Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: Your Most Memorable Park Fish

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Chattanooga, Tennessee
    Posts
    38

    Default Your Most Memorable Park Fish

    I was doing a little digging around the forum tonight and came across a thread from back in 2011 from the iconic Jim Casada. It was titled something along the lines of "Your Most Treasured Park Memory." Out of sheer boredom, I thought this would be a great topic to revitalize, and I am interested in hearing some your favorite fish stories. Without further ado...

    At 23 years old, I'm very fortunate to have begun fly fishing at the age of 12. I began fishing the Smokies almost exclusively some 5 years later. For the first few years, I was enamored with chasing Southern Appalachian strain brook trout on various streams and tributaries in the Park. The beauty and spunk of these fish just had a powerful draw on me as a young angler. As I became more and more familiar with the Park, I became friends with several people who have a real knack for pursuing some of the larger brown trout in the Park. There is something about the wits and resiliency of these fish to grow to the size that they do that really began to strike a chord in me. I made a commitment to myself a couple of years ago to dedicate most all of my Park excursions to learning as much as I could about pursuing Brown Trout, through trial and error and annoying those who are most knowledgeable on the subject. Although I had previously caught large wild browns in the National Forest, there was just something about translating this over into the Park that began to consume my attention.

    Fast forward to last year, and I had accumulated a good bit of experience on the matter, even having my heart broke battling and eventually breaking off an 18-19" brown in a pool split vertically down the middle by a fallen tree the Fall before. On one adventure last June, over on the Carolina side, the stars aligned and the water conditions were perfect. I was fishing one of my absolute favorite streams in the Park in the middle of a 4 day solo trip. After catching an oddball Tiger Trout early in the day that had obviously swam up from local stocked waters, my day was pretty much made. I walked further up the trail and met a gentleman fishing a pretty well-known run for bigger fish. Through casual conversation, he had told me that he had been fishing for only 15 minutes, but had just landed an 18.5" brown. Seeing that I had left my net in the truck and I could use the company, I asked the gentleman, named Charles, if he would be interested in walking further up the trail with me to fish a productive gorge section of the creek I like to fish from time to time. He happily agreed and up the trail we went.

    We made a short hike roughly 3/4" of a mile up from where we had met and dropped down into a very prominent run to anyone who has fished this stream before. Charles got below me and started fishing the tail-out while I started fishing in the heart of the flat, deep run. When the water is up and slightly stained, I often times opt for a smaller nymph with a bigger Stonefly imitation or Girdle Bug dropped below, somewhat of a traditional Euro-nymph style rig. On my 3rd cast into the run, I felt a hard take. I lifted the rod and immediately felt the powerful and undeniable head shake of large brown. Instantly, I told Charles this was a really quality fish, registering in my mind that I was probably fighting a 15-16" brown.

    After the fish had made many runs, including across the pool, up into some faster water and even at my feet, I still couldn't see the fish. I then knew that I had a bonafide large brown on. Finally, the fish darted across the run to the far side and came up in the water, and I could now see the golden flanks of a very large brown. At this point, Charles had a few choice words (stream appropriate of course), and we were now both on edge. After bringing the fish in and unsuccessfully netting it tail-first, the fish took another hard run downstream towards some faster water. With an 8"6" 4 weight in my hand, I knew this was probably now or ever. I told Charles I was going to lift the rod tip and slowly begin to back up, all the while saying a prayer that the 6 lb Flouro leader would hold. The fish did just as I had instructed (hoped) and came back up to the surface and Charles proceeded in MVP fashion to scoop the fish up into the net. After laying the fish into his measuring net, what I thought originally was a 17" fish turned out to be a gorgeous and solid 19" male brown.

    Although I proceeded to catch a couple of other large browns in the Park last year, this fish will always hold a special place in my heart. It was a day that everything came together. Everything happens for a reason, like me meeting a complete stranger with a net who was willing to fish with me and share in this memory. I am forever indebted to him and to the Good Lord above for providing me with such a memorable day. Charles and I proceeded to fish for another couple of hours, and to this day I have never seen or caught as many 12-14" browns in the Park as we would go on to do that afternoon. I was especially grateful that the fish didn't seem to mind my bright green shirt too much, considering the harsh lessons I've learned on the importance of wearing drab clothing or camoflauge.

