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Old 04-22-2010, 07:59 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Rock Hill, SC
Posts: 992

Barbara--I'm am firmly convinced, and it is based on considerable personal observation, that most Park streams missed one and possibly two years of rainbow reproduction. Last year I caught a world of 'bows in the 5-7 inch range and the occasional one over 10 inches. Virtually nothing in between, and I'm talking (conservatively) a couple thousand fish over the course of the summer. It was true not just for Park waters but on streams in Graham County. In fact one day on some private water on Little Snowbird I must have caught a 100 'bows, and exactly five of them were over seven inches. The lower Nantahala River was an exception, but it's a tailwater and a totally different situation.
My good fishing buddy had the same experiences.
As for the browns, I think some large ones likely died, but I caught them through all size classes. They are consistently more difficult to catch, and the only real anomaly I noticed with them is that I never caught (or even hooked) a wild brown over 18 inches or so. Usually that will happen a few times each year. I'm not saying they aren't still there, because I'm sure they are. Just seemed to me to be fewer. On the other hand, those that did survive the drought have probably been enjoying sumptuous fare in the form of little 'bows. I confidently predict that there will be a lot of fat, healthy rainbows in the 8-11 inch range this year, and some of the photos I've already been seeing bear that you.
Jim Casada
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