Blackberry Farm

Friends of the Farm

Waterfalls, Wild Flowers, and Wild Trout

The cool Smoky Mountain mornings always brings excitement and a bit of uncertainty as I load the car for the day’s adventure.  The trip was booked as a full day experience into the Smoky Mountain National Park, but beyond that I knew little of what the guest was expecting of the day.  The introduction went as most do with the necessary “Hello, how are you, and do we have all that we need?"  Once the doors closed and the tires began to roll I started collecting all of the other pertinent information.
“Do you fly fish much?”
“Na, I have never tried it.”
“No problem, so this is your first time.  What did you have in mind for the day?”
“Ah…just looking for a different experience…you know… adventure.”
“Check!”

The decision was made.  We were headed higher up than normal, planning a hybrid kind of day where we see and experience a little bit of all that the Park has to offer. A hike in brook trout trip is by far my favorite way to show off the true natural beauty of the Smokies.  The little fish are special in and of themselves, as they are the true native trout to these southeastern mountain streams.  They are often brightly colored and can be quite enthusiastic when checking out a well presented fly.  But it is not simply the fish that provide the adventure; it is not that they are necessarily hard to find or catch or that the streams that they inhabit are hard to get to; but rather, it is that they are often off of the beaten path, tucked back off of the busy roadways of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and not as often fished as the many streams more easily accessed.

Gear in hand and lunch on my back, we set off up the well-established hiking trail at first, but soon we moved down and off through the tangle of rhododendron and dog hobble towards the sound of running water just out of sight.  The conversation covered everything from the forest floor to the tree tops and many of the creatures and oddities that exist in between.  The mountain laurel flowers added a bit of flavor to the sea of green that makes up the lush forests of our mountain sides.  The fish were cooperative, as brook trout often are.  A well presented bushy dry fly will often draw a strike in a brook trout stream.  With mixed results from hole to hole, we made our way up the stream, picking off fish here and there.  Climbing over and under boulders and downed trees, we clambered up the mountain side until we reached a point where we could exit the stream and make our way back towards home.  When we reached the parking lot there was no doubt we were ready to sit for a bit on the ride back home.  Climbing the stream over the many little water falls and under the trees and rhododendron tangles has a special way of testing those that journey through.  We even had a new bruise or two to accompany our ear-to-ear grins.  Success had been found and a new sport introduced.  We had managed to find a unique experience surrounded in much of the best that the Smokies have to offer… and adventure amidst waterfalls, wildflowers, and wild trout.

Brook trout fishing is one of my favorite ways to spend a day in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Here are a few tips for finding success with these true Smokies Natives:

-We like high floating bush dry fly patterns.  We favor a lot of the old favorite attractors like the Stimulator and Royal Wulff.  We are actually partial to the variation of the Royal Wulff, the Tennessee Wulff.
-All told, presentation is much more important than fly pattern.  Short accurate casts will draw fish up with a drag free drift.
-Keep your fly floating high.  We use a lot of dry fly powder when we fish the Smokies in general.
-Be as sneaky as you can.  Many anglers spook the fish from a hole before their first cast.  

 Small fish and big memories…

Alex Quick