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  #201  
Old 12-14-2009, 11:56 PM
Jswitow Jswitow is offline
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Default The run is on!

If you've been thinking about going, the time is ripe. I hope to see some pics other than mine. Last year was by far the best year I have experienced over there, despite other reports!
Tight lines,
John
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  #202  
Old 12-15-2009, 12:22 PM
rockhopper rockhopper is offline
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Default snowbird

Thanks or the update! I would assume that you would be speaking of the very lower reaches of the creek?
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  #203  
Old 12-15-2009, 01:00 PM
Jswitow Jswitow is offline
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Default Lower Reaches of the Creek?

I would say the water from the mouth of the lake all the way to the beginning of the back country. Thats a good 12 miles of water.
Best,
John
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  #204  
Old 12-15-2009, 04:24 PM
Jswitow Jswitow is offline
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Default A few fish to kick off the season

THESE FISH WERE CAUGHT THE WEEKEND OF NOV 15 AND MAYBE THANKSGIVING WEEKENDS. ,
,
,
There were quite a few more fish caught, for some reason haven't loaded them to photobucket. Many in the 14-16" range, the 20" or larger fish are a little more scarce. Several browns this year as well, though no monsters. One though a 16-17" fat hen, the others 13-15". Still nice fish! For some reason there are also a bunch of stocked fish in the creek, large ones. I am betting the Nantahala was running too high and they put them in Snowbird by default.
Best,
John
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  #205  
Old 12-16-2009, 09:33 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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John--How long have you been fishing Big Snowbird? Your comment about last year being the best run ever intrigues me, because my good fishing friend in Robbinsville, who has been fishing the steelhead run for two decades, suggests the numbers are actually way down in comparison with the 1990s. He says that in those days it was commonplace to see hundreds of fish feeding just below the "doctors" bridge. The late Frank Young said much the same. Both felt that the coming of the otters (you can see them with some regularity at the head of the lake) had a major and detrimental impact as did the commercial fish operation which ran on Snowbird for a number of years.
If you wish, or if you don't want to go into depth on the forum, just contact me directly at jimcasada@comporium.net. Incidentally, although it isn't always possible to tell from photos, the fish you show appear to be a mixture of stocked fish and lake-run ones. You evidently felt that was the case as well. Thanks for the interesting post.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com
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  #206  
Old 12-17-2009, 01:36 AM
Jswitow Jswitow is offline
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Default Best Run Ever?

