NC Angler Forums banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Went up to Bear on Monday. Water was down about 4', surface temp 57°-59°. Marked fish easily, but had no luck. On the dowrigger I trolled Mack's Double Whammy in black/chartreuse, with no luck I switched to orange, also tried gold, each with 1/2 a nightcrawler, none produced.
Also tried Rapalas on leadcore...nope. Tried my own handtied double hook trolling fly tipped with 1/2 nightcrawler. Tried wiggle Hoochie also tipped with nightcrawler.... nothing, nata, not even a bump. Went up to the river throwing spinners, also went up a couple feeder creeks throwing crankbaits, spinners...fergit it.

Trollled the dowrigger mostly at 20-30 feet. Right above the heads of marked fish and even dropped and trolled through the middle of 'em. Ran the leadcore about 10-12' and added a weight that dropped me down to 16-17' (marked some fish shallower than 25'-30') Lost another $8 buck Rapala.
Desperate and looking for answers, I even switched from gas to the electric motor....that wasn't the answer.

Complete and total skunked. The only thing I didn't try was dropping down to 45'-50' to deeper fish I occasionally marked. Found fish at a places I found them before, just at a loss.

So..I'm rethinking this weekend. I have ZERO confidence I can find anything at Santeetlah. Maybe I'll hit Cheoah Saturday and if nothing happens just come on home.
But I have NO IDEA having never been on Cheoah where to even start. I assume it would be similar to Calderwood. Last trip to Calderwood produced nothing by trolling and only caught one casting a spinner.

HOWEVER, this is my last weekend opportunity of the year so I'm thinking of giving it up, this trolling for trout, and maybe head down to Santee for catfish. Even if the fishing isn't good I can usually find a few fish down there.

I'm about dead in the water at this point. I've racked up over 30 hours on my motor trolling which has produced about 4 trout and a couple little Smallmouths.

Yeah, now I'm whining. So I'll stop.

Bright spot in it all, even if the fish didn't cooperate it was a glorious day to be out in Creation and enjoy the scenery.
Water Sky Plant Leaf Natural landscape
Water Sky Plant community Mountain Leaf
Water Sky Water resources Mountain Cloud


Water Sky Water resources Cloud Natural landscape
Water Sky Mountain Leaf Natural landscape
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
I for one appreciate the Report. I will be there on Bear over Thanksgiving.....as well as Fontana, Santeetlah and possibly some other lakes. I am sad to hear your luck was bad. It should be heading into an Excellent time for Trout.

We should be entering Turnover on the Gems. The long range forecast looks like mild temps in the 50's each day. I'm meeting up with a couple of different folks this trip to share some ideas and fish a little. I hope we have better luck.

We all have days like yours. Thanks for sharing and better luck in the future.....D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
For what it's worth.....I would choose Cheoah over Santeetlah, Cheoah gets stocked twice a year with 4,000 Rainbow Trout each time......(8,000 a year). There should be a Healthy population of Holdover Trout there. I haven't made it there for the last few years, but, I may visit this next trip. In the past, I've seen and caught many trout there.....and that was before I developed the trolling techniques I use now. When the water was drawn down about 10-12 years ago,,,,,you could see them from the observation deck below Fontana Dam.....swimming along the walls and in the shallows. There were large trout....big enough to see clearly from above. The state also stocks Muskies there to feed on the trout. There are a couple of stores near the lake that have Bream ....big as dinner plates....mounted on the wall that were caught in Cheoah.

The Weather looks like a little crisp this weekend. I'd take a thermos of coffee and explore Cheoah.....again fishing the mouths of creeks and watching my depthfinder.

Whatever you decide.....Best of Luck to you....D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
My plan is to drive up early Saturday, to Cheoah. Hope to be on the water by sunrise. I've been looking at the map for some target spots. Watch the depthfinder and see what I can find. I have wiggle hoochies in assorted colors, as well as Macks wedding ring/double whammys, my own tied trolling flies, Rapalas & spoons, and plain walleye rigs for nightcrawlers. Gas and electric motors an option.
I'd think Rapalas would pair well with spoons as far as speed, and Hoochies with the Macks, each tipped with nightcrawler.

