Hope all you folks weathered the winter all right. With the record amounts of rain we have experienced here; it’s no wonder the fishing has been a little off. I’m ready for some warm, dry days. With that being said, we have had some really great trout fishing in several of our mountain lakes. The rainbow bite has been off the charts, with a few steelhead and brown trout mixed in. Most of our catches have came from the surface, down to around 40 feet deep and it really hasn’t mattered whether it’s been below freezing or one of the mild, wet days, the trout have been hungry. The best bites have come on small artificial lures, both crayfish and minnow patterns have worked well. Red seems to be the color of choice and the sunny side of the lake has out-produced the shady side 10 to1.
Moon patterns haven’t seemed to matter much but days with a light wind are the best. I have noticed that the trolling speed has been different from day to day with 1.75 being about the mid-range. Pay attention to which side of the boat you hook up on if you’re in a turn, the outside rod will speed up and the inside will slow down so you will know what they want as far as the speed goes. If you are getting short strikes just downsize the lure you’re using and you should start landing more fish. Pay close attention to line size; I like no heavier than 8 pound test.
Have fun and stay safe and as always, take a kid fishing.
Ronnie Parris is owner and head guide of Smoky Mountain Outdoors Unlimited-Fontana Lake Fishing Guides, headquartered in Bryson City, N.C., heart of the Great Smoky Mountains www.smounlimited.com; (828) 488-9711).