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  #11  
Old 09-16-2010, 08:23 PM
Grampus Grampus is offline
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Default Brook Trout Near Smokemont

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Originally Posted by Jim Casada View Post
Kevin-hoyt--Bradley Fork is a great stream, but you are not going to find specks in the lower reaches near Smokemont. I don't believe I said lower Bradley Fork was a good place for a Smoky slam, and if I did it's a serious error. www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com
Jim Casada
------------------------

Sorry, Mr Casada but you are wrong regarding presence of specks in the lower reaches of Bradley Fork! As I stated in an earlier post, I've done it several times with the last being 7/24/10, using a BH Prince. I typically do not fish past the connection of Bradley Fork Trail and Smokemont Loop Trail. In fact, Troutman's son caught his first speck in this area few years ago. I'm sure he'll share the photo if needed. I typically fish Bradley Fork 3 to 4 times a year and catch at least one speck on 75% of the trips.

One thing I've learned in fishing the Smokies 30+ years is to expect the unexpected. That's the beauty of fishing!

Grampus
Jim Parks
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  #12  
Old 09-17-2010, 07:20 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Jim--Thanks for the info, and I'm glad to hear that I'm wrong. Obviously I have to base things on my experiences or personal information, and I haven't caught a speck or until now had not known of one in lower Bradley Fork until your post.
It does confirm one thing I've observed elsewhere. specks have considerably expanded their range from the situation which existed 30 or 40 years ago, and they've done so in many streams where Park officials have not been involved in restoration in any way. Straight Fork, Beech Flats Prong, and as you now report, Bradley Fork, are among many examples. One or two fish don't prove much, but you say you've done it several times and that's good enough for me. I wonder if they came from Chasteen Creek or worked their way down from way upstream on Bradley Fork proper?

In my view what it suggests is that Mother Nature is probably doing a much better job of restocking than man, and I have some theories in that regard (and they are just theories).

(1) Never mind the maunderings of the minions of Al Gore about global warming (or climate change, or whatever the term du jour is), I think many Smokies streams have actually cooled a bit over the years. Certainly there is far more canopy cover than was the situation in the decades immediately following creation of the Park. That makes things better for specks (and worse for smallmouth, which are not nearly as widespread in Park waters as they were in the 1950s and 1960s).
(2) Park streams aren't as prone to siltation as they once were. Again, I think more vegetation, especially trees, re-establishing in old fields and open areas means less dirt washing into creeks. This helps specks, which are more affected by this than browns or 'bows.
(3) It may well be that prevailing theories about specks being unable to get along with 'bows and browns in the Smokies are wrong. After all, they do co-exist in fine fashion in Western streams
(4) Increased acidification (Ohio Valley coal plants) may, somewhat perversely, be helping specks or, more to the point, hurting 'bows and browns more. They don't tolerate highly acidic waters quite as well.
These are just observations, but I find it intensely interesting that the Park, TU, countless volunteers, and lots of dollars (some of them mine) have gone towards restoring specks and evidence such as you have provided increasingly suggests that none of this has been as effective as nature.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com
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  #13  
Old 09-17-2010, 08:36 AM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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This speck topic where people find them unexpectedly might make a good thread. I stayed at Cataloochee front country campground over labor day and caught 2 specs. The first one I caught was right behind palmer chapel on palmer creek. I was a bit surprised since that is low but not too suprised although on previous trips I never got into specks until up near the confluence of palmer and pretty hollow creek only rainbows. The second speck I caught though was right behind the front country campground in cataloochee creek! This was below the confluence of caldwell fork and palmer right next to the campground. I was a bit shocked by this only expecting to catch bows or browns in there. It was about 6 inches in length and a fine looking speck. Any thoughts on that Jim? This leads me to believe that one could potentially get a slam right at the cataloochee front country campground too now although I did not.
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  #14  
Old 09-17-2010, 09:11 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Adam--I'm not too surprised, since specks are plentiful upstream of where you were. What I do find interesting is the timing--during the warmest water period of the year (although temperatures have dropped a good bit in the last couple of weeks).
I hope others will weigh in on this, and I can guarantee that Fred Turner is following it with interest as he endeavors to update the Park's stream/species survey (which is sadly out of date, totally out of funds, and was incomplete even when they had funding).
In my view it takes more than one speck to mean much, because an odd fish can "wander" or get washed downstream. However, when I get reports like Jim's about catching them with some consistency on lower Bradley Fork, it opens my eyes. I've only fished Bradley Fork once in the last two years and I didn't catch a speck (although I caught a passel of rainbows and three or four browns). But one trip doesn't mean much other than to give a general impression. He's got me sufficiently curious to head up there this coming week.
I'll also be interested to see what kind of response, if any, my thoughts on the natural expansion of the range of specks in the last decade or so draws. I'll have to see what Matt Kulp thinks as well, although I know he's on board with the change as regards smallmouth. In fact, he is the one who originally gave me the idea.
Jim Casada
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  #15  
Old 09-17-2010, 10:50 AM
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Troutman Troutman is offline
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Default Specs on Bradley Fork

Here is the photo Grampus was speaking of.

