Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 3/23/2017
The fishing has been great lately! This spring has been phenomenal in the Smokies. Long hatches have produced dry fly fishing lasting for hours every day. The Caney Fork has been producing some great fish on high water.

In the Great Smoky Mountains, the spring fishing has started early this year. Quill Gordon (#12-#14) and Blue Quill (#16-#18) mayflies are starting to transition into Hendricksons (#12-#14). On foul weather days, the Blue-winged Olives (#18-#22) have literally poured off of the river. The recent cooler weather actually enhanced the dry fly fishing. The bugs have been having a harder time getting off of the water, so despite the cool water temperature, fish have been rising lazily through an extended afternoon hatch. Little Black Caddis (#18-#20) have been hatching well along with some Early Brown Stoneflies (#12).

On the tailwaters, the fishing has been decent to good. The Clinch is fishing well along with the Holston. The Caney Fork continues to be my river of choice, however. Streamer trips continue to produce and we are doing some high water nymphing as well. This is as good a time as any to have a shot at large rainbow and brown trout on this tailwater!

I still have some open dates for guided trips in April and May, but the calendar is filling fast. I've been turning away trips because people wait too long to book. Don't make that mistake!

Photo of the Month: Spring Is For Dry Flies

Photo of the Month: Spring Is For Dry Flies

Friday, December 29, 2006

Firsts, the South Holston

The Trout Zone has officially invaded another river. After returning to the same places time after time for years, I have been spending some quality time exploring new water. The Clinch happened recently and today it was time to knock off the South Holston. This premier trout stream is known for its prolific insect activity which feeds the often trophy sized fish. So with visions of giant Browns cluttering my thoughts, I made the 3 hour drive to the northeast tip of Tennessee. I arrived at about the same time that TVA shut off the generator at the dam and the river dropped quickly to a fishable level. A very nice rainbow soon graced my fly with its presence. This turned out to be the best fish of the day. Even though I had high hopes of a good brown, it was not to be on this day. I did spook some fish that were large enough to make me a bit nervous when I afterward had to enter the water. Despite my new fears, I soon got over them enough to continue fishing and even caught some more fish. The fish were taking extremely small bugs. Here at the Trout Zone we are usually very lazy and hence did not have appropriately small bugs. Not to fear though, before another trip to this river occurs, I will put in some serious time at the vise and prepare a supply of tiny midges. Of course, all devoted readers are welcome to make donations as well. Inspite of the lack of proper flies, I caught plenty of fish and had a really nice day that was exceptionally mild for the end of December. Here's to dreaming of another day on the SoHo...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Winter Finally Arrives

Seasonally normal temperatures have finally made at least a brief visit to the great state of Tennessee. With a dark sky that produced precipitation alternating between a fine drizzle and snow flakes, I gave thought to the large fish that sometimes come out to feed under such conditions. Of course, this called for a trip to the Caney Fork for the afternoon so after a large breakfast, I was soon rolling west down I-40. Upon arriving riverside, I saw that feeding fish were periodically working a short stretch upstream aways. I rigged up with hands that were numb before I even started tying on a fly and wondered about my intelligence. The fish were still feeding though so I was soon knee deep in the Caney. After missing several fish I finally had a small rainbow on. However, I struggled to get any more action and finally decided a change of scenery was in order. After a short run farther upstream, I started fishing a much more familiar section and soon had another fish on. This turned out to be another standard stocker rainbow (at right). I continued up to where a I had missed a very large rainbow just days before. Working thoroughly, I finally found the fish or its nearest cousin only to actually lose my fly to it this time. Of course, this is completely unacceptable and I want you all to be assured that I will be back soon to find this fish and settle our differences once and for all. I'll also make sure and document said fish with a photograph. After breaking off, I seriously considered calling it a day but decided to fish a bit further downstream. I caught one or two more fish and finally called it a day. Right before I left, a guy from TWRA stopped to check my license. This definitely made my day! It was the first time I've ever been checked on this river so I'm glad to see some enforcement taking place. Anyway, I have a trip to the South Holston in the works so I may be gone for a few days. Check back soon though for pictures and stories from a stream that is new to me!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!!!

This past year has been a great one for fishing. Between Colorado Gold Medal streams and some of the finest waters Tennessee has to offer, I've been fortunate to put in more than my fair share of time on the stream. As we rapidly approach the new year, it is time to start thinking about goals for next year's fishing, places to go, fish to catch, techniques to master, new friends to meet, the list goes on and on. Hopefully the new year will bring in some exciting changes here at the Trout Zone as well, most important of which will be more posts and topics of interest to our readers. Please feel free to contact us at the Trout Zone by email (see profile) for any comments or suggestions or to share your own great stories. We are always looking for stories that will be of interest to the fly fishing public. I have a couple of trips coming in the near future as well so be sure and check back for reports from East Tennessee...

