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Old 05-11-2012, 02:12 PM
David Knapp's Avatar
David Knapp David Knapp is online now
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Crossville, TN
Posts: 2,374

TNBigBore explained it well. The streams out west have more nutrients and thus support more and/or larger fish in general. I think it is hard to compare though because here in the Smokies we are talking about mostly headwater streams whereas out west people are able to fish the larger rivers and lakes because they stay cold enough to support trout and not all of those rivers are tailwaters.

So, is Colorado easier? Not necessarily. In my experience, the only aspect that is sometimes "easier" out west is our perception. When you are catching larger fish it is hard not to fall into the trap of thinking that things are pretty easy. What it really boils down to though regardless of location is fly selection and presentation. Out west, the lack of an overhead canopy on the streams makes casting easier (no trees to snag, etc), so it is again not too hard to think that things are easier as a whole. However, the fish bite with about the same regularity no matter where you fish if you figure out what they want to eat.

My favorite river in Colorado is the Gunnison. My first fishing experience there was an eye opener as a nearby fisherman wore them out while I would have done just as well if I was simply out to enjoy the scenery. However, after a couple of trips, and much additional knowledge shared by helpful friends and acquaintances (not usually even about the Gunnison, just knowledge on fly fishing in general), I was able to consistently catch nice fish even in the heavily pressured areas.

The high elevation cutthroat streams can be awesome, but really not any better than getting on a good stream in the Smokies that gets minimal pressure. The hard thing around here is that the smaller streams are what EVERYONE is fishing because that is the extent of our trout water (other than tailwaters), whereas out west there are stillwaters, small streams, medium streams and rivers, larger rivers, tailwaters, spring creeks, beaver ponds....... People gravitate towards the larger water meaning small streams are rarely if every crowded or even fished that much. Take me to the Smokies on any nice weekend and I can show you fishermen pretty much anywhere on Little River you want to look...around here, if you want solitude, you must put some miles behind you.

So, to sum up, my opinion is that the perception of easier fishing is generated by larger average fish size (which is nice but does not necessarily equate with better fishing), as well as easier casting scenarios. When beginners can catch 12"-16" fish all day because that is the average size, people take that as much better fishing than the 5"-8" average size in the Smokies...really we need to all define "better fishing" first and then ask ourselves these questions...

That said, if I lived seven hours from the Colorado Rockies, I would probably fish out there way too much...
"Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'" Matthew 4:19

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