Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fall Flingin

The Feast was set in the majestic Smoky Mountains this year, very familar to my heart, providing endless opportunites to hit the water. It had been nearly 15 years since I had been to a Feast site that didnt have a beach, but I welcomed the chance to get on some Smoky waters in the Fall. Every year massive browns run up the Little River this time of year. We figured to be hitting the perfect time for the Gold Rush. I had heard and seen reports of 20 to 23 inchers willingly feasting on anglers flys. So we set off with the hope of landing one of these trophy treasures. After church it became standard procedure to hit the river after Amen. Our first chance was to the Little River. We managed to catch a couple bows, but the large browns we desired stayed out of site for this trip. The next day, with a shorter alottment of time he headed up to the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River. Both me and Mike did very well here. There wasn't much size to the fish, but pulling small fish out of every hole makes for a fun experience. Our next trip we dropped over the Gap to the NC side of the park, trying for browns that are running up the Oconaluftee River. It started out slow, but I manage to pull one brown in which was decent size, but he flopped out of the net while I was scrambling for my camera. Mike snatched a good rainbow on the dry just a couple of runs later. Rainbows in the park dont get very big, so this was a very nice fish. After a little more messin around we dropped over the Gap and tried for the trifecta. I caught a rainbow, but missed a couple opportunites at Brook Trout. The last day we had chance to fish, we decided to drop in the gorge of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. We parked on the side of the road then dropped straight down the gorge. We had a larger number of people with us this time, which is fitting since if anything happens, nobody is going to find you down there. The river in the gorge is filled with massive boulders and perfect pools. We caught a number of fish down there, and I landed the first brook trout of the trip, completing the weekly trifecta of Brown, Bow, and Brook. Though missing the massive browns was dissappointing, the expeditions were fun as always. Certainly I will make my way back up in the next couple of weekends, to get one last shot at the massive browns for the year...til next time


View from the GAP, hard to capture the colors on camera, but they were vibrant to say the least

Newfound Gap

Another overlook

Mount LeConte in the Sun

Walking back to the truck on the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon

Searching for Browns on the Little River, Mike made his way back to the truck

Fishing the riffles

Mike working the Little River

Colorful Bow from Greenbriar

Brook from the gorge WPLP

Danny down in the gorge working a nice pool

Working up against the rock

Another nice run in the gorge

Rainbow from Middle Prong of the Little River

Another rainbow

Releasing a colorful friend

Mike working a pool at Greenbriar

Looking for fun


Here is the nice rainbow from the Luptee, hit the dry

Let him breath, you can see the colors a bit better on these two

Sending him home

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Western Adventures

-Wind River Range 2011

We had anxiously planned a trip to Glacier National Park this summer, to do a bit of backpacking and fishing. Those plans were thwarted by the incompetent permit system in place there. After getting our intial trail rejected we turned out sites to a different area. A vast wilderness with no roads, was waiting to be explored. It may be impossible to see all the sites the Wind River Range has to offer in a lifetime, but we had 5 days to make to the most of our first trip. We had read and heard of massive golden trout stocked long ago, being caught in numerous lakes. We figured to maybe hit one or two of these lakes on our hike, in hopes to natch a trophy for our trip. Since we had a dual purpose mission we were also set to see some of the more beautiful sites the range has to offer. As often happens, things did not go as planned. Only one day were we actually able to do what we had planned from the beginning. A series of problems arose such as complications with altitude sickness, eye infections, etc that caused us to turn away from some of the places we had intended to visit. But with each problem a new opportunity arose to fish for things we might not have anticipated when we journyed off. We settled in on two lakes that had golden trout in them, and were not very fortunate. Mike and David both ended up catching a couple goldens a piece but that was it for the trip. Where we would find our luck was in the cutthroat department. With our plans to fish a couple of golden lakes changed, we now had the opportunity to fish some nice cutthroat waters. We had great luck, thanks to Mike ordering us a number of scuds that proved dynamite in the apline lakes. Danny nabbed the beast for this trip early one morning. A good fish, I think could have been a golden cutthroat hybrid. David and Mike both lost BIG fish fishing in the outlet streams of various lakes. It was an incredible trip, with unbelievable lake fishing. One day we hope to make it back up to a certain lake we only got an hour to fish at. But in that hour I saw many golden trout over 20 inches. This trip will have to wait though. It is hard to capture the incredible sites you see with photgraphy but I did my best. Below is a mix of pics and video from our trip...til next time


Freemont Lake

View from the campsite. Ready to do work!

