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Mountain Mama

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  • Mountain Mama

    I've been trying to put together plans to fish with a couple of friends I haven't seen in a long time, but every time we get some dates firmed up, something pops up to derail the process. I had a buddy coming into town, and we were going to smash a series of local bluelines. Alas, a sick child put paid to our plans, and left me at loose ends. The Subaru was already loaded and ready to go, so I reconfigured for a long solo run to the north.

    Like everywhere else along the Appalachian spine, my target stream valley has seen a ton of rain recently, and the water was high and stained when I arrived. The creek has been extensively channelized and artificially straightened, and in many stretches, it is completely walled in. Consequently, it's an absolute bear to wade in high water, a fact that slipped my mind when I decided to make the run. After a day of fighting that surging push of water, my quads and hammies are toast.

    I saw the first rainbows spawning in mid-December. The browns, of course, had done their thing by Thanksgiving or so, but the rainbow spawn is a long, drawn out process, and will continue in this creek right into mid-April. It's a bit weird to me; the brown trout spawn is such a compact, discrete event. Once they start to move toward the gravel, the whole shebang is likely to be over in a week to ten days. The bows, on the other hand, just trickle onto the redds a handful at a time over the course of several months. I suspect it just goes to show how many strains of rainbow have gone into making hatchery bows (the rainbows, while wild, are descendents of relatively recent stocker heritage; they've only been in the creek for a little over 40 years.

    All of this is a roundabout way of saying that there are a lot of eggs in the system right now, especially with high water to scour them from the nests. There's a widespread perception that egg patterns are basically stocker specials, but when the natural are present in numbers, even wild fish can become quite fixated on them. I ran a pegged bead all day, with various large nymphs (or worm patterns) as my dropper. All of the stoppers were highly productive, but the bead outfished everything else by about a 3-1 margin. Numbers were high (150+) fish, no monsters, but plenty of solid fish in the mix, with a couple pushing the 20" mark.

    I've heard many folks claim that trout only live in pretty places, but I'm here to tell you that just ain't so. Squalor and trout can, in fact, coexist.





    Now, for some porn selections.







    There might be rain pushing through early in the morning, but if it doesn't get blown out, I'll probably hit it again in the morning.

    Cheers y'all!

    Dylar
    Last edited by Dylar; 04-14-18, 01:23 PM.

  • #2
    Holy cow, what a nice trip. That's some really nice water you fished there! Forget the run down look, that adds to the appeal.

    Beautiful fish man. I hope to find me a place like this one day.

    It seems all your posts are full of beautiful fish. Well done.
    Last edited by Lumis; 03-01-18, 01:12 AM.

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    • #3
      If you ever need a fishing buddy, I'd be happy to tag along and pay for gas!

      Looks like you had a killer day! Well done!

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      • #4
        Great report! Great pics! Pretty fish!
        "Why me Lord what have I ever done to deserve even one of the pleasures I've known" - Kris Kristofferson

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        • #5
          Awesome report and fish, but where are the pics of the fish you caught with your tenkara rod?
          Bahahahahaah

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          • #6
            I have fished a stream in PA that was far less than beautiful, but the fish were awesome and big. Thanks for posting
            RScott

            Support the Mission Statement - buy the TU License Plate!

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            • #7
              The rain started falling around 2:30 this morning and kept up on and off all day. Fortunately, the extended period of high water has helped flush some of the silt from the system, so while the water pushed up substantially, it took a good minute for the water to pick up more stain, allowing me to squeeze in a solid session before visibility dropped into the "unfishable" range.




              Today is the "worm moon" (the last full moon of winter), and with the rising water worms were definitely on the menu. I fished several different worm patterns (chamois, squirmy, and the good ol' San Juan), and the fish hammered every single one until they fell apart. Like eggs, worms are often seen as 'stocker' flies, but when the water is pumping and dirtied up, very little will out fish one.






              A little local color...




              Eventually, the water stained up plenty and the main current seams became untenable as holding lies, forcing fish into the soft water along the banks. Streamer time, baby!






              Alas, all good things come to an end, and around 3:30, the rain took a big jump in intensity, and within 15 minutes, the water was chocolate milk, I was soaked to the skin, and the bite shut down. It was time to head home anyway.

              Cheers y'all!

              Dylar
              Last edited by Dylar; 04-14-18, 07:01 PM.

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              • #8
                Holy cow this fishing is insane. It just kept getting better and better.

                Awesome job.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lumis View Post
                  Holy cow this fishing is insane. It just kept getting better and better.

                  Awesome job.
                  It's more the fishery than me, I assure you.

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                  • #10
                    Those are some awesome looking fish looks like you had an amazing time
                    "Something to think about: If you fish the wrong fly long and hard enough, it will sooner or later become the right fly."
                    ~John Gierach~

                    Trophies are relative

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                    • #11
                      Nice report

                      West Virginia? I use to live there. Brought back some memories. Both good and bad......

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wrvdb View Post
                        West Virginia? I use to live there. Brought back some memories. Both good and bad......
                        Does have a coal country look to it but that would be a loooong haul on a short trip, even for a young, dedicated trout fisherman.

                        Plenty of squalor in TN. And other closer places - lots to go around, even.

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                        • #13
                          Nice fish

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Upstream View Post
                            Does have a coal country look to it but that would be a loooong haul on a short trip, even for a young, dedicated trout fisherman.
                            I see plenty of older gentlemen in waders getting out of cars with Gwinnett plates when I skirt the Davidson on the way to greener (or at least less crowded) pastures, and that run isn't really any farther than it is from Asheville parts of WV and KY, and the drive rather less of a white knuckler. There are a lot of drives I make to fish that are longer than this one, this is just the longest drive I'll make for trout.

                            Plenty of squalor in TN. And other closer places - lots to go around, even.
                            There's certainly squalor enough to go around, and that's god's own truth. I found some straight pipes in the upper part of a drainage I consider "home waters" just last fall. What most of Southern Appalachia can't match Coal Country for is squalor in the ruins of wealth long vanished. Most of the region never had any glory days. Some of those coal camps used to be something.

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                            • #15
                              Dang NC Highway PDs!

                              Looks like local LE is getting slack about enforcing the road blocks again ...

                              " .. older gentlemen in waders getting out of cars with Gwinnett plates when I skirt the Davidson ...."

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