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Thread: Two days of fishing the smokies ...

  1. #11
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    Oct 2016
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    To event suggest that The Smokies could hold a candle to decent western streams is totally laughable. I’ve fished the Smokies since I was a kid, and I’ve fished the Black Forest of Germany, Austria, to all over the west out here and other spots in between. The Smokies can be a disappointment to a guy from out west. That’s just a reality.

    Hang in there, pal. It’ll improve for you as water temps rise this week.

    Stealth is a big deal in The Park. Highsticking, tight lining, euro nymphing...pick a poison...are where numbers and quality come from here.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Kodak, TN
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    171

    Cool The Comedian

    Quote Originally Posted by Panther Bone View Post
    To event suggest that The Smokies could hold a candle to decent western streams is totally laughable.

    For trout, I've fished Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Virginia, Vermont, and Vltava (Czech Republic). Not that they're bad. The Smokies are that good year round.

    I'll take the Smokies.....call me a comedian....

    Jim Parks

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    NC side of the Smokies
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    61

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskerFlyFisher View Post
    We love Cosby Creek and have a lot of memories there. We prefer small stream fishing. Of course in NM or CO, a watershed such as Cosby wouldnt be considered small, and would yield pretty darn good fish. See Commache Creek below in NM. This creek is 5 to 10 feet wide and wouldn’t even count as fishable water in eastern TN, but it yields the native Rio Grande Cutthroat that is typically 8-14 inches long!



    It doesn't hurt when it's catch and release and they stock it with hundreds of 12" trout.

    Regulations for Comanche Creek are catch-and-release only, with tackle restricted to artificial flies and lures with single, barbless hooks. The fish stocked throughout the watershed July 2 included 600 12-inchers and 4,500 4-inchers.
    I could show you small creeks here like that that are swarming with 12"-14" stocked fish, too.

    Another big difference is that those smaller creeks out there are deeper on average, flow through open areas, and have miles of undercut banks and cover. Not like our plunge pool/riffle /plunge pool pattern. And likely don't get scoured out annually by heavy floods like ours. And have higher ph and fertility.
    Specks: the other pink meat.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    206

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    Quote Originally Posted by just a hillbilly View Post
    It doesn't hurt when it's catch and release and they stock it with hundreds of 12" trout.



    I could show you small creeks here like that that are swarming with 12"-14" stocked fish, too.
    Not sure where you got your info, but Comanche Creek and Valle Vidal are not stocked. In 2010, there was a massive fishing derby (keep all you want!) and subsequent shocking as part of a carefully orchestrated campaign to get rid of ALL of the fish in Valle Vidal in an effort to preserve the native Rio Grande Cutthroat, and it was only restocked with the natives soon after This is after large dams/falls were built to prevent the Bows from re-infilterating and cross-breeding with the RGC. Those were mostly 1-year-old fish. The only portion of Rio Costilla that is stocked is the portion owned by RCCLA. Everything in the Valle Vidal, including Comanche Creek, is wild.

    It is true that the ecology of the western streams is much more conducive to large fish than the eastern streams. As an example, there are times in the summer where grasshoppers are practically everywhere around the western streams. That makes for some fat fish. I don't know that I have ever seen a grasshopper in the Smokies. The bugs out west are the kind that make a splat on your windshield. You don't have those in the Appalachians. Just the way it is.
    Last edited by HuskerFlyFisher; 03-25-2019 at 09:29 PM.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Maynardville, TN
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    140

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    Then why complain if you know what you’re getting yourself into before you fish the Smokies once a year?

    We’re comparing apples and oranges when it comes to Appalachian freestones and streams elsewhere in the country. Water fluctuations (floods and droughts), infertility, ph levels, silt, erosion, food sources and competition for said food sources, spawning areas, predominantly rainbow trout in most streams, and so on will FOREVER and ALWAYS limit the overall general size of the fish in this area of the country.

    You have to change your expectations and overal definition of “success” based on when and where you’re fishing, your experience, weather, time of year, and a multitude of other variables.


    The question you have to ask yourself is this: Do you want to catch 20 14” with nothing bigger than 14”, or 20 fish averaging 6” with one shot at a true trophy that’s 18” or better?


    Embrace the “level of suck” and pay your dues in this part of the country if you want to consistently catch solid fish.

  6. #16
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    Apr 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robinryder2 View Post
    Then why complain if you know what you’re getting yourself into before you fish the Smokies once a year?

    We’re comparing apples and oranges when it comes to Appalachian freestones and streams elsewhere in the country. Water fluctuations (floods and droughts), infertility, ph levels, silt, erosion, food sources and competition for said food sources, spawning areas, predominantly rainbow trout in most streams, and so on will FOREVER and ALWAYS limit the overall general size of the fish in this area of the country.

