Brigadoon on the River Soque
Trophy Trout a Day-trip Away
It looks like any other stream, just a typical stretch on the Soque, but looks can be deceiving. For what stream boils at 65 degrees (photo right), harbors trout so big that they could swallow your arm, and employs a full-time four legged friend who can find fish by smell (photo bottom left). It's Brigadoon on the river Soque.
Nine years ago the wheels were set in motion when Rebekah Stewart first purchased what is now known as Brigadoon. Rebekah purchased the land with the intention of building a weekend country home and only opened the stream to fishing after strong encouragement by friends. Eight years later, after incredible preparation and planning, Brigadoon opened to catch-and-release fly fishing.
I was fortunate enough to visit Brigadoon a while back and let me tell you, it was an experience I will never forget. The place is unbelievable and it's not just the fishing (although that is most of it) There are so many things that are just plain "right" about Brigadoon. The hospitality extended rings true to its southern name, the lodge is beautiful, the guides are fantastic, and the fishing is, from my experience, unquestionably the some of the best in the southeast.
There is no question that Brigadoon is a great success but it wasn't easy, nor was it without setbacks. The reason it thrives today is due to its strict management. In my interview with Rebekah she mentions being called the "Brigadoon Bitch" for her strict policies and rules such as the two-minute play rule, allowing nothing below 4x tippet, and requiring a guide with every fishing party. If these rules seem strict to you think of what would happen if they weren't in place, there would be no Brigadoon.
Our guide for the afternoon was Paul McGrath, aka "Turbo Guide". Paul was affectionately nicknamed "turbo" because of his guiding style, which incidentally is a lot like my fishing style. "Turbo" likes to move from hole to hole quickly which makes quite a bit of sense to me, if you think about it most of your fish are caught on the first several casts to a hole anyway, unless your lucky enough to be casting to a rising fish. Anyway, Paul has perfected the art of fishing without a strike indicator (see his article "To Strike or not to Strike" in this months Articles section), a method of which, I'll be the first to admit, I need some major practice.
The day's fishing was excellent although I only landed one fish, a 22" rainbow earlier that morning. My partner and photographer had a little better luck with a total of three fish, all larger than my one. All of our fish that day were taken on woolly patterns with the exception of one I hooked on a san-juan worm that came off a few seconds after the strike (at least 26", typical for Brigadoon). By Brigadoon standards this was a "bad-day" but by our standards I would say it was a great day.
If you haven't stop reading this to pick up the phone and call for a reservation by now let me throw out a few names of the guides: LeRoy Powell - world famous funny-man and author; Jimmy Jacobs - need I say more (you can order his books directly from Unicoi Outfitters on this web site); Don Pfitzer - retired U.S. Forest Service and author; Paul McGrath - "Turbo" as mentioned previously; Jimmy Harris - Local TU Chapter President; Ron Reed - Manager of the Fly Fishing Shop at Bass Pro Shops; and I cannot forget to mention Jackson, the trout-sniffing dog!If you are anxious to catch some trophy trout and don't want to go out west or up north, Brigadoon may be exactly what you are looking for and perhaps even more. What Rebekah, her staff, friends, and guides have done is incredible and is definitely worth the trip. I plan to visit again soon.
For more information on Brigadoon....
Phone: (888) 4-BRIGADOON or (706) 754-1558
Home page: http://www.brigadoonlodge.com