Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/17/2017

Fishing is excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park now. We have had a couple of shots of rain the last week and a half which has helped keep the streams flowing strong for this time of year. The cool overnight temperatures will get the brown and brook trout seriously thinking about spawning. Please be careful this time of year and avoid walking on fine sand and gravel in riffles and tailouts. Leave the spawning trout alone so they can do their thing. When you find brook or brown trout that aren't spawning, they are aggressive and looking to feed. Recent guide trips on brook trout waters have been anywhere from good to excellent. Streams with rainbows and browns have been excellent as well. There are good numbers of fish to be caught in the Park right now!

A variety of bugs have been hatching lately. On cloudy days, Blue-winged Olives have hatched along with some other small mayflies. Various caddis, including the Great Autumn Brown Sedges (often referred to as October Caddis by locals) are hatching and provide a nice bite for the trout. Little Black stoneflies are hatching as well. Fish are eating both dry fly and nymph imitations and even still hitting some terrestrials. Don't forget your beetle, ant, and inchworm fly box. A Parachute Adams or Yellow or Orange Stimulator should work well for a dry fly. Smaller bead head Pheasant Tail nymphs should work as a dropper. Caddis pupa are also catching a lot of fish as are stonefly nymphs.

On the Caney Fork, things have been tough lately. The river has been running warmer than is normal this time of year because of heavy generation earlier this year and also with a stain due to the sluice gate operations. Work has been underway to install vented turbines on the generators and they have been working to try and tweak them to improve dissolved oxygen. One day, we were floating and they were checking the DO and found it at 1.5 ppm. If I remember correctly, the minimum target is 6 ppm. Obviously 1.5 is way too low. Trout were sitting along the banks and in back eddies gasping for oxygen. Hopefully all of this won't have too much of a long term effect on the fishery, but needless to say, things are a bit difficult as of right now. Cooler weather should help. Once the lake turns over, oxygen and clarity will improve quickly.

The Clinch River has been fishing well if you can hit it on low water days. Small nymphs and midges will get the job done here.

Smallmouth bass are about done for the year, but we will be back out on the musky streams again soon looking for the toothy critters. This is tough fishing, but the rewards can be sizable.

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Nice Day

The sky was heavy with dark clouds that flew from horizon to horizon. A gentle rain had been falling all morning and I was hoping that some good browns would be on the move. The river was low and clear and things were looking up. I decided to head up higher to water that was all wild fish and see what happened.
A Tellico tributary was my goal and I flew along, over and around the ridges. As I approached the bridge where I would first see the river, I noticed that the water looked awfully swift. Sure enough, the stream was high and off color. After a brief stop to make sure it wasn’t worth my time, I decided to head towards the upper Tellico and maybe some more tribs. High water seemed to be the theme of the day until I saw a stream entering the main river that looked semi normal. It was up and stained but not chocolate milk. “The fish should be feeding….” I thought to myself.
I was soon in the water with a fish on and things were looking up. However, I couldn’t keep any more on long enough to get a good look at them. Finally, the thought came to me to do some exploring so I headed to higher elevations in search of a brookie. The normally small trickles that originate high on the mountains were a lot higher but not too dirty. I had a few hits before I landed my first monster brookie! A solid 2 inches!!!
Happy that I caught one, I almost quit for the day but decided to try a couple more holes. I found a nice spot where a tiny feeder creek entered. My nymph was lobbed up into the small pool and the line came alive. “That’s a nice rainbow for this little stream” I mused. When I saw the fish, I had a pleasant surprise. It was another brookie and this one was a fat 8 1/2 inches. The day suddenly seemed brighter as I slipped out the hook and watched the fish fade back into the pool…

Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Convert


The Smokies are beautiful this time of year. The leaves are changing and it seems like everyone within a days drive of the park is here to look at the colors. The fishin' ain't bad either! Since it was fall break, a camping trip seemed in order with a healthy dose of fishing planned as well. My cousin wanted to come up for the weekend and I finally convinced him to try out fly fishing also. He was a natural from the start due in part to lots of previous spin fishing experience. After a quick demonstration to show him the method we would be using, he started fishing. Within 5 minutes, he had his first fish on!
He caught a few more fish and is now thoroughly hooked. Being his first time trying to catch trout on the fly rod, he did exceptionally well. Many people find the Smokies fish to be a bit challenging at first but he was fishing like a pro in no time. Of course, I had to catch a few fish myself as well but none were particularly noteworthy this trip. I'll have to go again in a couple of weeks to try and catch some more large browns so stay tuned for more!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Memories of Summer


As always, this summer was very memorable for me. I was fortunate enough to land a job in Colorado in the Gunnison vicinity close to hundreds of miles of trout streams and numerous still waters. Every fly fisherman dreams of taking trips to the locations described in the glossy pages of fly fishing magazines and I was going to work within a couple of hours of several such famous streams.

Of course I had to fish the Gunnison and its famous tributary, the Taylor River. Other lesser known streams would also provide some spectacular moments in the wilds of Colorado. I could tell story after story of various fish caught and almost caught. There was a 20+ inch rainbow I fought on the Taylor for several minutes before the tiny midge popped out. Wild brown and brook trout taken from pristine trickles high in the Rockies and then returned to the ribbon of liquid silver they called home. Then there was the 20 inch brown that sipped a CDC BWO emerger pattern when I did not have a camera with me.

Three excursions in particular stand out as high points to my summer fishing. One was the large brown. The next was a day trip into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. I finally convinced some friends that they would enjoy the killer hike 2000 feet straight down into the Black Canyon in the National Park. We arrived streamside and I rigged up while they searched for a good place to swim. I had a couple of bumps on a softhackle and finally landed a small brown but I know it should be a lot better. I finally tied on a Copper John and that turned out to be the ticket. I lost count of how many fish I landed, all browns (above-left) except for one beautiful rainbow (left). The fish were all very strong and full of fight.

My final weekend provided the last great memory. Native Cutts!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Back to the Caney

I was fortunate enough to get out and fish again this last weekend. The Caney Fork had been on my mind for awhile so I drove down Sunday for a few hours of fishing. When I arrived, the water was still falling from the morning generation so I started in the large hole directly below the dam. Things were fairly slow even though I saw some fish working from time to time. I finally moved on downstream and was into fish quickly. The zebra midge came through again, but I never could really get in the zone with one color combination. I would catch a couple and then things would slow down. As soon as I tied another color on, I would usually be into fish again for a few minutes. This continued for most of the afternoon. All in all it was a slower day with probably 10-15 fish to hand. The weather couldn't have been better though so I'm glad I went.

A highlight of the day was seeing some huge browns up in the shallows. There isn't any natural reproduction in the Caney but apparently the fish are still trying to go through the motions. They were exceptionally spooky and I couldn't get any of them to eat my flies. Maybe I'll just have to go back soon...

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