Monday, May 7, 2012

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fishing Report

Saturday Morning at Elkmont
Calvary Outfitters went to Townsend for the weekend and I was fortunate to tag along with the group. These guys are all a lot of fun and know how to enjoy themselves. Some fished for 3 days and some fished for two days. My trip started on Friday after lunch as Barry, Brent and me started up Thunderhead Prong looking for some rainbows. Barry and Brent found the rainbows and much to my surprise I got into the brook trout. Sams Creek is a little ways up Thunderhead and apparently some of the brookies have made their way into Thunderhead. Now catching brook trout isn't all bad and those fish reveal the positive results from the Park's re-introduction of this native species. 
The Beginning or the End?
The fly of choice was a #10 Thunderhead, after all we were fishing Thunderhead and the afternoon sun was behind the hills, so I couldn't see anything much smaller than that. Dinner was scheduled for 8:00 p.m. sharp for the other Calvary Outfitters guys and our group made it back to town at about 9:00 p.m. (this is pretty much normal for us). There aren't too many places open in Townsend at 9:00 but we found a hot meal and took our abuse from the others the following morning. 
A Rubber Leg Bead Head Pheasant Tail
...the following morning we set out to fish Elkmont. It was pretty early with a heavy fog. To say it was a tough morning was an understatement. Even Barry, who always catches Smokies trout had a tough time. Before lunch we decided to make a move and went to the Alum Cave Trail area. The fish were a bit tight lipped but as the sun came out and the hatches started, the fish came to the top and also were feeding on nymphs. The day started to turn around. We gathered again and made a second move toward Sugarlands. We fished the Little Pigeon and again the fish responded to dries, but were mostly taken on nymphs under the dries. After we had enough, it was time to head back to the motel and this time we would make the evening dinner call. Flies that worked were Thunderheads, Prince nymphs and BHPT's. A variety of dries were used to as indictaors and the bigger and bushier the better.
Sunday morning was our last day. This time Barry, Brent and I, went to Little River and fished our way high up into the backcountry. And, this time we were fishing that "last day before we have to go home" trip. You know the trip, it's the trip that makes an angler focus on the water ahead and try to forget about any problems left behind. It's just you and the rod, and the fly, and the environment, and the fish. 
The day started with a #12 Thunderhead as an indicator and a BHPT with rubber legs, then the switch to a Tellico. Added to the Tellico were several split shot and no indicator, to get down deep/ With the number of stone flies we had seen coming off, this fly just seemed like the logical choice. I caught up with Barry and Brent after a couple hours and switched to  a Hi-Vis Adams and it produced fish. By this time it felt like the drifts were good and in the right places... I kept working on technique and positioning within the long pools. Finally, after discussing the fishing and getting additional tips from Barry, I decided not to fish from the bottom of the pools upstream, but to keep a low profile and fish the pool from top to bottom. Meaning: position myself halfway up the pool without getting in the water and fish upstream and downstream in the same drift. It took some self-convincing but when that adjustment was made the fish began to respond with flashes, takes and even some more catching. One more adjustment was to get more of the fly in the water. After digging through the fly box I found a #14 Hi-Vis Parachute Adams. This fly is one of the most popular flies ever and in my humble opinion produces more fish because more of the fly body is in the film, where the trout can see an easy meal. It is easier to tie o Parachute Adams on than it is to cut the bottom of the hackle off another fly. The first cast after the change was a fish on and then a  sportsman release. We continued up the river hopping from pool to pool. The fishing picked up and so did the size of the trout. Finally we made it to a backcountry campsite and checked the time. It was time to make our way back down the river to the truck, then onto the road out of Townsend and finally back to I-40 West to Middle Tennessee. 

I know I don't get there often enough

But God knows I surely try
It's a magic kind of medicine
That no doctor could prescribe
                                                                                                           Jimmy Buffett

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