Two nights in GSMNP March ~18-20th

Parents are coming out to watch our son for the weekend, wife and I are headed to the smokies. We haven’t been able to do a trip without our son since well, before our son.
Probably going to stay at Smokemont again, because it’s a civilized campsite with facilities, and there is good fishing very close by.

I’m not 100% on the dates yet, it’ll depend on if she can take friday off or monday off. We’ll either do Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun night. Car camping with some light hiking to fishing spots away from the road.
Hopefully I’ll FINALLY get my wild brook trout. If I get a brown I’ll be pretty damn happy too.

If anybody in the SE is interested in meeting up, that would be dope.
Looking at you, @Chris lol

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I can probably make it up. I have never fished that area so would like to give it a go.

If you want to go somewhere less civilized and a little more walking I can guarantee Brook trout. Shoot me a pm.

Wife isn’t quite ready to go somewhere without at least a vault toilet. I’ll go wherever lol.

Looks like she can’t get fri or mon off, but can get out “early” on friday, which probably means we’ll get hosed lol.

Going to keep it closer and probably do a USFS campground in North GA with good to decent fishing nearby.

We were going to car camp in deep Western NC, but the cold/wet weather forecasted for the weekend, combined with the bleak water levels in the region, has squashed that.

I don’t want to take my wife camping when she’s not going to enjoy it.

Scored a sweet deal on a hotel stay in Bryson City. Will get up there Fri night, hit the park early Sat morning, break for lunch, fish the park more that afternoon. Weather there looks a little better. Still cold, but for now the rain looks mostly fri night/sat morning early.

On the way back we’ll prob hit the Nantahala on Sunday morning.

I was in the park for 3 days last weekend. Had a many day on the straight fork above the hatchery. Plus the gate is closed so it hasn’t had any pressure. Had all three species in the net by the first hour.

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man that is awesome. I haven’t been over that way yet, just explored Deep Creek, Smokemont, and a little bit of stuff off of 441.
What kind of hike is it to where you were fishing?

I’m planning on hitting Deep Creek and possibly Indian Creek on Sat morning, then depending on if the divide is passable, I would like to fish some of the high altitude prongs off of 441 on the TN side, but I am pretty sure Chimney Tops is still closed, and I am doubtful that we’ll be able to cross over to TN via 441 at all.
If not, We will prob hit Kephart or Beech Flats Sat afternoon.

REALLY hoping for my first smokies slam, but I would be happy with just getting my first wild brookie. This will be my best chance so far to pull it off, words cannot describe how excited I am. It looks like the weather will be awesome.

You’re a smart man Chris.
My wife and I lived in upstate NY during the winter, in 1973/74, while I was at Knolls Atomic Power Lab.
Over the winter I had become interested in backpacking, and purchased a lot of bp gear.
By early April the days had turned warm. A nice change from the sometimes periods of over a week of below zero temperatures.

Over a 4 day weekend we went up to the Lake George area, hiked back into the woods and spent the night.
By morning all the little puddles of water were frozen.
She never slept in a tent again, preferring to camp out at the Holiday Inn, until our son was in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.Which was many years later.

To make amends, I managed to get stationed in Hawaii for the next 4 years.
[That trip is also remembered because I got my first speeding ticket driving through Ballston Spa, NY, on the way back to our home in Amsterdam, my additional penalty for driving to fast to get her back to a warm apartment]

Anyway, hope your trip is a success.

Just got home earlier tonight. Uploading pictures still.

The park got lots of precipitation throughout the week, frozen and liquid. Saturday every stream we saw in the park was blown out, many were chocolate milk.
No dice.

Today (Sunday) we hit the Nantahala on our way home, and it was flowing basically normal. Was getting a big fat nothing until a hatch started. I really need to learn my entomology. There were two kinds of mayflies coming off all over. As it started, I caught two rainbows subsurface, then a brown on top w/ an orange stimi that looked nothing like the hatch.
Then to finish up my first slam, I threw the smallest dry I had (#20 i think) that perfectly matched the hatch, fooling a brookie.
The brookie was a snaggle-toothed stocker with a messed up jaw. Brown may have been wild. First bow was wild for sure, second was most likely stocked.

