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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Buddy and I spent a few hours fishing bear lake last weekend. We caught a few 2 to 3 pounds largemouths on crankbaits just fishing the shoreline.
Then we ran up the river to the smaller island. The current was swift and it was too fast and shallow to troll past the island so we dropped anchor. We caught another 3lb largemouth right in front of the island.
Then I had a very nice looking trout follow my spinnerbait up to the boat then get spooked. 30 seconds later it apparently liked the jig I was floating on a bobber, tipped with a piece of night crawler. I pulled in this beauty on a 5 1/2' microlite rod, 4lb test line, and a tiny trout magnet 1/64 oz jig head.
About 3lbs and 19", but thick.
I caught another 18" trout about 20 minutes later on a blue/silver blue fox vibrax spinner.

Can someone explain the stark color difference between the two filets? Both fish similarly sized, caught in the same place and time. Is it because one was male vs female?


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That's a couple of very nice trout! Been intending to get up to Bear with my little boat and troll. Its been years since I was on the lake and that was just paddling a kayak back then, not fishing. Sounds like you had one of those epic days, congrats!
 

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Oh, and as far as the flesh color, since they're both in the same body of water it likely isn't what they're eating. Probably more related to how long they've been there. One was maybe stocked this year, the other been there for a year or more? Just a guess but "holdover" stocked trout after reverting to natural foods tend to revert back to bright pink flesh after the hatchery trout chow is cleansed out of them. They taste much better IMO. I have lost all interest in eating trout fresh from the hatchery. I've seen that in stream caught trout and there are some other threads with participants who target holdover trout in the lakes that report the same.
Bear is on the list to be stocked this month but the August floods blew out the Pisgah fish hatchery. They're still operational but lost a lot of fish and said that will "impact" fall stocking schedules.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Interesting. I expected newly stocked trout (this year) to be much smaller. Are they releasing trout that big or do they grow that quickly?

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Interesting. I expected newly stocked trout (this year) to be much smaller. Are they releasing trout that big or do they grow that quickly?

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I don't know exactly what they stock in the small impoundments. I do know occasionally they'll release some older brood trout. I have caught 3-3.5 pound trout in the Delayed Harvest waters, so they do mix some larger ones in. Could be any number of things I suppose, that would cause different flesh colors. Diet, time in the water, genetics, age, dunno.
BTW, I checked after posting above. The hatchery lost 67% of their trout. They are currently stocking the Delayed Harvest Streams but on the site the NCWRC states they will not stock the small impoundments this fall/winter, and further indicated no stocking until Dec. 2022.
Small Impoundments and Fall/Winter Stockings
  • Fall/Winter 2021 stockings at numerous small impoundments throughout North Carolina have been canceled.
    • This popular winter trout stocking program in small impoundments is scheduled to resume in December 2022, pending fish availability.
 

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I don't know exactly what they stock in the small impoundments. I do know occasionally they'll release some older brood trout. I have caught 3-3.5 pound trout in the Delayed Harvest waters, so they do mix some larger ones in. Could be any number of things I suppose, that would cause different flesh colors. Diet, time in the water, genetics, age, dunno.
BTW, I checked after posting above. The hatchery lost 67% of their trout. They are currently stocking the Delayed Harvest Streams but on the site the NCWRC states they will not stock the small impoundments this fall/winter, and further indicated no stocking until Dec. 2022.
Small Impoundments and Fall/Winter Stockings
  • Fall/Winter 2021 stockings at numerous small impoundments throughout North Carolina have been canceled.
    • This popular winter trout stocking program in small impoundments is scheduled to resume in December 2022, pending fish availability.
Almost off of the small impoundments are east of Marion. Bear is stocked when they stock hatchery supported waters


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Almost off of the small impoundments are east of Marion. Bear is stocked when they stock hatchery supported waters


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We were talking about trout specifically. Bear, Wolf, Tannassee, Calderwood, Cheoah are all Hatchery Supported and on a fall stocking schedule as well as spring. Just not this fall.
What lakes east of Marion have trout?
 

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First of all......Congrats! on your trip. I look forward to being up there soon. The difference in color is due to the Trouts' Diet. The more crustaceans and bugs.....the redder the flesh. It's also possible and likely, that the lighter fish is a fairly recent addition to the lake....mixed in with the smaller "Stockers" from a recent stocking.

The longer the fish survive in the Wild.....the redder/pinker the color of their flesh. Those are called "Holdover Trout". As far as the Largemouth....it's one of the best kept secrets of the Gems. They grow fat on stocker trout.

Thanks for the Report!....D
 

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We were talking about trout specifically. Bear, Wolf, Tannassee, Calderwood, Cheoah are all Hatchery Supported and on a fall stocking schedule as well as spring. Just not this fall.
What lakes east of Marion have trout?
winter stocking of “impoundments” are basically ponds that they stock on game lands and come city parks. I know they stock as far as caswell county


