin missing. Still alot of fun and I was done in 1 hour 15 minutes...
Monday morning I was out by 8:00am, it was 54 degrees, didn't take the water temp, but it was chilly for wet wading. I would bet high 50's. Caught several wild fish on dries (16 BWO, 14 Elk Hair caddis), the largest was a 10" bow with perfect seemingly oversized fins! (no camera, forgot it).
I decided to go try the hole where I lost the nice fish 2 nights before, before calling it a day. I tried the dries first, not even a flash. Then nymphs, even the big golden stone with the flashing "eat me" sign on the sides.....nothing. I thought; there must be a big fish in here, got everybody scared to death.........so I tied on an olive cone head muddler, flipped it across the run and out came a big trout! follow but no take. I immediately stopped and cut three feet off my nine foot leader and retied with shaking hands. The fish came out three more times, missed once, but would not come back for the muddler. I switched to a big heavy hellagramite, two follows, one miss and I was out. One more streamer; an olive lead dumb-bell eyed sculpin pattern. Flipped out across the stream again, another follow (yes, luckily this is a hungry fish!) Note also that a tight line or leading dredge got no interest, the swing was the thing! One more flip and out came the fish and this time a solid take! I had already set my drag tight for the heavy tippet, knowing that the tree was still very close. After a couple of minutes this one too was in the net, a 19-20" bow, another stocker. It was alot of fun still, and I saw only three more fisherman where I fished. These fish will be harvested by the meat hunters soon though, which may be a good thing, for most seemed to have empty stomachs. They will likely starve because they just don't know enough about survival on their own.
Anyway the fishing is pretty good right now, as the summer goes along the stockers will thin out and wild fish will prevail by fall. Then the browns and the lake run bows! And as alot of you know the summer will be gone before we know it, so get out and enjoy it!
Tight lines,
John

Jswitow
06-07-2007, 05:45 PM
Hi all,
I have seen a lot of concern about letting out secret streams. I suppose I am commiting a terrible injustice giving out the info I do ........... But from the reports and the people I see (not) on the stream waving a fly rod, I am guessing that few are making the trip or reporting, if they have made the trip.
I ran into a fellow from Memphis last weekend fishing with a fly rod; he was using a yellow caddis with a small dropper. He said they were taking the dry more often than the dropper. He said Snowbird was his favorite place to fish, and didnn't want anyone to know it! He had found many big fish in the stream as I had reported and even landed an 18" brown on a dry! Can't say I have had that experience. He caught it in a spot I have fished at least 50 times, but never just where he had cast his fly! You never know. Last weekend was pretty good, again I caught small wild fish on dries and larger fish, mix of wild and stocked on nymphs. No monsters this weekend though. The water is low, though not painfully so. The lighter tippets (5 or 6x) and smaller flies seemed to be the ticket, with a little more weight in the deeper runs.
I got my wife out last weekend for her second outing. She caught a couple of bows on a # 14 Elk Hair Caddis......... and was ecstatic. We hit another spot and I was banished to the run above (she'd had enough of my advice!). I turned around a short time later and saw her in the run (she should have been fishing). I of course offered my 2 cents......... shortly thereafter she took a dip! She took it well and laughed about, but she was cold.... and done.

Fishing was still pretty good. The water is warming, a nice rain would be good. It is funny in the mountains, the stream was off color Saturday AM, the guy from Memphis said it had rained steadily for about 2 hours the evening before. They were staying about a mile above us and we never got a drop, the rain gauge was bone dry as well from the previous 2 weeks. I have seen it much lower, but rain would be good. Maybe they got some this week. I am rambling, tight lines!
Best,
John

Jswitow
07-10-2007, 01:47 PM
Well the water is a little low. Ok it is real low, but the fishing was pretty good for small wild fish. Saturday morning I fished streamers, it was overcast and I just read "Modern Streamer Techniques for Trophy Trout" by Linesanman and Galloup so I have streamers on the brain. I did get a follow from about a 15" bow and caught a 10-11" brown. I had luck on 5x tippet with drys Sunday in the morning. I saw Sulphurs (PMD's) on the lantern Saturday night so lit out with a # 16 Suphur comparadun Sunday am. The first run I fished yielded a dace, but that hole gets hammered (right at a bridge) above there my luck turned for the better. I always look for browns in the backs of pools and this day with the water a little off color from Saturday rain I found a good brown (17-18") holding in the back. My Sulphur landed about 3 feet ahead of him and was pounced upon by a smaller brown! Good sport on the 3wt though. The smaller fish spooked the larger fish and I lost sight of him during the fight. I made a couple of casts to the spot above where the fish had been lying and on about the third cast was met with an explosive strike. Scared me so I reared back and popped the tippet (you've got to blow it pretty bad with this rod to pop 5x)! I was lazy though with the previous fish and didn't retie, ouch.
I did manage a half a dozen small wild fish on the dries through about 2 or 3 hundred yards of water in an hour and a half, most on a Gray Drake sparkle dun in about size 12. I fished from about 8:30 am to 10:15 am and called it a day. I think you will find the fishing pretty good if you go. I would fish above Robinson's Grocery, below there the water may be getting a little warm. I will try to post some pics soon.
Tight lines,
John

Jswitow
07-23-2007, 02:57 PM
Got to fish the creek Sunday morning from about 8-11:30. The water was up a little (though still a little low), the rain gauge showed 3" had fallen since we had been there 2 weeks ago. The water was a little off color and very cool. The air temp Sunday am was 54 degrees and the water temp in the am 60 degrees. I fished with a friend who lives near the coast in GA. Anyway we didn't really whack them but we did alright. He only fished an hour, managed 2 fish, the best a 10" brown. He had the dirty job of driving home and had to leave. I did the only honorable thing to do which was to press on in his absensce. I managed about half a dozen fish and the last run I fished yielded a fat 14" bow. I missed a fish on my first drift, felt it for and instant then gone. Don't know whether this fish was the same one or not, it had a knick on it back right behind it gills, so I wondered if he may have missed the fly the first time and been momentarily foul hooked. Anyway the fish flopped out of my hand before I got the picture. One of these days I will learn not to get the fish from the net until the camera is in my hand and turned on! It was a beautiful fat wild fish, took the Golden Seducer within a foot of it sinking. Quite often they will take that fly after it has drowned. If any of you find your way over there the water should be cool, yesterday's high was 74 degrees. As I offer from time to time, I will be happy to show someone around if you are making the trip..... and I am there.
Glad to see some rain! Maybe we can get back into the summertime ritual of an afternoon shower most days.
Tight lines,
John

Jswitow
08-19-2007, 09:07 PM
I was able to get over the Snowbird last weekend. Was pleasantly surprise by the temperature, Saturday morning the thermometer read 58 degrees. I slept in too late, should have been on the water at daylight. As it was I fished from about 8:15 til 11:45. I got in the stream and yes it is low, but the water was cool, can't say exactly the temperature, I left my thermometer in a buddy's boat last weekend (fished the Cumberland!). I would bet the temp was in the low 60's in the AM but warmer as the day went on. I have seen the creek this low but only once. I will be glad when this drought cycle is broken.............. Anyway the fishing! It was pretty good Saturday morning, I landed several small yearling trout on dries, actually a size 10 brown attractor which looks a little like a brown stone or hopper and a dropper of a size 16 Elk hair caddis. Then switched to a dropper of a little green bh soft hackle. As I came to my undoing (as it turned out!) I saw a nice brown laying in the back of a large pool which has a deep hole in the middle of it (maybe 4-5'). The brown didn't flatout spook but swam slowly up to the deep hole. The sun-light was just right by then and I could see several large fish stacked in there. I managed to pull two fish from the hole before they figured out something was up! Then no more, every nymph I could think of, in every fashion. The two I landed were bows, 13 & 14 inches. Nice wild fish apparently, because the stockers in this creek come from a concrete raceway, these fish were spotless.
There were some much larger trout in the hole and I should have left them alone for they were stacked up. I spent way too much time there and ended up only covering about 75 yards for the morning.
Sunday morning was about 5 degrees warmer and the fish seemed to have lock jaw. I managed one small bow 5 or 6" with beautiful par markings. Lost on more and caught a slew of dace and some very big chubs!
I am ready for fall! I you go, plan to fish early and be finished by 10:00 or 11:00 am. Right now I don't even think I would fool with evening fishing, it is just so hot that the water isn't cooling off until the middle of the night. I was fishing below the confluence of Big and Little Snowbird. Big Snowbird would certainly be cooler than where I was, the elevation is 2,300 ' or better up there and the water is very covered from the sun. Where I was, there is a fair amount of open water (to the sun).
I will try to post some pics tomorrow, too busy at the office these days!
One more note of interest; yesterday it was 98 in Murphy, 97 in Andrews and 97 in Robbinsville. Out on Snowbird 15 minutes (and 8 miles) after leaving Robbinsville at 97 degrees, it was 83 degrees for a daytime high! Pretty amazing huh"! Lastly, I saw not another fisherman this weekend, they had more sense!
Nice meeting you and your wife, Charlie (apologies if I have your name wrong!)! Shoot me a note here if you would like to fish this fall.
Tight lines,
John
John

ttas67
08-21-2007, 12:56 PM
john, I don't know why I haven't been following this thread, but I would be really interested to fish snowbird sometime. particularly when the steelhead are there!

Charlie
08-21-2007, 02:41 PM
Hey John it was nice meeting you and your family on Saturday evening ,anytime your over here in Robbinsville and want hit the creek give me a shout.
Charlie Plunkett

Jswitow
08-22-2007, 02:21 PM
Trevor and Charlie,
Thanks I will put my email out there for initial contact.
jswitow@hotmail.com. Charlie I am a little envious of you all living over there full time, would love to fish with you sometime, maybe you can show me around you favorite stream. There is one in particular over there I want to check out one of these days.

Best,
John

Charlie
08-22-2007, 03:23 PM
Hey John,
I am not sure what happened , but we moved up here in May a year ago and I have only been out fishing 3 times once in Fontana ,once at panther creek and once below a dam off 129 I am not sure of the name of it.Before we moved up here I used to fly up to Tenn. or W.Va. at least twice a year .You would think that after taking a year off from work that I would be fishing at least twice a week, but nooo that has not happened. I am going to turn that around after it cools down and we get water in the streams.
My E-mail address is charlie_plunkett@hotmail.com
Charlie Plunkett

Jswitow
08-22-2007, 04:16 PM
Charlie,
I'll tell you what happened, your're just way too responsible! Panther is the creek I was speaking of over toward you.
Lets get together when the weather cools and we have surely had some rain!
Best,
John

Jswitow
08-24-2007, 03:42 PM
The fishing for the Lake Run fish was not great for me last year, hoping it was just a down year, as the previous 4 years were better. But here are some snaps. http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnwbrdsprBlBow.jpg
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Jan0619maleandbrightfemale.jpg
I will try this then post a few more if this works. If I did this more often I would remember!
Best,
John

Jswitow
08-24-2007, 03:49 PM
OK! The first is my son with his best to date. Caught in early June, the fish was a little shy.
Second was just a pretty lake run fish, just shy of 15" (about average).
Third was a 19" hen that was my first fish on that rod, jumped 4 times and really was a handfull! Took the woolybugger dredged right in the head of a riffle.
Fourth was a 17" male caught on a stonefly nymph (heavy size 8) 4' below an indicator.

The last two were actually winter 2006 fish, as I said 2007 was a slower for big fish.
Tight lines,
John

Jswitow
08-24-2007, 04:04 PM
These fish were caught on a very cold day. They were hanging out behind the fish I finally found to be suckers. There were some little black stones coming off and these fish were slashing at them. They took a black soft-hackle. http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnwbrdJa07brnbow.jpg
And finally a couple more fish taken from the same large pool on different cold days. I would bet both took the hare's ear with the big bead tied on a salmon egg hook. The onel I lost several fish on! http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnwbrdSpr07wildbowandbrown.jpg
You will note that these are healthy fat fish, save for the largest rainbow, I think the brown was cleaning it's clock! The stream is not lke smokies streams, lots of moss and bugs, healthy fish, probably the result of the number of people who live along the creek! Too bad there are no regs to keep the better fish, but some of them manage to ellude the meat hunters!
Tight lines and yearning for cooler, wetter weather,
John

Duggie
08-29-2007, 01:51 PM
I'm planning on spending some time around Robbinsville either the 3rd week of October, or maybe the 1st three days of November. Is this a good time to be fishing Snowbird Creek?

Jswitow
08-29-2007, 02:38 PM
Duggie,
That should be a good time. The draught situation will hopefully have improved by then. You might find some browns running up the creek to spawn as well. That is typically a beautiful season in the mountains. I am seeing alot of catipillars in the trees over the creek lately, hopefully they will be woolly worms by fall, maybe bring a few girdle bugs and bitch creek nymphs with you.
Best,
John

Jswitow
09-07-2007, 10:12 PM
Once again I didn't have my thermometer so no idea about temps. It felt warm below the confluence of big and little Snowbirds, there is much open water within a mile of there. Big Snowbird was cool and ....... loooowww.
The good thing is that the fish sighting was good, I saw a few nice fish and plan to tackle them in higher water. The water was cool to wet wade, overnite temps at 2,300 feet were ~61 deg all three days. The rain gauge showed 1-1/4" inches in the 2 weeks since we had been over, so it is dryer (much!) than normal. I caught a few fish on nymphs and drys, my best came to a small hopper, about a 10" brown. Fish in the tailouts spooked before I even made it to the top of the riffle to cast, they are really spooky right now.. I had first hand knowledge of just how much browns like to hide. I saw a decent brown head into a crack between two rocks and not come out. I wouldn't come out for a streamer and I was sure it had not left. I waded over to within 6 feet, at this point the fish was facing me. I took my rod and poked it to make sure I was seeing what I thought and it would not leave that spot. It held there until I went for it with the net! Anyway I would fish on Big Snowbird if I went and would probably use small nymphs and soft hackles, maybe a Hopper, copper, dropper rig. I wouldn't make the trip now though, wait for rain or at least cooler weather. The high for the weekend in the digital thermometer was 84 deg in the shade.
Tight lines,
John

Jswitow
09-26-2007, 06:23 PM
Slooooowwww. I fished below the confluence of Little and Big Snowbird this weekend and caught a few, the best about 11" bow. I think the larger fish either moved up to Big SB or down to the lake, as the water must have been over 70 degrees those last two weeks of hot weather. The creek is the lowest I have seen it. I heard second hand about a 94 year old man who lives on a small creek over in Robbinsville. He has seen it dry twice in his life, once when he was about 6 and this summer. It is low, the strange thing is that the rain gauge showed 3.5" in the last two weeks. The high country must not have seen it though. Not good heading into the typically dry season.
Pray for rain!
Best,
John

Jswitow
10-24-2007, 02:07 PM
Well happy to say it was raining when we left and had rained about 1.25" in the last 24 hours by the rain gauge! The gauge showed 1.25" when we got there as well, but it had been a while since we'd been over. The creek was still pretty low but lots of oxygen with the colder temps. Saturday night the temp hit 39! Sunday as the sun warmed things a bit the fish were active! I think I caught 7 fish in about 2.5 hours. Didn't catch any monsters but nice solid fish, all in the 11-14" range, and all on big dries. I was the funniest thing, they were really inspecting the fly from several angles then they would take is slowly. Several times before I figured this out, I set the hook as the fish turned and got nothing. I had to really wait and be sure they had take the fly before lifting. The next day the water was full of leaves and I caught one fish in a couple of hours. A few more looked but would not eat. I saw some fish in one deep pool, holding right on the edge of some rocky structure on the edge of the current. I thought they were browns and a couple were big, lake run fish I thought. They saw me though and dissappeared into the dark depths of the pool. I had hoped to fish Tuesday morning, but car trouble kept me from it!
By the time we left yesterday the creek was flowing almost at normal pool, haven't seen that since the spring! I hope we all continue to get some above average rainfall for a while to gain some ground on this draught.

