Big Brown Trout in the Smokies: You Win Some, You Lose More

It’s that time of year here in the Smokies when we have our best shots at hooking up with the really big fish. We’re not talking about 12″ – 14″ fish that put a lump in your throat when they eat your dry fly in May. We’re talking about fish that would be considered big anywhere you have wild trout.

Ian Rutter with a huge brown trout

This is what we’re talking about!

These fish are most active from mid October to late December. That’s before, during, and after the spawn when they’re out moving around, looking for gravel and mates plus eating more than usual to make up for all that extra activity.

We’ve caught plenty of nice brown trout over the years, but when it comes right down to it, it’s essentially a numbers game. If we hooked half of the big fish we spotted it would be incredible. Heck, if we could land half of the big fish we ever hooked that would be pretty good.

Yesterday was the classic mild and overcast day; perfect for finding big brown trout on the feed. We found some… Here’s a short, short photo essay of the experience.

Fly Fishing Little River in the Smokies

Making the drift over a solid brown trout.

Chasing a brown trout

Seconds after the hook up, yet only an instant before the fish came off.

Fortunately we missed the “agony of defeat” shot.

What is it they say? It’s better to have hooked up and lost than to have never hooked up at all.