If I have any success, I'll stay the night somewhere and hit it again Sunday. If not, I'll probably just drive home though that will make for a long day. Hope to make it a weekend as this is pretty much the last weekend I have available this year. I have plenty of warm deer stand clothing.
A thermos of coffee or soup is a good idea!
I'll report back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When the water was drawn down about 10-12 years ago,,,,,you could see them from the observation deck below Fontana Dam.....swimming along the walls and in the shallows. There were large trout....big enough to see clearly from above. The state also stocks Muskies there to feed on the trout. There are a couple of stores near the lake that have Bream ....big as dinner plates....mounted on the wall that were caught in Cheoah.
It's been a long time since I was up behind the Fontana Dam and then only in the campground where we stayed while kayaking on Fontana and Calderwood.
If my memory serves me....Seems I remember heavy (and deep) riffle water contained in a channel.
People take boats all the way up there to fish? I sort of figured shortly upstream of where the bridge crosses to be pretty much the upper limit of fishable water in Cheoah, but I've never been on it. My thought was to concentrate further down, like at the power station down past Twenty Mile and that lower section beyond.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Yes.....it's not accessible by boat. I was in an observation area....open at the time....across from the visitors center....looking down at the water. My buddy and I spotted the fish moving and thought they were carp at first. We eventually saw fish breaking the surface to feed and realized they were Trout! In the past.....I have cast upstream into the riffles with spinners and rapalas to catch trout. And.....now that I have thought more about it....that was much longer ago. It was early 1990's....when the movie "The Fugitive" was filmed at Cheoah Dam and around Sylva NC. Man oh man how time flies!

I have always meant to get back to Cheoah. There's so much water.....so little time. I'll be up there in a week. Try to leave a few fish for me!

Best of luck to you!....D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
GM fishermen-
We troll Cheoah & Calderwood quite often--will be there almost daily 11/19-11/26 as we stay at Fontana Village. Start Trolling at the power house a little ways down on the left--It is good all the way to the dam. Do not hesitate to use planer boards to get lures close to the edge. You can troll walleye worm spinners up to 2 mph so they mix in good with spoons and plugs and hootchies.---heard there are schools of Bluebacks in Cheoah now so it could mean a chance at double digit Browns.

If we are looking to cast --we always find fish up towards fontana lake dam--but we only fish from ramp up about 50 yards past bridge--boulders make it too risky. We have done well with casting the usual asst. of spinners/spoons/plugs. This year I will have a 10'' rainbow trout rebel lure out everytime we troll --looking for one of those Muskies or giant Brownies. We may fish Fontana as well.

Can Not Wait.

Feel free to PM me

Good luck---hope to see you D.

Coach
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes.....it's not accessible by boat. I was in an observation area....open at the time....across from the visitors center....looking down at the water. My buddy and I spotted the fish moving and thought they were carp at first. We eventually saw fish breaking the surface to feed and realized they were Trout! In the past.....I have cast upstream into the riffles with spinners and rapalas to catch trout. And.....now that I have thought more about it....that was much longer ago. It was early 1990's....when the movie "The Fugitive" was filmed at Cheoah Dam and around Sylva NC. Man oh man how time flies!

I have always meant to get back to Cheoah. There's so much water.....so little time. I'll be up there in a week. Try to leave a few fish for me!

Best of luck to you!....D
Its been years since I was up there. I'm not even sure if Fontana Village still has the campground open. Couple months back I drove past, and the road up there looked almost deserted. I've been thinking it's been like, maybe 10 years since I was kayaking up there, but it was before my daughter was born, and haven't been since...and she's almost 16 now! Yeah, time flies for sure!

GM fishermen-
We troll Cheoah & Calderwood quite often--will be there almost daily 11/19-11/26 as we stay at Fontana Village. Start Trolling at the power house a little ways down on the left--It is good all the way to the dam. Do not hesitate to use planer boards to get lures close to the edge. You can troll walleye worm spinners up to 2 mph so they mix in good with spoons and plugs and hootchies.---heard there are schools of Bluebacks in Cheoah now so it could mean a chance at double digit Browns.

If we are looking to cast --we always find fish up towards fontana lake dam--but we only fish from ramp up about 50 yards past bridge--boulders make it too risky. We have done well with casting the usual asst. of spinners/spoons/plugs. This year I will have a 10'' rainbow trout rebel lure out everytime we troll --looking for one of those Muskies or giant Brownies. We may fish Fontana as well.

Can Not Wait.

Feel free to PM me

Good luck---hope to see you D.

