Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Snowbird Brookies

Last Sunday I finally went to a special creek that I have been wanting to fish for a long time, the Big Snowbird Creek near the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina. I knew fishing this creek would be a challenge physically because it is very remote.
I woke up at 3:00 am Sunday morning and drove to the trail head (called the Junction) arriving at 6:45 am. It is called the Junction because of a narrow gage railroad used for logging in the area during the 1920's and 30's. The native brook trout were completely extirpated from Snowbird Creek because of heavy silting from the logging operation. Fortunately, the creek has recovered and is a revitalization success story. It now contains the largest known Brook Trout in the Southern Appalachians!
Artifacts from the logging operation can still be seen along the trail.

From the Junction it is about a 5 mile hike upstream to above Big Falls where the Brookies live. It took about 2 1/2 hours to make this hike. By 9:45 am I was fishing.
At first the fishing was very slow. I caught this pretty little 4 inch brookie first, but I was after his big brother.

Next I caught a nicer 7 inch brookie. I was happy but still hoping for something a little bigger.
Finally a landed an 8 1/2 inch brook trout. My biggest for the day. I talked to another fisherman who said he caught a 12 inch brookie! So I know there are bigger ones in Snowbird.
I caught a total of 5 fish for the day. I only fished for 4 hours before it was time to start the long hike back to the car.
I think next time, I should plan to spend the night if I want to get into the bigger fish further upstream.
But, this was a good scouting trip.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Upper Chattooga

It is finally beginning to feel like fall. The water is cooling down and the fish are becoming more active. So last weekend I decided to try fishing one of the South Carolina trout streams, the Chattooga River in Oconee County. This was my first time to fish the Chattooga, in fact this was the first time I have fished "seriosly" for freshwater trout in my home state of South Carolina. I was pleasantly surprised.
I parked at Burrells Ford Bridge and hiked and fished my way up stream to a point called Ellicott Rock (about 3.5 miles). Ellicott Rock is a stone marker at the point where North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia all intersect.

The Chattooga is a hatchery supported river with the South Carolina State hatchery located on the East Fork of the Chattooga. The Chattooga is known for having very large brown trout, some up to 27 inches!

It is also famous for being the location where the hit movie "Deliverance" was filmed.

I did not catch any large brown trout but I did catch one small brown and a couple of nice 11"-12" rainbows.

I am trying to learn to fish using nymphs. So this day was nymph only day. I caught all the fish using a #20 WD40 nymph.

Here is a nice paw print left in the sand near the waters edge. It is from the black bear which is native to this area.