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Old 04-06-2009, 09:41 AM
MtnMike MtnMike is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Bluff City, TN
Posts: 240
Default Laurel Fork - Year's 1st Freestone Stream

All of my fishing time has been on the South Holston this year and I have been chomping at the bit to get on a mountian stream. All I had was Saturday morning, but I needed to get out. So I headed for my "local" mountain stream, Laurel Fork in Carter County. Arrived at the trailhead parking lot around 9:00 expecting to see at least some hikers only to discover that I was the first to arrive. The air temperature was 38 degrees. Headed up the trail anxious to see the creek...

I wasn't disappointed, but I was actually expecting more water. I was having a hard time deciding whether to stop and fish or keep hiking. I knew the water would be cold, so I decided to head on up to the falls...

Checked the water temp (46 degrees) while tying on a size 14 parachute adams. This pool at the falls fishes pretty good in the summer, I made a few casts, but as expected nothing was coming up. So, I tied on a BHPT as a dropper and made a few more casts, still no action. Decision time. I had planned to hit a spot in the gorge above the falls, but decided that I would start back down the trail and hit some of the more shallow and sunny spots.
There was a good looking spot about 1/4 mile below the falls that had all the right ingredients. I made a cast into the shallow run and was rewarded with a beautiful rise, set the hook, nothing. No problem, cast again, he politely rose again, set the hook, nothing. OK, it's been a while since I've been in the mountains. Third cast, he rose again, nothing.
I checked the fly, cut the dropper off (side note: I get enough dry/dropper fishing on the tailwaters, I go to the mountains to fish dry flies). Anyway, fourth cast, he rose, set the hook, the fight was on, he was all over the creek... and 5 seconds later he was gone. Unreal, this fish rises 4 times and I still manage to lose him. Oh well, I didn't expect the year's first freestoner to come easy.
Moved on down to the next likely spot. Nothing but the dry fly now. Got a really nice drift and was reward with an 8-9" brown. Ahh, the year's first freestoner on a dry fly. Now let's snap a picture, he begins to squirm and I drop him without a picture. You have got to me kidding me. Oh well, cast again, another rise...

At least I got a picture of this one, continued to fish the run...

Moved on down and caught a couple more all in the 6-9" range. I ended up with 5 and had to head out. I made my last cast at 12:30, probably when I should have been starting. The water was still cool, but bugs were coming off in the sunny spots. Glad I got out before this cold snap.
I may catch bigger fish on the tailwaters, but it is no where near as much fun as these little freestoners. Can't wait till next time.

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