Happy Brown Hunting, it is time for the spawing runs and some aggressive fish. I will post pics as soon as the roll of film is shot.
Best,
John

Jswitow
11-30-2007, 03:46 PM
Hi All,
I have some good news the creek is up and it seems the full moon and higher water brought in some of the first fish. The water didn't hold up too much it was pretty low by the time we left Sunday, the good thing is that it is raining pretty regularly again, hope and pray it holds up! Here are some pics of some fish that shocked me over the weekend!http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/KathyandBlakeontheNan11-18-07plu-1.jpg, http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/KathyandBlakeontheNan11-18-07plusSn.jpg, http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/KathyandBlakeontheNan11-18-07plu-5.jpg . The weekend before we headed over to the Nantahala (took my wife son). The little caught her first trout on a dry, and was just a little excited..... http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/KathyandBlakeontheNan11-18-07plu-4.jpg. The my son caught a brookie.......on a dry. He played it a little more cool than mom. They just bring me along to take pictures at this point!
Hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather. Note one of those big fish was caught Saturday morning at about 8:30; it was 23 degrees! We only got one other fish that morning, an eight inch brown! Go figure.
Tight lines,
John

Jswitow
11-30-2007, 03:50 PM
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/KathyandBlakeontheNan11-18-07plu-3.jpg I don't have him hooked yet, hopefully that will come with time. The little woman though is pretty into it!
Best,
John

ChemEAngler
11-30-2007, 04:05 PM
John,
Looks like you are starting to have some fun over there in Robbinsville. I have been meaning to get that way some time and give it a try. That first fish looks like a football, are the rainbows gorging themselves on brown eggs or what?

Travis

Jswitow
12-01-2007, 10:23 PM
Travis,
The only thing I can imagine is that the forage base in the lake must have been plentiful........or that is a brood fish, but to have caught two of them and to have seen others makes me think they are lake run fish (Santeetlah sits at 1,800 feet or better and is 160 feet deep) that had a good year eating shad or whatever the forage base is. They seem to be in the river from about now until the end of February. I have never caught one after the creek reopens in April. I wish I had had a scale espacially for the first fish, it was a pig! 4x tippet and no net, broke my line as I slid it on the bank. The last nudge was with my boot!
I put them back, and wouldn't mind seeing more flyfisherman on the creek through these months. The creek is pretty heavily populated with people and the trash is not pretty. Maybe with a little more notoriety and reputation, a clean up of the creek can be organized.... With the locals, not people on this board.
Anyway bring some stoneflies and salmon eggs; I like pale pinks and oregon cheese in about a size 10 or so.
Best,
John (send an emal if you like; jswitow@hotmail.com )

ChemEAngler
12-02-2007, 12:18 AM
John,
I don't know much about the area, but I would imagine that a lot of it is private property. I knew a guy who offered to clean up someone's steamside property for access to the river through their property, and they accepted. I have been thinking about using this approach a couple of places on the Watauga and SoHo. Something like that may be a way for you to secure more access if you are looking for it.

My problem is that it is not an easy drive over from Knoxville, and if I came I would probably make it a multi-day trip. Are there any convenient campgrounds or a hotel you would recommend? If I decide to head over that way I will shoot you an email, thanks for the suggestions.

Travis

ijsouth
12-02-2007, 01:15 AM
Wow...that one fish looks like an old-timey football. I was pleasantly surprised last weekend myself, that I was able to catch fish even though it was pretty cold. It is tempting me to rethink my original plan - to not come up to the mountains until just after Easter.

David Knapp
12-02-2007, 12:08 PM
Great fish! I'm going to have to look for some lake run fish this winter...

ttas67
12-02-2007, 12:46 PM
john, how far is the drive over there? from knoxville

ChemEAngler
12-02-2007, 06:59 PM
Trevor,
It is around 70 miles from Knoxville to Robbinsville, but it will probably take you 2 to 2.5 hours to get there. It requires a long drive over "The Tail of the Dragon", and if you have never been through there it is curvy. I actually heard that along this 11 mile section of US 129 that there are 300+ curves, supposedly the curviest road in America. I have rounded a few curves before to find a motorcycle in my lane coming toward me.

Travis

ttas67
12-03-2007, 01:42 AM
oh, I've driven "the dragon" before. I try and avoid it at all costs. 2hrs is not so bad to me, though. I used to drive to bryson city all the time to fish. I'd wouldn't mind getting into some big fish over christmas break.

Jswitow
12-03-2007, 09:54 AM
Travis,
That is right about 2 hrs 15 mins. It is 78 miles from our house in Karns..
Pellisippi to 129 (across the dragon) and right on 143 (Massey Branch rd)
Then right at the T onto Snowbird road. You hit the stream and the Dr. Nettie C. Parrot Bridge. Any deeper hole from that point on is a possible holding lie for the steelhead. The only place I would avoid is the water above where a hatchery comes into the creek (about 100 yards worth) and where the water is diverted from the creek. It can be fairly dewatered there when low. Follow the creek for a few more miles and make a left on Snowbird road again. If you miss that left you will be heading toward the Skyway and Joyce Kilmer.
Best,
John

Jswitow
12-03-2007, 10:02 AM
If you hit the skyway before 9:00 am or so, you miss most of the bikers. Then again in the evening after 5:00pm, there are plenty of idiots out there, I drive a big old wagoneer for just that reason.
Hotels in Robbinsville; SanRan, Phillips and Microtel. There are other places around Santeetlah lake and the Snowbird Mtn lodge about 10 minutes from the creek is really nice, fine food, plush rustic surroundings etc if that suits you. There are others, just type in Western NC, Robbinsville lodging and see what you find. I can't get back until after Christmas (unless maybe for a day trip). I hope someone (or two) get there and give it a shot.
Tight lines.
John

Jswitow
12-10-2007, 11:32 PM
Well, after the last outing and the fish from my last post it is time for a big slice of humble pie. This weekend I drove over for the day......... and managed a big goose egg for my efforts. The weather seemed perfect, 61 degrees, cloudy and drizzly most of the day (I fished from about noon to four), saw a few fish, hooked and lost one, had one pretty good fish swim up pretty as you please and eat my big orange indicator, took it slowly, turned with it and of course let go! That is what is so fun about this sport though, no fear of ever mastering it (at least not me!). The one variable that did not look good was that the water was low and clear again, I may have needed to drop back to 5x tippet, never did try that, stuck with the 4x.
We need some rain, that will bring more fish into the creek, it was 44 degrees when I checked at about 2:30.

Best,
John

ChemEAngler
12-11-2007, 01:04 PM
John,
It happens to all of us at some point. But it happens to some, like me, more than others. :smile: It isn't so bad not catching one when you know you are fishing a location that at any moment you can tie into one that will take you to your backing. That is part of the gamble we take making the significant drive to fish a place of that quality. I am planning on heading over that way on the 21st if the weather cooperates. By the way, what is the license requirement and what time period is a NC license good for? Does it begin on Jan 1 and run through Dec 31 or are they on an unusual schedule like TN? I have been looking online and can't tell if I need a hatchery supported trout permit or not.

Travis

Jswitow
12-11-2007, 05:29 PM
Hi Travis,
Yes you will need a trout stamp. One year for license and trout stamp will cost you $ 40.00. License runs for one year from date of purchase. You can buy a three day license for about $15.00 and the trout stamp is $ 10.00 for the year. You think like I do about the fish! If I can manage to go that weekend I will if you like. Otherwise shoot me an email and I will tell you what I know............ not alot ! You can get a license at Robinson's Store back on Snowbird road, they open at 6:00 am.
Best,

Jswitow
12-11-2007, 05:30 PM
OOOOooopps!

Jswitow
01-10-2008, 04:15 PM
Hi All,
Hope the New Year is treating you well. The run this year is the best I have seen. If you have the chance to go, you should give it a try. Work is really hectic lately I will post pics this weekend. If you go take glow bugs in size 10 (roughly), y2ks are working well also. Fish a stone for weight, and the glowbug ~ 10" off the bend. Look for any darker run, larger slower water is preferable. 4x tippet on the dropper.
Tight lines,
John

Jswitow
01-15-2008, 07:28 PM
Well all I did not get over last weekend but the weekend the fishing was great. As I think I said in my previous post I was not too hopeful for there was as much as 12' of ice coming out from the banks (in slower sections) The water temp and 3:00 pm was 36 degrees. But the fish were in an eating mood! High temp for the day was 51 deg. We found fish in slower deeper runs and almost all came to the Y2K or plain glow bug I will post a few pics, more when I download from the digital to photobucket. The run is great this season! http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnowbirdNYeve08EBandCole-1.jpg, This is the morning of New Year's Eve. The Temp was pretty cold and the water temp about 38 degr. We did not catch fish that morning. The little guy with dad is Cole Baggett. Ed is starting him off right! shortly thereafter though Cole was heard to utter Mama, he was ready to go see her! http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/KathyandBlakeontheNan11-18-07plu-8.jpg. Thef second is a fish caught over T-Giving 21" hen, another pig. I will post more later, maybe this evening. Now is the time unless it is just bitterly cold.
Best,
John

Jswitow
01-16-2008, 01:28 AM
Not a whole lot else to say about the tactics that I have not said, the rain has been good you can see the ice in some of these pictures. The fish have been holding in the deeper slower runs or actually in the pools, deeper slower.
The fish are evidently pretty thick this year.....numbers and girth! http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/PicturesfromSnowbird12-31-071-05-4.jpg, http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/PicturesfromSnowbird12-31-071-05-3.jpg, http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/PicturesfromSnowbird12-31-071-05-2.jpg,http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/PicturesfromSnowbird12-31-071-05-1.jpg, http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/KathyandBlakeontheNan11-18-07plu-8.jpg. These are some of the better fish, from two trips over for the day. Several of the fish were caught after 5pm, Steelhead are notorious for feeding at sunrise and sunset, even if they haven't fed all day long. Persistence pays.
I am trying to remember the order of posting of pictures. I know the last picture is a chrome hen, absolutely bright silver on the sides with an abrupt line of green for the back. This fish was headed to the lake, I netted downstream in a shallow run. The fish was well into my buddie's backing and evidently intent on going back to the lake! The heavy fish was caught in a very large pool and dogged around, shaking her head. Regrettably that was the first one (winter run fish) I have killed, she took the egg patter deep and bled too much. My buddy Ed took that back to Atlanta. The good thing was that she had finished spawning, she had 7 bb sized eggs left in her. This fish was caught about 10 minutes after Ed broke off the monster, in the same pool. I plan to go this weekend, have a pass from the boss! I may be too cold to fish though.
Tight lines!
John

Jswitow
01-16-2008, 01:38 AM
One more note! ChemEAngler said something about there being alot of private property along the Creek. At this point there is very little posted land. There is about 12 miles of water between the lake and the backcountry, known as the junction. Most of this 12 miles is accessable. I would bet all but about 100 yards of it is accessable, don't be discouraged by that worry.
Tight lines,
John

Jswitow
01-18-2008, 07:35 PM
I am going over tonight to fish tomorrow, got a weekend pass. Anyone brave or foolish to make the trip tomorrow, I will be in the creek more than likely. Look for my old blue Wagoneer or for me if you like. I have an orange harness on my chest pack, its pretty easy to destinguish.
Otherwise stay warm,
John

Jswitow
01-21-2008, 03:25 PM
Hi all,
This is getting awfully predictable and I can't say anything else about it except that the run is good this year. I fished in morning on Saturday and it was slow, as expected. The temp was hovering around 32 all day, water temp was 36f. I caught one small rainbow that morning and was fairly happy about it. I planned on spending the end of the day on a big hole and spent an hour running egg patterns down through it setting the hook occasoinally with nothing there. At 4:45 my indicator went down slowly and I lifted, finally a weight on the line and big head shaking. The fish stayed deep and made several runs, though none were smoking. After 10 mins I slipped the fish in the net barely and took her to the bank for a pic and quick measurements. http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/24inx15ingirthHen1-19-08.jpg .
24" and 15" girth then back in the water. Second largest trout I have ever landed. I am sure this fish was 6-7 lb. I was talking to some of the locals about it and they said there have been many large fish this winter. They are hopeful that this is the first solid year of many years effort stocking steelhead first into the lake, which seemed to offer little results, then stocking them into the creeks. They think the fish are finding their way back into the creeks from which they were stocked or spawned. Who knows what next year's run will be like, this year it is on!
Best,
John

ttas67
01-21-2008, 07:06 PM
WOW!, I could go for some of that.

buzzmcmanus
01-22-2008, 09:37 AM
WOW!
That's an understatement. I can't post the words I uttered when I saw it.

Jswitow
01-22-2008, 11:53 AM
You all should! I have given my info before, if you are apprehensive about going get in contact with me. I am not a guide, would just like to see more people putting them back. I know a great taxidermist who makes mounts from the photos and measurements if that is the issue. Anyway the odds are pretty good this year, of course it is fishing...........no guarantees. No substitute for persistance!
Best,
John

snaildarter
01-25-2008, 11:43 PM
John, I'm simply stunned at how often you get into big fish. I'm sure that you catch more of them, and especially of multiple species, than anyone I know (well, that isn't a guide).

Jswitow
01-28-2008, 10:20 AM
I can lay claim to nothing more than dumb luck! And it is really only this time of year; the fish run up the creek to spawn out of Santeetlah lake to spawn. This year is the best I have seen in the 6 years I have been fishing for them. The fish are there though and that is the first variable, without them nothing more would be possible. I caught for more this weekend between 15 and 20 inches.
Give it a shot before the end of February!
Best,
John

Jswitow
02-04-2008, 03:30 PM
Well,
I took someone over today, and as luck would have it the fish laughed at me. We fished from about 11:00 to 4:00 and had a big goose egg to show for it. It was a pretty, warm day though, (at least until the rain) and that is the biggest reason to be out, right?..... yea, of course it is! Apologies to you though Freeman! Another day. Water temp 38 degrees, water high. The rain gauge showed three inches since last weekend. Fished the standard eggs below stones. Should have tried the streamers, too lazy maybe, to rig it up. We did see a hatch and rising fish to little brown winter stones (14-16). No luck with brown Elk Hair caddis. Wishing I had tried a slow,short strip with an unweighted soft hackle, that might have turned the trick.
Hope others got out and enjoyed the day.
Best,
John

Stonefly
02-10-2008, 07:12 PM
I drove over and fished with John yesterday. Didn't catch numbers but did get one nice fat male rainbow. John may post a photo. If he doesn't, I'll try to figure out again how to do it.
I had a real good time. John is a very nice guy and was very hospitable, showed me around and let me fish his good spots. Thanks again John

sb

DHauck
02-19-2008, 01:02 PM
John - I fished the creek for the first time last weekend. I got skunked but still enjoyed every minute of it. When I got back I started poking around on the net to figure out what I was doing wrong and found your posts. Thanks so much for sharing. I will be returning on Sunday!

