Last week was my long awaited spring break trip back home to TN. Naturally, visiting the Smokies and the good folks at LRO was high on the list of things to do. My dad was able to join me, although he does not fish, so that made it a special trip.
Originally planning on camping, that plan changed with the forecast low temperatures suggesting that my dad might freeze without a really good winter bag. One thing led to another and soon we found ourselves in a condo overlooking Little River right in town behind LRO. Definitely not a bad upgrade over tent camping!
The weather was cold. The "warmest" day of the trip was last Tuesday and we may have seen temperatures in the low 50s...maybe. Wednesday was definitely cold but I hung in there and kept fishing.
The catching was slow....4 fish for the whole trip, but the quality was very good. I managed two nice fish that we got pictures of and one 8 incher that I only got one blurry shot of. Those first three fish of the trip came on streamers. Here are a couple of shots of the nice browns...
Of course, despite the weather the streams were beautiful. I spent some time just soaking in the beauty of the mountains that I won't be able to see nearly as often now.
The best fish of the trip also made a good fish story....but I do have witnesses!!! Yes, you guessed it, no photographs exist of this fish and that's why its a good fish story!
My first day in the mountains, on Tuesday, I met up with Josh Pheiffer on a favorite stretch of Little River. While there, I noticed a nice 15-16 inch brown that would NOT eat any of my offerings. Motivated to try again, I returned on the last day which was Thursday. Travis (Chemeangler) had come up to fish for a bit and we went searching for nice browns.
Sure enough, back in the same hole was a nice brown, probably a 15 incher. Then, I looked a bit further back and was EXCITED to see a dark shadow lurking on the bottom. Not a monster, it was still a very nice 18 inch or so brown trout. I quickly maneuvered into position and presented a pair of nymphs. It took a few casts to figure out the current and drift, but then the flies were drifting into the brown's face and the slight hesitation in the leader indicated a take!!! I set the hook into a chunky and feisty brown trout and was soon chasing it around the river.
Finally, I was corralling it without a net but didn't have a good spot to beach the fish without risking injury to it. Next thing I know, while I was fumbling around with the leader/tippet and grabbing the fish, the fly popped out. A quick thrash by the fish and it was swimming free. I dearly wanted a picture and almost pounced on the brown, but realized that I would probably just hurt it and was simply glad for the brief connection I had enjoyed. And really I was just proud to have spotted and hooked that fish.
So now I have another fish to bring me back. I'll come hunting again and I know I'll find another good trout hanging out in the same spot, maybe even the same fish!
I'm back in Colorado now, but have some amazing memories to enjoy until I can return again. It was great seeing some old friends and meeting new ones. As always, it was awesome seeing Daniel, Byron, Bill H. and Bill B. at LRO. I'll remember this trip for a long time to come!