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AL trout bum 10-01-2013 10:53 PM

Beer, bbq, elk and brookies...
A buddy and I have been talking about doing a camping/fishing trip to the park for some time now. Given that it is now shut down, I'm glad we went when we did. We headed out last Friday after work and after stopping for provisions, made it to the campsite and set up in the dark.

The next morning, we tried to fish down low to see if we could score some browns, but the water was a little high and fast for my liking. I did catch a few cockroaches, I mean rainbows.

After a slow morning of fishing we headed back to camp to decide where to fish the afternoon over a nice cup of camp coffee and an omelet burrito.

We decided it would be best to hike way up the trail (at least 2 miles) and start fishing from there. Fishing was extremely slow, but the scenery was nice.

I had a few strikes that I missed and a decent brown that I lost at the net. Losing that fish hurt. We hiked out to walk up further and noticed another visitor had come and gone since we entered the stream.

It wasn't long that we figured out why fishing was so slow. There were several fisherman ahead of us. A couple were fly fishing and a couple of spin fishers. So we decided to call it quits and head back to camp for a hearty meal.

AL trout bum 10-01-2013 10:58 PM

The next morning we decided to hit a very small brook trout stream that is one of my favorites in the park. It's very tight fishing, but the brookies are usually willing to hit a dry fly, getting your fly to them is the hard part. You have to bow and arrow cast almost exclusively, and if you do that correctly, then you have the challenge of setting the hook with lots of thick rhododendron overhead.

It wasn't long before I had one of the smokies finest specimens to hand...

We both caught fish out of this hole.

Some more pics from the stream...

I caught one more before time to go...

AL trout bum 10-01-2013 11:01 PM

After we got a much needed ego boost from hungry natives, we made our way to Cataloochee, enjoying the scenery along the way.

I wish I would have known how crowded Cataloochee is on a Sunday afternoon. It felt like Spring break at Panama City on the strip. Not to mention a horse trailer that had slid off the road coming in that held us up for a while. We finally arrived and set up camp before we headed out to fish.

We headed up the trail to fish a stream I had a lot of success on the last time I was here, only to find we were fishing behind someone again. At least the scenery was nice...

AL trout bum 10-01-2013 11:04 PM

Since the fishing was over for the day, might as well go check out the elk. The elk were on fire this trip. You could hear them bugling while fishing, it was an awesome experience. On the way out, a cow crossed the trail right in front of me. I figure she was heading to the bugling bull.

They were definitely out in the fields...

AL trout bum 10-01-2013 11:12 PM

After another long day it was time to head back to the campfire for food and relaxation.

The camp lantern attracted quite the collection of trout food as well...

Dessert was also a welcome treat after a long day...

Early the next morning, we went to check out the elk again, sans all the annoying crowds.

AL trout bum 10-01-2013 11:16 PM

I then tried a creek that I've never fished before, and was hoping for better fishing. Right off the bat, I caught a nice brookie.

For some reason, after that fish, it was all cockroaches again.

On the way out, I noticed a ruckus in the woods. After hearing a bugle, I was shocked to see another whole group of elk.

I was a little close to that bull and he came trotting my way briefly before stopping to chase another cow. Those things are massive. I thought I would have to do some jousting with my fly rod, and luckily I didn't have to change my waders.

After a long 3 days, we called it quits and decided to go ahead and head back. Although the fishing was slower than I was accustomed to, it was still a heck of a long weekend. I can see lots more camping up there in my future, assuming it opens back up.

buzzmcmanus 10-02-2013 07:08 AM

Awesome trip. That place can be nuts during the elk rut. Glad you got past all the traffic.

duckypaddler 10-02-2013 11:09 AM

Great report! And thanks for all the pics. Looks like you eat pretty well on your fishing trips:smile:. Makes it hard to believe so many choose to eat mountain house;)

And I see you too could pass up the sub $40 net either. I only carried it once into the backcountry. While it doesn't get my flies stuck, the rhodo sure did want it and kept trying to steal it from me

Took the kids backcountry camping last Friday as well:biggrin: Was thinking of going to Cataloochie but after seeing how full the spaces were on backcountry reservation site decided to book campsite 18 which was empty:biggrin:

Brownie 10-02-2013 11:14 AM

Thanks for the report and awesome pics.

Stonefly 10-02-2013 12:10 PM

Nice report, AL. Pretty fish and good photos.


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