Jswitow
02-19-2008, 01:33 PM
Daniel,
Hope you did better last weekend. I was up there as well and found the fish slow, one decent brown on a streamer. I had a friend over from Franklin and he did better, caught a 20 male on a streamer! He said the fish was on fire, hitting the streamer several before finally eating! We stayed Sunday and I fished Monday as well. One fish but a good one; 23-24" chromer, didnt have my tape! The high water and the full moon must have brought in a few more fish! I will post a picture this evening. Next weekend is the last weekend before NC closes the creek and most others for the month of march. I have never seen these fish in the creek after the first Saturday in April, it fishes pretty well though between the stockers and resident fish.
Best,
John
Let me know when you come up again, if I am around maybe we can get together.

Jswitow
02-19-2008, 01:36 PM
You didn't say your first name. Must've had "Daniel" on the brain.

DHauck
02-19-2008, 03:43 PM
I arrived late Friday night and camped close to the junction in site 10. I spent Saturday fishing up-stream from 10. After a great sleep in old # 10, I fished down-stream on Sunday until about 1:30. I fished mostly streamers and egg patterns, but not a single hook-up!. That just makes me more determined... I will be back this coming Sunday to take a last try. I'm thinking about fishing closer to the lake. Any advice?

Thanks,
Dave.

marktronic
02-19-2008, 06:30 PM
Is Snowbird creek closed where the campsites are for the month of March too?

Jswitow
02-19-2008, 10:15 PM
Allright this years run has been insanity! I have landed 4 of the largest trout of my life this winter. I thought the run was over, but in all the excitement I had forgotten the effect of the moon phases and high water on these fish. I still say I have yet to see one in April, but usually they are there until the end of February. I am betting the the fish were sulking in the low(er) clear(er) water....I probably should have tried lighter tippet and smaller flies. With the new moon and the increased flows (1.5" of rain Saturday) fresh fish entered the creek. I can't list my runs on this site, but will tell you that I fish below the confluence of Little and Big Snowbirds. This is a Little River sized creek at this point, maybe a little larger (maybe not). You want to look for any larger deeper runs, maybe the water slows or the bottom darkens (due to depth). Sandy bottom is a definate plus, but depth and slower flow are at least as important. There are destinations and holding water and both are good. The destinations are the bigger slower spots with everything (sand, depth, and slower flow). Look for bend pools with depth. The water right below the confluence of Little and big Snowbird is good water, try that. I am sure the fish go up Big Snowbird as well, I just don't fish up there alot.
Marktronic, the creek is closed all the way to the junction (where the road dead ends) from March 1st until the 1st Saturday in April. Above the junction, the wild trout regs take effect and that part of the stream does not close.......... ever! A few pics of latest efforts,
http://bl133w.blu133.mail.live.com/mail/ReadMessageLight.aspx?Action=ScanAttachment&AllowUnsafeContentOverride=False&AttachmentIndex=0&AttachmentDepth=0&FolderID=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001&InboxSortAscending=False&InboxSortBy=Date&IsMessageSafe=True&MessageCodePage=20127&ReadMessageId=d0d33204-fbb8-489a-8261-c6dd8d1d82a7&n=1383616519, Hope that worked! Tried to copy from email, should be Steve Baker with the beautiful buck he caught.
http://bl133w.blu133.mail.live.com/mail/ReadMessageLight.aspx?Action=ScanAttachment&AllowUnsafeContentOverride=False&AttachmentIndex=0&AttachmentDepth=0&FolderID=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001&InboxSortAscending=False&InboxSortBy=Date&IsMessageSafe=True&MessageCodePage=20127&ReadMessageId=9224c65d-f1af-4627-be8d-506ee4b066d1&n=1607596843, This is a close up of the fish, full of colors, been in the creek a little while. A few more.........http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Snowbird02-18-08Chromebeauty004.jpg. This was a 23 or 24" fish with the shoulders the lord never gave me! Took a size 8 tungsten stone fished about 5' below a big indicator, I hooked one more I am sure was as large in that run about 30 minutes later but lost it after a couple of fierce head shakes! The fins were perfect save for a little damage thrashing around in the net.
Give the fly plenty of time to sink. Pick out a target and put the fly 10 -30 feet above it to give ample time to sink.
Best of luck, if you see my old blue wagoneer, come find me. I hope to get the Sunday as well.
Tight lines,
John

Jswitow
02-19-2008, 10:29 PM
I need to say about that last fish........ I hooked one or two more that day, but that was the only fish I landed in 3 hours of fishing, so don't expect big numbers and you might be pleasantly surprised. Here is one funny example; these fish were caught on consecutive casts from the same hole. It took about six minutes to land, photograph and rerig and cast. I fished two hours, and caught these fish in the last 12 minutes of the morning's fishing!http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Snowbird01-25-27-2008JFlynnsvisi-9.jpg, http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Snowbird01-25-27-2008JFlynnsvisi-8.jpg,http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Snowbird01-25-27-2008JFlynnsvisi-4.jpg, these fish were 16 to almost 20 inches! Persistence pays, plenty of fishless times.
Best,
John

Flytnn
02-24-2008, 02:41 AM
John,

We met at the Creel the other day. My name is John. Anyway, thanks so much for all of the advice that you had. It made a huge difference for me, seeing as I caught the biggest trout I have ever caught period. Fished for about the first thirty minutes with that yellow stone and the egg dropper, but my casting was horrible with all that weight, so I "dropped" the dropper and just fished the stone. Probably the third or fourth cast is when it hit. By the way, I was fishing at the very bottom next to the rock cliff you told me about right out from the picnic table. He hit it right in the deep run. Fought hard and it was so much fun. The rest of the day was zero, but it didn't matter. It was definitely a slow day, but always great. Thanks again for all of the info. I had to take a pic and post it on here. I am a proud man today. Good luck tomorrow. Let me know how it is.

http://gallery.mac.com/johnstutz#100025/DSCF1887&bgcolor=black

DHauck
02-25-2008, 10:02 AM
That's a great fish. Congrats! I fished the creek on Sunday; downstream from the GTE utility building to just above the Robinson's. I brought two small rainbows to hand, but the hightlight was a beautiful brown - maybe 15 inches. He came out of the water twice and excercised the drag mechanism on my reel! Great fun!

So, are there opportunities to chase the steelhead after the stream re-opens? Also - I spoke to a local who said that the pike will move into the creeks as the water warms. Thoughts?

Jswitow
02-25-2008, 10:17 AM
John,
Congratulations on that fish, I bet that did make your day (would have made mine)! That was a chrome beauty, fresh from the lake! We went over Sunday landed one fish that went 18-20", didn't tape it. He was a really colorful male, full of milt (sp?). I had forgotten my camera, so the pic was taken with a film disposable, I'll post it when I get the film developed. Spoke with an older gentlemen I have seen on the creek this winter. I figured he had some luck in the past since he was carrying a big net (like a bass net for the boat!)
I asked him how he had done this winter; he said that since October he had landed 10 fish and his best was 8.5 lb! Anyway, glad you bagged that one! As I said; I don't often catch more than one or two in a day.
Best,
John

Jswitow
02-25-2008, 10:24 AM
Dave,
Sorry to have missed you, glad you caught that nice brown. I have seen very few this winter, the ones I have caught have been in the 9-12" range. I was over there Sunday, we were in a black pick-up. Sorry to have missed you.
Best,
John

Jswitow
02-25-2008, 10:26 AM
Walleye Pike in the creek. Never caught one, I doubt they get over the dams, so they would be in the first two miles of the creek. I know they do typically spawn in rivers though.
Best,
John

permit91
03-03-2008, 12:50 PM
I'm new to this forum and have read your posts on Snowbird. I plan to fish the upper stream in April and would like information if you would be so kind.

On a topographic map, I see a trail from Dentons to Junction. It looks like that is a shorter path to the upper stream than the trail that follows the creek. Would you be willing comment on the trails and which might be better to access the upper reaches?

Thanks...

Jswitow
03-03-2008, 04:52 PM
I will have to look at a map before I comment. I have talked to people who ride 4 wheelers back that way, they say you can ride very close to Snowbird in the fire roads. That may be what you are seeing. hard to imagine that would work though because you are in a different drainage at the Dentons. I think you will have to cross a mountain or at least a saddle to get there. Honestly don't know though, hopefully I will at least have my gazateer at the house. You can drive to the junction though, unless you are talking about another junction. From there it is about 5 miles on an old rail grade. It is rarely steep, but 5 miles is a hump! (for me )
Best,
John

kytroutman
03-03-2008, 06:14 PM
Jswitow, the March/April edition of Eastern Fly Fishing has a detailed story of the Western NC streams, including Snowbird. There's nothing like advertisement.

Jswitow
03-03-2008, 10:41 PM
I haven't received my copy yet, anxious to see it. I wonder who wrote the article? I just finished "My Father's Waters" by Ben Mattingly jr, a fine book. Have you ever met him. He must be from Somerset or near there.
Thanks for the heads up,
John

kytroutman
03-04-2008, 02:13 PM
I think Mr. Mattingly is from around the Burkesville area. I have never met him but thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Jswitow
03-05-2008, 01:28 AM
Hey,
I looked at the Gazatteer. The trail from Dentons looks like it will take you to a spot a little further uptrail from the Junction. You will have hiked a couple of miles and gained alot of elevation to that point. I am going to guess the you will gain about 1,200 ft going over that ridge. You can drive to the Junction and walk from there, it is about five miles to Middle Falls. Big Falls is the first real barrier for the rainbows and they don't get over it, worth the climb down. There are campsites just past Sassafras Creek (3.5 miles), then a couple more above big falls by about a mile or mile and half.

I can't give difinitive info about Denton's access or trail, having never been through that area.
Best,
John

permit91
03-05-2008, 10:36 AM
Thanks for the information. If I can drive to the Junction, it doesn't make sense to hike from Dentons.

What's the seven-ish mile hike like from the Junction to the second falls? Is that something reasonable to do round trip in a day and fish a mile or so upstream too? I'm looking for native Brook Trout for pictures then quick release.

How big is the water?

Thanks,

Doug

Jswitow
03-05-2008, 04:15 PM
I don't think its that far. Second falls is about five miles. You would want to leave real early! But I guess you could do it, how fit are you? 2.5 hours in, maybe less, 1.5 out. It's mostly an old rail grade. Last year or year before we made the second falls on a loop hike, pretty sure it was about 10 miles.
Best,
John

old tom
03-05-2008, 06:43 PM
I did it as a day hike several years ago. At that time, a reasonably fit 55 year old. I don't recall it being too tough. Maybe that's because the fishing certainly made up for whatever aches and pains I felt.

Bullwinkle
03-05-2008, 07:22 PM
'mostly old rail grade' so a guy could ride a mountain bike up and back?

Jswitow
03-08-2008, 04:44 PM
They don't allow mountain bikes on that trail. I would do it otherwise.
Sorry,
John

Jswitow
03-08-2008, 04:46 PM
How big is the water? Petty big, about the largest brookie only stream I have fished. I would bet average width up there is 20-30 feet.
Best,
John

pharmer
03-25-2008, 05:46 PM
So we can't fish snowbird till april? the web says open all year. are there campgrounds around the creek after the five miles in? thanks!!!
pharmer

Jswitow
03-25-2008, 09:35 PM
Hey Pharmer,
The back country is open year round, the part of the creek which closes in the month of March is just the hatchery supported lower section.
From the junction on upstream is all wild trout water. There are campsites on the way back through the back country. Some are just above sassafras creek and further on you will find campsites just past the next bridge crossing on the creek.
I fished the beginning of the backcountry last weekend for a couple of hours and managed a big goose egg. I guess I covered a 1/2 mile, maybe no more than a quarter. I threw several sizes of drys and several nymphs. I think the full moon makes daytime feeding scarce (couldn't have been the fisherman!). Water was pretty cool, 42 degrees when I left. It would have been colder still on up the creek. It is beautiful up there, even in the first part of the backcountry there are no fisherman's trails. It is a steep gorge, full of rhododenrons (sp?). I should post some pictures. It is the kind of place you either have to go out the way you came or fish upstream until you find some sort of spring or seep, where the vegetation is thinner. I fished up to a big hole, I bet it was 20 feet deep. There was a wide path back to the main trail from that hole, which I bet was (maybe still is) a swimming hole. The water is really falling fast through the gorge and the water was running about 8-10" above normal flow, deafeningly loud! Matter fact the rain gauge showed 6" inches of rain in the three weeks were missed getting over!Anyway, good luck if you go, the full moon is on the wane, will probably be gone in a couple of days. You can get your fishing license and any last minute supplies at Robinson's Store, about 1.5 miles below the confluence of little and big Snowbirds, that is your last opportunity. Katies kitchen on Dick's Branch has good food and awesome fried trout dinners. Hope you enjoy yourself
Best,
John

Gerry Romer
03-25-2008, 11:01 PM
Just got my Eastern Fly Fishing magazine in today's mail. Excellent article on Snowbird, Hazel and the upper Tuckasegee. Great little locater map and directions along with some handy tips and contact info.

PeteCz
03-26-2008, 05:41 PM
I guess this question would be targetted toward our Snowbird Sage (jswitow)...

John, the article that Gerry is talking about mentions that the hike from the end of FR75 (Junction) to Big Falls is 5 miles and that its 7 miles to Middle Falls. Is that true? According to one of your posts from last year, you thought its was around 3.5 to Big Falls, and from Junction to Upper falls about 5 miles. (Middle Falls would be 4.3miles?)
http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8030 (post#3)

I like your mileages a lot better, and they seem to more closely correlate to the Trails Illustrated Map (#784), but the map doesn't have distances (like #229), so I can only estimate.

Have you hiked it before? Can fishing above the Middle falls be done in a day trip?

Jswitow
03-26-2008, 11:03 PM
Pete,
I'm sorry but cannot tell you for certain. Better trust their distances. I think my recollection was about 5 miles to middle falls, but we were just hiking around the loop. Am pretty sure it took 1 hr-45 mins to get out to the Junction from Middle Falls. If you are in shape you can do it. Get an early start so you really don't have to bust it back there. 2 hours 15 mins in; get there by 6:30 and be in by 9:00 am, fish until the sun drops behind the ridge, still a couple of hours before dark. I wouldn't do it alone, but thats me, I have grown more cautious with age and family! The first falls is pretty hard to get a look at and will cost you 30 mins if you do it. It is beautiful though.
Best,
John

pharmer
03-27-2008, 10:24 PM
thanks jswitow. planning trip late april. how's the trail out? steep grade? planning to go in and come out same day.:biggrin:

Jswitow
03-27-2008, 11:18 PM
Easy walk, an old rail grade, very few exceptions. Once you cross Sassafras Creek it is a walk on a wide trail. April ought to be prime time.