I hope that everyone has a great Christmas and a happy New Years. Be sure and take some time to get out on the water to experience some great fishing!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Good Fish

I woke up late this morning expecting to just be lazy and tie a few flies. However, when I got online I saw that the water temp in Little River was starting off at a balmy 45 degrees. Despite my late start, I figured that today would be as good a day as any and headed towards the park. I wanted to focus on trying to get a really good fish today so after stopping at Little River Outfitters for a few things, I headed up LR and started hitting some of the big holes. I started catching fish right away but nothing over 10 or 11 inches. After hitting several different holes, I returned to one in particular that I usually do well at.

A large black stonefly nymph came out of my fly box and I started chucking it in at the head of the pool. On just the third or fourth cast, I had one of those great strikes where the line just stops and when you set the hook, something heavy is shaking its head. I was really hoping that it was a decent brown but out of the depths came a flash of rainbow. Now I was excited since I haven't got as many nice rainbows this year as in years past. Finally, I had the fish, all 15 inches of rainbow, up for a quick picture (which didn't turn out too good) and slid it back into the pool I had taken it from. Here's the best of the 3 pictures I got of the good rainbow.


The fishing today was very good, easily the best I've seen in a couple of months. Fish were feeding heavily just about everywhere I stopped. I even saw a good brown out cruising in one hole. There were good numbers of midges hatching. A Tellico, Zebra Midge, and of course the stonefly nymph all did well today. Most of the fish I saw were feeding subsurface but there were a couple of rises over the course of the afternoon.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Another Day Fishing

The Caney Fork had a nice generation schedule on Monday so I went down for the afternoon. Fishing two days in a row is great but your casting arm can get kinda tired, what a rough life... Anyway, I got down to the river and drove around a little while looking over some different spots on the upper river. I finally figured out where I wanted to fish and got down to the water. I was hoping the fish would be feeding heavily but there was only sporadic activity on the surface. Probably the bright sun wasn't helping in that department. Anyway, I tied on my usual dry with a midge dropper and started exploring. The fish were not as easy to find as they are sometimes but I finally got into a few. As the afternoon wore on, the fish became a little more active and I started moving up river towards the area with the best activity. I spotted a very large fish rising upstream and slowly worked into position. By the time I was in the right spot, the fish was not longer rising so I had to guess where I thought he might be. The second cast was apparently right on the money as my dry sucked under and the battle was on. Unfortunately, the fish had somewhere else to be apparently and took off downriver like a freight train. Scared that my 6x would pop at any moment, I felt the sudden surge of the fish towards the surface. Mouth gaping, I stared in awe as my tiny midge popped out of the jaw of a very heavy rainbow and then stood grumbling to myself. Finally I realized that nothing would bring that fish back and I started moving upriver again. Because of the aforementioned sore arm, I worked a bit on casting with my left hand, probably something I should spend a considerable amount of time practicing. A few more average 12 inch footballs were gracious enough to put in an appearance but nothing could top the fish I had momentarily connected with. Late in the day I went up to just below the dam and caught a couple more before heading home. It was an amazing day to be on the water in December with the temperature in the mid to upper 60's so really I can't complain too much although I really wish I could have landed that fish. At least I know where it lives and I'll be back soon and with a net next time.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

New Water


The beautiful weather we've been having called for some fishing so it was off to a river that I've never fished before. The Clinch is one of the most popular East Tennessee tailwaters and rightly so. Every year, very large fish are caught on this river. Today however, I was just glad to be on the water with the fish biting. I used a dry/dropper setup all day with a parachute Adams dry and various midge droppers. I struggled to find fish of any size for a lot of the day but finally found some nicer fish that were around 12 inches. Not the monsters that I've heard about but they were fat and put on some great aerial displays. It was a good first day on a new river with around 20 fish to hand. As a side note, the late afternoon midge hatches were absolutely huge. The air was swarming with all kinds of small bugs and the fish were greedily feeding on the surface. With the weather supposed to be nice again tomorrow, I'll probably be fishing again somewhere so stay tuned for more.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Finally, A Fishing Report

It is finals week for me and I wasn't expecting to fish until the end of this week at the earliest. However, Byron Begley, owner of Little River Outfitters (http://www.littleriveroutfitters.com/) was asking everyone on the LRO Bulletin Board for more pictures for their picture board, so what better excuse to skip studying and go fishing. I saw that the generators would be turned off on the Hiwassee and decided to run up for a couple of hours. When I arrived, there were plenty of people already fishing but I found some nice water and rigged up. There were lots of midges hatching with the occasional bwo and a few caddis. I saw fairly steady activity on the surface so I tied on a parachute adams with a midge dropper and soon had a heavy fish roll on the dry. Alas, my hookset was poor and I was left wondering about what might have been. A few minutes later, in the same place, I had something heavy take the midge but failed to hookup again. Finally, a smaller rainbow took the dropper and things progressed rather nicely after that. I fished for a couple of hours and probably caught around 15 fish, a few of which took the dry and the rest ate the midge. All in all it was a nice day on the river. I just wish I would have seen some larger fish instead of a bunch of recent stockers. I didn't get any great fish but here is one of the 'bows, an average Hiwassee fish...

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