Many anglers that frequent WNC already know that the Southern Appalachian Brook Trout call our mountains home, and has since the ice age. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has done a tremendous job of restoration for these fish. But often they are the forgotten fish for many visitors and angelrs to the WNC fisheries.
For good reason many regional fly fishing publications post about how great the Nantahala, Tuck, Oconoluftee and Raven Fork are. Certainly these waters gaurantee a marginal level of success to the angler that is able to get in the water maybe five times a year. But, year after year these waters can lose their luster, and that is a good thing! What I enjoy seeing is ones fishing ambitions evolve over time. This evolution may come in the form of seeking bigger stronger fish (small mouth, carp, salt...ect) But some transition to the smaller indigenous species.
When talking to a fellow Tuckasegee Chapter TU member, I stumbled upon this in conversation. Many of us love to go out and catch a 20" pellet fed pig, with good reason; The fight is fun and feeling the "tug" is always addicting. Fly Fishing is an amazing sport/hobby/activity, that we can get just as much joy from a 5" fish as the 20's bring. Persuing a small trout by hiking up a steep trail, scaling gorges, climbing over boulders, and literally stalking these fish, brings back a sense of adventure (and dry fly fishing) that is lost on Delayed Harvest streams. For many, the adventure is one of the greatest reasons for getting outdoors. Persuing Native Brookes has brought me back to that place...I hope I stay here a while!
If you do find yourself looking for the Southern Appalachain Brooke adventure, hire a guide, take a buddy, just don't go alone. These fish share a habitat with bears and some nasty snakes. Also, please becareful with the fish. This is a fragile fishery, so try not to rip lips on hooks sets and keep'em wet.