    We are very blessed to have a place like the Smokies to explore and cherish. I look forward to hearing your favorite Park memory or fish. Tight lines to you all this Spring.

    Pictures add validity, so here's a couple shots of the fish, by the way. Sorry if they are a little blurry, Photobucket Editor hates resizing apparently.




  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Kodak, TN
    Posts
    86

    Default Memorable Park Fish

    Good memory, Chase.

    I'm now into my 40th year fishing the Smokies and there are many memories. Some good, like the day I caught a Smoky Mtn Slam on my first 2 casts... yes, I know it's 3 fish... or the 22 inch brown I watched with its mouth open like "Jaws" swimming toward my fly. Then there's some bad memories such as July 6, 1986 on Hazel Creek when I had probably my biggest brown to date beaten and sliding toward my net only to have my "old" tippet break on me. That trout I estimated to be 28-30".

    Though not my biggest brown, my best memory was back in the late 90's, Tim Doyle and I were "hunting" browns in late December. The temp was in the upper 20's and we were sight fishing. If you know Tim, there's rarely a dull moment. We had spotted a good brown at a tail-out. We looked at each other for a moment and decided I'd give it a try. So I put on my waders and boots and walked down a ways for an upstream approach. The water was gin clear and Tim was hiding behind a tree on the side of Little River Rd giving me feedback on what the brown was doing. After several casts, I had no luck. He wanted me to try a different fly. So, as I'm standing in the middle of the cold Little River, Tim hooks the nymph to a dead stick about 18" long and pitches it to me like a horseshoe expecting me to catch it. I did! Meanwhile, he trout was still on the bottom of the tail-out about 3 ft deep. I tie on the fly and make another careful cast to the left and just upstream to give the heavy nymph time to sink and get as close to its mouth as possible. Though I cannot see the brown because of my low water-level angle and its camouflage with the stream bottom, thanks to Tim's updates I know its exact location. About when I expect my fly to be going by the brown, I see a white flash of its mouth opening. I set the hook and Tim yells! The brown begins the head-shaking and working its way upstream. Perhaps because of the cold water, it didn't move fast or very hard, but still because of the clear water, I had used a small tippet and knew I was in for a battle to hold it on. I stepped up into the tail out in water about knee deep water that was rushing all around. Suddenly the brown turned and tried to go between my legs which I closed. The brown seemed to hesitate as it changed it's escape route when my legs closed, I remembered that Tim was holding the net on the bank and wasn't about to step into the cold water in his street clothes and though I'm talented, I wasn't talented enough to catch the net while watching and fighting the big brown. As it hesitated for a split second and though I'd never done it before I had seen it on TV and my reflexes took over. I reached down with my gloved hand and grabbed the brown by its tail, lifting it out of the water. As I cradled it across the stream to where Tim was holding the net, he kept yelling, "I'LL BE ****ED......I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THAT BEFORE!" referring to how I simply grabbed the 23" brown.

    Tim wanted photos to show for his guide service and I let him take photos of me and made him assure me he would not include any with my face. A few weeks later, he was doing a fly-tying demo at LRO and I wanted to stop by. As I walked into the shop, there was an 8X10 photo of the fish on the counter right when you walked into the store and it had my face! I felt like the old EF Hutton commercials when I walked in. Everybody got quiet and focused their eyes on me! I'd preferred to keep a low profile.

    It still makes me smile!

    Jim

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Polk County Florida
    Posts
    27

    Default

    I have not fished the park very much; a few times about fifteen years ago and just recently last week twice. Last week I didn't catch anything. I did get a few strikes both on nymphs and on a yellow sallie dry fly. The fish were just nipping at the fly and not taking it deep. About fifteen years ago while fishing Laurel Creek, I hooked and landed a rainbow on a nymph that measured 13 1/2 inches. That was definitely my park best.
    Joe

