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Old 08-28-2012, 09:53 AM
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Default Smoky Mountain Brook Trout

The smoky mountains are synonymous with fly fishing for brook trout to me. When I go there, they are the only trout I wish to pursue. Not to say I wouldn't like to catch a brown in the park, or that I mind catching a rainbow here and there. My target is solely brook trout though. There is something special about getting away from the smell of burning breaks, cars speeding by, and hikers everywhere. Back in the backcountry, and up in the small headwater streams lives a native gem that most visitors to the park rarely see or even know about. Most are concerned with catching glimpses of bears, elk, or turkeys. I enjoy those too, but when I come to the park, I have one thing in mind: catching brook trout. You can find them holding in high altitude streams, swimming and sipping any unfortunate bug that lands on the surface of their pool, just like they have done for centuries. There is something magical about this. I don't know if it's my curiosity, or the sense of adventure, or the hunting-like stalking that makes this so much fun, but I love it!

I had been dying to fish the first stream that I fished in the park again, and decided this was the weekend. Before things get too crazy in the fall, I retreated to the mountains for some boulder hopping fun. I left at 1:30am to hopefully beat any locals that might have the same plans I did. Driving through the Ocoee and Nantahala gorges woke me up long before my coffee did, and the heavy fog was an added cheek pucker effect. I arrived just after daylight.
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As I drove into the park, I stopped to watch the elk graze...
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I continued on to the trailhead. I arrived to see that I was the first visitor and jumped out and humped it up the trail. It was almost cold up in the high altitudes, a welcome change from the Alabama heat. A few minutes later I arrived to where I would enter the stream. Once I stepped into the cold mountain water, every worry I had was left on the bank. This was about me and the brook trout.
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As I fished up, things were slow. Which was expected as early as it was. I picked up mostly smaller rainbows, which I had never caught at this point. So, I decided to hike on up to a higher barrier (waterfall) and begin fishing there.

This should do it...
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The next pool after climbing that waterfall, I cast into a likely holding spot and I brought to hand what I had come for.
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I kept moving up, picking up several other small brook trout. I stopped every now and then just to look back and admire the beauty of the stream.
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I came to a nice deep run that had some red fins swaying in the current. I could tell it was a nice sized speck.
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I made numerous frugal attempts and fooling him and even changed flies a few times. Most people will tell you that brook trout are easy to catch, as long as you don't spook them (a challenge in itself). I tend to agree, but this fish was every bit as picky as a large brown. I tied back on the original fly and either out of frustration or finally getting a good drift, he slammed it!
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This guy was dressed in his Sunday best already and is probably one of the most beautiful and bigger brookies I have caught.
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After a few quick snaps, I sent him back to hopefully be caught by someone else....
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I had used an old snuss tin I found as a fly box for this trip. I layed some magnetic sheeting on the bottom to hold my nymphs, and packed the dries in on top. I was considerably lighter than my small Cliffs fly box, and smaller.
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I was fishing on a small yellow stonefly pattern, since that's what I was seeing. However, I used several different dries throughout the day that all produced.
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:54 AM
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Default Re: Smoky Mountain Brook Trout

I continued working up, picking up a brookie in every likely pool. I missed a whole lot more than I caught, but I did connect every now and then!
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As I neared the end, I decided to stop for lunch.
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It was a good day. I caught lots of nice brook trout, had some fun hiking around the stream and sat satisfied at the mountain view around me as I drove to my next destination.
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The next morning I woke up and headed to an area that I have never been to before. I had read about a few streams that can hold some nice brook trout, so I made the nerve-wrecking journey the next morning. This road is tiny, with a very steep drop-off and lots of blind curves.
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I hike in to a good spot on the stream and get to work...
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:55 AM
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Default Re: Smoky Mountain Brook Trout

This happened a lot...
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But so did this...so it evened out in the end
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I saw one of these that made me a little more attentive..
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Fishing slowed down, but I caught a few more and took in some awesome scenery...
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I felt sorry for this raccoon that had to squeeze these crawfish-ladden joys out....
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I did catch a decent bow here too, but we all know that's not what I was after...
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Saw a fuzzy caterpillar on the way out...
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Had a LONG and tiring drive back the next day and crashed. Hope you enjoyed the read as much as I did the trip!
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: Smoky Mountain Brook Trout

I really need to go back soon and fish for more brookies again. Especially since I actually caught them this year
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:19 AM
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Default Re: Smoky Mountain Brook Trout

mrl0004: Great trip report and photos! Those Brookies are just gorgeous!
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:23 AM
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Default Re: Smoky Mountain Brook Trout

What a great looking trip. Happy for you and thanks for the effort with the pics!
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:07 PM
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Default Re: Smoky Mountain Brook Trout

I love these types of posts. There is something about small streams and creeks and the little jewels that call them home. Sure everyone likes to see the big 20"+ fish every now and then but I am just as, if not more thrilled to see these little guys!
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Old 08-28-2012, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: Smoky Mountain Brook Trout

Nice post(s) "War Eagle"

Been wanting to get down to the smokies for a while.
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Old 08-29-2012, 04:00 PM
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Default Re: Smoky Mountain Brook Trout

I know those curves and those streams right in my backdoor it's nice to see you done well . I'm really surprised you didn't catch a brown where you got the nice rainbow there is some really nice brown there as well.Great pictures and report.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: Smoky Mountain Brook Trout

You know that I always like your stories and photos and this looked like a really good trip!
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