Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/22/2020

High flows continue across the area but trends are definitely down. A recent cold snap broke the ongoing heatwave so fishing in the mountains has slowed dramatically. Right on schedule, some of our tailwaters should begin returning to more normal flows for this time of year meaning float trips are certainly possible.

For the Smokies, a warming trend should commence as we go into next week. By mid week the fishing should be decent before the next cold front returns us back to winter again. On warmer days, look for midges and possibly winter stoneflies hatching. Some blue-winged olives will be possible on foul weather days as we head towards February. The best fishing is still a few weeks out, but no longer feels like an eternity. Expect good spring hatches to start in late February or early March with blue quills and quill gordons along with little black caddis and early brown and black stones. By April, things will be settling down with the pinnacle of spring fishing usually happening from mid April through the month of May.

On our area tailwaters, high water continues to be the story. The Caney Fork still has at least a couple of weeks of high flows and that is assuming we don't get any more heavy rainfall. This time of year, that is asking a lot. The high water is good for one thing, however. Shad. Yes, the cold months are prime time to try and hit the famed shad kill and catch a monster brown trout. Same thing goes for the Clinch.

Speaking of the Clinch, the good news is that flows are scheduled to begin dropping tomorrow. A steady two generators will feel like low water after the recent period of two generators plus sluicing. Two generators opens up some nymphing possibilities in addition to our favorite winter pastime, stripping streamers for monsters.

The musky streams are settling into fine shape and will be an option moving forward as well. Remember that bouts of high water will get them stained or even muddy for a few days, but as flows come down the fishing should pick back up.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Monday, November 27, 2006

Regaining Confidence

After a fairly slow day in the mountains on Friday, I was looking to catch a bunch of fish. I noticed that the generators would finally be off on the Caney Fork and decided to head down Sunday morning. Being a bit lazy, I didn’t get to the river until around 9:30. There were plenty of fish working and some midges hatching so I tied on my trusty zebra midge and started to catch fish right away. I never had to try another fly the whole time. There were some good sized browns working that I watched for awhile but they never ate what I was throwing. My catch consisted of about 50/50 ‘bows and browns which was nice since I normally catch more ‘bows. The best fish of the day was a nice brown right around 16 inches. Anyway, enough talking and on to some more pictures…

Friday, November 24, 2006

Cold Water

One of the crucial elements of a good trout stream is cold water and lots of it. Unfortunately, you can have too much of a good thing. I was fortunate enough to fish in the Smokies today for the first time in awhile. The weather was perfect but the water was frigid. The water temperature was in the low 40's which is borderline for making the fish lethargic. It didn't take too long to decide that I would be drowning nymphs today and accordingly I started trying various flies, a George Nymph, PTs, a Copper John, a GRHE, and finally went back to the old standby, a Tellico. Almost immediately I had a hit and finally landed a whopper, four inches long. Over the next few hours, I landed 5 more fish of which the two largest were around 9 inches. Considering the conditions, it was not all that bad. The water was still up higher than I like and all the fish were hunkered down deep. There were decent numbers of midges, small caddis and BWOs hatching in the afternoon but I only saw one fish rise the whole day. Best of all, it was a beautiful day out so I really can't ask for more! The weather is supposed to stay beautiful for the next several days and I might sneak away one day next week so check back for updates soon...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Dreams of Summer

As a college student, I am fairly busy from late August until early May. I still fish an inordinately large amount of time but not as much as I would like. When summer rolls around, I normally have to find work to make money for another year of school. However, I can usually squeeze in a trip or two to somewhere out of the ordinary. A couple of summer ago I was fortunate enough to spend time in Yellowstone and the Black Hills. This past summer I landed a job in Colorado that let me fish Blue Ribbon trout streams every weekend. With visions of giant trout rising lazily to inhale any fly I offer, the trip planning commences once again. As anyone that has been there can testify, Yellowstone is beckoning me to its world famous waters. If at all possible I have to return to the Black Hills as well. This will be the third time if I make it. Colorado was great and I would love to explore a little more thoroughly, particularly in the San Juan Mountains. I have some tips on a high country lake that produces lots of 20 inch plus rainbows and willingly at that. The only downside is the 17 mile hike it will take. I have never fished in Montana so that is another place on the list to visit sometime. Even Arizona holds a special place in my heart and I could spend weeks there. I could go on and on about waters I have fished or heard amazing things about but that isn't getting me any closer to the elusive trout that live in them. The cold days I spend on the water in the coming months will be warmed by my dreams of summer. During the days I can't fish, it is time to start tying flies and making concrete plans for the now annual pilgrimage west in my quest for that perfect day on the water.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

SE Tennessee Small Streamin'



I could not stay in any longer. The temps were reaching well into the 60’s and even 70’s the last several days and I knew the fishing would probably be on fire. A small wild stream came to mind that had been a goal to fish for awhile. I did not know what to expect from this stream but had a good idea what it might be like.
The fall colors were excellent but the drive still seemed a little long. After driving for what seemed like an eternity, I finally came upon the creek. It was a small tumbling mountain stream with plenty of nice small pools. After finding a good place to park, I walked back downstream and began fishing. A small parachute Adams seemed like a good way to start and I soon had the first monster on, all two inches of fighting rainbow.
I had several more hits from very small fish so I decided to go subsurface. When in doubt, I find myself tying on a Tellico more and more and that is exactly what I chose. I immediately had a 6 inch rainbow on and things were looking a bit better. I worked through a couple very nice holes and caught a few more.
My best fish came after seeing the fish follow the fly before fading back into his hole. I stealthily worked my way much closer to the deep pocket I saw the fish go back into and lobbed the bead head back in and let it sink straight down. The line twitched and I set the hook, energizing this nice little rainbow to make several jumps before being brought to hand.

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