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Grousegunner 03-25-2008 09:49 AM

Targeting Larger Fish with Salamander Patterns
During my Vertebrate biology class last week, we discussed amphibians. A large portion of the lecture was devoted to salamander diversity within the Appalachian Mountains. Apparently, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the "Salamander Capital of the World". In fact, there are five different families of salamanders that reside in the park: Cryptobranchidae, Proteidae, Salamandridae, Ambystomatidae, and Plethodontidae.

This discussion sparked my interest, because I was immediately reminded of the times that I had fished with live salamanders in the pond behind my house as a child. I can remember catching salamanders in the creeks, and then watching big largemouth bass go crazy over them. Those salamanders were like magical fish magnets. (Unfortunately, I could only find them readily during the spring.)

After class I started thinking that big browns might also feed readily on salamanders. After all, salamanders are amphibians, so they spend the early portion of their lives in water. Given the great diversity of salamander life within the park, it might be worth the effort to develop some salamander patterns for future experimentation.

What do you all think?


buzzmcmanus 03-25-2008 10:32 AM

spring lizards
I've fished salamanders, "spring lizards", in Chilhowee and the smallmouth just fight over them. However I've never caught a trout on them. We are targeting bass when we fish them.

adirondack46r 03-25-2008 11:36 AM

Maybe that's why my big ole black wooly bugger is so effective. I have to confess, if I can't catch a fish on anything else, swinging a wooly bugger through a pool more often than not gets some action.

Oh, wait.... I forgot. I'm a dry fly guy...

Rog 1 03-25-2008 12:31 PM

When I have inspected the stomach contents of some of the larger trout I have caught I have never found the remainds of a "mud puppy"....however, I have found the remains of some rather large crayfish....this idea of yours might carry over with some of the crayfish imitations I have seen that are generally targeted for small and largemouth bass.....would be worth a try.

mtnman2888 03-25-2008 12:34 PM

I have heard from some "old timers" who say that is what you need to use to catch the large browns and claim to have caught those monster fish with this pattern. It has sparked my interest before as well, we all know they didn't get that big from eating mayflies!


ttas67 03-25-2008 03:05 PM

craig, which pattern, crayfish or salamander?

Plunker 03-25-2008 03:55 PM

How about????
Here's a thought. and I've wanted to ask you Guys about these's a good time.

I've noticed that Orvis sells a "Gully Worm" in their Bass fly offerings, anyway, What about tying some kind of worm, shorter of course with some sort of rubber legging?
May have to get a Gully worm and de-engineer it to figure out how to tie it.

Troutman 03-25-2008 04:17 PM

salamander pattern
Its been done. don't think its been a real effective pattern on trout, largemouth in ponds maybe.

google: Schiels Mad Dog Salamander

mtnman2888 03-25-2008 04:27 PM

I have heard salamanders from at least 5 different people who have fished in and around the park since they were kids and they are now older gentleman. Have yet to really try it, but hey you never know. I'm sure that if you did hook a fish with a salamander pattern, it would be one for the ages!


old tom 03-25-2008 06:00 PM

I had the opportunity to hear Steve Moore, the Park fisheries biologist, speak a couple of weeks ago. His two main topics were the effects of the drought on Park fishing and the brook trout restoration project. If he's speaking anywhere within an hours drive of you, I recommend making the effort to hear his program. I don't know about his fishing abilities, but he forgot more about "fish" on his drive back to Gatlinburg than I'll ever know. He does a great one hour program.

Back on topic. He said that browns have a better ability to adjust their diet than bows. So while the larger and older rainbow population suffered somewhat due to low water and lack of insects, the browns changed their diet to what? Salamanders and crayfish. So sounds like if you're after big browns, these patterns have a lot of merit.

For what it's worth, he also said brookies didn't suffer too bad because they're at higher elevations, hence colder water.

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