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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, after Way Too Long....I finally got back on the water. I drove up Monday for a shortened Fishing Trip and spent (5) days in the Mountains Trout Fishing. The first day was Windy and Cold (24 degrees).....so, I headed for Wolf....hoping the small lake would provide some shelter from the wind. I was totally out of sync....forgot to put the plug in the boat.....and the water at Wolf was so low, the ramp and pier were out of the water. I wedged my boat in anyway and went Fishing for the first time in (11) long months. I dropped in the exact same rigs I finished up with last Christmas.....and paid the price 20 minutes later when a nice 18-ish rainbow slammed my Rapala. i played him to the boat....where he lunged and broke me off.....taking both my Rapala and Dodger into the depths! I retied and caught two smaller fish....and then another nice fish set off the rod. I reeled him in and Again.....he broke off at the boat taking my second Rapala! I retied and caught another fish......and then it happened a Third Time! A nice fish broke off AGAIN....in sight of the boat ....taking a Third Rapala! Finally.....after several tests.....I realized my 8 lb fluorocarbon had deteriorated to something closer to 3-4 lb test. I finished with (4) Trout....and a lesson in how Unprepared I was for the trip.
Wednesday, I met up with Coach and we decided to go to Fontana and take his boat. We Casually trolled from Eagle Creek to the Dam and spent the time getting to know about one another and talking fishing. Despite 4-5 hours and (5) lines in the water with Rapalas, Spoons and a Crawler.....we never got a strike! It was still a Good Day!
Thursday....the nicest day of weather....I headed for Bear.....hoping for a repeat of last Christmas. I caught (9) Trout from 15-18 inches.....mostly on Rapalas. I caught them everywhere....from up the lake......to the dam. There was nothing too special. The Trout were right where I expected them to be....Not as hungry as last year.....but, certainly plenty of action. I kept (6) trout.
Friday.....after speaking with Coach again, we decided to fish Calderwood together.....this time taking both of our boats. I had not been to Calderwood in 5 or 6 years ....and it would be my first time trolling it. I started out with (2) Rapalas....and because it was new water for me as far as trolling.....I added a 3rd rod with a Wiggle Hootchie. Coach headed for the Dam.....and I was headed there too.....but, I kept marking fish....and I liked the way the water looked. I decided to start trolling a ways past slickrock....and had trolled for about 20 minutes when one of my Rapalas went off.....and the clicker was screaming! I set the hook....and and 6 or 7 minutes later.....i had a Beautiful 21 inch Rainbow for my first fish. I tried to handle him as little as possible and released him after a quick picture. Immediately (10 minutes) after that..... a Fish Story happened....which I'll discuss later. I finished my day on Calderwood at 4 pm with another (6) rainbows.....all 15-17 inches....all on Rapalas. I never made it past the halfway point of the lake. It was an awesome day to get back on that gorgeous water just the same.
Saturday....i was unsure.....but, decided to head back to Calderwood for my final day. I started out with a Trout on the Hootchie....in the same area from the day before. After a couple of hours of no action.....i decided to run to the dam. I put out the (2) Rapalas again.....and threw out the Hootchie for good measure. The hootchie went off after about 5 minutes. After that, I made large lazy circles near the dam.....and caught (3) more trout....all 15-16 inch fish....all on the Hootchie. I decided to head back again to the area where I had the best luck around 1:30. I trolled the Rapalas and the Hootchie....and caught (3) more Trout and a Perch....all on the Hootchie. Everything i caught Saturday was on the Hootchie.....I never had a single strike on the Rapalas??? I finished with (8) Trout and a Perch for my last day.

Wolf was 53 degrees, Fontana was 61 degrees, Bear was 54 degrees and Calderwood was 58 Degrees

Quality was excellent....i never caught a Trout under 15 inches. Moving to larger baits has helped. The Hot Steel Rapala 9 and a Custom Hootchie did All of the damage. The Trout were mostly Healthy and Fat. I caught (28) Trout over (5) days......including One 21 inch Beauty ....and a heckuva Fish Story! I'll post about the Fish Story soon.....because I think it's important in some ways,,,,but, it's just a Fish Story. Weather was definitely a factor.

It was a Pleasure to fish with Coach and his Wife. It was a Great Trip....and I look forward to being better prepared at Christmas......Cheers!....D

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So.....the Fish Story, First.....I am a card carrying member of the "No Pics.....Didn't Happen" club. I also always enjoy the words over my local Bass Pro entrance....."Welcome Hunters, Fishermen and other Liars" and get a chuckle out of it every time I see it.

