Appalachian Rock Crawling

It's been a little while since I was able to post a report on anything - uprooting in St. Louis and getting settled in here is NC is going well but very time consuming. Rods are being built and going out the door and I'm getting to learn the area a bit too. I miss my friends back in St. Louis but it's been a good and soft landing here - the people are very hospitable and the fishing is good!

Recently, just after we moved I was contacted by a local man who offered to take me fishing on some private waters near Mt. Mitchell, the highest point east of the Rockies. He explained to me how carefully the waters are managed resulting in top notch fishing and assured me that the company would be as good as the fishing. 
He just asked me to bring my fishing stuff and some beer. It sounded like an opportunity I should not miss.
It took me about 3 hours to get there and every second of the drive was worth it. Such beauty all around!
It rained on and off most for most of my time there and it rained 3.5" two days before I got there. Before the rain the water was dangerously low and warm. The fish were happy and eager to rise to most anything that was well presented one time. 

Here's a view from the front porch where I had my morning coffee. 
 

Mount Mitchell

As soon as I got there (before my host and most everyone else) I was told to get ready to fish while lunch was prepared. 
All the fish here are totally wild and self sustaining. There was a stocking of fish back in the 60's but nothing since. 

There are a variety of 'fishes' (or beats) that are suited for various skill levels. Some have huge fish and easier to cast and some are technical rhododendron tunnels. I love the little technical flows but chose to start out on one of the 'larger technical' fishes. 

My first trout as a resident of NC. 

In the two hour span before lunch I caught enough fish and had enough fun that I could have gone home fulfilled. 

baby rainbow!

After lunch I continued the rest of the 'fish' I started earlier on. 
It started off just how it left off. There were fish everywhere they should have been. They weren't huge - the biggest I caught was about a 12" rainbow. 
The fish were lightening fast when they struck and that was your ONLY chance to hook them as it would spook be entire pocket or pool. It took me a few minutes to get used to that. 
I was mostly using an elk hair caddis but also a Hippy Stomper and smallish yellow or orange stimulator. I was fishing my 70p. 

70p

70p 'stout' color

Unfortunately my track record of somehow damaging myself the first day of a trip in this region came true here as well. In an effort to 'save the rod!' while falling off a slippery rock I landed on my right hand middle finger and dislocated it. I was able to reset it and keep going but it DID NOT feel good or right the rest of the time. 

Oh well. 

At the end of day one I caught roughly 75 fish. 

The morning of day two I fished with my host in some more technical higher elevation streams in search of brook trout. 

We took a 70p and 64p along to test out. 

the 64p and 70p in their natural environment

And we found some beautiful Appalachian natives. 

native brook trout!

A few rainbows and browns too. 

brown trout!

After lunch I went up a little further in a different stream in search of more natives and was not disappointed. 

Native brook trout

More rock crawling produced some absolutely amazing fish. After every boulder and rock field I'd find another beautiful pool with eager fish. 

Native brook trout

Overall I probably caught around 200 fish, met some incredible people and ate some wonderful food. 
I couldn't have asked for, or planned anything better. 

I'm now well rested and pleased, back in the shop and working on rods. I have very little to complain about, except for maybe my middle finger that looks like a hot dog. 
Thanks for looking!

64p

IMG_1950.jpg

Thanks for being here, and good fishing!

Chris