This was Evan's first brook trout and what a fun day we had on Bradley fork. I was more excited than he was! Seems like a long time ago, summer 2006, he's grown up now and leaving for college next fall.



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  #16  
Old 09-17-2010, 11:53 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Troutman--Now that's a smile to last a lifetime! It's great you captured the moment through a camera lens. How old was he when he caught the speck? I remember my first trout on a fly (at the age of nine) as clearly as if it was yesterday, as opposed to almost 60 years ago. In fact, I'm confident I could pinpoint the location, within 50 yards, on Deep Creek. It was near the Bryson Place. How I wish I had a photo of it.
Jim Casada
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P. S. My father was passing proud too, although he masked it quite nicely at the time. What really got his attention, however, was my first limit of trout three years later (that was when the limit was ten, if memory serves). It came from Indian Creek and I had a couple of dandies in the 11-12 inch range, which was (and is) a huge trout for that stream.
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  #17  
Old 09-17-2010, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grampus View Post
------------------------

... regarding presence of specks in the lower reaches of Bradley Fork! As I stated in an earlier post, I've done it several times with the last being 7/24/10, using a BH Prince. I typically do not fish past the connection of Bradley Fork Trail and Smokemont Loop Trail. In fact, Troutman's son caught his first speck in this area few years ago. I'm sure he'll share the photo if needed. I typically fish Bradley Fork 3 to 4 times a year and catch at least one speck on 75% of the trips.

One thing I've learned in fishing the Smokies 30+ years is to expect the unexpected. That's the beauty of fishing!

Grampus
Jim Parks
The distribution map snipit shows what the NPS Fisheries Management sampling revealed, but this could have been a number of years ago. Based on the map they first saw specks in Bradley Fork at the mouth of Taywa Creek and in Chasteen Creek just below Upper Chasteen campsite.



It think this revelation shared by Grampus and Troutman is really special, but not nearly as much so as taking your kids fishing. I hereby propose we petition the Park Service to officially name one of the feeder streams above Smokemont Evans Branch.

JF
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  #18  
Old 09-17-2010, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crockett View Post
This speck topic where people find them unexpectedly might make a good thread. I stayed at Cataloochee front country campground over labor day and caught 2 specs. The first one I caught was right behind palmer chapel on palmer creek. I was a bit surprised since that is low but not too suprised although on previous trips I never got into specks until up near the confluence of palmer and pretty hollow creek only rainbows. The second speck I caught though was right behind the front country campground in cataloochee creek! This was below the confluence of caldwell fork and palmer right next to the campground. I was a bit shocked by this only expecting to catch bows or browns in there. It was about 6 inches in length and a fine looking speck. Any thoughts on that Jim? This leads me to believe that one could potentially get a slam right at the cataloochee front country campground too now although I did not.
Great stuff, Adam! Specks found down low in the drainage by NPS Fisheries Management sampling a number of years ago include:
  • Little Cataloochee Creek just below Correll Branch
  • Sag Branch (a Caldwell Fork feeder.)
  • Caldwell Fork just above Sag Branch
  • Short distance up Pretty Hollow Creek (a Palmer Creek feeder.)
  • Palmer Creek just below Lost Bottom Creek
  • Hurricane Creek (a Rough Fork feeder. RF feeds Palmer Creek.)
JF
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  #19  
Old 09-17-2010, 01:14 PM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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If that is the case Fred then I can tell you that the specks definitely seem to be spreading down lower into big cataloochee valley now. If I had just caught one I wouldn't be as sure about it as having caught 2 within a couple of hours of each other. When I go back over I will get some pics if I catch anymore down low.
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  #20  
Old 09-17-2010, 01:32 PM
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Jim, Evan was 12-13 years old when he caught that spec. I remember it vividly. the area above where this pict was taken was a nice flat pool and I was coaching him on where to cast the dry fly into a bubble line. He was getting a little frustrated with missing strikes and at the time was still learning how to present a fly drag free, but this time it worked perfectly for him. Good memories.
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