Jim,
I have been posting this thread, started the thread back in 2006, I have been fishing Snowbird at least 50 days a year since 2002. That is the basis of my experience. I don't think I said the "best run ever" in my posts. When I started fishing the run, I was happy to catch one of these larger fish 16" or better a season, then I caught two in a day and I thought "this will never happen again". Well last winter I caught as many as 5 large fish in a day, sometimes three or four from one hole.
I comment little on other streams, because I spend most of my time on this one, and am hopeful that others will show up with flyrods. I see very few flyfisherman on the creek, mostly meat hunters.
My knowledge is almost exclusively first hand, and am happy to share it with anyone who cares to read it for the current price of ............ absolutely nothing! I caught better than 40 lake run fish last winter, the best run "I" have seen. I lost a cartwheeling 27" fish (I bet), and saw 3 fish in the 30" class. This is a rare opportunity in the south. Most flyfisherman throw their fish back, it could do nothing but help the economy in Robbinsville, and may help with the prominent state of mind on the creek; that being to keep everything you catch. And yes as I said the creek seems to have a lot of large stocked fish in it this winter, the first time I have seen this..... and I'm really not crazy about it, but they do pull hard... and they fill the time between lake run fish. I really get a kick out of pretty wild fish with perfect fins. These fish can get a little damage to their tales from attempts to get over the low dam or over the spillway on the lower end, they may even get some damage from fanning a bed. But fish with fins obviously ground off in a concrete raceway just aren't as satisfying to me..... I have been spoiled! My best fish came three years ago, the only fish I caught that day, my best fish last year was a 23" fish! I will be out there every chance I get... ever faithful that a trout will eat one of my fraudulent offerings....beats the h..... out of more productive,,,, responsible activities! You ought to get up from South Carolina and give it a shot.
I would love to find out how NC came to stock steelhead in Santeetlah and it's feeders, and yes some of these fish are steelhead. My biggest fish was not a steelhead, too many spots, looked like and alaskan rainbow, just absolutely covered with spots. I may never get another that size, but I will keep trying!
Best,
John
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  #207  
Old 12-18-2009, 07:17 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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John--You missed the salad days, which were in the 1990s. You also ought to try to get to know Marty Maxwell, who is my fishing friend in Robbinsville and the finest fly fisherman in mountain experience of my entire life (and I've known a bunch of dandies). He's my main source of information on the lake-run fish. He said he hooked two this year that ran out all of his 150 yards of backing and would have broken a finger if you got it in the way of the reel. He never slowed either of them down. He did catch a bunch of fish in the 15-23 inch range. None of them were stockers, but he was casting to fish leaving the lake right at the mouth (really tough casting conditions, as you may know). I suspect your theory on NCWRC dumping some big fish in because the Nantahala delayed harvest waters were unsuitable is on target.
As for how the steelhead got there, I know the answer to that. Decades ago (late 1970s or early 1980s) the NCWRC got hold of some steelhead somehow. I'm not sure whether they raised them or got them from another state. Anyway, they stocked them in Santeetlah, Fontana, and one or two other lakes. I did a story or two on them years ago and the biologists basically said it didn't work, but to a degree at least it did in Santeetlah. I can't differentiate between a fresh lake-run rainbow and a lake-run steelhead, although the latter tend to be more silver and lest spotted, but my gut feeling is that some of the stocking survived and "took holt." There's also a run, although less impressive, on Hazel Creek.
I've fished Big Snowbird a great deal over the last quarter century, thought nothing to match your 50 days a year. It has changed a lot. The specks are getting hammered much harder above Mouse Knob Falls, otters have taken a real toll on the lower creek (wish you could have seen it in the 1970s and 1980s!), and there aren't the number of big browns in the section below the juncture of Little and Big Snowbird there once were.
If you get a chacne to meet Marty Maxwell, take advantage of it. Most everyone locally will know him, and he's an absolute gold mine of local lore and history as well as an extraordinary fisherman. Incidentally, that's him on the cover of my book if you own the book.
Thanks for the detailed reply and a bunch of interesting posts (well--interesting to me, anyway), and I gather you must have a summer home somewhere along the stream outside of the Indian lands? Don't know how well you know local folks but O. P. Holder is another friend there, and I've met and talked with Jim McGuire on occasions and knew three deceased Graham County sporting legends, Big Leonard Williams (held two state records for fish), Luther Turpin (Fontana guide and developer of the Luther Lure), and Roy Wilson (owned and operated Blue Boar Lodge for many years) quite well. I wrote stories on all of them over the years.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com
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  #208  
Old 12-18-2009, 11:37 PM
Jswitow Jswitow is offline
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Default Snowbird Steelhead

Jim,
thanks for the info about how or when they were put there. I have not met
Mr maxwellto my knowledge, though I bet I have spoken to him on the creek, or maybe at robinson's. It seems to me that the locals like to target the big browns, I don't know nearly enough about that ! There are still quite a de good sized brown in there, one guy I know over usually has one when I see him. I watched hi turn a big one with a four inch rapala the last time I was over. Had planned on going over Sunday, the weather may bring the common sense to light though this weekend. I wonder if the steelhead cam from the place in Murphy that did (or still does) raise them.
Thanks and stay warm,
John
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  #209  
Old 12-19-2009, 12:32 AM
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David Knapp David Knapp is offline
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John, nice fish as always! I still need to get over there and fish with you sometime. I've been so busy this year that I haven't really thought much about lake run fish until the last few days. Now I'm getting the itch to try and catch a few...
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  #210  
Old 12-19-2009, 09:28 PM
Jswitow Jswitow is offline
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Default Lake Run Fish

David,
Get out there! And call let me know when you want to make the trip over.
Merry Christmas,
John
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