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  #1  
Old 10-23-2013, 01:43 PM
HuskerFlyFisher HuskerFlyFisher is offline
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Default Tell me about winter fly fishing in the Smokies

We are thinking about flying out to the Smokies after Xmas for about 10 days. I know that you can fly fish (nymphs I assume), but how effective/fun is it on decent weather days?

Anyone regularly fish the Smokies in the winter?
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:17 PM
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buzzmcmanus buzzmcmanus is offline
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Default I do

I fish the park in winter a lot. I certainly don't catch as many fish as I do other times of the year, but the atmosphere within the park is very relaxing. Peaceful to be exact.

It is one of the only times of the year I actually enjoy fishing Tremont. That is if they have the road closed.

If the roads are not closed, I enjoy fishing the "easier to get to" brook trout streams. This is contradictory to what most people say about staying low in elevation, but the brookies seem to stay hungry all the time.

I also have better luck fishing the smaller streams and staying away from the larger waters. This could be due to the density of trout in the smaller streams. If I drift my fly over/around 100 trout, I'm more likely to attract the interest of one than if I drifted my fly by 10 trout.

I catch a surprising number of fish on a dry fly. I always start with a dry/dropper combo and on some trips I'm amazed at the number of rises I get on the dry. If you are getting refusals on the dry, cut the dropper off to get a better drift. Also, keep some BWO's on hand. Sometimes you'll catch a good hatch and be able to fish to rising fish.

Fishing is almost always better in the afternoons when the water warms some. But, sometimes the fish forget that so don't stay home if you only have mornings to fish. My best winter day came on a cold, dreary, cloudy winter morning about 2 years ago. I fished above Tremont, in the snow, and caught fish on an orange EHC all morning long.
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Old 10-24-2013, 10:00 AM
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Beats watching TV

As long as you have no to low expectations it can be a lot of fun.

I guess it would also depend on what kind of winter we are having. When we have moderate Winter I would be all over it but if it's really cold and water is 42 or below in Townsend I only go when truly desperate.
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:12 PM
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If your main goal of the trip is fishing, then I would not consider the Smokies a winter destination. It can be amazing as buzz was mentioning, but more often than not you work pretty hard for a few fish. I would recommend focusing on area tailwaters as a backup plan if the Park fishing is not particularly good. You have some excellent tailwaters in the area that would allow you to enjoy the scenery and tranquility of the Park and still get some good fishing in close by when you want to.
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:51 PM
2weightfavorite 2weightfavorite is offline
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winter is fantastic! I caught some of my best fish this year in January and February. I fished with another board member in January and it snowed like crazy. We kept expecting rangers to come and tell us they were closing the roads but they never did. We caught a ton of very nice bows that day. I do not believe in lowering my expectations. I do agree with not fishing very low elevation though. Pretty hard to beat from Metcalf on up for all seasons... I still fish the riffles and runs, and I avoid the big deep slow pools. Concentrate on active fish and active fish will be in faster water. Pretty hard to go wrong with a size 10 stonefly with a PT or copper john under it. I use size 6 shot, starting with 1 and will add however many I need until I get bites. Oh, and I would go with a strike indicator... Lets you get much longer drift and cover more water..
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Old 10-24-2013, 10:03 PM
HuskerFlyFisher HuskerFlyFisher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2weightfavorite View Post
winter is fantastic! I caught some of my best fish this year in January and February. I fished with another board member in January and it snowed like crazy. We kept expecting rangers to come and tell us they were closing the roads but they never did. We caught a ton of very nice bows that day. I do not believe in lowering my expectations. I do agree with not fishing very low elevation though. Pretty hard to beat from Metcalf on up for all seasons... I still fish the riffles and runs, and I avoid the big deep slow pools. Concentrate on active fish and active fish will be in faster water. Pretty hard to go wrong with a size 10 stonefly with a PT or copper john under it. I use size 6 shot, starting with 1 and will add however many I need until I get bites. Oh, and I would go with a strike indicator... Lets you get much longer drift and cover more water..
OK, so I'm lost on the bolded part. Do you mean a dry fly with a copper john under it? And you weight the copper john with some shot so it...goes deeper? Do you use a dry fly for a strike indicator?

How far beneath the strike indicator is your copper john? 1 foot? 2 feet?

Sorry, I'm still a novice and a lot of the jargon doesn't quite make sense to me.

Also, it would seem fishing the lower elevations would be more productive because the water is warmer? no?
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:20 AM
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Stana Claus Stana Claus is offline
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HFF - The rig 2wt is talking about is a double nymph rig with a large stone fly as the lead fly and a smaller nymph trailing. The lead shot is usually attached ahead of the lead fly to get the whole rig down to the bottom quickly. Where to attach the indicator depends on how deep the water being fished is, but typically it's about 1.5 - 2 times deeper than the water column you're fishing. So, if you're fishing in 3' of water, set your indicator 4.5 - 6' up the leader. Hope that helps.
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:53 PM
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The idea about the lower elevation water being warmer is not necessarily true. It can get pretty uniformly cold between the low and mid elevations in the park. However, in the mid elevations, you can find where the stream has more gradient, and therefore faster flowing water, and the fish out in the faster water are going to be more like to be active and looking for food, while the fish in deep slow runs (as is common in the lower elevations) are going to be hunkered down in the bottom of the pools, using very little energy and you just about have to hit them in the face to get a strike, if even then. The 1-2 degree difference is water temp is probably of minimal concern compared to having faster moving runs...

Grey Neversink produced REALLY well for me for a dry fly in 40 degree and above water last year.
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Old 10-30-2013, 06:18 PM
SmokyMt4runner SmokyMt4runner is offline
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I LOVE winter fishing in the park. Especially if its snowing!! There is something about the peacefulness of being on a small park stream with a snowfall.

You will own the river. Plus, no snakes, bee's and bears!...

This is the time of year that allows me the ability to find small bluelines that in summer are choked out.

Ohhh and i always fish dry's. NDuncan is correct about the grey neversinks!!!

Gotta love winter!!~!!
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokyMt4runner View Post
I LOVE winter fishing in the park. Especially if its snowing!! There is something about the peacefulness of being on a small park stream with a snowfall.

You will own the river. Plus, no snakes, bee's and bears!...
Correction on the bears.


...and they're really hungry during the winter!
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