Friday, September 28, 2012

Smokies Fall Fishing... Here Already?

Things shook out such that I had this afternoon free, and I threw my gear in the car and took off. There was a Rod Run in Pigeon Forge and Fall Festival in Townsend, so I expected there to be a significant amount of traffic. I chose to take my chances with Townsend instead of the tourist trap of Pigeon Forge. Surprisingly, I made it all the way to Elkmont quickly with almost no traffic, threw my pack on and headed up the trail. I have a couple areas up the trail that I can hit when I don't really want to go all the way up to Goshen Prong Trail, but still want to separate myself from the rest of the crowd. On the hike up I passed three fishermen, and all three told me that they had slow days and wished me luck. I thought "luck, surely it isn't that bad today". I geared up at the stream and noticed that the water was pretty low and extremely clear. I rigged up with a yellow stimulator and a barbie bug dropper, and began to pick up strikes quite quickly. Unfortunately, I was having difficulty getting a solid hookset. Eventually I figured out why, as I finally pulled a 3" rainbow from the run. I did manage to find some larger trout, but they would inspect everything I threw at them before refusing. After a couple hours, I chose to change tactics and search for staging browns. I found half a dozen in different runs just sitting there that would probably go over 18". However, I could not tempt any of them to budge from their positions (kind of suspended probably a foot above the bottom) for the appetizer I was showing them. Looking back, I wish I would have went in search for some beautifully colored brookies in the higher elevations. Although I have had pretty good luck the past few trips to the park, especially considering my extremely limited fishing time this year, I found today's fishing to be particularly difficult. Regardless, it was still a blessing to get out and enjoy the scenery as the leaves are just starting to turn colors. I expect the next few weeks will have the roads appearing more like parking lots, and I will wait until the crowds reduce before I make a return visit. Also, I have lots of new camping gear that I need to get out and put to use soon, maybe I can go down to Cherokee National Forest where the crowds are much smaller and do some fishing...

19" Clinch River Brown