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Thread: Two days of fishing the smokies ...

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    NC side of the Smokies


    Quote Originally Posted by HuskerFlyFisher View Post
    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.
    That quote came from the NMDNR website.

    And yeah, we have plenty of grasshoppers here. Bigguns. You just don't see them back in the woods. There are creeks in the Smokies where you can catch nice fish on hopper patterns all summer. The TN side of the Smokies is only part of the Smokies, even though it seems like the TN side is all there is reading this board sometimes.

    I agree that the fishing here isn't as good as it probably is in the "destination" waters out west. That's why people drive all the way out there to fish. But, to suggest that the only fish here in the Smokies are 6" dinks is a big, big stretch. There have been more than a couple 15 lb. browns that have come out of these waters over the years. I have caught a good many over 20" myself. Are you going to catch those all the time? Of course not. This isn't Montana or Colorado. I'm glad it isn't in a way, or the creeks would be so packed with people that you couldn't fish. But sometimes, there is nothing I like better than hitting a tiny headwater creek and spending the day catching scads of 6" native specks. It isn't always about the size of the fish.

    I can go to any number of DH streams here and spend a day catching lots of 12"-20" trout if I want to. But, it just isn't the same. Something about those lil wild mountain fish.
    Specks: the other pink meat.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Kodak, TN


    From my personal experience....

    After several trips out west, one day I said to myself, “I can do this well back home. Without the travel and expense.” At that time “back home” included the Smokies and tailwaters. In 2015, I found myself frustrated with the area tailwater experience in looking up and down a river and seeing a dozen fishermen. I’ve done the “combat fishing” in Alaska where anglers are elbow to elbow, and to me there’s a time for that. I longed for better surroundings. As my years on the water grew, I matured as a fisherman. Having cut my teeth in the Smokies, my focus returned back home... aka the Park waters.

    Back in the Smokies exclusively, I slowed down how I fish, looked more, became better at spotting large trout and improved my approach. I still use old, highly effective patterns which I demonstrated on Groundhog Day at a fly tying demo at LRO, keeping it simple.

    As far as how much I fish, I counted a total of 13 trips in 2018. My average catch was 37 trout per trip which included 4 over 20” and another 18”. I’ve had similar #’s every year since I devoted myself to the GSMNP. From my experience, it’s more how you spend time than how much time you spend. I’ve also started mentoring a 14 yr old, which taught me to focus on the basics with him. Doing so, helped me to really simplify fishing for trout which has greatly added to the pleasure.

    Regarding slick freestone streams. Try Rock Creek outside of Missoula, MT. As I tell newbies, the sole purpose of the rocks is to earn your trust so you’ll slip and bust your arse! Last year, I fell on Memorial Day behind the Elkmont cabins on Little River and my hip was bruised for 2 months!

    Jim Parks
    Last edited by Grampus; 03-27-2019 at 02:39 PM.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Franklin, TN


    My brother and I have been going to the park twice a year for the last 20 years. We aren't anywhere in the same league as David, Jim or some of you others but we catch fish every day. Some days its a struggle to catch a few but persistence and knowing which waters offer the best opportunities helps.

    Weather can have a big affect too. I remember last September it rained just about everyday we were there yet the fishing was fine. A high pressure system moved in for our last fishing day and gave us beautiful skies but shut the fish down.

    Regarding the slick rocks, we've been relatively lucky even though he and I are not young anymore (62 and 60 this year). It helps that we tend to focus on smaller streams where you can cover most of the water without actually getting in the water. I try to stay out of the water as much as possible anyway to avoid spooking the fish.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2014


    Been fishing in the Park a few times never caught a thing. But every time I went it was great.

    If you want to catch fish go to Cherokee, they stock fish of all different sizes every week.
    To Fish or not to Fish? That's a stupid question.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    I think I need to clarify: Its rare that I donít catch fish in the smokies. Itís just not particularly prolific given what you have to put out. It seems weird that you are wading a 300 cfs river to be catching mostly fingerlings and the occasional whopper 11 incher.

    Iíve fished the smokies for 14 years and my personal best is probably a fat 10-11 inch rainbow at elkmont. I donít even recall a close second.

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