Hope your day is a good one and the fish jump all over your offerings!
John

Jswitow
05-11-2008, 01:50 AM
Seems ages since I posted anything. With the stream closed the month of March I did manage a day or two in the Park. Had one day in the park with snow flying when they rainbows were eager to take a quill gordon with near abandon!
Can't say I have had much in the dry fly fishing on Snowbird yet. I have spent several hours floating dries to no avail. Switching to nymphs has proved that there are still a few fish in the creek. Weekend before last the nymph fishing was even slow until a downpour occured, it was as if someone flipped a switch, the fish seemd to be taking the nymphs at the bottom of the drift, when the fly swung and started to rise. I think I managed 5 fish in an hour with the best a strong 14 or 15" bow, with perfect scales and fins. I like to think these are immature fish up from the lake chasing the young fish in the stream, but they may be stockers. One certainly was; a 13 or 14" brookie, had to be a stocker where I caught it......... miles below the backcountry. Water temps so far are in the upper 50's, made my knees hurt without waders. (couldn't be age Steve!)
Have not seen many bugs on the lantern yet either, no golden stones at all yet. I hope the floods from winter haven't scoured the creek....... or something hasn't poisened the creek and killed the bugs.... paranoia! I hope.
I will get back in a week or two and the large golden stones ought to be making an appearance, I will keep you posted. If I can find a pic I will post.
I bet I have just killed an hour trying to post some photos to photobucket, can't get it done tonight for some reason, too tired I bet.
Will try later.
Best,
John

PeteCz
06-22-2008, 12:31 PM
First off, let me apologize for the length of this post. If you're in a hurry, you need to skip this one....

I had made up my mind to try a "daytrip from ****". The most I had ever hiked/fished in a day before was an 8 mile r/t up Fish Camp Prong earlier this year. I had thought long and hard about making the trip up Snowbird Creek to Middle Falls (14 miles r/t), and after my camping trip fell through this weekend, I decided to give it a try.

From Maryville its about an hour and 50 minutes over the Dragon and down to the trailhead and I was there at 8:45a. At the trailhead I talked to a man who has lots of experience fishing Snowbird but due to his advanced age, no longer makes the hike up to the Brookie water, instead he focuses his attention on the gorge area just upstream of the trail and chasing browns (in the 20" range, according to him). For Brookies, he suggested going all the way up to Middle Falls (7 miles one way) by taking the overland shortcut from Big Falls (Lower Falls) to Middle Falls instead of the 12 dicey watercrossings. We talked for about 15 minutes and as we did, some other guys were gearing up and getting ready to head out. He told me to take off before I ended up fishing behind them.

I quickly threw on my pack and since I had already studied the map the night before, stuffed it in my pocket and took off. I went onto the trail straight ahead from my parking spot and quickly came to a very nice foot bridge (much like the Goshen Gate Bridge) and then to a much older footlog crossing of a tributary, and then started to climb. And Climb. And Climb. After about 15 minutes of climbing it occurred to me that maybe I was not going the right way.:eek: The creek was completely out of earshot and hadn't the map said something about an old railroad grade?

I pulled out the map and to my disbelief realized that I was about a mile up the wrong trail and heading in the opposite direction. So now, instead of "merely" a 14 mile r/t I was looking at 16 miles, minimum.:frown: I hiked back down to the main bridge, back on the left side of the stream and back to the parking area, and there to the left was the trailhead (much smaller and less obvious, but there, nonetheless). It was now 9:30. I started hiking.

Thankfully the trail (which really looks like a dismantled railway bed) was relatively easy. I believe that its only about 800' of elevation change over the first 5 miles up to Big Falls. In about an hour I made it up to Sassafras Creek (there is a very old car from the 30s in remarkable shape abandoned on the trailside) and in a couple more minutes made it to the Sassafras Creek Trailhead. The Snowbird Creek trail runs high above the stream and offers very few glimpses of the gorge section and even fewer ways to get down to it. At Sassafras Creek you could get down to the stream and fish from there if you were so inclined. I kept hiking and at the hour and a half mark I made it to Big Falls.

You can see Big Falls (a series of cascades) through the trees on the trail, but can never get a really good look at it. The trail finally comes down to the water above Big Falls and at the start of Brookie waters. At this point the trail gets tricky. You cross over the stream to the right side and a nice campsite. I decided that I was going to take the Old guy's advice and try the overland "shortcut". He said it was steep. Ha! What did he know...:rolleyes:

The trail is not really marked, but instead of the Blue blazes for the Snowbird Creek Trail, I spotted a Brown blaze on a tree and took that to mean the shortcut trail. I followed it and lo and behold we started to quickly climb. And Climb. And Climb. When he said steep, he wasn't kidding. My heels never touched the trail for what seemed like a very long time. It was probably only about a quarter of a mile, but it was very, very tough. After the initial climb of death the trail became more gradual and alot easier. I covered the "shortcut" in about 30 minutes and came out onto the stream above Middle Falls. I had covered 9 miles (7 on purpose, 2 by accident), it was 11:15 and I wanted to start fishing...

I cooled down a bit and rigged up. The water temp was 55 degrees and the air temp was 66 degrees. Life was Good. The part of the stream I started at looked like something from another planet. It was not rocky but rather had a large rock formation that had been worn smooth with a few fissures between some of the slabs. This first section didn't hold many fish and those that it did were very spooky. I worked my way upstream and had no luck with a #16 Yellow Stimi. After 30 minutes I started thinking to myself "Please tell me I didn't hike all this way for nothing...after all, people have been known to come up here and catch 100 fish in a day...":redface:

I noticed that the fish were spookier than any I had every seen anywhere before. The water was very flat in most places and the stream didn't have much gradient. There were very few pocket areas where Brookies had to grab and run with their food, these fish could afford themselves a longer look at anything floating by. The canopy over the stream was another problem, as well. It didn't just surround the stream, in enveloped it and hung down and touched the water from both side. It was bushwacking in the middle of the stream, in spots. Roll casting was about the only tactic that would work (in some places up to 50' with a 3wt - yikes). These Brookies would scatter like dark torpedoes everytime you made a wrong step. It took alot of effort to catch the first 3 or 4.

But after awhile I started catching them with more regularity. I had switched to my new go-to fly the #14 Mr Rapidan Cripple and got into a pretty good rhythm. I wound up passing on about 60-70% of the stream and only fished the areas where I knew I could stay hidden and wouldn't be as likely to get tangled in the canopy. It didn't always work, but I wound up being more successful. In the end, I caught about 25 fish. Most were 7-8 inches or larger including a 9.5 incher and 10.5-11 incher. I was amazed at the average size of them. This is a great stream and despite my troubles and frustration at times, thoroughly enjoyed myself.

http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk100/PeteCz21/Snowbird2.jpg

I fished up above the confluence with Flat Branch as it was approaching 5pm, so I decided that it was time start working my way back. I had decided to fish some of the stream crossings between Big Falls and Middle Falls on the way out, instead of taking the "shortcut". I wanted to see if there really was 12 stream crossings. It had also started raining, so it made the decision to head out all the easier. Most of the trail above Middle Falls is on the right side of the stream and I made my way back in about 10 minutes (leading me to believe that I had covered about .75 miles above Middle Falls).

There are 12 crossings. He didn't exaggerate. I fished a few of them. I found the section between Big Falls and Middle Falls more to my liking. The character of the stream was quite different than above Middle Falls. It was rockier, had fewer long pools and had much higher canopy. It reminded me of LR above Elkmont. The stream also had more of a gradient. I fished a few of the crossings and picked up some smaller brookies. At some point, I'd like to start fishing in this section. I believe the fish may be smaller, but they are definitely less spooky. I tried to keep track of the length of time it took to go from Middle Falls to Big Falls (less the time I spent fishing in between) and it seems to be about 5-10 minutes longer than the overland route (35-40 minutes total). I was wearing my Korkers wading/hiking boots so the water crossings were no problem, but someone in hiking boots would have an awful time. I left my felt soles on until I made it down to Big Falls and then switched to the lug soles for the hike out.

The hike out from Big Falls took a bit less than 90 minutes, but not much. I was definitely tired and slower than normal. I made it back to the car at about 8pm and talked for awhile to a local kid who had caught, and was cleaning, four Browns over 12", one of which was 16". On the way home I went the back way over the Cherohala Skyway, instead of the Dragon. It took about 20-30 minutes longer and was about 20 miles further, but it was an incredible drive at sunset and a very pleasant alternative. I may have to go that way again, next time...

Final totals: 25 Brookies, one pushing 11" in 5 hours.
Total Hiking/Fishing: 17.5 Miles (14 Planned, 1.5 in/along the stream, 2 unplanned...:eek:)
Hiking Times: to Big Falls 90 Minutes. from Big to Middle 30 minutes
Driving: 70 Miles over the Dragon in 1:50, 90 Miles on the Cherohala Skyway in 2:15
Left home: 6:30am
Returned home: 10:3pm

It was a "Day Trip"

Jswitow
06-23-2008, 10:50 AM
Pete,
Glad to hear you had such a day! That is a beautiful fish you posted. Sorry to hear about the locals killing the browns, but that is their way. Not much point in discussing it, they've heard it before. 17 miles in a day is alot of ground to cover! I made the mistake you made the first time I headed over there in 1998........ with 50 lb pack! We camped in the area just to the right as you came off the short cut. I don't think I could carry the pack that far now. Anyway glad you had a good day. I'd make the trip with you sometime if you want.
John

Speckleman5
06-23-2008, 04:16 PM
I don't think locals are the only ones who keep fish. But I guess that "is our way". It never hurts to keep a few fish, some people do like to eat.

PeteCz
06-23-2008, 04:48 PM
John, Thanks for sharing all of the information you have over the last two years. Its taken me awhile to get over there, but I'm glad I finally did. I was wondering about the section of the stream above Junction, but below Big Falls that I believe is referred to as the Gorge. It doesn't look like there are many (any) ways out, once you are in on the left side of the stream. Is there a path of sorts on the right hand side? Or do you have to walk back down the streambed? Or bushwhack up to the trail (a few hundred feet above the stream)?

There is a lot of water down there that must hardly ever get fished. I bet there are some nice fish to be found. I would love to try out some of that stretch in the future. Do you think its worth the effort? Would you be interested? petecz@charter.net I would love to give the steelhead fishing a try as well. There's not much else to do in Jan/Feb anyway...

Speckleman, I agree with you, it wasn't only locals that were eating their catch. The old guy I talked to was from Florida, and he was eating his catch, as well. The funny thing about the kid who was cleaning the fish is that he said he would like to see regulations put in place to make the stream C&R only. An interesting idea, but judging by the misuse that some of the campsites get, I bet plenty of folks wouldn't pay any attention to any regulations (especially with minimal enforcement available). He said there were two guys last week that came out with a trashbag full of specs. I hope he was exaggerating, but you never know.

Speckleman5
06-23-2008, 05:10 PM
I don't doubt it, people rarely observe the regulations put in place. I know how much pressure that area gets along the gravel road and I doubt there is anything you could do to keep people from breaking the rules. But most of the fish that are being kept out of there are stocked. Regardless, people are going to break the rules any chance they get. My whole point was that the kid only had 4 fish....he obviously wasn't breaking the creel limit.

Jswitow
06-26-2008, 10:05 PM
Speckleman5,
I don't mind people keeping a few fish, I'd keep a few more if my wife and son cared for them. Wish they would keep all of the stockers, and put the wild fish back. That would be great.
Pete there are a few spots up through there where you can get out fairly easily. I don't think there are any trails along that section though, pretty much just rhododendron(sp?) h__l! I would like to fish that section with you and certainly welcome you to come over in the winter. I rarely see anyone else out there through the winter. The runs are not a guarantee, last year was a banger, the year before I never landed a fish over 17", though I do remember hooking (only) two large fish that came unbuttoned, they were definitely head-shak'n beasts! I bet this year will be a good run, I can just feel it!
Best,
John

PeteCz
10-27-2008, 08:23 PM
I'm not sure what possesses me sometimes.

After two weekends of being skunked (first on Slickrock Creek/Straight Fork, and then on the SOHO), I should have called it a year and just waited for the spring, but.....

I couldn't end with two shutouts.

Instead of going someplace easy where I know what I'm doing and have a decent chance to catch fish, like WPLP, I decided that I needed to go someplace with more adventure...

I should have known better.

Yesterday when I woke up, for no good reason (does insanity count as a good reason), I decided to hop in the car and head back to the Brookie section of Snowbird Creek. I had pretty decent luck there in the early Summer, so I figured I could give it another shot and end the year on a good note. Big Mistake.

The drive over to Snowbird was nice. A nice layer of fog was burning off Santeetlah Lake by the time I made it over the Dragon and to the stream. I was amazed that there were no cars on the road up to the stream (I should have wondered why...). There was no one camping (no one...again, I should have thought about why...). No one at the trailhead (why...). I literally had 18 miles of stream to myself (why...).

I hopped out of the truck and quickly geared up for the 5 mile hike to Big Falls. I pulled out my digital thermometer and watched the readout start falling 56...54...52... It did feel a little brisk, come to think of it. 50...48...46... Ok, so maybe it's a bit colder than I though it would be (wasn't it supposed to be 70 degrees). 44...42...40... Now, for the first time I start second-guessing myself (of course it's now 10:30am and I'm 2 hrs away from home), maybe this isn't such a good idea...

Then in the back of my head I start rationalizing...Its more of a hike than a fishing trip...if I don't catch any fish, the 10 miles of hiking will be good for me. Right! Let's go! So off I went. I made it up above Big Falls abut 90 minutes later. I pulled out the digital thermometer again. The temp at 12 noon was now 45...The water temp was 42...perfect (if you're a steelhead...)

Needless to say I had no luck catching or even spotting a fish. I tried just about everything with not even a splash. I didn't even spook fish. They were nowhere to be found...After about 3.5 hrs, I packed it in and hiked back. The air temp made it up to 50, but was already dropping by the time I headed out. On the hike out, I ran into two guys that were hiking in and wanted to know how I did (and where they could find the nearest campsite). They were about 200 yards from the nice site at the Sassafras Creek confluence. I hope they did better today than I did yesterday.

After what seemed like an eternity (the knees and hips were starting to really complain the last 3 miles) I made it back to the car. On the way home, I stopped at a pullout along the road and cast an EHC a few times. On the third drift, POW!....a 2" rainbow! Normally that fish wouldn't count, but in this case...

