Yesterday was essentially an “administrative” day for us. We had to do some banking, pick up some office supplies, and do some long term planning for the fall guide season. We’re incredibly efficient at this, since we can always blow any extra time fishing are always eager to do research on the river.
Charity was noticeably antsy since she had spotted an oversized brown trout on a guided trip a few days back. Yesterday was generally overcast with intermittent drizzle. Temperatures on the river ranged from the high 60’s to low 70’s and the Smoky Mountains were draped with their signature mist. This is what Charity eagerly refers to as a “Brown Trout Day”.
We went straight to a familiar spot and Charity immediately began stalking the banks with intensity. After about 90 seconds she froze and went on point. The fish was there and she wasn’t exaggerating. The fish was huge. It was easily as large as any fish we’ve caught in the Smokies and anyone would be proud to catch this fish wherever there are trout. We’ve caught several fish in excess of 20″ over the years in the park and this fish was right up there with the best of them.
Charity slowly turned away and made for the best place to ease into the river and make an approach. She tied on a pair of terrestrials, but the large brown trout took no notice. It wasn’t a surprise since terrestrial patterns are most effective on hot, sunny days.
Charity changed over to one of our staple brown trout flies, a Rubber Leg Tellico Nymph. Her first few casts were a little wide, but when one drifted right to the beast I was surprised when he didn’t respond. Just as the fly drifted past I was about to shout a recommendation to Charity, but the fish turned downstream and followed. After a few yards the fish opened its mouth and Charity set up on it.
There were two full body gyrations before the hook came loose. The large fish scooted up the river and Charity shook her head with her line hand on her hip. “Tough to get a good hook set when the fish is coming right at you; setting the hook away from him instead of into him. Bad set up when that beast had a jaw of solid bone.”
That was certainly the event of the day, but fish were rising quite well and there was a good variety of bugs on the water. Small dry flies in the #16-18 range kept the fish coming. We didn’t do any nymphing outside of the big fish.
We’ll be sure to keep pestering that fish until we hook him keep researching the conditions for our loyal readers.