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Small stream(s) report

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  • Small stream(s) report

    Been a year full of personal and professional surprises, most of which have involved me inheriting some pile of junk someone else dumped on me, conspiring to keep me out of the mountains and out of trout streams. I've gotten out once this year - ONCE. Terrible.

    So I took a day off work, woke up early, boarded the fearsome hounds for the day, and put the city in my rearview, headed north with the sunrise for company.

    Now ... we had a period of 22 or so days of intense heat and no rain, followed by tons and tons of rain, and it's now the latter half of June, so I wasn't sure what I was going to find. I chose a stream where I caught my first trout, in some pools at the bottom of a gorge; my goal was to actually follow the gorge down, a pool at a time, skipping to the bottom and working up via the shore. If that didn't work out, I could hike a half mile around to one of the tribs, a mile to another, and a third (which is a stream I love) was just a ten minute drive up the road and guaranteed to be empty on a Monday.

    My first surprise is that the falls in the gorge was roaring - water was high! Both at the bottom and above - water was higher down there than I have ever seen it, and going downstream far was out of the question.

    I started working the first two pools at the bottom of the falls - I hooked up with a decent wild rainbow at the top of the pool on a stimulator - exactly what I came here for. At the bottom of the pool, there in some holding water around a rock, was a beautiful, large rainbow. I moved around slowly, got myself into what I thought would be a great position, and found someone else had been here first and recently - the rock from which I wanted to cast looked like someone's fly box had barfed all over it. There was a WD, an elk hair, a copper john, and some other fly I didn't recognize - a dry, Wulff-like, with beautiful blue translucent wings (and this was tied directly to a length of leader for some reason). I threw the dry at this trout - ignored it. I tried some nymphs, rubber legs, some other stuff - utter disdain for all of it. It occurred to me that whoever had lost all those flies here had gone through the same exercise - so I tried something I almost never use - a san juan worm. Big trout struck it and immediately fled for the cover of the bank. I wanted 15 minutes and he didn't come back out. ****!

    I picked up out of there, hiked back, up out of the gorge, over the ridge, and down into one of the tributaries, where I started working upstream. This is a creek i have done well in in the past, but much farther upstream; water was high here, but clear. The bite all came on wild popcorn rainbows hitting dry flies in pocket water through swift, shallower sections of water. I did pretty well here with a stimulator - some kind of bug that somewhat resembles a stimulator was flying around in periodic zig zags around the steeper sections of water. The deeper pools were totally quiet, and I dragged all manner of things through the column. Basically everything except a streamer, which I had left in my car and was cursing myself for. I was so excited to be out there ... ah well.

    One aspect where I punched way above my weight class was other people's garbage. I usually take an empty grocery bag with me, pick up some trash, and take it out - I had filled two before I got to my turnaround point, which was just downstream of a trailhead. Primitive sites here looked like where the train kids camp in Little Five - someone had stuffed moving blankets in a fire ring, as an example. Too much for me today. I also curb-stomped someone's hippie ring that had been built in the middle of a pool. Got a bunch of bites in this pool but didn't connect and so I returned the stones to their natural places in the stream.

    Overall an okay day fishing but a great day to move fast and light through mountain streams. Hope y'all are doing well!

  • #2
    Good report, and glad you got out and did a little bush whacking. It sounds like the creeks are in great shape for mid to late June.


    Exodus 29:18
    Then burn the entire ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the LORD. God loves BBQ!


    • #3
      Thanks, fishnpreacher - from a flows / depth / volume perspective, creeks were in great shape. In spite of that, outside of the gorge in the flatter water, the water temps were warm. I wet waded the whole day and aside from the steepest sections of creek, it was barely a relief from the air temps. So even though the water's high, I'd still say to head for your cooler, higher spots if you want to do small streams. I've got a few quiet and farflung summer go-to's that I'll hit between now and September.


      • #4
        Great report. Thanks for posting. I haven't been able to wet a line at all this year myself, even though I've been driving the I85 corridor to Greenville nearly every week since January. I had high hopes to really explore the mountains this year, but it just hasn't worked out that way (yet).

        Thanks again for posting and keeping the hope alive for me.


        • #5
          cjones - thats a lot of trout water to be driving past every week. Yikes. At least my exile doesn't have me driving past the mountains every week. That's like how the prisoners in Alcatraz could supposedly hear glasses clink during calm nights at restaurants on the water in San Francisco.

          My next window is the end of August, which means my list of possible places is pretty narrow, but I know a few spots that will have sufficiently cool temps if we can avoid droughty conditions. Sept and Oct should be game on for me, though, and I'm looking at GSMNP in October for three days/two nights.

          Hang in there, your window will come!