Recap:
- Miles hiked: 10
- Hours driving/hiking: 7
- Hours fishing: 3.5
- Fish caught: 1
- Ouch

Yearly Recap:
- Fished in TN/NC: 33 trips
- Fished in CO: 1 - 10 day trip
- General assessment: Fewer fish than 2007, but on average the fish seemed a bit larger

I think maybe I'm done for the year....maybe...

Jswitow
10-27-2008, 09:34 PM
Pete,
At least you got out there. I took my wife and son to Elkmont yesterday and we did no better than you! You did have a beautiful day of it anyway! Probably would have gone with you had I known you were going. My wife and son really would have preferred staying home (I think!). I would have talked (or tried anyway!) you into fishing below the confluence of Little and Big Snowbirds. Very enjoyable writing by the way. I have had days over there in the fall when they would rise to a dry, (usually a big pale yellow, or an adams size 10-14) but they have been few. Usually fish heavy nymphs from now until spring in the deeper pools. I will try to get you over there over the winter, if the run seems to pan out. I have had a few decent silvery rainbows and browns already this fall, so am hopeful (always!)for a good run.
Best,
John

PeteCz
10-28-2008, 09:47 AM
I will try to get you over there over the winter

John, I absolutely want to make it back over in the winter. I just sent you an email.

ttas67
10-28-2008, 11:16 AM
John,

After reading your reports of the past year (or two) on a recent trip to the Nantahala, a friend and I went to look at Snowbird. I saw a lot of private property and am a little confused about where it is I should fish. I understand little and big snowbird are two different creeks which run together for a stretch and then empty into the lake. Is there a specific section where these fish run, and is there public access there? Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I am planning on making it over there sometime this winter. you can email me at: ttas67@gmail.com

pineman19
10-28-2008, 01:00 PM
Pete,

Never say never, LOL. I would like to check out Snowbird sometime. Around 6-7 yrs ago I drove to the trailhead to check it out, the only thing that disturbed me was the people who had old couches and chairs setup in the camping spots along the gravel road. I just thought it was a junky area, looked like the Forest Service had no control over use of the area. Has that change? Irregardless I would like to check out the Brookie water and the lower section as well.

Neal

PeteCz
10-28-2008, 10:01 PM
Neal, I'm not sure what the regs are in the campsites along the creek, but there are some old campers that look like they have been setup 2-3 year ago, or more, with blue tarps covering old buses, etc. Its quite an interesting site. I'm not sure if they have lifetime camping passes, or what. Anyone know the deal?

Anyway, the trail is really nice (and quite easy, but long). I will definitely give the brookie a section another shot next May. I will post a couple weeks before I go and see if you (or anyone else) would like to try the "Daytrip from **** III"...

Jswitow
10-29-2008, 08:53 AM
The sites are first come first serve. I think though may be wrong that the stay is two weeks in the camp sites. Those campers that are there seemingly permanently are not in posted campsites (don't think). I think they are actually on private property, though not posted. If they are where I think they are the road was actually moved a couple of years ago away from the creek, those campers are on the old road. They may be squatters but I don't think so. It is a shame though the trash that is often left by those who camp up there, makes you question their morality. This time of year though you rarely see anyone on the creek, sometimes there are hunters camping up there (bear or boar). Those people hunt in the Snowbird backcountry. If you are up there this time of year you might want to take a blaze orange hat (in your pack), just in case!
Here is a number for camping info for the Cheoah Ranger District; 828 479-6431. They told me 14 day limit in the campsites.
Best,
John

pineman19
10-29-2008, 09:00 AM
Pete,

I would defintely be interested in giving Snowbird a try. I plan on getting a NC fishing license next year since I want to explore some new water, including the streams in the Pisgah National Forest. Hopefully, NC doesn't raise the license cost like TN as it's pretty affordable for non-residents.

Neal

Jswitow
02-16-2009, 03:49 PM
I've not posted this season, wonder if many got over to try it? This year's run was the best I have seen in 7 years. I wonder what next year will be like because so many fish were taken this year, the creek was busy this winter with people catching and most keeping their fish. If they managed to spawn before being harvested, then it will be good still in a couple of years. I just really know so little about this run, whether the stockings are even on-going is an unknown. This year was good, as I said; quite a few fish in the 20+ inch range, best was 23". Lost one I bet would have gone 27" (it went cartwheeling across the pool and threw my streamer!) and heard of several that big or bigger this season. The run seems to be about over though, the fish are much more scarce now than a month ago. I will fish until the end of Feb since the creek will be closed the month of March. This season the steelhead were much more prevalent, you can see the fish with the sparse spotting below the lateral line (steelhead) vs. the fish with the more normal rainbow spotting, typically the rainbows are thicker as well. February 16, 2009

http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnowbirdSteelheadSeason12-18to1-3-0.jpg
This fish took a T&A Rainbow, or a rattlesnake.

http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnowbirdSteelhead21in12-14-08.jpg
This hen took an egg.

http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnowbirdSteelheadSeason12-18to1--2.jpg
Big Bow on an egg.

http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnowbirdSteelheadSeason12-18to1--6.jpg
Beautiful chromer took an egg.

http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnowbirdSteelheadSeason12-18to1--5.jpg
Same fish with proud angler! His first, probably on his second cast too.

http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnowbirdSteelheadSeason12-18to1--3.jpg
Another fish that took an egg.

http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnowbirdSteelhead1-31-09002.jpg
Terrible picture of a beautiful male (see next photo of his head) Rhododendrons were so thick I couldn't lay it out for a decent photo.

http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnowbirdSteelhead1-31-09003.jpg
Note the kype.

I have to stop the post here. Will post one more.......

Jswitow
02-16-2009, 03:53 PM
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnowbirdSteelheadSeason12-18to1--12.jpg
Another fish on a streamer with sinking line.

http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnowbirdSteelhead1-31-09008.jpg
Water has been cold since thanks giving, it was warmer last weekend and the smaller fish seemed more active, though still not terribly so.

http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/SnowbirdSteelhead1-31-09006.jpg
Another on the egg, took three from one hole in 15 mins time. The only fish I took from that particular hole all winter. They are very transient!

I had hoped the full moon would bring in a fresh batch of aggressive fish, fish that would take streamers. Didn't seem to be the case though. May have been that the water never really got up during the last moon cycle. If I could speak trout, I could be sure!

If anyone else went, let us hear about it.

Best,

John

Stonefly
02-16-2009, 10:10 PM
John -

Incredible fish! Hadn't thought about it being that time. Doesn't seem like it's been a year since I visited your creek.

sb

Jswitow
02-18-2009, 05:42 PM
Steve,
Time does fly (whether we're having fun... or not) anymore! You want to try to get over before the end of Feb, let me know. I still need to take you up on a tour of the Caney.
Hope you are well,
John

Stonefly
02-18-2009, 11:14 PM
John -

I'd love to come over if there are any fish left in the crick. And anytime you want, we can float the Caney.

sb

Jswitow
08-14-2009, 10:06 PM
Spent a week's vacation over on Snowbird the third week of July. The fishing was decent, not great. Everyone I spoke said they were catching little fish, there do seem to be a lot of little wild fish this year, a welcome change from the last two years, where the fish were getting mosquito bites on their backs! Water temps never warmer than 63 whle we were there. I was getting a little low, didn't rain the whole week, well one brief shower over-night..... which brought out some better fish. I did manage a few decent fish, and nearly all on dries..... mostly golden stones. Pix aren't the greatest, sorry.
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Vac09SnowbirdBlakefishingetc026.jpg Big Snowbird backcountry.
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Vac09SnowbirdBlakefishingetc023.jpg
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Vac09SnowbirdBlakefishingetc029.jpg
Pretty little bow
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Vac09SnowbirdBlakefishingetc030.jpg

Jswitow
08-14-2009, 10:22 PM
Hit the post key by mistake. Here are a few more......
Decent brown, took a ..... stone dry.
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Vac09SnowbirdBlakefishingetc034.jpg
This was a good brown, ~ 15", nailed a big golden stone dry, the morning after the rain.
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Vac09SnowbirdBlakefishingetc2032-1.jpg
My little buddy with his spinning rod.....
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Vacation09SnowbirdBlakefishing002.jpg
One for the fiberglass fans! Don't think I'm giving up my g's though :) .
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Vac09SnowbirdBlakefishingetc025.jpg
Baby Steelhead! No par markings.
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Vac09SnowbirdBlakefishingetc2027.jpg
Decent bow on a pale yellow Elk Hair caddis, basically a pale yellow sally
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Vac09SnowbirdBlakefishingetc004.jpg
Parting Shot.
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Vac09SnowbirdBlakefishingetc2026.jpg.
Sorry so long.
John

Jim Casada
08-15-2009, 10:11 AM
Jswitow--Interesting photos, and I assume you realize that they represent precisely what you can expect on Big Snowbird (and I would remind all readers that there are two Snowbird Creeks, Big and Little) anywhere up to the Junction. For viewers, in case you have trouble distinguising between wild fish and dough bellies (hatchery fish), the first brown is a wild one and the second a stocked fish; the first rainbow is a stocked fish and the second a wild one. Look at them and you will see several distinguishing characteristics. Even lower Big Snowbird has a decent population of wild trout, although I personally prefer to fish above the Junction (end of road where there was once a railroad turnaround and also end of stocked area). Jim Casada

Grannyknot
08-17-2009, 08:24 AM
This thread continues to be my favorite. Keep up the good work John.

One question.....seems like in the past you have mentioned that you and your wife stay in a cabin when visiting for extended periods of time, is this still the case? and is that a cabin you own or a rental?

Jswitow
08-17-2009, 09:32 AM
Granny Knot,
Thank you for your kind words! Jim, I will defer to your expertise. I held that larger brown just long enough to get the pic, then put him back. But looking at it, it appears to be a tiger trout (brook/brown cross), as the spots are not circular. That is the first one of those I have ever caught!

As for the cabin; We do have a cabin over there (us and the bank!). We do rent it occasionally, if you would like some information, or to see pics, you are welcome to send me an email at jswitow@hotmail.com. It sits right on Snowbird, about a mile below the confluence of Big and Little Snowbirds.

Thanks,
John

bmc
09-30-2009, 01:48 AM
Hi Jswitow and others,

Some friends and I are planning to do some camping/fishing around this area either the middle of October or November; and I am looking for any info I can get. We are considering either Snowbird or Joyce Kilmer. I have been to both; but haven't fished either. For this time of year, which would be your destination? I know Slickrock is a popular destination-- although I've heard it is not fishing as well as it used to. What about Deep Creek (the JK one, not the Smokies one)? Or the Cheoah between Santeetlah and the Little Tennessee? If we were to go to JK, these are the creeks I'm thinking about-- would anybody advise differently? Would we better off just camping beside Big Snowbird (we will probably hike in)? Would you recommend concentrating our efforts above or below Big Falls (Mouse Creek Falls, I believe...) Also, if I was planning two trips-- one in October and one in November-- which would you spend in the JK/Snowbird area and which in the Smokies?

Thanks in advance...

Jswitow
09-30-2009, 02:20 PM
I will take a little time and respond this evening.
Thanks,
John

Jim Casada
09-30-2009, 06:56 PM
BMC--I see jswitow plans to respond, and he may have a different take (if he does I'm betting he hasn't fished the National Forest portion of Big Snowbird in the time frame you mention, but my guess is he'll know whereof I speak). Anyway, I'll put my two cents worth in as well. You do not, repeat DO NOT, want to plan a camping trip on Big Snowbird for the period from October 15 until the end of November. Why? Bear and wild hog season opens on October 15 and for the ensuing weeks there will be hunters, lost dogs, dogs running game in the middle of the night, hunters huntign dogs in the middle of the night, and something approaching chaos up and down the watershed. If you were planning on a campsite along the road, forget it, and even in the backcountry you'd have little peace.
To a lesser degree that's going to be true all over National Forest land in Graham County. That leaves you with one basic option, if you really want to be in this part of WNC. Consider camping on Twentymile Creek and maybe make a motor trip elsewhere once or twice (not that Twentymile is bad, mind you), or concentrate your fishing on lower Big Snowbird and maybe West Buffalo if it has enough water. Forget Big Santeetlah this time of year, and my local sources tell me otters have wrought sheer havoc there anyway. Slickrock, for whatever reason, has declined a great deal in the last decade.
Personally, I'd forget Graham County until next spring and go somewhere in the Park. There's maybe one rather special exception and (hope you'll forgive me), it's one of those places I'm just not going to share. As Grandpa Joe used to say: "A man's got to have some secrets" (and a couple of fishing buddies in Graham County would emasculate me, or worse, should I say more).
Jim Casada

www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

bmc
10-01-2009, 02:09 AM
Hi Jim-- thanks for the reply.

The main reason I was looking at a destination outside of the park is that my springer spaniel is my number one hiking partner. I promised her I wouldn't take two consecutive trips to the park; and my last trip was to Eagle Creek. I may have to lie to her, LOL. I was thinking hunting season didn't start until later. Believe me, I understand the problems that come with all of the dogs-- we spent a week on Slickrock where every second was spent keeping dogs out of our tents, off of our tents, out of our packs, and out of our chow. Plus, my little springer is no match for them. She will be heartbroken though, as she loves camping and hiking more than cat turds.

You suggested Twentymile-- is that just because it is closer to the areas I inquired about? Am I correct that there is no campground at Twentymile? Is CS93 the best option? If I was willing to go anywhere in the park, is that where you would suggest? I have never hiked or fished there, so it would be new to me. But there are alot of areas in the park that will be new to me still. I am still interested in hearing from Jswitow (possibly adjusted for a different time frame); but should I move questions related to the park to another forum?

Jim Casada
10-01-2009, 09:53 AM
Hi Jim-- thanks for the reply.

The main reason I was looking at a destination outside of the park is that my springer spaniel is my number one hiking partner. I promised her I wouldn't take two consecutive trips to the park; and my last trip was to Eagle Creek. I may have to lie to her, LOL. I was thinking hunting season didn't start until later. Believe me, I understand the problems that come with all of the dogs-- we spent a week on Slickrock where every second was spent keeping dogs out of our tents, off of our tents, out of our packs, and out of our chow. Plus, my little springer is no match for them. She will be heartbroken though, as she loves camping and hiking more than cat turds.