Having said that......i was trolling on Calderwood. I had just caught the nice 21 inch Rainbow and was feeling good. I really like all the huge boulders and fallen trees in Calderwood. I was playing a game of "chicken" with the laydowns on the shore.....trying to keep my Rapalas close.....without hanging them up in the trees. About 10 minutes after I caught the Bow.....one of my Rapalas just stopped....and the line began clicking out steadily.....so I turned the boat around and took the motor out of gear, I didn't jerk it, because I was hoping to get it back. I reeled in the other two lines to keep them out of the prop and started to tighten up the hung-up line to try and determine exactly where I was hung up in the trees. As i reeled up the lead core line....i was hoping to just pull it in the opposite direction and get my rig back. As I tightened up to the tree......I was surprised the tree was in a very different place.....and moving. My line slowly swam up past the boat....and I realized i had a live fish on the other end. I figured it was probably a large Catfish or maybe a better Rainbow Trout. As I started working with him....I tightened up and realized it was pretty big. After a good 7-10 minutes I got it near enough to see it....about 10 ft down under the boat. it was a Trout!....a Big One! The fish had not panicked....and I was able to guide it slowly around the boat a couple of times. I estimated it to be 25-28 inches (I had just caught a 21 inch fish). I knew I had very little chance of landing it....I was clearly outmatched and not prepared for a fish this big. After a couple of passes, i saw the yellowish silver color and the spots and knew it was a big Brown Trout! I decided to ease my net into the water as I kept "swimming" the fish around my boat. I swam her past the net a couple of times.....and on the third pass.....I moved the net in front of her head....and tried to ease her head first into my net. As soon as I moved the net a little bit towards her.....she BOLTED towards the fallen trees. I couldn't stop her. i felt her thrashing for about 8-10 seconds.....and then it went dead. I eventually got my rig out of the trees.....minus my FOURTH Rapala of the trip.

It's just a Fish Story.....but, I'll always have that memory....And.....I'm excited to know those Big Browns live in Calderwood! It was really a Nice Day and Memorable Adventure for my first day back on Calderwood. I think it's a pretty Special Place....and I'll be Back! Cheers and Good Luck to Everyone Else!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Calderwood had 4-5 campers at it.....due to the holiday weekend no doubt. Other than Coach and his Wife.....I saw almost no one else fishing. On my last day....Saturday....as I approached the ramp around 4:30....another small boat pulled in behind me. He had a young 6 point buck he had shot in his boat. I thought that was interesting.

As far as Fishing.....unfortunately/fortunately....it was a Very Busy year. I considered not coming for Thanksgiving.....but, the other folks in my orbit Insisted I GO! I was pretty "burnt".

The Large Brown Trout....and the healthy population of Rainbows really struck me. I remember a couple of years ago when the pic below was posted of a 20 lb plus Brown Trout out of Calderwood. The pic was taken close by at Outland Gas and Groceries. Daydreams....D

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As far as Fontana Village goes....I have to say I was impressed with it when I met up with Coach. The TVA is apparently looking for a New Operator.....as it was closed and surrendered due to the lack of business after the Covid shutdowns. It is still maintained well....and you can't beat the location for Fontana, Cheoah and Calderwood. I am considering it myself for my trip in a few weeks for at least a part of my trip.

I want to spend some time next on Cheoah. I think it is very unpressured water....and may hold some Large Trout. 15-17 inches was the norm for 80% of what I caught last week.
Cheers!...D

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Like you said...."Not exactly a large selection of accommodations up that way". The selection is even smaller when you're towing a boat. One of the first things I look at is the Parking. There is a Cabin I borrow occasionally.....but, otherwise, the Microtel at Bryson City is reasonable. If I book far enough ahead, I can usually get a good rate. I have also developed a relationship with them. They closed up last year.....but, have reopened. Nothing fancy.....but, clean and centrally located between the Gems and Fontana/Santeetlah. Great Smoky Mountain Bait and Tackle is nearby.....and various Ethanol Free Gas Stations and Grocery Stores are also in the area. I don't do much other than Fish, Eat and Sleep while I'm up there. I like to get AWAY from crowds and let myself enjoy the area. I have learned that accepting a little cold weather is a pretty good trade off......and the fish don't seem to mind. Cheers!....D
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I would absolutely love to break away and get after them right now. I was really impressed with Calderwood....and all the great habitat. I had fished it before....over the years....but, not like I do now. You hear the stories.....and I have one of my own to add to them now.....after my Turkeyday visit. I think the fish are relatively unpressured there.....and likely Cheoah as well. Losing that 10# plus brownie last year has turned my attention away from my normal lakes. Anyone wanting to catch quality trout can always head to the Bear, Wolf and eventually Cedar Cliff lakes (reopening 2024 now). They are absolute Trout havens. Calderwood, Fontana and Cheoah might offer a better shot at a really Large Trout.

I have seen them now (Large Trout) in both Calderwood and Cheoah....and I instinctively know they are in Fontana. I also think there are some Trophy Triploids near the dams on several lakes.....that are mostly untapped. There is a Lot to look forward to. For now.......it's back to work. I will hopefully get back up there soon.....Beast of Luck to all....D
 
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