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    61

    Default total accident

    My most memorable catch in 20 years of fishing the Park was about 12 years ago. I was fishing below the bridge at the T of Tremont road and Cades Cove Road. I hadn't caught much all day above the Institute and was heading home for the day. I stopped at the bridge, walked out on the sand bar and tied on an orange wooly burger. After a few fruitless casts, with the sun setting rapidly, I was getting ready to call it a day. I was just letting the fly drift downstream aimlessly, but as I started to reel in my line I felt a strong jerk. I turned quickly and started to strip the line. In a few seconds I had landed a chubby 13 inch Rainbow. Not my biggest fish ever, but my most memorable.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Louisville,TN
    Posts
    145

    Default

    My most memorable park trout is this 16.5 inch brown caught in January of 2016. Caught on a size14 BH pheasant tail using my TFO 3wt with an Orvis Battenkill reel.

    "Yea, though I walk through the shadow of the mountain. I will fear no trout: for thou art with me; thy fly rod and thy wading staff they comfort me."
    Email Kris

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Kodak, TN
    Posts
    86

    Default Weekend Action



    A nice brown from the weekend. The water was still cool, but high and a light rain was falling, which from my experience, puts browns on the feed. I saw a nice run about 3 feet deep along a rock ledge on the far side of the creek. The run had good flow and was dark so that I could not see the bottom along the rock. I had a #8 guinea fly (old mountain pattern) and a #6 stonefly dropped off the end, more than anything helping me get down quickly. I made 3 or 4 casts in the pool, but not satisfied with how close I was getting the flies against the ledge. I wanted the flies to drift against the rock wall. Finally, I got the cast as I wanted it. I held my rod tip up so I could quickly set the hook when the leader twitched. About 1/2 way down the run, I saw a big head appear a foot or so under water. I set the hook, and the brown moved downstream across from where I was standing. It made a leap of about 2 feet out of the water before it started fighting in earnest. It never really shook its head, so much as it pulled down toward the bottom of the pool which was about waist deep. I kept moving my rod tip around to alter the direction the pressure was coming from, doing this to confuse the brown. I kept a lot of pressure and using my new 4 wt rod, felt the rod absorbing the battle well. This was only my 2nd battle with this rod I'd purchased last month. The brown was smart in using the current to it's advantage making it difficult for me to stay below it. It moved downstream toward a bolder so I followed it and lifted my rod tip up high to reduce the likelihood of any snags. I made 2 attempts with my net but he wasn't done. After each miss, he made another strong run across to the other side of the pool. He moved further down toward another bolder but my concern was the beginning set of rapids he was nearing. I didn't want that to happen, so I put as much pressure as I felt possible without breaking my 4X tippet,putting the rest of my trust in the rod. Fortunately, that did the trick and I was able to land most of the brown into my net. I did a quick measure and it hit the 22" mark, my second 22" brown from the same area in my last 4 trips. II carefully cradled him facing him upstream as the oxygen filled his moving gills. It didn't take long for the big male to get his energy back. As I watched him swim away, he eased his way along the bottom to the nearest rock with a dark undercut for him to hide. The remarkable thing was that I saw the run and felt a little "wow" effect. So, I walked downstream from it to work my way back up to it. I knew when I saw the pool that I'd get into a big brown if I didn't make any mistakes in my approach. Something about the conditions, high water and rain, and the way the water was running alongside the long ledge told me it would hold a big fish. The hardest part about catching a big brown is getting them to bite. For the most part, their bite is hard and deliberate making the hook set fairly easy. Then, after that keep the pressure on and take the fight to them. Never let them think they're in control. As long as I have a hook in them attached to my line, they're losing. From there, its "aggressive patience".

    Jim Parks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Kodak, TN
    Posts
    86

    Default

    Better photo. Jim Parks


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Seymour, TN
    Posts
    59

    Default

    I'm going a different route with my most memorable. I'm going with my first trout caught in the park. Up in Tremont, Rainbow, all of about two or three inches long, on a hare's ear nymph that I had tied.

    I've caught a lot more trout in the park since then, and I plan on catching a bunch more.
    later
    Dan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    8

    Default

    either of these

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Hillbilly Hollow, NC
    Posts
    1,041

    Default

    fiskerkill I fixed it for you
    "Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it."
    Salvador Dali

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •