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  #21  
Old 01-11-2007, 11:57 AM
ZachMatthews ZachMatthews is offline
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Default Re: Nantahala Salmon

I'll let you in on what I've learned in four seasons now attempting to fish for these fish.

North Carolina Dept. of Wildlife Resources stocked kokanee salmon, onchorynchus nerki, in Nantahala and a couple other lakes in western North Carolina in the 1950s or 1960s as forage fish for northern pike, which they also stocked. Those pike died, but the salmon hung on.

The kokes make a yearly run out of Nantahala into private water above the lake in the fall. The upper Nantahala watershed is approximately 6 miles long and the private water extends about 4 miles up it. The kokanee run has not left the private water in several years. At one time, the run was thick enough to cover the whole watershed, but a combination of increasing privatization (or just denying anglers' fishing rights) and an outfit called the Rainbow Springs Club has basically ended that.

There is currently no way to catch these fish unless you are invited to the Rainbow Springs Club or know someone who owns property further downriver. The whole river where they run is private, and in North Carolina that means no fishing, no wading, etc.

I actually did see the kokanee this year, and I'm the one who told Byron they didn't make it out of the private water (or one of the ones who told you that, Byron). I saw them because the Rainbow Springs Club called the police on me while I was standing on the public highway watching the water for salmon to come up. Unfortunately for them, I'm a charming guy, and I talked the nice police officer who came down to run me off into taking me up to the lodge and introducing me instead. They gave me the cold shoulder but did allow me to look at their fish, which had collected in a pool on the property. The kokanee I saw were way bigger than I expected - 20-24" long for the bucks and 14-16" long for the hens. A good portion of that was head-room, but the bucks probably weighed 4# or so.

I'm hoping that's a sign the run will improve in the coming years, maybe even enough to once again leave that private area, but unfortunately there's no real way to get to these fish legally at the present time. Also, I learned that it can be almost a four hour drive from Knoxville to that area due to the bad roads (you have to go down the Dragon). For me, that isn't worth it; I saw the fish, they exist, and that's enough. Unless I get a private invitation I won't be going back.

Zach
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  #22  
Old 01-12-2007, 01:25 AM
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Default Re: Nantahala Salmon

well, that pretty much solves that. thanks for the info zach! man, I'd love to tear into them salmon with my 3wt.
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  #23  
Old 02-08-2007, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Nantahala Salmon

I've fished Standing Indian a few times since '83, one of my favorite places actually. Much prefer it to the water below the lake. Never heard of kokanee there though. Wonder how you fish for 'em?

Tennessee tried putting kokanee in one of the east tennessee lakes back in the 80's but my understanding is that it didn't take off.

sb
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  #24  
Old 02-09-2007, 05:13 AM
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Default Re: Nantahala Salmon

I've fished for them a few times now. I did catch one on a fly that was bigger than the state record. Mine was 17 inches a few years back. Didn't know I had a record or I would have submitted it. There has been a 27 incher a guy caught on a boat with my wifes dad. They were trolling and caught it.

Not all of them run up to Rainbow Springs Club, there are other tribs to the lake that they run. These are the places I have fished for them before. Wifes parents have a house on the lake so I can dock my bass boat there and the run over to the other small tribs to fish.

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  #25  
Old 02-09-2007, 09:31 AM
Jswitow Jswitow is offline
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Default Re: Nantahala Salmon

T.E.Shuler,
You must live over in Western NC, seem to be alot of Shulers in that part of the world! I am glad to hear about the tribs. I had noted that there were several of them feeding that lake. I am going to be in Robbinsville(there is a game warden in Robbinsville with the same last name) this weekend and might take a ride over there around the lake just to have a look. I would guess that by now the run is long since past?
Thanks for the information, post a pic of that 17" fish if you can find it!
Best,
John
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  #26  
Old 02-17-2007, 03:47 AM
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I do live in WNC, Bryson City to be exact! And yes, Heath is my cousin! We are all very proud of him!

