View Full Version : Early season brookie fishing in nc 3-24

03-24-2007, 09:18 PM
Hello all, hope everyone had a chance to get out and enjoy this beautiful weather! My uncle and i headed out early this morning, about 5, for a remote stream in nc. Although it's not in the smokies, it's very close and close enough for this section. Anyways, while we were headed to the stream i noticed that the temperature was 43 and was getting worried because we still had another 2000' feet to climb. When we got up there, though, the temperature was actually 54 degrees! I think there was some discussion about temperature inversion a while back, but thought i would bring it up.

We parked about 8 and finally made it into the water after a hike a little before 9. On his first couple casts, swipper missed a fish that had smacked his bwo dry. We thought this was a good sign of things to come and moved upstream. We fished for a little while and he managed to catch a few small brookies, but i was getting skunked. I then switched to a double nymph rig and was able to get a few. We climbed and climbed our way up this very steep and rugged stream, fishing (and falling) along the way. Swipper picked up a few more and wasn't letting me pull ahead of him, but i was keeping pace. We had climbed and fishing for about 3 hours and had managed 6 fish a piece, all average brookie size. With no trail to hop on, we decided to turn around and climb back downstream and fish a stream that fed into this one. It was getting too rough and we were basically stuck because there was probably a 50' cliff we would have had to climb to continue upstream. This was without a doubt the most rugged, remote, and rough stream i have ever fished or even seen. We weren't really wading upstream, but we were climbing from one hole up to the next.

About 1, we managed to get back to our starting point somewhat safely and cooked us some lunch with my new jetboil (which is awesome by the way!). After getting refueled, we headed downstream a little more and made it to our destination after about a mile hike. This stream, although still rough, seemed much tamer than the one we were on earlier. I had switched flies before we started fishing to a parachute hare's ear and a blackbird and the first cast i missed a fish. A couple of casts later i had that self released right at my feet. During this half a mile stretch of water that we fished, i pretty much cleaned up with that combination of flies. We were catching fish and getting strikes at a good pace. The temperatures were warm, the bugs were flying around and the fish were responding. I did manage to land the biggest wild brook trout of my fishing career out of this little stream. It was about 9-10", but boy was it heavy! This fish had been eating good! We continued upstream and continued catching fish until we came to a rather interesting spot that looked a little troublesome. It was going to take a lot and looked kinda risky to continue upstream, so we decided to call it a day and head back. The first stream had kicked our butts so bad we were kinda tired anyways.

All in all, it was a very good day. The water temperature started out at 47 and last time i checked it, it was 51. We ended up with a little over 30 fish between the two of us, sore legs and knees, a mark on the neck from a fiesty stick, and lots of good memories. I do feel the need to say that please be extremely careful while fishing any stream, but especially the more rugged ones. This stream could be dangerous and should definitely not be fished alone.

Here are lots of pics that will hopefully illustrate some nice fish that we caught as well as the characteristics of the stream. Honestly, the pictures don't do the stream justice. Trust me, it was way worse than it looks.


One of Swipper's nice fish

Our trek back downstream, there was lots of this

I can't tell you how many times i looked upstream today and said "Geez!"

Another blackbird victim

Swipper fishing upstream, er........uphill (this was so much worse than it looks)

There's my prize fish! Notice the hat! (Shameless LRO plug should get me something, right?)

He sure was fat. I can't believe how heavy he was!

Coming back home from a wonderful day on the water (this was the "easy" river)

03-24-2007, 09:34 PM
Man that is a great report and some great pictures as well. Sounds like you guys had a blast.

swipper 74
03-24-2007, 09:47 PM
I have been flyfishing since 1991, and never have I had such a rough trek thru a stream. I knew that our trip would be rough and we would be in some THICK wilderness areas, but I never imagined this! I concur with Mtnman, if possible make sure you go with someone if traveling into remote wilderness areas. In fact, I left directions for my wife that if we had not contacted her by sunset to send HELP with the information about our location. Also, a quick note, the hydration bladder we both recently purchased was a life saver today, as we both got a little dehydrated. This is a valuable purchase that no one should be without if you plan on spending a whole day on the water.

Now, off to bed........to rest these weary bones.....


Gerry Romer
03-24-2007, 11:42 PM
Great Report! Great Pics!!


Now... where did you say you were again????


Hugh Hartsell
03-25-2007, 08:11 AM
Craig and Shawn, you guys know how to start the season off in a big time way. That stream is the epitome of getting into the roughest of back country.
Thanks for sharing the trip and the beautiful pictures that you posted. That was good enough for a magazine article.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.

03-25-2007, 09:08 AM
Wow what a trip that looks like. Just makes my knees hurt looking at the pics. thanks for a great post & pics!

03-25-2007, 08:16 PM
Yes i can tell you that my knees aren't there old selves today, that's for sure. We did have a blast and we made some memories that i will not forget. I also really appreciate the kind words about the pictures. I also forgot to mention in my report that there appeared to be a pretty good hatch of bwo's throughout the day, peaking in the morning and again in the afternoon. Most of the fish taken on dries were on bwo's. There was another major hatch that only shawn experienced: the infamous strike indicator hatch!!! He tied a smbsh on and put a strike indicator above it and i think he got just as many hits on the indicator.


David Knapp
03-25-2007, 10:15 PM
Nice report and pics! Out of curiousity, do I remember correctly that you are using one of the Pentax Optio cameras?

I'm looking at the new W30 and am basically sold unless someone tells me something terrible about the Pentax cameras...

03-26-2007, 05:17 AM
Yes i am using the pentax optio w20 and i love it. It doesn't offer a feature or two that some of the larger, more expensive cameras have, such as the option to manually controller shutter speed, but it is a great camera nonetheless. That is about the only option i wish it had and it's great for the fisherman because it is compact enough i can put it in my chestpack for easy access and takes great pics! I would definitely recommend, although i'm a little jealous because now i want the w30!


03-26-2007, 07:58 AM
Great looking pics. What was the name of the stream you were fishing. It looks familiar in the pics but I am not completely sure its what I am thinking it is.

swipper 74
03-26-2007, 09:45 AM
Don't forget Craig that half of those pictures posted were taken by my wife's Nikon L4. It is not waterproof, but it is cheap enough that if I drop it in the water, I won't cry about it. Craig's camera is great and takes great pictures, and it certainly is nice to have a waterproof feature. I just find it easier to stomach a $100 digital camera in a waterproof pouch.

03-26-2007, 02:18 PM
Great posting guys!
Makes me want to get into the back country, might try it this weekend. That was a stair stepper! I will likely be alone though and as I get older I worry more about getting hurt that I used to. I won't stray too far from the jeep. I am still using a film camera because it is waterresistant (Canon) Takes too long to finish a roll of film though and is a pain to scan pics back into the computer for posting. I too am waiting for the prices on WR digitals to come down.
Thanks for the posting!

03-26-2007, 07:32 PM
Great post guys!! Thanks for sharing the pics too. Those remote streams are awesome and fun. They are VERY hard on the knees. I can think of a few I've traveled 'er" climbed to catch those brookies. Here is a pic of one a friend of mine caught yesterday in the park. They were striking fluffy flies like crazy. You all were smart to tell your relatives where you were. When I go fishing for brookie's outside of the park, it takes a while to get to the water. Hiking is a necessity and having the water resources for your body is always a must. Excellent run guys!! Sounds like you both had a blast.


swipper 74
03-26-2007, 07:58 PM
Yeah the remote streams are a blast! Craig and I love to pick out a blue line on the maps and go for it. Our only problem is choosing which "blue line" to jump on as there are so many.