Grand Slam Trip
We new exactly where we wanted to camp. This area is a designated wilderness area and camping is allowed anywere but I still like to use established areas that have been camped in before. This particular spot is one of my favorites and I have camped there several times. We got camp set up in short order, I was using my same ol Dutchware hammock and War Bonnet tarp, hey if it ain't broke don't fix it, and this combo has been tried and true.
Next on the list was to get out and see if the fish were biting. This stream is stocked down at the lower levels but once you get off the gravel road and on to the trail it is only native trout. Which makes sense, unless done with a helicopter it would be impossible to stock. The stream is populated with rainbow, brown and southern Appalachian brook trout, which if you catch all 3 is called a grand slam. On this trip several grand slams were caught, the fish were really cooperating.
The hot fly for this trip was a cross between a stimulator and a yellow sally, basically a yellow sally tied with a larger hook, TMC 200r Size 12, and palmered hackle on the body which most sallies don't have. That is the actual fly to the left, it is looking a little bedraggled, that fly has probably 30 trout under it's belt. It is really a simple pattern to tie and very effective. Any place you have sulphur caddis, yellow sallies, or yellow stoneflies I think this pattern will do you well.
The outfit I used to sling those flies was my Redington Classic Trout 8' 6" rod, Rio weight forward 2 weight floating line and a Redington Zero reel. This is a pretty lightweight outfit and the larger fish really put a bend in that rod. I think for a stream this size that set up is about perfect.
Of course no fishing trip report would be complete without a few pictures of fish caught.
If you notice all of those are either brook trout or browns, the third fish for the slam, rainbows, are missing. We caught plenty, no idea why but I did not get a single picture of any of the rainbows we caught.
I don't normally keep fish to eat, I am too lazy to carry in the oil and frying pan or to cook them, but Todd has no problem at all with either. On this trip we ate like kings, Todd fried fish and potatoes two nights and I have to say it was delicious and not one scrap was wasted or thrown away. As you can see in the pics the food was cooked on an open fire so just a little bit of smoke flavor gets into the food, that just can't be recreated at home.
Fire might be a little high on the potatoes but Todd knows what he is doing and they were perfectly cooked and delicious! The limit of fish on Wild streams in NC is 4 per person per day. We kept 6 and that was the perfect amount. Me or Todd had no problem finishing off 3 apiece.
We knew that there was a chance of thunderstorms, in this area of North Carolina that is everyday, but the weather was absolutely gorgeous, until Friday night. We were sitting around the fire chewing the fat and at about 10:00 Todd said that he saw lightening off in the distance. We started hearing some distant rumblings and so we started getting our camp ready for rain, pulling our tarps down closer, tightening guy lines and putting everything in the dry. Not very long after that first hint of lightening and thunder the heavens opened up. Lightening flashed, thunder boomed and the rain fell in sheets. I lay in my hammock snug and dry and counted seconds between the flash of the lightening and then the boom of the thunder. At one point the lightening and thunder was so close together I started wondering if electricity could run down hammock suspension lines. In my opinion this was the perfect way to end a perfect trip, with a flashing and roaring display of nature at her finest. Here is a picture of the creek before the storm and after.
Luckily on this trip there were no creek crossings, it would have been a little hairy with the creek that high and carrying a full pack. Speaking of which, I ate very little of the food I carried on this trip, Todds cooking was much better than what I had. With my left over food, the rain soaked tarp and wet wading boots, my pack actually weighed 5 pounds more coming out than it did going in.
This phrase is over used in my opinion, but I am truly blessed to be able to pack into these streams and fish for these little jewels of nature. I am always glad to get home but as soon as I get back I start planning for the next trip. I hope you enjoy my ramblings and pictures and hope you get the chance to get out and enjoy it as much as I do.
See you on the creek,
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