Nantahala Lake
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Thread: Nantahala Lake

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    55

    Default Nantahala Lake

    I have now fished the lake 15 times trolling. When the water temperature was cooler I trolled deep diving crankbait along the shoreline for post spawn walleye. The only thing I caught was a nice size smallmouth and two small yellow perch. I then started trolling with downriggers and caught a fat brown trout with a small head and a large body (been eating too much) and another nice size smallmouth. On the fishfinder there is little to no fish. A few scatter bait balls and fewer suspended fish. Who ever put herring in the lake ruined it. No more salmon, no more walleye and I haven’t seen a rainbow yet. Caught one smallmouth on a live herring I caught but fished worms on the rocky points and did not get a hit. I heard something similar happened at Fontana and Lake James. Someone needs to figure out how to get rid of the herring.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Knoxville
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    It sounds like the strategy of restocking the lake with Kokanee Salmon isn't gonna work out so well. The Herring and Kokanee will compete for food. They're both filter feeders. I think that the wrong Salmon have been stocked. If land-locked Atlantic Salmon were stocked and took hold, they should be able to put a dent in the Herring population. Brown Trout evolved from Atlantic Salmon. It would be simpler to just stock Brown Trout but the lure of maintaining a Salmon lake lingers.

    The Kokanee were originally stocked as a food source for the Bass and Walleye. I don't think that it was anticipated that they would ever be caught by anglers...???

    I only fished Nantahala once about 4 years ago. I didn't catch a single Kokanee but I caught a Rainbow, a Perch, and a Smallmouth, all on hoochies.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Clyde
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    I was thinking about taking a trip there later this year but sounds like I will be going somewhere else. I hope the lake gets some rehab and it becomes a good fishing lake again.

    I trolled there last year for 12hrs and didnít get a hit.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Knoxville
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    You might want to put Watauga on your list. Here's a picture of my friend Captain D holding our limit of Lakers about a week ago. The biggest one was 25" , 6.2 pounds, 5.7 pounds, and a pair that were both about 4.5 pounds. Don't wait too long. The hotter the top of the lake gets, the deeper and less active the Lakers get. So far, Watauga is cooler than average but lower flows and heat will change that.
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  7. #5
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    May 2010
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    I was reading up on Land-Locked Atlantic Salmon. They live longer than Kokanee. Kokanee seldom live longer than 4 years. Atlantic Salmon and the Land-Locked variety don't necessarily die after they spawn. Many spawn twice and occasionally more times than that before they die. In Maine, Land-Locks can live to be 10 or more. Maine has documented a 13 year old fish. In Maine most of 'em that are caught run 2-5 pounds but some big 10+ fish happen occasionally. The one Land-Lock I caught as a teenager in a New Hampshire lake was 20" and about 3 pounds. It hit a spinner bait I was casting on a lake behind our motel. We were there on a family vacation. Our car broke down and I got to stay at that lake for several extra days but I never caught a second Salmon. The only other fish I caught was a little Bullhead Catfish that I snagged, in the back. The Salmon that I caught on one of my first few casts was a thrill I remember well. It jumped several times and was delicious. Our room had a kitchenette and my mom cooked it for me.

    I don't know if anybody has ever tried to stock Land-Locks this far south...? I know that they have stocked 'em in New Jersey and Pennsylvania lakes. There was once a native population of 'em in Lake Ontario but they went extinct. They've restocked them there and it's produced a new world record Land-Lock, 26 pounds.

    It seems like if tried to find a lake in this region where they might be able to thrive, Nantahala might be the best suited spot you could pick. It has the altitude to be cool-ish and the depth to get the fish through the summer. It has the river for them to run up. It might be worth a shot? They eat bigger things than Kokanee which seems to be just what the lake needs now that Blueback Herring are doing so well. 12 hours of trolling without a strike speaks volumes about the lake's decline.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Clyde
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    Nantahala would possibly be okay. Glenville is the highest elevation lake this side of the Mississippi but doesnít have a river flowing into it. There a several waterfalls but donít think a fish could get up them. It also
    Has the depth, but Iíd suspect that both lakes are to hot during summer. I donít know what the Temps of lakes up north are that they were stocked in. Also I think these lakes donít have the under water currents that bigger lakes up north have.


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  9. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    55

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    I don’t think the lake is cold enough for landlocked salmon or lake trout. I caught a nice laker on Watauga a few weeks ago toiling 115 feet.

    I have been trolling Nantahala recently catching a nice steelhead a brown and my largest walleye. Hooked something very large in the main basin near the marina. Broke 10 pound mono. I re-spooled that night with fresh line. The herring have been schooling late in the day where the river meets the lake. I have been seeing fish on the finder but can’t manage more than one fish per trip. Better than no fish per trip. Tasmanian Devil lure / Blue & silver for the trout and had a walleye on one. Caught the larger walleye on a Sutton spoon. Going to troll faster maybe 2.5 compared to 1.9.

  10. #8
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    May 2010
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    Knoxville
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1bigfish View Post
    I donít think the lake is cold enough for landlocked salmon or lake trout. I caught a nice laker on Watauga a few weeks ago toiling 115 feet.

    I have been trolling Nantahala recently catching a nice steelhead a brown and my largest walleye. Hooked something very large in the main basin near the marina. Broke 10 pound mono. I re-spooled that night with fresh line. The herring have been schooling late in the day where the river meets the lake. I have been seeing fish on the finder but canít manage more than one fish per trip. Better than no fish per trip. Tasmanian Devil lure / Blue & silver for the trout and had a walleye on one. Caught the larger walleye on a Sutton spoon. Going to troll faster maybe 2.5 compared to 1.9.
    I hope you got a Laker that was at least 5-7 pounds. There's a lot of 'em in there that size this year. We caught 3 of 5 Lakers on spoons at 100-110 feet last trip. We got the other two on plugs on lead-core lines. One of 'em hit a plug out 9 colors, probably about 65-70 feet. I had my 5 color lead outfit out with the smallest Rapala rap plug looking for a Rainbow. It couldn't of been deeper than 40 feet. The biggest Laker came all the way up for that. I never put all my lines very deep. They will come up to the snack zone where the bait fish are.

    If Brown Trout can live in Nantahala, Land-Locked Salmon have a fair shot. Brown Trout evolved from Atlantic Salmon. They can hybridize.

    What are the candidates for breaking your line, a big Brown or a Catfish perhaps...???

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