***EDIT*** Ny original post was not meant to be misleading, so I want to clarify something. The brook trout in this stream are not 100% Southern strain, they are of mixed origin. Their ancestors survived the logging era, but Northerns were stocked in this area many years ago, and the natives and stockers have since intermixed. They are still true survivors, and have Southern strain blood, although it's mixed with some Northern.
Unfortunately, due to our ancestor's rampant abuse of the forest and other natural resources, Southern Appalachian brook trout were extirpated from many of our streams many years ago. Fortunately, there are still plenty of streams in Southern Appalachia where, due to a strong will to live and superb survival instincts, brook trout are still thriving and doing quite well. I fished one of those streams today.
The leaves are just now starting to turn.
Technically not the Smoky Mountains, but you get the idea of why they are called the Smokies.
I arrived at the stream and this little brook was more than willing to take my offering on my second cast.
High gradient stream, I am standing eye level with the hole I am fishing.
Brook trout habitat.
I guess you would had to have been there, but here's a funny story. I am crouched behind this rock using it for cover...
...while fishing this beautiful little pool...
...I see movement out of the corner of my eye and jump back screaming a few dirty words, I am thinking rattlesnake. It turns out to be a chipmunk hopping across the stream. Before I could even reach for the camera, little Alvin was long gone into the bush. I breathed a sigh of relief, laughed and fished on.
Am I the only one that has trouble from time to time getting fish to pose?
Beautiful view, I think I'll take a little break here and enjoy the scenery.
All rested up and ready to catch more brooks.
About halfway through the day, I had another interesting encounter with the local wildlife. I had the feeling I was being watched. I start looking around, I am thinking there must be a bear watching me. I keep looking and suddenly I make eye contact with a red squirrel about ten feet away. We stare at each other for a few seconds and just as I reach for my camera, he takes off. He was pretty, squirrels around my house are gray, I rarely see a red one.
I had fun and caught some beautiful little fish. There is just something special to me about fishing for native brook trout. I can't explain it, but I know many of you know exactly what I mean.
It was getting cloudy on the drive home. I am glad I made it back before any storms kicked up.