FLY-FISHING WITH JOHN AND ELIZABETH EISENBARTH
Fishing For Trout At The Sipsey Fork
NOTE: John Eisenbarth, owner of Riverside Outfitters
and Fly Shop, and his wife Elizabeth, have fished the Sipsey Fork, the
tailwaters of Smith Lake, for 13 years.
Question: How long has there been trout in the Sipsey
Answer: Since the mid-1970s.
Question: How often are trout stocked?
Answer: The Sipsey Fork is stocked six times a year, and additionally
we are stocked twice in the spring if the fish are available. This year
we received nine stockings because there were extra fish.
How many fish are stocked each time?
Answer: Between 3,500 and 4,000. Depends on the size of the fish. The
bigger the fish, the fewer fish the state stocks.
Question: What size trout are they stocking?
Answer: They stock 8-to 10-inch fish. Occasionally we get stockings with
13- and 14-inch fish.
Question: Where are the majority of people coming from
who trout fish below Lewis Smith Dam?
Answer: All across the state of Alabama. The bulk of them come from Huntsville
and Birmingham. We get several people out of Montgomery and a substantial
amount from Mobile. Our largest out-of-state population comes from Mississippi
because we have the closest trout waters to that state.
Question: How far have you had people come from before
to trout fish with you?
Answer: I've taken people trout fishing at Lewis Smith Lake from Vermont,
New Hampshire, California, Canada, New Mexico, Alaska, Japan and Germany.
How did these people find out about you?
Answer: Mostly from our Website and by word of mouth. The trout fishermen
from other parts of the country really help spread the word because it
is unique for them to come and catch trout in the Deep South is a unique
Question: Are we the farthest south possible to be able
to have trout?
Answer: Just about. The Chattahoochee River, which runs through Atlanta,
Georgia, is located a little further south than Sipsey Fork, but the river
there has tail waters too. The Guadalupe River in Texas is a lot farther
south than the Sipsey Fork. The Guadalupe River is a spring-fed river
with some tail water and is run by a Trout Unlimited chapter.
Question: What does a day of trout fishing consist of
here at the Sipsey Fork?
Answer: Just after daybreak, trout begin rising and feeding off of small
insects on top of the water. It takes sunlight to get the insects to start
hatching. Once the insects start hatching, the fish start feeding on them.
Question: If a day of fishing starts at 7:00 a.m., how
long do you fish?
Answer: During the summer, we fish until the turbines are turned on. Weekends
or weekdays when they don't turn the turbines on, we fish late in the
evening or early in the morning. Mid-day fishing is always tough because
fish tend to stay on the bottom when the sun is bright.
How many trout will a party of two catch?
Answer: At least their limit of five trout each. Of course, the success
depends on the type of people fishing. When I'm teaching someone to fly-fish,
I'm glad if they just catch a couple of trout because trout are tough
fish to catch on flies.
Riverside Outfitters and Fly Shop is located in Jasper,
off Hwy 69 N, 4 miles below the Smith Lake dam. For more information,
call John Eisenbarth at (256) 287-0050, go to www.1flyfish.com
or e-mail him at JE@1flyfish.com.
TOMORROW: EISENBARTH'S FAVORITE FLIES