Wife got lots of bites but needs to work on her timing lol.

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At least you weren’t skunked for going that far!

May suggest you carry a ’ Grey Duster’ , a dry fly, which is used to great effect here in the UK, before, during and after the Mayfly, or I should say, was in my peak fly fishing time during the late 1960s to late 1980s. I am sure those ’ in the know’ these days will still use it.

The Original dressing (source ‘Dictionary of Trout Flies’ by the late A.Courtney Williams’) is:-

Tying silk: brown
Body: Dubbed with light rabbit’s fur, sometimes mixed with a modicum of blue
Hackle: Badger hackle, well-marked with a black Centre and white list
Hook: #12-14
[Note - a larger hook size is recommended for lakes or when there is a full hatch of Mayfly. In smaller sizes #15/16 it is also good when there is a lot of midge activity] Mr A Courtney Williams was almost tempted to be a ‘one pattern’ fly fisherman, it is that good.

A very good friend of mine, Jimmy, only ever fly fished using two dry flies in various sizes - a Grey Duster and a Hackled Coachman ( the Original pattern not the Royal Coachman which I believe is popular in the USA). With those two flies he outfished everybody regardless whether or not we were fishing rivers or stillwaters. I recall one occasion when we were fishing a large reservoir in the mountains of North Wales during a snowstorm. Jimmy was sat there on the bank, covered in snow, puffing at his pipe, intently watching his Grey Duster bobbing on the surface about 10 yards out . He caught the most fish that day!

Sorry I have rambled on a bit but you don’t need to have a wide entomological knowledge. Just put a Grey Duster on!:+1:



It’s a great dry fly, just as simple as a North Country wet fly and many kebari.

Here’s a grey with a golden badger.The image is from a lovely blog in the UK that I’ve followed for a number of years now called “In pursuit of spotties”. Unfortunately, it has not been updated in almost a year now.

@davidsr Is the following what you are referring to as a hackled coachman?

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David, Peder,
Thank you for the suggestions. If that first fly Peder posted is a Grey Duster, I really like how it looks. Simple and I would believe if you told me it’s very versatile.

That soft hackle looks like a pattern that I have had incredible panfish success with.

We went through Ellijay on the way back, and was further reminded that it’s closer to home than I give it credit for (a brisk 3.5hr drive from Montgomery to Ellijay, gateway to the Cohutta Wilderness).
Pics are uploaded to Google, but sharing from there is a PITA, unless I share a whole album. Uploading to flickr right now, much easier to share indiv. photos.

Yes Chris, it is a Grey Duster with golden badger instead of white badger. Either way, the fly looks the same and you get the idea.


No. The dry Coachman that I know does not have a wing. It has two hackles. The dressing that my friend used was the one from the book ‘A Dictionary of Trout Flies’ by the late A Courtney Williams,

Body: copper-coloured Peacock herl
Hackle: White cock hackle with a shorter red one in front, or the two mixed together.
Hook: size 12 - 16
[Note - no gold tag]

The Coachman(with wing) is more well known as a wet fly. In fact it is a very good one. I used to fish it a lot, particularly in lakes. Mr Courtney Williams used to rate the dry hackled version on rivers or lakes as being superior to the winged version. Although the hackled version is not as well known.

Peder informed me how to post via Google Photos, I love this forum’s capabilities!

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got some good ramen on the way, in Atlanta

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chocolate milk deep creek

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my snaggle-toothed brookie

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first bow of the trip

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first brown (ever) landed lol

I caught all my fish on the Seiryu-X 35, and I love this damn rod. I’m wanting the 4.5m model now too.

I actually am liking my Sakon 36 even less after this trip. I just don’t like the feel of it compared to my slower rods.

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Nice looking pics!

The ramen makes me hungry…