Well, it took me a while, but I figured I'd post a Smokies report for last week. I spent much of the time fishing the East Prong of Little River (my fiancee, Regan, was tying up some loose ends for our wedding in Townsend in October that I couldn't really be a part of, and she was gracious enough, as always, to let me chase after wild trout and zen out on the streams). I spent a couple days exploring the lower river in the Park between the Y and the Sinks early in the week, then upstream of Metcalf Bottoms mid week, and fished Road Prong on Friday in the afternoon (along with several other anglers).
I noticed that few folks on this forum have been fishing Little River below the Sinks recently, but for anyone interested, especially with nymphing, the fish are there--I caught a number of wild Rainbows, most 4-8", and including a couple 10", and one that was a good 11", the last just beautiful, with olive green and lemon yellow sides, and warm red stripe and gill plates. I also missed or lost at least as many as I landed, these trout are lightning quick, and on Monday hooked what I believe was a large Brown over 15" in a nice riffle run (about halfway between the Y and the Sinks), but the fly simply came out in heartbraking fashion. Also, I found a bunch of good-sized hatchery bows throughout this stretch in the deeper runs, and kept 4 of these, 11-13", for dinner (something I haven't done in 10 years) for Regan and I, along with some of her friends from back in high school; I figured the hatchery trout with any survival instinct decided to make for the cooler waters of the Park. Nymphs worked best for me in this stretch, especially a #10 BH brown Rubberlegs for the point on 5X, and a #16 BH PT on 6X for the dropper.
Above Metcalf Bottoms, I caught mostly 4-7" Rainbows and a few Browns, both on the nymphs above and on a #16 Neversink Caddis yellow (I tied some of these up after reading the posts here, I love this fly) on 6X, and also caught another Rainbow that was a solid 11", a dark, strong fish that grabbed the PT from a deep swirling pocket in the evening, and again, missed lots of others, including an 11-12" Brown from the tail of a long flat run that rose to a #12 black foam beetle, on Friday morning. I didn't detect any larger Browns up here on this trip, but I know they are in there.
Friday afternoon at Road Prong was wonderful, although I suspect another angler or two fished through the water I visited before me, as many of the pockets and pools seemed absent of fish, from the 4th bridge up to the falls. All the same, I caught a handful of specs (my first in the Smokies), the best being a brilliant 7.5" fish with a crimson orange belly that seemed to glow like embers, and just clobbered the Neversink Caddis (I tried a yellow PA and Elk Hair Caddis, but the fish seemed to prefer the Neversink). Road Prong is a special place, with each plunge pool and cascade seemingly more lovely than the last--I can see why people on this site like this stream so much. Incidentally, I also backtracked close to the 2nd bridge in early evening, fished up to the 3rd bridge, and found only Rainbows, including one colorful 10" bow.
Sooooooo, I had a pretty good time of it fishingwise, the brookies were probably the highlight, but good to see some larger wild Rainbows as well in Little River, looks like some of them weathered the drought from last year. I can't wait to return to the Smokies with Regan to get married this fall, and maybe we can chase a few trout together as well!
Many thanks to LRO as well, spent some $$ on hats, maps, and a pair of Chota wading booties (I noticed some other folks on the forum bought these as well, they're great), all the folks there were friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.
I'll try to post some pics, too, once I get the film developed!
Tight lines, Iain