High Country Specks

I don't like particularly short rods. It's hard to keep line off the water and roll and bow and arrow cast. With that said, glass rods are inherently shorter than their graphite counterparts. I find it easier to fish even the skinniest of creeks with an 8 footer.
I do have a 7' Douglas that still hasn't been on the water and won't buy anything shorter until I use that a bit...it's a 3 wt. with an SA line...Amplitude I think...
 

NCHillbilly

Administrator
Staff member
I don't like particularly short rods. It's hard to keep line off the water and roll and bow and arrow cast. With that said, glass rods are inherently shorter than their graphite counterparts. I find it easier to fish even the skinniest of creeks with an 8 footer.
Same here. My go-to small creek dry fly rod is a 8 1/2' 3 wt. My nymph rig is a 10' 3-weight. :)
 
The brook trout stocking/restocking/survivors discussion fascinates me - I've caught variants at different places in GA and TN/NC and always wonder.

I've caught a handful of original natives over the years and they are some serious survivors. Glad to hear the Smokies program is working. Upsetting to bushwhack up and over some big falls I scouted on a map and find it empty or worse - chubs.
 

NCHillbilly

Administrator
Staff member
The brook trout stocking/restocking/survivors discussion fascinates me - I've caught variants at different places in GA and TN/NC and always wonder.

I've caught a handful of original natives over the years and they are some serious survivors. Glad to hear the Smokies program is working. Upsetting to bushwhack up and over some big falls I scouted on a map and find it empty or worse - chubs.
You also need elevation. Most of the creeks in the Smokies that kept their native specks the whole time were over 3,000'. I've caught them at over 5000'. They are starting to move back downstream pretty good now in many watersheds, with a hundred years of forest regrowth. The rainbows are the main thing holding them back. I know a couple places you can catch them below 2500', but not many. I'd love to see specks being dominant in the mainstem larger creeks like they used to be. I can remember some of my older family members when I was growing up telling me that 14"-16" specks or even bigger weren't rare when they were growing up, before industrial logging and rainbow stocking. Now, a 10" speck is a monster, mainly due to the size of the creeks they live in. Many of them are mature adults at 5" or less.
 

NCHillbilly

Administrator
Staff member
If I hooked a 14" speck I might have a heart attack before I could get him unhooked.
I thought I had a couple years ago. Caught this one on a little creek that has wild browns and specks. I about had a heart attack until I got it landed and figured out that it was pretty certainly a holdover stocker brook trout that had swum a couple miles up from the bigger creek that the one I was fishing eventually runs into.

giantspeck.jpg
 
I went up high (over 5000) in the Smokies last year - did surprisingly well with wild browns but didn't find any specks. There were features that feel like they should have kept them isolated over the years but I was disappointed/surprised not to find any.

Of course it doesn't mean they weren't there - might mean that I wasn't doing it right. All this to say, I wish I lived closer to the Smokies and could get to these places more frequently to understand them.

In GA, I have a few spots I go to where I'm frequently skunked but almost never see other people.
 
beautiful fish and great photos. thanks for sharing. Do that kind of fishing all you can when you're young, b/c you never know when life is going to throw you a curve and that will all be in the past. My days of "hands and knees" ( and waterfall climbing ) are over now, and I sure enjoy seeing the photos of places similar to my old haunts. Thanks so much for posting these.
 

TurkeyH90

Senior Member
One day I hope to get over a couple ailments and finally fish the Smokies. I've fished all over but somehow the GSMNP has alluded me. I want to do it right and camp up in there deep. Unfortunately my few friends that fly fish have gotten pretty lazy. So if anyone is ever looking for some company I am willing once I get this pinched nerve settled down
 

NCHillbilly

Administrator
Staff member
I went up high (over 5000) in the Smokies last year - did surprisingly well with wild browns but didn't find any specks. There were features that feel like they should have kept them isolated over the years but I was disappointed/surprised not to find any.

Of course it doesn't mean they weren't there - might mean that I wasn't doing it right. All this to say, I wish I lived closer to the Smokies and could get to these places more frequently to understand them.

In GA, I have a few spots I go to where I'm frequently skunked but almost never see other people.
That is really unusual to find browns at 5,000', or even rainbows. Between 3500' and 4000' is the highest I've ever caught a brown, over 45 years of fishing the Smokies.
 

flyrod444

Senior Member
You also need elevation. Most of the creeks in the Smokies that kept their native specks the whole time were over 3,000'. I've caught them at over 5000'. They are starting to move back downstream pretty good now in many watersheds, with a hundred years of forest regrowth. The rainbows are the main thing holding them back. I know a couple places you can catch them below 2500', but not many. I'd love to see specks being dominant in the mainstem larger creeks like they used to be. I can remember some of my older family members when I was growing up telling me that 14"-16" specks or even bigger weren't rare when they were growing up, before industrial logging and rainbow stocking. Now, a 10" speck is a monster, mainly due to the size of the creeks they live in. Many of them are mature adults at 5" or less.
My grandmother was raised on Deep Creek above where Indian Creek runs into it. Her brother, my great uncle was a serious fisherman his whole life. He use to tell me before the logging missed it up he would catch a sack full of speck when he fished Deep Creek. He also said 15" to 16" weren't that rare. Biggest he caught was 18" back in his youth.
 
Perfect day by any standards. And couldn’t agree more with that last statement: watching a SABT explode on a dry fly always gets ya. Great post. Thanks for sharing
 
That is really unusual to find browns at 5,000', or even rainbows. Between 3500' and 4000' is the highest I've ever caught a brown, over 45 years of fishing the Smokies.
I didn't catch em that high ... I went hiking that high (higher actually) and fished along the way. I was at ... hang on, gotta look it up ... how funny - my campsite was at almost exactly 4000.

I dry-flied around there and higher up the trail (there was a unique feature that would keep out anything at all coming from below) and was totally skunked. The three miles of that trail below and just above 3000 is where I caught fish. It was last fall after a big rain.

Am betting you know where I was - any specks there?
 
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