Coach
My thoughts and plans aren't too far from your advice! Thought I'd try some casting at the bridge and just above and concentrate trolling efforts on lower half.

Thanks Guys. REALLY appreciate y'all taking the time.
I'll report back, stay tuned...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Cheoah Report 11/13-14

Saturday
, Dawned bright, some overcast, temps stayed in the 40's all day, overcast disappeared and sunny but...The wind..... geez... Water temps, 59°-60°.
Arrived about 7:15. According to schedule Fontana had one generator running from 7 - 8 and 2 from 8:00 on. I launched the boat and immediately went toward the bridge. The water was running but not a dramatic current. I cast a spinner and pretty quickly got hit and landed a nice 15" Rainbow. Got another one that was a twin of the first. Then got a little 13" skinny stocker Brown which I released. Got another fat Rainbow, also like the first two, which I released. A few minutes past 8 the current increased dramatically and the fish turned off.
I ran down to the powerhouse and immediately marked fish in front and at the mouth of Dealy & Farley Branch cove. Started with a black Mack's double whammy on the downrigger, around 20' and a wiggle Hoochie on leadcore around 12-ish feet.
Several passes trolling over them produced nothing.
Trolled on up that same side, above the cove and got hit. Reeled in a fat little Yellow Perch on the wiggle Hoochie. Caught two more after which I thought, "These are supposed to be good eating, maybe I should keep some." Caught the next one on a gold Macks DW & threw him in the cooler with the two trout. Caught two more which were smaller and I threw them back. Then they stopped. Multiple passes produced nothing more.
This area was somewhat protected from the wind, which was blowing close to 20 mph and gusting higher. Around the next bend, the water was whitecapping with waves that were beyond amazing for a little lake this size. I haven't been on water this rough this whole year. Had to go just fast enough to get the bow up but not too fast else it would beat you to death. Either way, the spray and cool air wasn't much fun. There were areas somewhat protected because of terrain, or at least, not AS windy, but it was funneling straight up the lake and frustrating.
Later in the afternoon the wind died down somewhat.
Ran down toward Twenty Mile creek and marked fish along the bank above and at the mouth. Trolling over them produced nothing. Poked around as far down as Rocky Point Ferry Branch where I cast a spinner a bit, but the wind was blowing me around...It was getting late and I was tired of the wind.
Heading back I again trolled the bank below the powerhouse, marked fish, got ignored. Geez this wind. For whatever reason, catching trout by trolling is eluding me in spite of changing lures, depths. fishing with and without dodger/attractors. Just couldn't get dialed in on Saturday but was pleased I DID catch SOMETHING by trolling, even if it was Yellow Perch.

Sunday, Bright and COLD 33° at sunrise warming to high 40°'s by afternoon. Sunny with only a slight breeze (thank goodness!) Generation schedule for Fontana showed 2 turned until 11:00, dropping to one until 12:00 then none after 1:00. Marked some fish in the upper water about 1/2 way to the power station so I set up and ran several passes over them to no avail. So I ran down to the power house and hit the same spots as the day before making several passes and marking fish in the area further down. Again, multiple passes with various baits produced zilch. (Have I mentioned I'm getting a bit frustrated?) Anyway, gave up and ran back up to near the bridge where I concentrated for the next several hours. Trout were apparently not interested in spinners, and I managed only one smallish stocker Brown on a size 5 sinking Rapala in Brook trout color. The water current virtually stopped.
The water on Saturday was down maybe 3-4', on Sunday by midday it was full pool apparently.
I decided to troll right there and made several passes from the bridge to below the launch. I managed another stocker Brown but got him TROLLING on the Walleye spinner/nightcrawler rig. As I was unhooking him, I got hit on the Hoochie on the leadcore and landed a nice chunky Smallmouth, maybe 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 lb. I hooked up two more times and lost whatever it was quickly after hookup. I did notice I got hit a LOT with apparently short strikers nipping at the nightcrawler but not really committing. Seemed they were a bit tentative today. At 2:30 it was like a switch flipped and the wind started howling again. I mean, literally, in two minutes it went from a breeze blowing to fully 18-20 mph with whitecaps. At that point I threw in the towel and loaded up.
Anyway, sorry so lengthy. Still a little disappointed with my lack of trolling success, especially when you can see fish below, but having a small amount of success is always helpful and overall it was a great trip which was very enjoyable. (Except the wind.)




