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Thread: Are the fish in the Smokies getting smaller?

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    148

    Talking Never considered that!

    Quote Originally Posted by fishhead View Post
    I think your right on about the pictures. Oversized heads and small bodies too many fish not enough food. see same thing with bream and bass in over-populated ponds.

    on the flip side. I fished **$#@ creek a few years ago maybe 3 now.. when doing research i was told would only find small fish there. I did find some smalls but was pleasantly surprized at the keeper sized specs and bows I caught. sometimes I think the generic approach is mis-used in the Smokies. just using stimulator flies and not really paying attention to what is correct food source for that time of year. Big fish didn't get that way being stupid. But I hear alot how dumb wild fish can be.. or oppurtunistic. not always true...
    my .02
    Fishhead
    Interesting! So one of the reasons I'm stuck with the fingerlings is that I'm too lazy to throw anything out there except a #14 tan elk hair caddis?

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Tallahassee, Florida
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    906

    Default

    These fish eat to live...they also expend the same amount of energy chasing any and all food...sometimes, especially in summer and early fall, throw an oversized madamx or hopper and see what happens...must look like a steak vs. a piece of broccoli

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    42

    Talking

    just saying I catch better fish when I find out what the true food source at the time is.. there maybe nothing that is dominating at the time, but most times there is. a friend I was with last year caught a rainbow maybe
    6.5 inces he had a beetle in his stomach that was close to 1.75" long and maybe 1.00" wide.. we knew by his gut he had swallowed something big.
    they will eat anything.. but as noted the big ones didn't get that way being dumb.
    Fishhead

  4. #24
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    Jan 2013
    Location
    NW TN
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    94

    Default

    Maybe you East TN guys are just getting bigger??

  5. #25
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    Dec 2010
    Location
    Bean Blossom, Indiana
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    If you fish the Oconoluftee River basin, including the Bradley Fork, and tributaries, and you catch fish this size, I recommend you keep them. These are migrants from the trophy waters at Cherokee and they have been reported all the way up to the very beginnings of the Luftee, presumably searching for colder waters. I saw one "brood" fish, a brookie, that I think was on her redd, that could have eaten either of these guys. I am guessing her size to be 8-10 lbs or perhaps larger. When I dropped the biggest, heaviest, lure I could find in my tackle in front of her nose, she just picked it up, took it out in the main current, dropped it and came back to her redd. She hadn't responded to any smaller flies, nymphs, etc. The second time she moved off into deeper water behind a huge bolder and I never saw her again. I was about 12 feet higher than the water on a huge bolder, looking straight down on her. She was in about eight feet of water, tailing near the bottom, at the current seam, over a gravel redd.
    Whitefeather

    -don't tell me why we can't, tell me how we can.- whitefeather
    _________________________________________________
    Blue skies, warm gentle winds, and trout filled waters to all!
    (Wilu Sgis, Wami Tsenitli Winidis, Ani Tiwuti Wiledi Weitas Do Ali!)

  6. #26
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    Jan 2006
    Location
    Crossville, TN
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    2,385

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    Quote Originally Posted by whitefeather View Post
    If you fish the Oconoluftee River basin, including the Bradley Fork, and tributaries, and you catch fish this size, I recommend you keep them. These are migrants from the trophy waters at Cherokee and they have been reported all the way up to the very beginnings of the Luftee, presumably searching for colder waters. I saw one "brood" fish, a brookie, that I think was on her redd, that could have eaten either of these guys. I am guessing her size to be 8-10 lbs or perhaps larger. When I dropped the biggest, heaviest, lure I could find in my tackle in front of her nose, she just picked it up, took it out in the main current, dropped it and came back to her redd. She hadn't responded to any smaller flies, nymphs, etc. The second time she moved off into deeper water behind a huge bolder and I never saw her again. I was about 12 feet higher than the water on a huge bolder, looking straight down on her. She was in about eight feet of water, tailing near the bottom, at the current seam, over a gravel redd.
    I've been amazed at how far up some of those big stockers make it...to the point that I've wondered if there is someone catching them down in Cherokee and transporting them further up into the Park. While I don't like seeing all those stockers in a wild stream, it does provide for a surprise while fishing every once in awhile...
    "Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'" Matthew 4:19

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    The Trout Zone Blog
    contact: TroutZoneAnglers at gmail dot com

  7. #27
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    Dec 2010
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    Bean Blossom, Indiana
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    David,

    I wonder how they survive for very long. While fish this size have a diet of "larger bites" they certainly still keep eating bugs when available, which would tend to exaggerate the deprivation of the food supply the smaller fish need to survive. With all the fish that are supposedly stocked in the catch and release trophy section of the res, its hard to imagine they don't have a problem also, or soon will have. Perhaps that is one reason the stockers are dispersing. I'm sure the migration isn't limited to brookies; some very large brown's have been caught in the last couple of years upstream of the res. also. The Luftee has always had large browns according to park information, but sooner or later something has to give.
    Whitefeather

    -don't tell me why we can't, tell me how we can.- whitefeather
    _________________________________________________
    Blue skies, warm gentle winds, and trout filled waters to all!
    (Wilu Sgis, Wami Tsenitli Winidis, Ani Tiwuti Wiledi Weitas Do Ali!)

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by whitefeather View Post
    David,

    I wonder how they survive for very long. While fish this size have a diet of "larger bites" they certainly still keep eating bugs when available, which would tend to exaggerate the deprivation of the food supply the smaller fish need to survive. With all the fish that are supposedly stocked in the catch and release trophy section of the res, its hard to imagine they don't have a problem also, or soon will have. Perhaps that is one reason the stockers are dispersing. I'm sure the migration isn't limited to brookies; some very large brown's have been caught in the last couple of years upstream of the res. also. The Luftee has always had large browns according to park information, but sooner or later something has to give.
    I'm guessing these big fishies feast mostly on other fishies and rodents, lizzerds, and snakes, if they do in fact survive.

  9. #29
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    Dec 2010
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    Bean Blossom, Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskerFlyFisher View Post
    I'm guessing these big fishies feast mostly on other fishies and rodents, lizzerds, and snakes, if they do in fact survive.
    HuskerFlyFisher,

    That's what I was referring to when I mentioned "bigger bites". But I don't think the larger "meat" eater trout would turn down a good hatch if they happened on to one. The brookies in my photo were full of bugs, large and small, and along with sculpins.

    Th GSMNP web site used to have some good data on trout size, growth and mortality rates, size at which they transition to becoming "meat eaters". The mortality rates for rainbow were somewhat alarming for fish over 7 inches. Don't know how well that data translates to reality today, but the food source conditions are generally the same.
    Whitefeather

    -don't tell me why we can't, tell me how we can.- whitefeather
    _________________________________________________
    Blue skies, warm gentle winds, and trout filled waters to all!
    (Wilu Sgis, Wami Tsenitli Winidis, Ani Tiwuti Wiledi Weitas Do Ali!)

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,531

    Smile

    I pulled a 6 inch salamander out of a 7 inch trout on Roaring Fork last Summer. It was a day I forgot my camera, Freddie can verify.

    I remember saying I either saved that fishes life, or I deprived him of a months food. I'm not sure which

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