After experiencing the Tennessee side for a few weekends in a row, decided it was time to go visit an old friend of a stream on the NC side of the Park. When I moved back to NC and started exploring around the smokies, it took a little while to start making some connections and putting the things back together on how to fish these streams. I first read about the Davidson, Mills River, etc, but soon found I didn’t care as much about the “blue ribbon” streams as I did for the wild fish of the park. It also became apparent there was still quite a difference in the quality and configurations of some streams in the park, how they should be fished, the pressure on some. After visiting one of the local fly shops that is always very, very gracious and accommodating, and spending most friday lunch hours shooting the bull, I got a really good tip on this stream. I’m always thankful and that shop has my business for life, especially after a 50 fish day one spring.
Although a little further out than most, it is worth the extra gas and early start time. It was a little cooler than it has been and the stream stays shaded most of the time. It’s broken up pretty similar to many other streams; Bigger pools and bigger fish at the bottom, more action and smaller runs in the middle, and headwaters with brook trout at the top. After clammering around boulders and crawling under tree limbs the last few weekends, I started fishing the bottom to actually get some casts out there. Started with a Yellow Parachute Adams and got a small rainbow in one of the first pools. The water is very clear and a little low, putting me down to 6X tippet. Caught another rainbow, and I swear that it was the exact same one I just caught. It had a scar behind its head that made me think it was the same. It really liked the Adams I guess, or was a little slow. I then raised, briefly hooked, and lost a nice brown that slowly raised out of the pool and took in the fly. Would have easily been the best fish of the day, but couldn’t keep him on the line. I’m missing big fish lately, which is starting to get a little annoying.
Caught a few more fish and then the fishing turned off. Went up to the middle portion of the stream and started picking up fish again, but a Tan Cinnamon Caddis was the fly for this section. Caught 3 really nice brown trout out of one pool. Picked up a lot of fish in the choppier runs, and I figure they must be looking for more oxygen and cooler water? Or feeding in the middle, not sure which, but that’s where the majority of the fish I caught were. I quit fishing around noon as the temps started to rise and a storm was blowing in, and maybe that’s why the fishing was picking up a little bit.
This stream produces more than it disappoints. It’s comforting, and easy to navigate, making it one of my favorites. Like an old friend, you know most of their secrets, but they are always hiding a few gems here and there. It’s not a secret stream, I see many other anglers, but it’s not as well known as some others. With summer turning to fall sooner than we all realize, I hope to be able to fish it a few more times before winter.
I’m also still fumbling with recording videos and was hoping to maybe catch a strike and land a fish. Like a watched pot boiling, this didn’t happen. I did get a nice three minutes of the stream, and at the 2:28ish mark, a little left of center of the stream, you can see the fish strike the caddis, but a missed hookup. Hey, you gotta crawl before you can walk.
Thanks for reading!