    You have to change your expectations and overal definition of “success” based on when and where you’re fishing, your experience, weather, time of year, and a multitude of other variables.


    The question you have to ask yourself is this: Do you want to catch 20 14” with nothing bigger than 14”, or 20 fish averaging 6” with one shot at a true trophy that’s 18” or better?


    Embrace the “level of suck” and pay your dues in this part of the country if you want to consistently catch solid fish.
    I actually fish the Smokies several times a year and have been doing so since along about 2005, but your point is taken.

    And I would be most delighted if my "average" catch for the day was 6 inches.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Maynardville, TN
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    The kicker is that the guys (some on this forum) that consistently produce the best results, fish it several times a month if not a week haha

    Disclaimer: I’m not including myself in that fold.

    But fish it when the water is 50 degrees or more and you’ll be satisfied. And check out the NC side.

  8. #18
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    Apr 2012
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    From where I live in the Texas panhandle, I can be on a lot of good water in about a 4 to 5 hour drive. In NM, I fish Valle Vidal, Pecos, Rio Hondo, and Cimarron Canyon pretty regularly. In CO, I will usually "lease" a mile or two of water on a private ranch for a couple of days. If you're ever interested go to South Park Fly Fishers. For $50 to $100, you have your own ranch for a day!

    We do tend to forget how much more difficult fly fishing is in the Smokies, yet I love the Smokies. I bought my first cabin there in 2005 and ended up with a full blown cabin management company with several dozen cabins to manage. It's a really, really good place.

  9. #19
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    Oct 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grampus View Post
    For trout, I've fished Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Virginia, Vermont, and Vltava (Czech Republic). Not that they're bad. The Smokies are that good year round.

    I'll take the Smokies.....call me a comedian....

    Jim Parks
    Well, you’re a glutton for thrills, Jim! Ha!

    There are streams out west with thousands of trout per river mile, and the average fish is 16”-18”. The Animas is a freestone example of this. No comparison and nothing to debate. It’s a little unfair to tell folks fishing The Smokies that it should be that good for them, and then watch them struggle to set that expectation for themselves. You can catch a few gaggers every year, if you have the time and know where those fish are.

    Guys that find these big fish rarely just stumble upon them, too. I’ve caught big fish here too (we call ‘em “handsaws”), but I got tired of the tight line game and prefer to run dries mostly now for the game of it. You should honestly be able to work up to catching nothing smaller, in the majority, than 10” fish once you settle into it. You’ll get upper teens fish a fair amount once you get the groove. The gaggers take time to find; more time than most guys have.

    To the OP, don’t be discouraged. Fish with folks that will help you out a little. Make some trips down the Watauga and SOHO for a lift in spirits even. Those are world class fisheries, pal. Tellico would be a good place to even knock the edge off, get some tugs, and hone the trade.

  10. #20
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    Apr 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panther Bone View Post
    Well, you’re a glutton for thrills, Jim! Ha!

    There are streams out west with thousands of trout per river mile, and the average fish is 16”-18”. The Animas is a freestone example of this. No comparison and nothing to debate. It’s a little unfair to tell folks fishing The Smokies that it should be that good for them, and then watch them struggle to set that expectation for themselves. You can catch a few gaggers every year, if you have the time and know where those fish are.

    Guys that find these big fish rarely just stumble upon them, too. I’ve caught big fish here too (we call ‘em “handsaws”), but I got tired of the tight line game and prefer to run dries mostly now for the game of it. You should honestly be able to work up to catching nothing smaller, in the majority, than 10” fish once you settle into it. You’ll get upper teens fish a fair amount once you get the groove. The gaggers take time to find; more time than most guys have.

    To the OP, don’t be discouraged. Fish with folks that will help you out a little. Make some trips down the Watauga and SOHO for a lift in spirits even. Those are world class fisheries, pal. Tellico would be a good place to even knock the edge off, get some tugs, and hone the trade.
    I went with Ian Rutter a couple of times and he's really helpful, but I got more help from David Knapp than anyone. My son landed a pretty large rainbow that day and David said it was one of the bigger rainbows he's seen in the park at least at that time.

    As I think about it, I think the thing that bugs me about the Appalachians in general is that, because the stream beds are lined with slippery round rock, your fall (and subsequent injury) risk is ten to twenty fold what it is out west. That wasn't a big concern in my 30s, but as you guys get into your 50s and you aren't quite as agile as you once were, you'll know what I mean.

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