Fish Fish products Marine biology Ray-finned fish Tail
Water Sky Water resources Mountain Cloud
Water Hand Vertebrate Organism Salmon-like fish
Water Cloud Atmosphere Sky Nature
Sky Fish Fisherman Hat Fishing
Water Atmosphere Daytime Cloud Sky
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Yellow Perch are good eating. That's kind of our approach. I use my Ulterra trolling motor to hold us in place. The wife casts spinners and spoons and I drift paste bait or nitecrawlers under a slip bobber rig. We generally bang a couple there and troll for 2-4 hours and always get at least a couple. At Calderwood we just start trolling 100 yards from the ramp.

Cheoah excites me due to the spread of Bluebacks and the Growth rate of Browns it brings along.

Fishing with Guide Ronnie Paris Sat 11/20 on Fontana's Lemon's branch area--Sun will probably hit Cheoah in my boat.
8 full days to fish!!!!!!!!!! I am lucky to have a full enclosure, if needed, to keep the wife comfortable.

If we have a rainy day--may run to Cherokee to fish the streams.

Good fishing

Coach

I have an 2010 18' tan Lowe walk-thru w/ navy trim and a Charcoal Tundra. Feel free to PM or stop by if you are there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yellow Perch are good eating. That's kind of our approach. I use my Ulterra trolling motor to hold us in place. The wife casts spinners and spoons and I drift paste bait or nitecrawlers under a slip bobber rig. We generally bang a couple there and troll for 2-4 hours and always get at least a couple. At Calderwood we just start trolling 100 yards from the ramp.

Cheoah excites me due to the spread of Bluebacks and the Growth rate of Browns it brings along.

Fishing with Guide Ronnie Paris Sat 11/20 on Fontana's Lemon's branch area--Sun will probably hit Cheoah in my boat.
8 full days to fish!!!!!!!!!! I am lucky to have a full enclosure, if needed, to keep the wife comfortable.

If we have a rainy day--may run to Cherokee to fish the streams.

Good fishing

Coach

I have an 2010 18' tan Lowe walk-thru w/ navy trim and a Charcoal Tundra. Feel free to PM or stop by if you are there.
Thanks, good info!
I'm wondering if the fish I'm marking at 20'-30' (on down the lake) is actually trout. Trolling right above their heads, and even right through them, and with various baits, is producing virtually nothing. After catching those 1/2 dozen perch, I'm questioning my tactics. Nothing wrong with Perch...unless you're targeting trout. I'm game to catch whatever is willing to bite. But my interest is trout.
I'm wondering if the cannonball oscillation through the water or the hum of the downrigger line resonating though my hull is disturbing them. Others on here much more experienced than me say that's not an issue. I have seen some YouTubers that changed to a different type of weight and switched from cable to braid for their downrigger line.
I know, I know, I'm overthinking this, this is all new to me. Overall having fun though, trying to learn.
Stick me in a stream with a flyrod and I can usually catch trout! So far on the lakes, and trolling, I feel I'm chasing ghosts!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
You're having Classic Doubts that happen anytime you're Not Successful. It happens to all of us. You are making headway....just not consistent or confident yet.

Next week I'll be in the area. I plan to try and fish at least one day with Coach. He uses downriggers and I don't. I'll have more info and a better opinion after that. It will be interesting to trade ideas on different tactics. Coach should be there this weekend and can maybe shed some light once he is on the water.

The Weather looks brisk (don't care) and Windy (BAD) next week....with possible gusts up to 25 mph on Friday after Thanksgiving. I hope they're wrong! (50/50 it's Weather!)

Has anyone heard anything from Troutgirl? I know she was dealing with some health issues. She usually chimes in with some thoughts. I hope she's well.

Take Care and Good Fishing....D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You're having Classic Doubts that happen anytime you're Not Successful. It happens to all of us. You are making headway....just not consistent or confident yet.

Next week I'll be in the area. I plan to try and fish at least one day with Coach. He uses downriggers and I don't. I'll have more info and a better opinion after that. It will be interesting to trade ideas on different tactics. Coach should be there this weekend and can maybe shed some light once he is on the water.

The Weather looks brisk (don't care) and Windy (BAD) next week....with possible gusts up to 25 mph on Friday after Thanksgiving. I hope they're wrong! (50/50 it's Weather!)

Has anyone heard anything from Troutgirl? I know she was dealing with some health issues. She usually chimes in with some thoughts. I hope she's well.

