Yesterday I had a 1/2 day guide trip in the Park. The morning was spent on a couple of different streams so my client could see a few different options when it came to Smoky Mountain trout fishing. After dropping him off and grabbing some lunch, I stopped by Little River Outfitters for a bit to say hi to Byron and Daniel and the rest of the crew. After getting an excellent first-hand report on the local smallmouth from Byron, I was almost tempted to skip heading back to the Park and chase the bass instead, but thankfully trout won out.
On the drive down Little River to town, I had mentally been talking myself into fishing several good stretches. One in particular stood out, and I decided to return there. This is a beautiful section of pocket water interspersed with some smaller pools and a couple of deep runs. For some reason this short 100 yard stretch does not get fished nearly as often as a lot of Park water but that's just fine by me. I have always done well the few times I've fished it, and more people fishing it could very well put a damper on future expeditions.
Having just eaten and glad to finally relax after working hard all morning, I took my time rigging up the usual double nymph rig. Some heavy split shot rounded things out well and assured I would be ticking the bottom. I began
Working slowly upstream, I maneuvered back and forth across the stream. Catching a fish here and there, I noticed a nice deep slot against the far bank with a big rock on the stream side. Perfect home for a brown. Working carefully across the current, I was soon running my flies through the slot and alongside the rock. A small fish was quickly caught and released but that rock just looked like a spot for a nice brown. Time and again I got what appeared to be a perfect drift. Not wanting to waste time on a pointless spot, I eventually decided to move on upstream.
That's when the little voice spoke up and demanded that I cast there once more. Something subconscious maybe? I don't know, but that gentle tap as the flies drifted up under the rock yet again was definitely real. When I set the hook, I felt the hesitation and quickly came tight on a nice fish.
For its size, the fish really fought well, surging back and forth across the stream every time I tried to lift its head and slip the net under. That it was a pretty brown trout was obvious and naturally gave me extra incentive to be careful and not lose it. Of course, in a short amount of time (that naturally felt like forever) I was slipping the net under the trout. After a couple of pictures, I gently held the trout in the current until it was ready to go. All that effort to spend a minute or so with a fish probably seems ridiculous to some, but I was awfully happy at that moment.
The rest of the evening was anticlimactic. The Yellow Sally hatch never came on strong although there was some egg laying activity that brought a few fish up. I stuck with the nymphs and caught a good number of rainbows and small browns, but probably I should have just quit after the nice trout. The time on the water was relaxing though and much needed. Catching that nice fish early allowed me to really slow down and focus on the experience for the rest of the time. I even stopped and took a few stream pictures, something I often forget to do in the rush to find more fish.
Next week I'll be back at it. Maybe I'll just hit a small stream instead, or maybe I'll chase the larger browns again. Either way, I know I'll always have an enjoyable time in the Smokies!
If you are interested in a guided trip in the Smokies for wild trout, please contact me at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com or check out my guide site, TroutZoneAnglers.com, for more details.