You suggested Twentymile-- is that just because it is closer to the areas I inquired about? Am I correct that there is no campground at Twentymile? Is CS93 the best option? If I was willing to go anywhere in the park, is that where you would suggest? I have never hiked or fished there, so it would be new to me. But there are alot of areas in the park that will be new to me still. I am still interested in hearing from Jswitow (possibly adjusted for a different time frame); but should I move questions related to the park to another forum?
bmc--I suggested Twentymile solely because it was nearby. There's a backcountry campground at Upper Flats, but nothing frontcountry-wise. It would not, by any means, be my first choice in the Park. A real good frontcountry choice for your time frame, IMO, would be Smokemont--lots of streams nearby from which to choose (Bradley Fork, Chasteen Creek, Luftee, Kephart Prong, Beech Flats Prong, Straight Fork). Jim Casada

Jswitow
10-01-2009, 10:59 PM
BMC Send me an email if you will. jswitow@hotmail.com
Thanks,
John

Jswitow
10-07-2009, 06:11 PM
"Some friends and I are planning to do some camping/fishing around this area either the middle of October or November; and I am looking for any info I can get. We are considering either Snowbird or Joyce Kilmer. I have been to both; but haven't fished either. For this time of year, which would be your destination? I know Slickrock is a popular destination-- although I've heard it is not fishing as well as it used to. What about Deep Creek (the JK one, not the Smokies one)? Or the Cheoah between Santeetlah and the Little Tennessee? If we were to go to JK, these are the creeks I'm thinking about-- would anybody advise differently? Would we better off just camping beside Big Snowbird (we will probably hike in)? Would you recommend concentrating our efforts above or below Big Falls (Mouse Creek Falls, I believe...) Also, if I was planning two trips-- one in October and one in November-- which would you spend in the JK/Snowbird area and which in the Smokies? "

BMC,
Sorry so long for the reply. Looked like Jim C had covered it though. If I were going to be there at that time I would be very mindful of the hunters.
WESTERN BEAR SEASON
Oct. 12 Nov. 21
Dec. 14 Jan. 1
West of the boundary formed by I-77 from the Virginia state line to
I-40 and I-40 west to N.C. 18 south to the South Carolina state line.
Note: Further game land restrictions may apply. See the Game Lands
section for specific game land rules.
My father in law and I have hiked up there during hunting season, it made him very nervous, probably should have made me nervous as well, and might now, then it didn't!
Your remarks;
I'm not sure what kind of fishing you like or just how long you're planning on staying. I fish mostly Snowbird as it is called below the confluence of Big and Little Snowbirds. Little Snowbird runs largely silty due to all of the ATV use in the backcountry of that drainage. For that matter the Eastern Band of the Cherokee have most of Little posted. The campsites up on Big Snowbird will be full of hunters during the hunting seasons.
There are campsites along the Lake near the Joyce Kilmer or the group campground at Joyce Kilmer might be a thought as well. I really can't speak to the quality of Big Santeetlah in the fall. I have heard it is a good big brown stream in the fall, and have seen big browns in it occasionally, I,m just not on it enough to say.
If staying several days and wanting to make short trips to different creeks, you might give Deep Creek Campground a thought or stay over near the Nantahala, lots of campgrounds over there. That would put you on Deep Creek (a prime brown trout stream in the fall), The Nan DH and mainstream, the Tuckaseegee (sp?) a good size DH river near Dillsboro, and the streams in and around Cherokee, Smokemont. All of these streams would be within 30 minutes of your tent. Snowbird is pretty average during the fall, you might catch a big brown, you might catch a big stocked rainbow http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/MiscPicsOct109008.jpgthat time of year, or the smaller stockers and wild fish, but it isn't "on fire" that time of year by any means.
The Cheoah between Santeetlah and Calderwood is warm water, full of smallmouth (I hear) not trout. Deep Creek feeds into Cheoah River is a small creek for wild trout which allows bait fishing. It appears very steep where it drains into the Cheoah, I've never fished it.
If you did stay over near JK you would be near the feeders to Big Sant. West Buffalo and it's feeders; Squally and ...... (can't remember). Squally is full of small rainbows, said to be the kind of stream that will yield 100 fish days (4-8") at least prior to the draught.
If you have other questions or I missed something, certainly let me know. I really like Hazel that time of year as well, if not too cold, and it shouldn't be crowded. Plenty of water this year in all of the streams in the Robbinsville-Joyce Kilmer area.
Best,
John

bmc
10-11-2009, 08:33 PM
OK-- Thanks.

We've decided to got to the Park for this trip; but Snowbird is still an area I want to go back to. I will send you an email with some further questions after I get back from the Smokies next week.

Jswitow
10-11-2009, 09:57 PM
BMC,
Hope you all enjoy yourselves. Give a report when you return!
Best,
John

Grannyknot
11-11-2009, 09:31 AM
John,
Have you spent any time at your cabin this fall?
I was thinking that it was about the time of year for you to start catching those massive lake run fish.

Looking forward to some updates on this thread.

Cody "Grannyknot" Edrington

Jswitow
11-11-2009, 10:29 AM
Cody,
I have been, no fish yet. I was hopeful when I caught the male a few frames back in the thread, it's fins were just about perfect, and what a kype. I really believe though that this fish was a hatchery fish, overfed on growth hormones. I have not caught them before Thanksgiving weekend. That is when I will really start focusing on them. Lot of water in the creek last weekend.
Best,
John

Jim Casada
11-12-2009, 01:35 PM
Jswitow--My local sources (a couple of the best fishermen not only in Graham County but anywhere in WNC) tell me that otters have really been working on the lake run fish the last three or four years at the mouth of the creek. I've seen them a couple of times, and apparently the numbers of lake-run trout are way, way down as compared with say 5 or 10 years ago. Still, one of them caught more than 20 of the bruisers last year. Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

old tom
11-14-2009, 03:50 PM
I was in the Santeetlah headwater area last weekend and can personally attest to the number of bear and boar hunters in the area. Must have seen 15 to 20 trucks with dogs on FS 81 (and one deceased bear strapped to the top of one of the dog kennels.)

This brought up a simple curiosity question. Why is the season split with a 2 or 3 week off period in the middle? Not meaning to question the wisdom of NCWRC - just curious.

Grannyknot
11-16-2009, 09:22 AM
I agree Old Tom....I feel like i need a cheat sheet in the Nantahala NF & Cherokee NF to determine what I am about to walk in to.

Bear, Boar, Deer, 1st or 2nd half of the season, dogs or no dogs.....

Jswitow
11-20-2009, 11:37 AM
Granny Knot,
If you will, send me an email. I evidently did not save your's.
Thanks,
John

Jswitow
12-14-2009, 11:56 PM
If you've been thinking about going, the time is ripe. I hope to see some pics other than mine. Last year was by far the best year I have experienced over there, despite other reports!
Tight lines,
John

rockhopper
12-15-2009, 12:22 PM
Thanks or the update! I would assume that you would be speaking of the very lower reaches of the creek?

Jswitow
12-15-2009, 01:00 PM
I would say the water from the mouth of the lake all the way to the beginning of the back country. Thats a good 12 miles of water.
Best,
John

Jswitow
12-15-2009, 04:24 PM
THESE FISH WERE CAUGHT THE WEEKEND OF NOV 15 AND MAYBE THANKSGIVING WEEKENDS. http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/MiscPicsOct-Nov09firstlakerunfis-11.jpg,
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/MiscPicsOct-Nov09firstlakerunfis-9.jpg,
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/MiscPicsOct-Nov09firstlakerunfis-12.jpg,
There were quite a few more fish caught, for some reason haven't loaded them to photobucket. Many in the 14-16" range, the 20" or larger fish are a little more scarce. Several browns this year as well, though no monsters. One though a 16-17" fat hen, the others 13-15". Still nice fish! For some reason there are also a bunch of stocked fish in the creek, large ones. I am betting the Nantahala was running too high and they put them in Snowbird by default.
Best,
John

Jim Casada
12-16-2009, 09:33 AM
John--How long have you been fishing Big Snowbird? Your comment about last year being the best run ever intrigues me, because my good fishing friend in Robbinsville, who has been fishing the steelhead run for two decades, suggests the numbers are actually way down in comparison with the 1990s. He says that in those days it was commonplace to see hundreds of fish feeding just below the "doctors" bridge. The late Frank Young said much the same. Both felt that the coming of the otters (you can see them with some regularity at the head of the lake) had a major and detrimental impact as did the commercial fish operation which ran on Snowbird for a number of years.
If you wish, or if you don't want to go into depth on the forum, just contact me directly at jimcasada@comporium.net. Incidentally, although it isn't always possible to tell from photos, the fish you show appear to be a mixture of stocked fish and lake-run ones. You evidently felt that was the case as well. Thanks for the interesting post.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Jswitow
12-17-2009, 01:36 AM
Jim,
I have been posting this thread, started the thread back in 2006, I have been fishing Snowbird at least 50 days a year since 2002. That is the basis of my experience. I don't think I said the "best run ever" in my posts. When I started fishing the run, I was happy to catch one of these larger fish 16" or better a season, then I caught two in a day and I thought "this will never happen again". Well last winter I caught as many as 5 large fish in a day, sometimes three or four from one hole.
I comment little on other streams, because I spend most of my time on this one, and am hopeful that others will show up with flyrods. I see very few flyfisherman on the creek, mostly meat hunters.
My knowledge is almost exclusively first hand, and am happy to share it with anyone who cares to read it for the current price of ............ absolutely nothing! I caught better than 40 lake run fish last winter, the best run "I" have seen. I lost a cartwheeling 27" fish (I bet), and saw 3 fish in the 30" class. This is a rare opportunity in the south. Most flyfisherman throw their fish back, it could do nothing but help the economy in Robbinsville, and may help with the prominent state of mind on the creek; that being to keep everything you catch. And yes as I said the creek seems to have a lot of large stocked fish in it this winter, the first time I have seen this..... and I'm really not crazy about it, but they do pull hard... and they fill the time between lake run fish. I really get a kick out of pretty wild fish with perfect fins. These fish can get a little damage to their tales from attempts to get over the low dam or over the spillway on the lower end, they may even get some damage from fanning a bed. But fish with fins obviously ground off in a concrete raceway just aren't as satisfying to me..... I have been spoiled! My best fish came three years ago, the only fish I caught that day, my best fish last year was a 23" fish! I will be out there every chance I get... ever faithful that a trout will eat one of my fraudulent offerings....beats the h..... out of more productive,,,, responsible activities! You ought to get up from South Carolina and give it a shot.
I would love to find out how NC came to stock steelhead in Santeetlah and it's feeders, and yes some of these fish are steelhead. My biggest fish was not a steelhead, too many spots, looked like and alaskan rainbow, just absolutely covered with spots. I may never get another that size, but I will keep trying!
Best,
John

Jim Casada
12-18-2009, 07:17 PM
John--You missed the salad days, which were in the 1990s. You also ought to try to get to know Marty Maxwell, who is my fishing friend in Robbinsville and the finest fly fisherman in mountain experience of my entire life (and I've known a bunch of dandies). He's my main source of information on the lake-run fish. He said he hooked two this year that ran out all of his 150 yards of backing and would have broken a finger if you got it in the way of the reel. He never slowed either of them down. He did catch a bunch of fish in the 15-23 inch range. None of them were stockers, but he was casting to fish leaving the lake right at the mouth (really tough casting conditions, as you may know). I suspect your theory on NCWRC dumping some big fish in because the Nantahala delayed harvest waters were unsuitable is on target.
As for how the steelhead got there, I know the answer to that. Decades ago (late 1970s or early 1980s) the NCWRC got hold of some steelhead somehow. I'm not sure whether they raised them or got them from another state. Anyway, they stocked them in Santeetlah, Fontana, and one or two other lakes. I did a story or two on them years ago and the biologists basically said it didn't work, but to a degree at least it did in Santeetlah. I can't differentiate between a fresh lake-run rainbow and a lake-run steelhead, although the latter tend to be more silver and lest spotted, but my gut feeling is that some of the stocking survived and "took holt." There's also a run, although less impressive, on Hazel Creek.
I've fished Big Snowbird a great deal over the last quarter century, thought nothing to match your 50 days a year. It has changed a lot. The specks are getting hammered much harder above Mouse Knob Falls, otters have taken a real toll on the lower creek (wish you could have seen it in the 1970s and 1980s!), and there aren't the number of big browns in the section below the juncture of Little and Big Snowbird there once were.
If you get a chacne to meet Marty Maxwell, take advantage of it. Most everyone locally will know him, and he's an absolute gold mine of local lore and history as well as an extraordinary fisherman. Incidentally, that's him on the cover of my book if you own the book.
Thanks for the detailed reply and a bunch of interesting posts (well--interesting to me, anyway), and I gather you must have a summer home somewhere along the stream outside of the Indian lands? Don't know how well you know local folks but O. P. Holder is another friend there, and I've met and talked with Jim McGuire on occasions and knew three deceased Graham County sporting legends, Big Leonard Williams (held two state records for fish), Luther Turpin (Fontana guide and developer of the Luther Lure), and Roy Wilson (owned and operated Blue Boar Lodge for many years) quite well. I wrote stories on all of them over the years.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Jswitow
12-18-2009, 11:37 PM
Jim,
thanks for the info about how or when they were put there. I have not met
Mr maxwellto my knowledge, though I bet I have spoken to him on the creek, or maybe at robinson's. It seems to me that the locals like to target the big browns, I don't know nearly enough about that ;) ! There are still quite a de good sized brown in there, one guy I know over usually has one when I see him. I watched hi turn a big one with a four inch rapala the last time I was over. Had planned on going over Sunday, the weather may bring the common sense to light though this weekend. I wonder if the steelhead cam from the place in Murphy that did (or still does) raise them.
Thanks and stay warm,
John

David Knapp
12-19-2009, 12:32 AM
John, nice fish as always! I still need to get over there and fish with you sometime. I've been so busy this year that I haven't really thought much about lake run fish until the last few days. Now I'm getting the itch to try and catch a few...

Jswitow
12-19-2009, 09:28 PM
David,
Get out there! And call let me know when you want to make the trip over.
Merry Christmas,
John

ChemEAngler
12-20-2009, 07:02 PM
David,

I am thinking about heading that way either the Mon or Tues after Christmas. Let me know if you are interested and we could ride over together.

John,

I still want to go over there and fish with you sometime, so the offer extends to you sir as well.

David Knapp
12-21-2009, 09:57 AM
Travis, I might be up for that...I'll shoot you an email...

John, I had your phone number but lost it at some point. If you could shoot me an email I am interested in fishing over there sometime in the next week or two...

Jswitow
12-21-2009, 10:36 AM
Gentlemen,
I should be over there, call or shoot me an email if you do head that way. I did fish yesterday for a couple of hours. Got a late start and ended up fishing from 1:30-4:30. The water was high, but clear, and 40 degrees. Landed 4 fish, largest 15". Hooked and lost (on the first jump) a big fish (22-24"). I had it on long enough to feel two or three good head shakes and then the jump! Never really got in the fight, it was over that quick ;) !
Merry Christmas!
John

Jswitow
01-09-2010, 07:39 PM
Well folks; I am somewhat afraid the run is not what it was last year.... It couldn't be that my fishing abilities are lacking! Really it may not be any worse than last year, but that my memories are making last year seem so good. The fishing was really pretty good until the Alberta Clipper clipped my success ratio severely! We spent the Monday (after Christmas) through Sunday following New Year's over there, and did a fair amount of fishing, save for one day when the boss wanted to go exploring down toward Brasstown and points south. Seems the first full day we were was pretty cold and rainy, and I just didn't "man up" and hit the creek that day. The second day however was another matter and I finally got to the business at hand........ Don't have any notes, and took few pics save for the lakerun fish that were caught. There were a lot of stockers in the creek and some wild rainbows (and a few browns) about. I ran into the gentlemen who told me in the first place about the Steelhead, he has been married 50 years now and still fishes quite a bit during the season. I hope I am able, if I make his age. Anyway he confirmed that there are a lot of stocked fish in the stream this year. Evidently this summer there was a SNAFU and there were few fish stocked. Instead they made up for it this winter.
I managed to fish a little with my wife and son, she caught three fishhttp://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/WinterRunFish2009-2010-MISC015.jpg , my son got the goose egg........ come to think of it so did I until they got cold and headed for the house. Then the "serious" ;) fishing began. My feet were so cold by the time I got out of the creek that I nearly cried when I got out and started walking back to the cabin. I stuck a large fish that day, and lost it on the jump, arrrgggh! But I had a few good head shakes and a jump, I think he winked at me on the way down too. Anyway small fish were the rule of the day save for one landed by Grayson H (using my rod for that matter!) http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/WinterRunFish2009-2010-MISC014.jpg. I will post more after dinner... it's on the table!