Take Care and Good Fishing....D
I'm not sure it's doubts so much as thinking I'm missing something obvious. Confidence level IS low although I caught fish trolling, including one trout so that's progress! Anyway, I'll keep at it.
Also wondered about Troutgirl. Kinda figured she'd chime in on this thread at some point or the one about Santeetlah's high volume release. Hope she's okay. Last post I see is about 19 days ago on the Calderwood thread.

Hope the wind doesn't materialize on you. Amazing how strong it gets funneling down that narrow river channel. You'd think being down in a hole as it is, it would be calm even if it's blowing higher up.
And yeah, 50/50 forecasts, and that only about 48 hours out usually, at best. Used to be years ago at a Charlotte station WBTV there was weatherman, Clyde McClean. He drew on a map with a marker and the radar looked like it was off a WWII battleship. He looked at the available info and made a forecast. He was a "weatherman" and more accurate than todays local station "meteorologists" who look at a computer model and read to the audience what it says.
So...you'll have to wait and see what happens, that's my forecast! Good luck with the trout!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Weather is Weather.....I can't change it....I can only prepare for it. There is a thing called "Merino Wool" ...it's a little expensive.....but, makes a world of difference. I'm seldom cold....and have Good Rain Gear. Last year at Christmas.....my 4WD Tundra could not get to a ramp at Fontana because of ice. I turned around and went to Santeetlah instead.

As for Clyde McClean....I grew up with him on my TV too....along with Joey the Clown, "It's Park N Shop Time", John Boy and Billy and the Charlotte Checkers hockey team. I was born and raised in Charlotte.

At any rate....I'll be on the water.....somewhere. I have six days to fish.....and am looking forward to it immensely. Even if it's windy....there are spots to fish. The pics below are the Bear Launch and a different Frosty Morning. Both days I was the only knucklehead out there. Both days I caught fish and was Happy I went.
Soon.....until then.....D

Sunlight Wood Grass Biome Slope
Wheel Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Automotive wheel system
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Hot hands, hot toes, hot pockets make it bearable for the wife in warm bibs and insulated boots -----a walk-thru windshield w/ full enclosure helps too.

just gotta be careful of the ice--If its much below 30, the wife and I will hit the water at 10 giving the ice time to melt

leaving west palm 5 am tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sat w/ guide Ronnie Paris( friend of ours) on Fontana----Sun -Cheoah---Mon--who knows

Safe Travel to all and happy Thanksgiving.

Coach
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That frosted boat looked like mine last Sunday! (Well, mine's much smaller!) 27° in Robbinsville before daylight.
Merino wool ain't cheap but worth every penny. Stomped all over the backcountry of Idaho backpack hunting and merino wool is a must have.
You guys travel safe and good luck! I wanna read all about it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Yuppers......it looks like we're gonna get smacked with a cold front to start things off. Monday night will be 20 degrees. That's okay.....it's Very Good for the Lakes! It keeps the Trout Healthy! It also won't change what's happening below 10 ft very much....though the bright skies and wind that follow a front are usually a downer for fishing.

I'll just have to listen to the fish and adapt. Those two 15 inch trout you caught are exactly what I'm looking for......along with some Smallies in the mornings. I have some new things to try....it's been a Busy Year....and I've done a LOT of Daydreaming. Pautzke Fireballs at the dam maybe? Tuna Corn? Live Shiners deep? Drop-Shotting for Trout?

I look forward to being on Cheoah again....and will definitely get on Fontana, Bear and Santeetlah next week.

Cheers!....D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
794 Posts
I'm curious if the water coming out of Fontana Dam has started cooling down yet? About a month ago, the water in downstream Chilhowie was 65 degrees top to bottom and all we caught were a couple of Smallmouths. That's far above the historical average. Two years ago, in November it was 67 top to bottom and we caught zero Rainbows, just Perch and Smallmouths. All the downstream lakes are completely dependent on Fontana for cold water. The three little dams turn over all of their water every day when Fontana is lowering the water level in the fall. Fontana has started expending all it's coldest water about half way through the process every fall in recent years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Hello Troutgirl.....I was wondering where you were? Calderwood was 58.5 as of Saturday. I fished with Coach and he dropped his FishHawk down to 70 ft and found pretty much the same temps. Fontana was 61 degrees last week.

I'll have a Full Report up after dinner....D

World Map Rectangle Font Line
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top