I will warn you guys if you just have to fish for these things. WATCH who's land you are on! The property lines are not very straight or clear for the newcomer. And you can be dang sure the landowners and game wardens know where the lines are. The folks on the upper Nanty are the fastest to call the law for trespassing that I have ever seen, anywhere
Don't believe me, try walking on the Rainbow Springs club and see how fast you get in trouble!! Most of the time you won't make it out of your car and even get to so see a fish. Their private security guys are that good.
They will even get after you for trying to park and look off the bridge on HWY 64 going over Chunky Gal!! Know of a fellow who got in trouble for that a few weeks ago! He was apparantly on the shoulder of the road which is state right of way but still Rainbow's property.
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  #27  
Old 02-19-2007, 11:54 AM
Jswitow Jswitow is offline
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Default Koks on the Nan

I bet they are good at calling. Why is that? We're actually starting to see a little of that on Snowbird as well. Though luckily nobody owns massive stretches of the creek on both sides..........yet.
Best,
John
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  #28  
Old 02-19-2007, 12:47 PM
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" I bet they are good at calling. Why is that? "

Well, I usually try to put myself into their shoes when I think about people that have blocked off access to the general public....and most of the time I can't argue with them. If I was smart enough or lucky enough to own a nice stretch of trout stream, I don't imagine that I'd want folks fishing there either. Good fishing water isn't hard to find, but it probably wouldn't take more than a few times picking up John Q. Public's coke can, twinkie package or discarded leader wrapper for me to put up posted signs and gates.


For some reason, it seems alot of folks don't understand how people can want to keep their private property, private. But, if we put ourselves in their shoes - imagine we own the land and the good fishing creek - and imagine what the general public could do to such a place - it's not hard to see why folks are protective of what they've worked hard( or lucked up on) to secure for themselves and their family and friends.

But don't worry - when I work out that deal to buy Hazel Creek from the NPS, I'll only charge $100 a day to fish it, cause I like you guys.
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  #29  
Old 02-19-2007, 01:42 PM
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Default private waters

I understand and respect the rights of private land ownership and always expect others to also. Unfortionately, I'm not one of the lucky individuals that owns or has unrestricted access to any of these areas.
I don't understand how any organization ( no matter how much money or local political power they have) can call the police on someone for looking at fish from a bridge which is on a Public right of way. (per Zach M. earlier post) I hate to think that anyone is that elitist and just plain mean to harass us. It makes me thankful to all the landowners who gave up their lands to preserve the GSMNP for everyones use.
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  #30  
Old 02-19-2007, 06:49 PM
Jswitow Jswitow is offline
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Talking koks on the Nan

Not too much to say about the landowners or clubs. I would run off the people who wanted to keep all the fish they caught (as well as the litterers) I would put out a sign stating "no trespass without the owner's permission. See the owner at xxxx address". The person who violated that would get the call, and the person who littered would not be allowed to fish again. I don't find fly-fishing trash once or twice a season, don't know about the rest of you. I don't own a ranch with a famous river on it or even a small creek in the Smokies, (few people do) can't really say what I would say if I did. My parents had a farm with a 5 acre pond.......full of bass, catfish and bluegill. We let people fish until somone stole my little johnboat. Then we still let friends and the local church fish it twice a season, for catfish for their fishfry. The robber baron mentality still lives though, and those people feel it is their right to exclude others from their holdings. The ranch on the Henry's Fork was that way for many years, owned by the Harriman family (railroad builders) can you imagine how much of an impact the rails had on the settling of this country, staggering, they would have been akin to a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates of today. I might have felt privileged enough to have kept things for myself as well. Doubtful I will ever know. Luckily they did will the ranch to the people, with stipulations for how it would be managed. He enjoyed it for his lifetime, then passed it on for the good of fellow flyfisherman. He didn't have to do it, but I am glad he did.
This stuff is all a matter of opinion though. I will from time to time pay to fish a pig farm in Georgia(Blackhawk Farm is awesome for that matter!) or a Spring Creek out west.......... and hope that Ted Turner signs his ranch over to the state of Montana, with his passing from this life. Doesn't sound like the Rainbow Club will be doing that any time soon. Until 5 or 10 years ago that was really the back of beyond, few knew it was even there. No real skin off my back, there is plenty of water out there to fish.
So do you get a buzz from licking those trout or what?
Best,
John
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