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Just an update on Bear Lake. I went up there Monday, mainly to scout around as I haven't been on that lake in probably a decade or more. I found a few promising spots and marked numerous fish, many around 25' roughly, some deeper. I was mainly looking for trolling areas with a focus on trout.
The lower end was pretty dingy, the upper end was clearing. Last week at my house we had 11.25" of rain so everything in the western part of the state has been flooded again and creeks blown out. The good news is, these events clear a lot of debris out of the creeks and cleanse the bottoms, improving the habitat and ultimately water quality overall for cold water species like trout. The bad news is this debris ends up in the lakes. The upper end of Bear was clogged with all manner of debris with huge mats consisting of newly fallen leaves mixed in with limbs and logs. Logs large enough to cause boat damage were scattered throughout the lake. Fishing up in the river was at best, difficult and almost impossible. I cast a spinner and crankbait for a few minutes but quickly moved back down out of the debris.
I ended up only finding smallish largemouths by trolling, no trout with trolled hoochies tipped with nightcrawlers, rapalas and spoons, though I did have some hits on the hoochie in one area near the island but didn't hook up. Only picked off the nightcrawler!
But like I said, I spent most of the time slowly riding and looking at my depthfinder and did find some promising deep area structure that held fish and marked them to revisit when conditions improve.
Surface temps were 66°-67° The day was gloriously beautiful, especially after a whole week of rain!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, I was on the lake from Friday to Sunday, staying at a friend's house.
The difference in conditions between 10/2 and 10/9 was drastic. The water was 6' deeper this past weekend, 10 degrees cooler, and much less clear. The fishing was not good.
I pushed past the debris field and got to the smaller island, but had no luck.
I trolled a daredevil spoon, a silver/gold double spinner, and a night crawler at 15 to 40 feet, up and down the lake, all evening and up to midnight, with no luck. I could see a large number of fish 25' down congregated around the no wake buoy near the ramp.
Nothing was hungry.
Even my go-to bluegill tricks were coming up empty.
But the weather was beautiful and I succeeded in not running over any logs while trolling, so it was a good weekend.


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Bear has always for me been a lake that was hit or miss. Although if the fishing is good I’ve had luck at pulling a few walleye out while trolling for trout.


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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Bear has always for me been a lake that was hit or miss. Although if the fishing is good I’ve had luck at pulling a few walleye out while trolling for trout.


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I was fishing for walleye Saturday night. Which means, I was trolling lures at .75 to 1.5 mph at various depths and hoping for walleye. Care to share any specific hints for catching walleye in wnc?


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I was fishing for walleye Saturday night. Which means, I was trolling lures at .75 to 1.5 mph at various depths and hoping for walleye. Care to share any specific hints for catching walleye in wnc?


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All mine have been pre dawn or right at grey light on deep diving walleye plugs at about the speed you were going. Once I fill my deer tags I’m gonna try and spend the rest of the fall winter chasing them and big trout.

I never go out for walleye but usually have one rod trolling for them


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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
My first year back fishing after over 20 years and I've caught a 6lb largemouth out of Adger, the nice trout posted above, smallmouth, crappie, perch, bluegill, and catfish. Walleye is the last fish on my list to complete a successful return to the sport!
A musky out of Adger would be a bonus lol

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Thanks for the Reports....always good to see. The best time for Trout on Bear Creek Lake is fast approaching. As the Lake cools down, the Trout become more accessible.....but, even after the Fall Turnover.....the larger ones spend most of their time in the 30-50 ft range. Once Turnover happens though.....they can be Anywhere in the water column that they are "comfortable". Cooler water also holds more oxygen......so, Food....and for the small number of Wild Trout....Spawning...become the driving forces in their location in the Lake.

Here's a shot from Bear last Thanksgiving. Those are confirmed (caught) Trout on the screen. Good Fishing!....D

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I saw a very similar graph Saturday night from the ramp to the point to turn towards the dam. Very frustrating when they aren't biting but you could scoop them up with a net (one with a 25' handle lol)


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Yes, I was on the lake from Friday to Sunday, staying at a friend's house.
The difference in conditions between 10/2 and 10/9 was drastic. The water was 6' deeper this past weekend, 10 degrees cooler, and much less clear. The fishing was not good.
I pushed past the debris field and got to the smaller island, but had no luck.
I trolled a daredevil spoon, a silver/gold double spinner, and a night crawler at 15 to 40 feet, up and down the lake, all evening and up to midnight, with no luck. I could see a large number of fish 25' down congregated around the no wake buoy near the ramp.
Nothing was hungry.
Even my go-to bluegill tricks were coming up empty.
But the weather was beautiful and I succeeded in not running over any logs while trolling, so it was a good weekend.


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I believe anytime you get an extreme weather event it typically has a negative effect. Not always of course, sometimes it can have a positive effect but a 6' water fluctuation and particularly a 10° temperature change is huge. I also marked a significant number of fish, right off the dock and around the rocky point turning toward the dam. So much so, I had to troll over them. Most were at about 25' with a scattering above and below. I dropped my downrigger right in the middle of them but with no luck even with multiple passes. Same in other parts. I also like you, tried from about 25' to about 35'-40', and used leadcore around 15' +/- all to no avail.
There were some guys apparently camping or just hanging out at the small island in the river. They were swimming along with their dog so I didn't bother going beyond that big debris field.

My first year back fishing after over 20 years and I've caught a 6lb largemouth out of Adger, the nice trout posted above, smallmouth, crappie, perch, bluegill, and catfish. Walleye is the last fish on my list to complete a successful return to the sport!
A musky out of Adger would be a bonus lol

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Last year was my first year back to warm water fishing, having spent most of my adult life in cold trout streams. Best I got out of Adger was a 5 lb. largemouth. I mostly focused on crappie, as I did this past spring. Last year I did okay and anticipated good things to come but I've had a particularly poor run of luck this year! Multiple times it's been the weather. Since you fish Adger too, I assume you're somewhere in the A'ville/H'ville area?

And walleye, that's something I'd like to catch but I've barely dipped my toe in the water trying to learn trout trolling. Not enough brain cells to try to learn that too, lol. So if I snag a walleye it will be an accident while trolling for trout!
 
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