Jswitow
01-10-2010, 08:23 PM
Alright dinner was yesterday and it was good! The little woman fixed Salmon filets, with basil pesto on top, cheese grits made with chicken broth, (never had them made with chicken broth and they were awesome!) along with spinach with canadian bacon and balsamic vinegar. I was a member of the clean plate club. I don't know what I did to rate that yesterday, and am afraid to ask. Back to the fishing....
the rest of the week was not bad, the big fish however to seem to be more scarce this year. But they are there and a few were landed. I am guessing the high water and the full moon had fresh, aggressive fish in the creek, for swung streamers seemed to be the tactic of choice for the steelhead and lake run fish. I didn't fish them as much as the stone/egg rig, but it brought more of the big fish out to play. A couple of tactics were used, and here they are; 1st was using a weighted streamer out of convenience when the standard rig didn't produce and light was short. I clipped off my 9' leader down to ~5' and tied on a bellyache minnow (platte river). It has some weight to it, so will work reasonably well with a floating line. Swung through runs that don't produce with the nymph rig. It is similar to a Zonker, but the color is yellow and red, rides hook up size 2. http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/WinterRunFish2009-2010-MISC017.jpg . This fish slammed that streamer a little after 5:00pm that day, fading light. That fish went berserk in the 38 degree water. You can figure that cutting a 9', 2x leader to 5'; I had plenty of line to lean on.
The other nice fish I caught while over (there) was fishing a long run as I imagine you would blindly fish a steelhead river, swinging streamers with a 200 grain line. This fish was caught 30-40 yards down a long steady run that has some depth to it, it is shelf rock but still good holding water, not spawning water, no gravel. This fish hit a Galloup's Butt Sump which is a sculpin pattern with a wool rather than elk hair head. I think it gets a little deeper than say a Zoo Cougar, but they work well too, in yellow or more golden brown, size 4. http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/WinterRunFish2009-2010-MISC020.jpg. This fish was right at 20" and absolutely chrome bright.
With the weather warming this week, the fish ought to be really in the mood to smash something, so I hope some of you can get over there and partake! I may make it over Saturday, but I am hearing snow is forecast by then ....... arrrggghhh. But... the first rule to catching..... is being there, with the line in the water!
Tight lines,
John

Mac
01-11-2010, 06:47 PM
I just finished reading all the reports on this thread from 2006 to present. I have really enjoyed reading everyones reports on this watershed. As I have not had a chance to visit Snowbird I have some very basic question I hope someone would not mind helping with. Just starting my research.

Reading through the reports I think I understand that some of the Lake Run trout fishing is at the confluence of Little Snowbird and Big Snowbird all the way to the lake. What I am still trying to get a clearer understanding of is the stocked trout section and the wild brook trout backcountry section on Big Snowbird? If that is the case than what does little snowbird offer above the confluence of big snowbird if anything?

I have looked up this area on the Google Maps and used the terrain view trying to get a better understanding but this has been somewhat generic. I have also looked at the NC Dot web page trying to download a GIS Topo of this area but have not been able to find the right download location yet. I did find a county quad description section for Graham county and I think I should be looking for something in the Santeetlah Creek and/or the Robbinsville quod. I have been somewhat challenged finding the correct place to download any topo. :confused:

If anyone has a PDF or other format of a map for this area that might help make things a little more clearer I would really appreciate any help at this point in my fact finding. It would be great to find a map that also shows the water falls and maybe the backcountry campsites if available. I am sure I could purchase a good map but its always nice to get a good idea about the area before purchasing.

Anyone that has created their own map with all the major honey holes included would be great. :biggrin: just kidding, not really. :rolleyes:

Thanks again for posting this great forum. Snowbird is defiantly on my Bucket list.

Jswitow
01-11-2010, 09:46 PM
Mac,
Map with major honey holes... it's in the mail! Now about Little Snowbird; I have fished it very little. Most of LS is posted as Tribal waters of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee. There is a large section that is posted as owned by some private club(?), about 2 miles I think. It is about half the size of big Snowbird and the source of most of the silt in Snowbird, which is what the creek is called below the confluence of Big and Little. I am a Louisvillian and UK grad, you make it down, I will be happy to show you around. Read the posts, most of the trouble is getting there... Once there get rigged up and start fishing. Look for the darker water and fish big, heavy stoneflies, or streamers with some weight, or a sinking line. One more fish, landed by Grayson Huskins; IMG]http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/WinterRunFish2009-2010-MISC019.jpg[/IMG]
Tight lines,
John

Jswitow
01-11-2010, 09:50 PM
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/WinterRunFish2009-2010-MISC019.jpg. Hope this one works! http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/WinterRunFish2009-2010-MISC018.jpg
Best,
John

Jswitow
01-25-2010, 03:42 PM
Well I don't have any more pictures to show, I have to say the run seems to be greatly reduced this season, got to have some excuse!.... and just speculation, but this may be the result of the draughts of 07 & 08?
I made it over last weekend and the weekend before. The weekend before we caught quite a few fish but no lake runs. Last weekend we caught just a few fish and no lakeruns, though I did choke on a couple. One that looked to be 17 or 18" (with a Napoleonic complex!) fought me for about 5 minutes......strong fish. I decided that I must have been nursing that one though and tried to horse it. Well I got its head up and headed for the net, when it shook its head one more time, mouth open, pointed right at the tip of my rod. My flies ended up in a Rhododendron 10 feet above me! The word must be out that I need a bit of humbling, for the fish I hooked yesterday (before the water muddied) really laughed at me. I had blown a cast, was sure I had a mess at the end because of the way it had landed in the water. Well as luck (and the trout's 6th sense!) would have it, I looked away for a second or two. When I looked back I saw my indicator being ripped upstream, at which I responded by clamping down on the line. This brought the desired effect of bringing the fish by his/own velocity rocketing out of the water, flipping tail away from me and gone, a perfect somersault. I am sure that fish winked at me.
I was shown a picture on a cell phone of a 28" fish that a young man had caught the weekend before! So there are some fish in the creek, just not as many shots at last season (my opinion, based on my lack of success!). If I can get a picture of that 28" fish I will post it, it was a chrome beauty. Did get some px of a bald eagle we saw along the Cheoah river. http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/BaldEagle01.jpg
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/BaldEagle02.jpg
And I have to show one picture of a very faithful friend (taken by M. Hansen); standing there with me in the 38 degree water. http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/JohnandhisFishingBuddy03.jpg
If you get over there try some different flies if the egg patterns don't produce. Soft hackles or maybe small black wooly buggers (imitating small winter stones), dropped below the large stone, for the weight. There continues to be no shortage of water in the creek.
Water was much warmer over the weekend; 45 degrees. That won't last though, with the colder weather returning! A full moon is coming, that should bring in more fish, and aggressive fish, so don't forget the streamers the next couple of weeks.
Tight lines,
John

Jswitow
03-14-2010, 10:25 PM
Hey folks,
I didn't post nearly so much this season, the run was not nearly as good as the last two years. Maybe it runs in cycles? I hope that is the case, and not that the pillaging of last year really hurt the population. I think my tally for the season was 9 fish, a few browns this season as well. There were some beasts caught this season, I saw a huge brown and a 28" rainbow, it might have been a steelhead, but the phone photo I saw was too small to really make a call about it. I will post a few more fish (if I can find them in my computer files. The stream is closed until the 1st Saturday of April, except for the back country. I hiked up there last weekend, it was beautiful, water temp was 35 degreeeees! I never strung up the rod, did take few pics of the snow on the road and trail, ice in the creek, and the incredibly blue sky, though I didn't do it justice. I want to check previous posts to make sure to not repeat pics. Next posting frame will have some pics.
Best.
John

Jswitow
03-14-2010, 11:17 PM
Even though it was warm and in the 50's last weekend this is how the road to the backcountry looked.
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/IMGP1522.jpg
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/IMGP1522.jpg
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/IMGP1517.jpg
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/IMGP1520.jpg
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/IMGP1501.jpg
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/IMGP1509.jpg
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/IMGP1511.jpg
http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/IMGP1530.jpg
Apologies, I had 10 pics pasted, (had to remove 2) and can't remember which is which, so you will be spared my comments! Some are of the backcountry and lingering snow, and ice on the creek. Others are from lower down on Snowbird after a snow this winter.
Hope you all enjoy, Oh, and GO CATS! (UK).
John

Jim Casada
03-15-2010, 11:25 AM
John--I think I remember that's your name. Thanks for the fine and detailed report. I'm guessing you must have a home somewhere along Big Snowbird. I would amend one aspect of your comments. Although I haven't actually measured it, I'm pretty sure there's appreciably more than the seven miles of backcountry stream you mention. It is 3.5 miles or thereabouts from Junction (end of the road) to Sassafras, another half mile to the upper end of Mouse Knob Falls, another two or three miles to Middle Falls, another two miles to Upper Falls, and there's still a good amount of water and mileage left. I'd never really thought about distance until I saw your figure, but I'm reckoning that from Junction upstream there must be a dozen miles or so of fishing in Big Snowbird, not to mention more in feeders such as Sassafras Creek and Meadow Branch. One thing for sure--it is a jewel and, as you say, the finest speck stream in N. C. I don't fish the lower reaches much, but I've spent a world of wonderful times on both Big and Little Snowbird above their junctions.
I would note, for others reading this, that much of Little Snowbird is private water--Cherokee Reservation along with a private club which controls a couple of miles.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Jswitow
03-15-2010, 11:41 AM
Thanks Jim, you are absolutely right. Seems like it is 15-17 miles off the back side of Hooper Bald to the end of the road (beginning of the backcountry trail). I've never made that hike, though I hope to do it in the next couple of years, hopefully when my son is big enough (to carry my pack!).
Best,
John

Jswitow
09-27-2010, 12:15 PM
I haven't been posting since winter, though I have had the occasional nice fish. We have a son who is 12 though, and in the 7th grade. He is into "stuff" these days that keeps us away from Robbinsville more than I like, but that's life, and I realize how quickly he is growing up. The lower creek (where I mostly fish) has been slow in the summer since the draughts of a few years ago. The fish seem to learn pretty quick that they can run to the lake and be safe from the draughts. Last weekend the water was 60 degrees and low. The rain Saturday night and Sunday [am] brought it up three of four inches, and hopefully today is adding to the water table over there as well.
Fall is on the way though, with the browns moving around and anxious! I do see Knox co tags often when I am up around the back country, nobody seems to post their results though. Either doing real well, or real bad, hopefully well ;). In the low water last Saturday I fished a little while with dries. I caught one 8 or 9" bow, pretty wild fish, and missed two more. One was exquisite; I'm watching my ant drift out of the bubbles for 4 or 5', then a decent fish just materialized heading down stream to follow the ant. He must have refused it, for I saw him "turn and burn" away, set the hook ....... to nothing. You all know what kind of a rush that is though!
Tight lines,
John

Dawgvet
09-27-2010, 10:51 PM
John, I'm going to be headed up to the Snowbird area this weekend (we'll be staying at Rattler Ford campground on Santeetlah) and wondering if you had any tips on fishing around there. Mainly interested in Snowbird above Junction but not sure I'll have time to hike 5 miles in for the brookies. Any tips or input appreciated. You may e-mail me if you prefer at dawgvet2003@yahoo.com
Thanks,
Jedidiah

Jswitow
09-28-2010, 10:29 AM
Hi Jedidiah,
Sounds like you'll have a beautiful weekend up at Rattler Ford. Expect it to get into the 40's over there ;). I have had some good fishing up on Big Santeetlah, and several of the feeders are full of little wild rainbows. The next Valley east is West Buffalo, not the creek it used to be for fishing, since the small private hatcheries (that used to routinely flood!) had to close. But two creeks form West Buffalo; the left branch is Squally, again lousy with small wild rainbows. You should have some good water in the creeks after the rains of Sunday and Monday too. There are some big browns in Big Santeetlah, always be very quiet while approaching the tale end of a quiet pool there, you might be surprised at the fish you'll see lying in there. Big Snowbird above the confluence of Little and Big should be fishing pretty well, not a lot of pressure up there this year, even Labor Day weekend saw only about half of the campsites in use up there. I would have some dark nymphs in a good variety of sizes, maybe some red San Juans as well. Golden Stone nymphs with some weight on them, and a supply of terrestrials..... ants, crickets, even green weenies and yellow jackets. There have been quite a few yellow jacket nests over the creek this year, keep an eye out for them, so you're not stung, but also to fish a yellow jacket pattern near the nest within 25 yards up or down stream is usually a good bet. My favorite is about a #14 dear hair, I usually use a small indicator with it. When it sinks you'll be able to track the indicator. Hope you have a good trip. If I were going over I'd try to get you out with me. I'll be on the "Jack and Back" bike ride in Nashville area though..... wish me luck!
Any other questions, ask away.
As an aside; it isn't bear season, but it is dog training season. Last weekend we saw a small bear while mountain biking at Tsali, and right behind the bear came a couple of hounds on his tail! No hunting just training the dogs, but they will likely have the bears on the move this weekend. I have never seen a bear hound that was anything but friendly to people, and have called several owners (who were thankful) about their missing dogs. You may know a lot more about this than I, if so my apologies.
Tight lines,
John

Jim Casada
09-28-2010, 07:05 PM
John--One thought and comment, since your mentioned the training season for "bar and hawg" dogs. It can be a real nuisance if you are camped in any of the dozen or so sites scattered along the Big Snowbird road above where Big and Little Snowbird Creeks joing. Several years ago I was camped there about this time of year with two ladies who had bought a trip I gave to a club to auction off along with my wife. We were all asleep, sometime after midnight, when I heard a ruckus at a distance, then saw headlights creeping along the road. It was one of the rare times in such situations I didn't have a gun, and I was more than a little worried. I grabbed a hatchet (the closest thing to a weapon I had) and told everyone to keep quiet and not shine any flashlights. The truck turned into the area where we were ever so slowly, and I just knew something bad was about to happen. Then I spotted a dog in the truck bed and dog boxes as well, and it dawned on me what they were doing. They were running the road with a strike dog to see if they could get a bear's scent. No danger, as it turned out, but it sure did ruin a good night's sleep.
Also, for anyone thinking about fishing this area, forget about it from the opening day of bear season until the closing one. There will be a pumpkin army on the loose and enough Plott, Walker, Blue Tick, and other hounds to start a canine Hallelujah Chorus. Besides that, you don't have a hope of finding a camping spot.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Jswitow
09-29-2010, 12:43 AM
Jim offers some good
advice as usual. Don't think they allow the hunters to camp at Rattler Ford though.
Hope the weekend is great, and the fishing even better.
John

Jim Casada
09-29-2010, 07:02 AM
John--That's likely right, although I thought Rattler Ford was a group campground. Has that changed? I mainly just wanted him to be aware of the fact that come Oct. 15, I wouldn't even think of trying to camp on Big Snowbird. For that matter, I wouldn't want to be fishing anywhere in the national forest in Graham County where there was a likelihood of hunters.
Speaking of Rattler Ford, have you (or anyone) fished Big Santeetlah lately? I understand that otters have virtually destroyed it, especially in the lower reaches.

Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Jswitow
09-29-2010, 10:09 AM
Jim,
I have not fished it this year. That is a shame if so, but wouldn't doubt it. I see them on Snowbird as well. Last spring; 3 evidently a pup, mom and dad. They make an interesting chirp. Won't say what I would like to do with them though! And you are right, Rattler Ford is a group campground.
Best,
John

snowbird fly
09-29-2010, 05:10 PM
Jim
I fished santeetlah about a month and a half ago. I caught one bow and missed about four more in three hours.The water was very low. The otters are on every creek and in all the lakes around here. Some one told me when the skyway to Tellico was built what we call hot rock was found above Whigg Creek. The speck fishing in Whigg has really declined. I think the hot rock run off has hurt Santeetlah it heads up just below the Skyway. It sure is a beautiful creek but I don't fish it like I use too because of the lack of fish.

Jim Casada
09-29-2010, 07:22 PM
Guys--Your reports on Santeetlah in particular and otters in Graham County in general echo what I've heard from other folks I know in and around Robbinsville. I know some folks have pooh-poohed my rants about otters on this forum, but they come from a good bit of personal observation, input from folks whom I've known for decades and whom I trust implicitly, and the undeniable evidence of a greatly increased otter presence. I hope I'm just being an alarmist, but I've seen a major downturn on an increasing number of creeks in the last decade.

The information on Anakeesta formation leaching in the aftermath of the Cherohala Highway being built is news to me, but it's certainly possible. I wonder if there is any scientific information in this regard? Anyone know? If it is true, that's a double whammy coming on top of otter depredations.

Graham County streams are, almost without exception, a mere shadow of what they were as I knew them decades ago. Without a doubt the two most dramatic declines have been on Slickrock and Big Santeetlah, but I see troubling negatives elsewhere.

One final thought on the otters. Anyone who doesn't believe me just ask anyone in Graham County who spends much time on streams. Or maybe spend a few hours at the mouth of Big Snowbird this time of year when the steelhead start to congregate. You'll see otters.

Me, I have to wonder if, to use mountain prhaseology, the stock hasn't begun to run out in Graham County. There was a time when this would have been addressed locally in a pretty emphatic way with some pronounced finality.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Grannyknot
09-29-2010, 07:24 PM
Jim
I fished santeetlah about a month and a half ago. I caught one bow and missed about four more in three hours.The water was very low. The otters are on every creek and in all the lakes around here. Some one told me when the skyway to Tellico was built what we call hot rock was found above Whigg Creek. The speck fishing in Whigg has really declined. I think the hot rock run off has hurt Santeetlah it heads up just below the Skyway. It sure is a beautiful creek but I don't fish it like I use too because of the lack of fish.

Snowbird fly, the "hot rock" you speak of is similar to the anakeesta formation found near the Alum Cave bluffs. When exposed to oxygen in the air, rain water that runs over it gains a high level of acidity. To the best of my knowledge, the only stream that has been heavily affected along the Tellico-Robbinsville road is McNabb Creek, which is a tributary of the North River.

One other note...brook trout are far better at adapting to acidic water, whereas, Rainbow Trout have a lot of trouble and tend to die off if the acidity persists. In my opinion, this is one of the factors that plays a role in Brook Trout regaining territory against the Rainbows on some creeks.

Jim Casada
09-29-2010, 09:09 PM
Grannyknot--My thinking on the return of specks runs pretty much along the same lines as yours, but not specifically with a focus on Anakeesta formation rocks. In much (most) of the Park I'm pretty sure that is less of a threat than once was the case. The residual impact of building 441, the portion of the Road to Nowhere that was constructed, etc. should be lessening, and the same is true for the floods of 1951 (I think that's the right date; if not, it's close) and the more recent slide high up on Walker Camp Prong drainage. On the other hand, acid rain continues to fall.
I'd love to know whether any studies have been done trying to differentiate between the various sources affecting pH in the Smokies.
Whatever the case, one thing is undeniable. Specks are far more widespread in the Park than they were say 30 years ago, and the changes I see or hear about are for the most part not in areas where there have been restoration efforts.
That of course raises the whole issue of the healing hand and impact of nature versus what man can do, and the next step from that train of thought is to ask whether the speckled trout restoration efforts have been worthwhile or if, without the hand of man, we would have seen a gradual return to the status quo as it existing in the pre-logging era.

I don't know, but it's a question well worth asking and I don't see it being addressed anywhere. As a lifelong skeptic and a bit of a gadfly, I always tend to pursue such thought patterns. I may be opening a figurative can of worms (well, we are talking about the Park so maybe I better say a fly wallet holding many patterns) here, but I'm genuinely interested in knowing if I'm the only one who has paused to ponder the question of the efficacy of man-based speck restoration efforts as opposed to those based on nature's healing hand. If nothing else, the price tag is dramatically different:).
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Jswitow
09-29-2010, 11:56 PM
I have to get to bed, but have much to ramble on about this as well! Will try to get to it tomorrow night. I had heard in Robbinsville that the Skyway exposed anakeesta(sp?) leaching toward Big Snowbird's headwaters, but it may be rumor as well. I also hear that people take 4 wheelers up there and often from the Little Snowbird side, bait fishing. Anybody know for sure?
I too believe the specs were all but wiped out by the clear-cutting and the slag in the creeks, then the warm water from the lack of shade. That and maybe a little dynamite, spark generators.... sluicing dams....
Best,
John

Jswitow
11-07-2010, 11:44 PM
Thought I would post some pictures mostly of the foliage on Snowbird last month. Looking forward to the late fall run from the lake. Hope you enjoy. I am going to try to post a link for a short slide show. IF it doesn't work I will post them individually. Here goes.....

http://s103.photobucket.com/albums/m149/jswitow/Snowbird%20Fall%202010/?albumview=slideshow

Something tells me that didn't work.....

Best,

John

Jswitow
11-07-2010, 11:47 PM
Well it did work, that was easy too, just pasted the link to the slide show.
Best,
John

Grannyknot
11-08-2010, 03:50 PM
Hey John...is that your son in those pictures??
If so, looks like he is progressing nicely as a fly fisherman.

Great pictures.

Jswitow
11-08-2010, 04:13 PM
Granny Knot,
Yes that is, thank you! He caught three fish that afternoon. And when he said he had had enough, we went home.
Hope he will be a little more "up for it" next time.
Thanks again,
John

Jswitow
01-10-2011, 12:15 AM
I had a couple of emails this evening regarding the fishing on Snowbird. Evidently there is another article in Easter Flyfishing, I have not yet seen it. I have not fished as much lately, but did spend the week over there between Christmas and New Year's. I have had no luck for lake run fish this year, none. I have heard a lot of people complaining about the otters, and they are definitely present in the creek. I wonder too if the harvesting of so many fish the season before last may have decimated the population? Conditions were not too good when we were there, so maybe I just hit a bad spell. But while I was there the water warmed nearly 10 degrees and cleared considerably, though it was very high. Those are usually pretty strong influences this time of year, for the better. I had like results over Thanksgiving as well. Wish I had better news, and others may.....
If I have better information, I will report and post. For now though, my news is not good.
Hope all have made a good start for 2011,
John

JayB
01-11-2011, 09:48 AM
Well sorry to hear it John, I was hoping to get in on that action this year. I figured getting skunked a few weeks ago down there was my fault, but maybe it is worse than that.

Jswitow
01-11-2011, 10:39 AM
Jay,
There are good years and bad, hopeful it is no more than an ebb in the run cycle.
May be that my luck is running low, but when I don't see fish where I historically
have seen them, (whether I could catch them or not) I believe something is wrong.
I will probably head over ths weekend, and hopefully will find that the run was just late;).
We fisherman are nothing if not hopeful that something will bite!
Tight lines,
John

jrose
01-13-2011, 01:14 AM
John, I'd love to hear what you find if you go this weekend.

This is a great thread. I've been intrigued with it pretty much since you started it. And I've even referred a number of friends to it. Finally, I was thinking that maybe this would be the year that I'd get off my couch and make the drive over the mountain, and I may have even talked a couple of fishing buddies into going with me sometime in the next couple of weeks.

As for the comments on Anakeesta, it's a bit late to be responding, but I was fortunate to be a tag-along at a meeting with some folks from the Carter administration back in the winter of 1980 when they were just getting serious about construction on the Cherohala Pkwy on the Tennessee side.

Randy Brown, the president of the Chattanooga TU chapter at the time, and Don Byerley, a trout fisherman and geology professor at UTK had set the meeting up over concerns about sulfuric acid leeching into McNabb Creek and a couple of neighboring tributaries to North River in Tennessee as a result of blasting through Anakeesta rock formations near Rattlesnake Rock.

The meeting resulted in a good bit of remediation (allowing piles of lime to leech into the creek to balance out the pH) which has finally brought McNabb creek back w/in a range that brook trout can tolerate at least if the recent droughts would hold off.

But as for Jim's supposition that this might have happened naturally, I'm not so sure.

The mechanism for the acid leeching goes something like this. The Anakeesta rock contains iron sulfate, naturally, but when you break open those deposits and expose them to air and water, you end up with sulfuric acid seeping into the runoff which, in turn, lowers the pH of the affected streams. Forgive my sloppy science, and please no one tell my dad who is a retired chemist, but that's the gist of it.

Anyway, at that meeting back in '80 someone mentioned that the precedent for this problem was set by construction of the Newfound Gap road in the Smokies. They also said that over time the exposed iron sulfate gradually dissipates, and the pH gradually heads back to whatever was normal.

I had no idea just how gradual that might be, though. Fast-forward to early last Spring. Again, I was tagging along with one of the teams of volunteers made up, primarily, of E. Tennessee TU members on their long-running acid deposition/stream sampling project in the Smokies.

I can't remember the name of the first creek that we checked, but it's the first large tributary to the Ocanaluftee River that you cross after heading down 441 on the NC side of Newfound Gap. The first sample was taken at the pull-off, there, upstream from the highway, and was normal.

However, the next sample was taken immediately across the road and downstream from where the creek flows under the highway. At this point, the roadbed is built up from fill that resulted from blasting through the Anakeesta rock formations.

I was startled to see that the stream bed appeared to have been scoured clean. Not clean of dirt, but clean of anything alive, like moss or algae or any plant or bug life. It appeared that someone had dumped in a bottle of bleach somewhere upstream. I've never seen anything like it. It looked like a ribbon of brand-new, shiny rip-rap for the several hundred feet from the road cut to where the stream fell out of sight.

So will nature heal itself? Sure, given time. Just look at the Smokies, themselves. But the Newfound Gap road cut was made about 70 years ago. And you can be sure that if the Cherohala road crews hit Anakeesta near Rattlesnake Rock on the TN/NC state line that they also hit it on the NC side.

Anyway, enough of the history lesson, we never seem to learn from those, anyway, but please do report back on how the fishing was on Snowbird if you go this weekend.

Thanks,

Jack

Jswitow
01-13-2011, 10:18 AM
Jack,
Thanks for that post. I will have to stop and have a look at that stream on NF gap rd; Conners Creek I think. Don't let me discourage you from making the trip. If I can show you around at some point, I would welcome the opportunity.
Best,
John

jrose
01-15-2011, 02:17 AM
John, I just checked a topo and I believe it's Beech Flats. It's less than a mile down the NC side of Newfound Gap. There's a parking lot, there. If you cross the road, scramble down the hill, after crossing the old roadbed, you'll come to where the creek emerges from under the highway and see what I'm talking about.

Jack

Jim Casada
01-24-2011, 07:33 PM
Jswitow--Don't know whether you've noticed it, but my sources in Graham County (and they are local fishermen who are as good as they get) tell me that otters are playing the devil with the lake run fish. My best fishing buddy says they have gotten increasingly worse for years and that he often sees them on the opposite bank right below the "doctors" bridge. I have no doubt at all they are a factor, and in all likelihood a significant factor.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Jswitow
03-28-2011, 11:59 PM
I am sorry to say I did not fish Snowbird (or any other creek) after New Year's Day. I got into Cycling and seem to have become obsessed with it. Wasn't too hopeful about catching lake run fish, so when I had the time.... I rode my bike. Shameful I know! I did have a couple of reports from a young fellow who fished quite a bit this winter. He did catch a few fish right at the end of the season (end of February). Caught 4 fish from one hole, and a thick (lake run?) brown, his best to date. So maybe some fish did come in late. I hope some of them were successful in spawning. The NC creeks open this Saturday, presumably stocked and ready to go. I may go for a little while Saturday, if I do I will post my results, good or bad. Just good to be on the stream regardless. Always interesting to see the changes a few months can make in a stream.
Tight lines,
John

Grannyknot
03-29-2011, 06:40 PM
Tight lines,
John

John, good to hear from you. I've been meaning to shoot you an email lately to see whats up. The cycling obsession, I can sure relate to. Hope the family is well.

Cody

yeltad
09-01-2011, 08:44 AM
I know this thread isn't as active as it used to be but there are a lot of knowledgable participant that I hope can answer my question. I am planning a trip into the Snowbird backcountry in early November. After reading this thread I'm a little worried about the hunting activity during this timeframe. I was planning on setting up a basecamp around Sassafras. Is this wise since it will be Bear and Deer season?

Jswitow
09-01-2011, 09:45 AM
Yeltad,
I would check the link http://www.ncwildlife.org/Regs/2011_12/documents/2011-12_Seasons.pdf to see when the bear and boar hunting seasons take place. Don't think I would go during those seasons. You should be able to find a window though when they are not open. Seems there are two [2] week hunts for bears, not sure about the boars/wild hogs. Actually you should be fine with a blaze orange cap, but you may not have a lot of peace and quiet. I have day hiked up there before during the season, saw men and dogs, nothing else. If you have the flexibility though, schedule around the hunting seasons. From what I can tell the creek's resident population has rebounded pretty well from the draughts in 07 and 08. Seems some people have done very well in the back country this year. Not sure what the water has done the last month though, whether thar area has had rain? The ground is cracking in Knoxville. Copy and paste that link, should take you right to the site.
Best,
John