Re: Where are the big fish?
Fish the lower elavation sections, use heavy nymphs or enough lead to get to the bottom. If the water is up and off color try a streamer (size 6,4,2) heavy, maybe even a sink-tip line, they take a little getting used to, but well worth the effort and always fun to learn something new about the sport.
Tight lines! Oh, I haven't caught any real monsters from the mountains, 18" is my personal best. I have seen fish as large as 26", close enough I could have touched them with my rod tip. They are there, usually in the back of a good sized pool, jammed under a rock. Fall is when the Browns are most aggressive. Another thought is to fish the streams which drain into the high elevation, deep lakes on the NC side. Browns run up in the fall, the rainbows follow them and are there through the winter, dropping back to the lakes in the spring.
Stick with it, you will find and catch them!