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

Sunday, January 28, 2007

More Fish On Dries In Winter!!!

Time for a brief report. Thankfully, I was able to fish a bit this weekend and drove up to the Hiwassee for a nice afternoon on the water. I arrived up near the powerhouse just as the generation pulse was starting so I took my time getting into my waders, and rigging up. Finally the turbines were shut off so I quickly worked my way out to a favorite run. A Copper John was good for three fish but I was really looking for some action on top. After seeing a few rises in the flat water upstream, I tied on a parachute Adams that was close in size and color to the little stoneflies I had been seeing. Under this I tied on my trusty Zebra Midge dropper and was ready to catch fish. This combination proved deadly all afternoon as fish after fish succombed to either the dry or the midge. Once again, it was awesome to be catching fish on dries in the middle of winter!!!
As I was leaving to go a bit further downriver, I saw something interesting in the river. Apparently, the sun was at just the right angle to hit the sign (warning of the dangerous water below the powerhouse) across the river to create this (at right) interesting phenomena.

Late in the day, after I had moved down the river, I was treated to an aerial display put on by a rather large Osprey. I had been really hoping to see one of these today so that was a great way to finish off the day. Of course, catching fish after fish, often on consecutive casts helped also....did I mention that it is supposed to be winter? Anyway, the misconception that winter is a time to stay inside and tie flies is being proved wrong time and again here in Tennessee lately. Check back soon as I might have to make another run up to the Hiwassee in the next few days...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Heat Wave

The weather has been strange the last several weeks to say the least. Temperatures have been almost balmy quite often and across East Tennessee, people have been wondering what happened to the good old days when we actually had winter. Despite many people's frustrations with the weather, I have not complained at all because the fishing has stayed much better than normal for this time of year. The most recent heat wave brought up the water temps in the mountains to the upper 40's to low 50's. Of course, I can never pass up such a good opportunity for an excellent day of fishing. So, yesterday I made the drive up to Townsend to get in some time on the water. Remembering his success last October, my cousin decided it was time to join me again for another day honing his developing fly fishing skills.

We arrived in Townsend shortly after Little River Outfitters opened and while my cousin got a license, I went searching through the bargain bin and picked up several packages of hooks. Once finished at the shop, we made our way to a small stream just a few miles inside the park and started hiking up the trail. My cousin was happily wearing my waders which I loaned him after he discovered I intended to wet wade. The look of joy on his face upon discovering he wouldn't have to wade wet himself was truly priceless. Yes, I really did wet wade today!

Arriving where we would begin fishing, I set my cousin up with the same nymph and strike indicator set-up I had him using last time and with ease of an old pro, he soon had fish numero uno. I picked up a fish rather quickly as well and things were looking up. As we moved up the creek, I began to notice lots of small bugs and then wonder of wonders, a few larger ones. The fish were noticing also. As the surface activity neared the boiling point, I quickly cut off my nymph and tied on a #16 Thunderhead which was the closest thing I had in color to the little winter stoneflies that were swarming all over. The only thing I hadn't counted on was being a little bit rusty... The fish were so joyful over this development that they continued rising, seemingly oblivious to each missed hook set, even after I started stinging a few. Finally, a fish managed to impale itself on my hook and after that it was easy. My cousin got bit by the dry fly bug after watching me yank a couple out of one run in all of three minutes so I handed him my three weight and went to work changing the nymph rig on his to a dry.
I decided to try something else just to see if the fish really cared about the fly. It turns out they didn't...a yellow Elk Hair Caddis did just as well and was a bit easier to see. Meanwhile, my cousin was rapidly become furious over all the fish that were hitting his dry without finding the hook. I casually mentioned that it takes a bit of skill and a lot of quickness. Unfortunately for the fish, this didn't seem to help matters and he began setting the hook hard enough to rip through the lips of a whale. The next fish that was dumb enough to hit his fly soon enjoyed a flying experience free of charge. It sailed gracefully 20 feet down the creek and landed at the feet of my now smiling cousin who quickly grabbed it for a quick picture. I promise, there really is a fish in this picture. Perhaps if you get out a magnifying glass and examine his left hand you will see it. Or maybe this closeup is better... Despite its small stature, this fish had the distinction of being my cousin's first trout on a dry.


Not to be outdone, as soon as I had the picture taken, I walked 20 feet up the creek with the newly tied on EHC and tossed it in a small pocket and caught another of my own. Notice it is larger than his...which isn't necessarily saying much but bragging rights are important sometimes.

After catching several more fish, we decided it is lunch time (it was actually a couple of hours past but hey, we were having fun) and walked back down the trail to the car. While the stream side lunch was cooking, I decided to catch a few more.



Fish on dries in January, it just doesn't get any better than this!!! Unless of course it is lots of fish on dries in January!!!




Thursday, January 04, 2007

Pure Laziness

As Christmas break approached, I had good intentions to tie flies, lots and lots of them. I also intended to fish a lot. This goal went much better than the first as I tried two tailwaters in East Tennessee that are new to me. Unfortunately, I didn't tie up my summer supply of flies like I wanted to, probably because I'm lazy. I did manage to tie up a few dozen Zebra Midges and just last night started in on parachute Adams. These two flies are my staple for Tennessee tailwaters, the dry serving as an indicator but fish take it often enough to convince me to keep it in place of a "regular" strike indicator. Now I have to hurriedly tie as many as possible before the second semester of this school year begins. Copper Johns are high on my list as Colorado trout appear to view them as candy. Sparkle duns in various sizes and color combinations to match important western hatches need to be tied as well. With a possible trip to Yellowstone in the works, I need dry flies more than ever and lots of them at that. Stillwater flies are higher on my priority list this winter as well. My next foray into the American west will hopefully be made with a new float tube along and I intend to make the most of the opportunity. There is a lake in Arizona that is very special to me where I hope to chase its big browns. A few lakes in Colorado caught my eye last summer as well and I will hopefully be returning to these to probe the depths for trophy trout. Perhaps I'll even end up casting Callibaetis immitations to cruising fish in Montana's Hebgen lake or even Yellowstone lake. Of course, I'll have to hit some smaller backcountry stillwaters as well. Anyway, enough typing...it seems that I have a lot of ambition for my summer fishing, so I'm off to the vise...

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