View Full Version : Little River above Elkmont and Thunderhead Prong, 4-21-07

04-22-2007, 07:23 PM
Ok so here is day two of our trip. After getting some breakfast at the carriage house, i was really hungry for some reason, we headed out up above elkmont to try our hand. When we got there, we found the water to still feel relatively cool, 48 degrees. I tied on an abrams creek nymph and a yellarhammer soft hackle in response to all the light colored flies seen the day before. We hit the river and fished for an hour with absolutely nothing. High sticking through runs with these two flies produced not even a hint of a strike. I thought i would try swinging it wet fly style and that proved to be the trick. Immediately i began taking fish using this tactic. It amazes me that something like that would be that much of a difference. Even in amazingly swift current, fish were coming up and nailing my fly. My father wasn't having the same luck as i was, however, and that day proved to be a challenging and frustrating one for him. We fished for about 3 hours and he didn't get a strike one. We had the same flies on, so i assume it had something to do with presentation. His knees aren't very good and he's not able to get low and approach closely, so that could have been it. Anyways, we continued upstream and i would get a strike, sometimes two or three out of every likely run. It seemed as if the magic of the day before was continuing into that day. By the time we left at about 1:00, i had landed around 15 fish all on the swing. While nothign out of the ordinary, i'll take it anyday. All were rainbows and although there was a pretty good amount of bug activity, i saw no fish rising. They all seemed to be pretty low in the water column picking stuff off down deep. I could see them come up to take my fly and about all of them came up from the bottom to take my fly.

My dad fishing

Rainbow caught on the swing using a soft hackle

Another beautiful smoky mtn. rainbow

I took my dad back and then headed back out on my own for some more action. After fishing lynn camp the day before and having great luck, i decided i woudl try out the other prong, thunderhead. I got to the stream about 3:00 and tied on a light cahill to see how things would go. I started right at the confluence and worked upstream. The results from the day before on lynn camp proved to be no fluke as 5 fish were caught before i made it to the first small waterfall. At the base of this small falls, i tied on a smbsh as a dropper thinking i may pick something up out of the deep hole. That proved to be the ticket out of this hole as my dry went ignored. I caught 3 fish out of this large hole, with the third being a large and very fiesty one. It measured 9 1/2" and proved to be a challenge for my new bamboo rod. It drug my butt all the way through that hole, from straight to the bottom to the top and up out of the water and back to the bottom before he finally gave up. This action got my blood pumping and heart racing with excitement. It may be sad, but that fish made my day! I somehow managed to find my way above the small falls and continued upstream catching fish, missing fish, and spooking the occasional snake (or should i say he spooked me). The action gradually declined a bit as time went on, although it was always good. I ended fishing about 6:00 with countless numbers of fish brought to hand. Although the insect activity wasn't as heavy as it was the day before, it all but stopped by the time i left, it still had it's heavy spurts that happened when i got there. On a side note to anyone thinking of fishing in this area, i saw no other fisherman or hikers on thunderhead. There were trees down all along the trail that followed the stream that proved to be troublesome on the way back. I was amazed at the number of people that i saw on lynn camp the day before hiking and fishing, while i saw none on thunderhead and the fishing proved to be just as good if not better.


Here's the large fish caught below the small falls.

This is one area that looked eerily similar to an area i saw on lynn camp a day earlier

Rainbows were all that were caught this trip

David Knapp
04-22-2007, 07:38 PM
Nice report and pictures! There is a very nice rainbow that lives in the run your dad is fishing in the first picture...;)

04-22-2007, 07:45 PM
nice fish sounds like a great trip. thanks for describing your tatics so well. next sat. will be my first trip fishing in the smokies by myself and your descriptions will be helpful.

04-22-2007, 08:25 PM
Tell him not to feel bad...I fished Bradley Fork Sat. evening and got one little one, and then hiked in a couple of hours worth today and caught one little brownie. I didn't see a fish, spook a fish, smell a fish ;)....the water was high, cold and super clear. I tried everything I could think of - including the much lauded and highly praised(on this site!) green weenie!

The little brown took a #18 adams parachute.
This is the first year in many that I've really, really had a horrible spring and for the life of me I can't figure out why. This weekend the weather was awesome and I just knew that driving up to the park would be the ticket - and the fishing reports all over the net are just go!go!go! - and I nearly get the skunk two days in a row! Trust me, I'm not someone that catches 20 fish every time I go out...but I usually do better than one fish a day. :(

Maybe your Dad and I were both holdin' our mouths the wrong way!

Ok, now it occurs to me that maybe not everyone uses that saying. :) It's just something my Dad used to tell us when we'd complain about not getting a bite. Something similar to getting up on the wrong side of the bed....you ain't catchin' fish? you jest ain't holdin yur mouth the right way.
then roaring laughter from my dad, uncle and cousins. :)

Great pics and report! Your Dad looks coooooold!

04-22-2007, 08:31 PM
The water still is a little chilly. I bet next weekend things will be truely fantastic for the first time this year. I made the trip to bradley's fork around thanksgiving last year and managed 4, i think. It is a beautiful stream and i can't wait to go back. Did you see alot of fisherman on bradleys fork this weekend?


04-22-2007, 08:39 PM
Thanks for the reports and pic's.....

There nice reads.

04-22-2007, 08:44 PM
I agree Craig... I don't think the fish have turned on all the way just yet. I managed about a half dozen both days this weekend and had to work very hard for them (lots of weak hook ups that broke off). If I remember correctly the water was 40 degrees last weekend and the fish are probably as confused as we are about what the heck is going on with the weather. If we have a week of 50+ water temps the fish may actually believe that spring is finally here. I'll be in the middle of the stream waiting...


04-22-2007, 11:45 PM
Great report. I tried Thunderhead for the first time today - had a long-distance release on the third cast; other than that, nothing. I didn't have time to give it a fair trial. I fished Cosby 4 hours on Saturday and a couple of hours today and did much better - I'll post a thread on it in a minute.