A look from the outside of the Wind River Range

David fising in the inlet to a lake on our way to Titcomb Basin

Look down from cliffs above Lower Titcomb Lake

Colorful cutthroat mashed the orange scud

Same fish as above, nice sized catch

A nice pull by David early on the fourth day of hiking

Scudded this one just on the edge of the shelf. He was a fisty fighter.

David fishing in one of the inlets to the lake

A smaller rainbow catch

Back in the Basin

Mike fishing an outlet stream from the Upper Titcomb Lake

A small golden trout from the outlet stream pictured above

Nice pull by Mike

Pressure was on to catch dinner and this is what hit the yellow stimulator

David fishing around at Island Lake

The hog of the trip

Releasing the beast

A golden David caught the last day out

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer Streams

Great Smoky Mountain National Park -

It had been two weeks since my last expedition and another week would not be missed. Extreme heat directed my attention to the higher elevations, so I went up to the Park to explore some streams. I figured I would shoot for Walker Camp Prong but was stopped, as always, by the inticing Little River on the way up. Many monster brown trout have been pulled out of the Little River, but I have yet to lay my hands on this secret gold, and the River would have me wait longer. I fished awhile with no luck in the Little River before moving up to Walker Camp. I climbed down from the road through some poision ivy and thorns, and dropped into a nice area of the stream. I hiked up the stream a bit and found a perfect run. I was extremely cautious approaching this run, even more so then usual. I sat down and observed the run for a bit and noticed two fish feeding on the subsurface. Amazing what a little patience will do. Regardless, I missed my first two bites, and could tell my small stream fishing was a bit rusty. So I sat back, tied on a new fly and dropper and fooled a couple out of the hole. One rainbow and one brookie. I decided to hop over the mountain to the larger 'Luptee and try my luck there. David is not very fond of this river, so I try to hit it up when he is not with me. I pulled a couple nice rainbows from there, the largest of which I didnt get a picture of. The browns that I was searching for didnt come out to play, but they will in due time. "A day on the water is like a day in paradise" one great man once said....oh wait I just made that up! til next time....


Light peaking through Walker Camp


Tiny Brook Trout took a hares ear that barely fit in its mouth

Another Rainbow from Walker Camp

Higher flows than usual

Waiting in the net

Rainbow took the Prince Nymph

Tuesday, July 5, 2011



A long weekend gave time for our latest expedition into the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. We had juggled with the choice of fishing for some large tailwater fish or hiking up into the mountains with a chance at some wild greenback cutttroat trout. We decided to take the wild route hiking up into Rocky Mountain National Park. Since this was a sort of spur of the moment trip, we started planning only 2 weeks before our trip. The high snow levels didnt look promising, but we were set to get to some of the harder to reach lakes in the park. We were greeted on Thursday morning to awesome vistas of the Continental Divide, as we settled into our campsite at Moraine Park. We quickly noticed the very high flows on the Big T, almost making it unfishable completely. As we wandered around some of the smaller streams we realized we would need to focus our efforts on the high altitude lakes. The runoff was just too quick too fish in. Thursday we hiked up to an alpine lake just under 10,000 feet and spotted out a number of cruising greenbacks. Just as soon as we made it to the lake we noticed a storm cloud come over the towering ridgeline. We decided it was most likely a pop-up shower and would wait it out, having just hiked up the trail. Quickly the temps dropped about 30 degrees and the rain and wind picked up. We staked out a spot near a slightly overhanging rock, and try to wait it out. the storm started to spit hail at us after a while, and me and david then realized this storm wasnt going to pass. After freezing in the rain for about 30 min we ran out, to a disappointing fishless first day. Friday we hiked up to couple more alpine lakes, and had some decent luck with the cruising greenbacks. I fished the inlet to Spruce lake and did very well there. On Saturday I was struck with a fever and a very sore throat, most likely from freezing in the rain the day before. Sunday, I woke up and felt much better and we made the trek to the west side of the divide. We hiked up 5 miles to one alpine lake only to be turned around by enormous snow drifts and the inability to identify any trail. David managed to catch a small brookie out of the North Inlet but its flows were extremely high as well. All in all it was an incredible trip, though the fishing left some to be desired. Most if not all of the lakes we had planned to fish were still snow covered when we were there. But at the end of the day the spawing colors of the greenback cutthroat is something that might be unparrelled in the world of trout, and we were able to catch a good glimpse of that, and I can find peace at that....til next time


Moraine Park

Making my way out to the Big T, in runoff flows

A good look at the flows of the Big T


Throwing a delicate cast into Dream lake

The storm coming of the ridge at Dream Lake

First Greenback Cutthroat from Fern Lake

Fern Lake

Fun greenback from Spruce Lake

David ontop of Forest Canyon

A good look at all of the snow levels

Cache la Poudre River in the Valley below

The Loch