I was finally able to get away from school for a weekend of camping in the Smokies. Friday I got in about an hour at Tremont and managed three rainbows on nymphs. Back at the campsite, I tied up a few flies that I was running low on including a beadhead Tellico and a few EHC. Little did I know how good a decision this would turn out to be. On Saturday, I drove around Cades Cove with the people I was with and then in the afternoon, we wandered over to Elkmont. There were a ton of cars in the parking lot so I was concerned about finding unfished water. Not to worry though... My friends had a baby along and did not want to hike very far so I started fishing just above the old cabins/summerhouses. I started catching fish immediately on the Tellico nymph. The fish have moved out of the winter holding spots and into their feeding lies. In a couple hours fishing I probably caught 15 or 20 fish. All but one came on nymphs, mainly the Tellico. The one on a dry was the most memorable of the weekend however.
I was working my way upstream, starting to reach that lazy state where I am not quite as focused as I was when I began. I was still catching a few fish, but was more enjoying just being out at this point. Stopping to survey some water immediately upstream, I finally saw what I thought was a good rise. After paying close attention for a couple of minutes, I saw it again, a decent sized head poking out of the water. I quickly cut off the nymph and dug out one of the EHC that I had tied the night before (tan, #16). I tied on some new 5x tippet and then the fly before getting into the best casting position. As the fly sailed gracefully through the air, my anticipation rose. The first drift was uneventful as was the second. I almost wondered if I had just imagined the fish being there. Then it happened, a good-sized dark shadow swirled underneath the fly before finally inhaling it. With a firm lift of the rod, the battle was on. A couple of minutes later, a 12 inch brown came to hand to be quickly admired before I let it slip back into the water.
Sunday was much of the same, mainly 'bows on nymphs including a couple good ones right at 12 inches. However, nothing could beat that one beautiful brown.
Overall, the fish are holding in the pocketwater now, some of which is really skinny. I caught a lot of fish in just a few inches of water near the tailouts of the pockets and pools. Quite a few fish came in extremely small (at least on the surface) pockets. Flies observed over the weekend included a few mayflies, lots of caddis mainly tan in #16 and #18, little yellow and small black or dun stoneflies and also good numbers of the large yellow stoneflies are hatching right now as well. The fishing is truly amazing right now!!!