Guided Trips


Current fishing conditions in the mountains have been tough although rain overnight has bumped up the levels on Park streams, especially on the Tennessee side. Be careful as lots of leaves are going to be coming down now with brisk northwest winds behind the cold front. That can make fishing challenging. If you do fish, I would suggest fishing dry/dropper with a #14 Orange Stimulator or Orange Elk Hair Caddis up top and a bead head Green Weenie, Isonychia Nymph, or Blue-winged Olive Nymph (#18-#20 bead head Pheasant Tail will suffice here) underneath. Focus on stealth and accurate casts.

If you are flexible in where you fish, I recommend heading for your favorite tailwater to trout fish. Most tailwaters are offering good flows for wade fishermen right now and the fish are hungry. The Hiwassee River has been recently stocked for the delayed harvest and the Caney Fork continues to fish very well on our guide trips. The Watauga, South Holston, and Clinch Rivers should be great as well.

If musky are on your mind like they are for me, then be patient and hope for more rain. The musky streams and rivers are very low right now and we need some water before safely navigating those streams in the larger boats that are preferred.

This is the time of year that brown and brook trout as well as some strains of rainbow trout spawn. On rivers like the Caney Fork, many anglers choose to target these spawning trout. This is unfortunate, especially this year. There are plenty of pre- and post-spawn trout to target if you want to catch big fish. With low water the norm, the Caney Fork actually has a chance at producing some natural recruitment this year barring any unforeseen high water. The same thing applies in the Smokies. Spawning brown and brook trout are extra vulnerable because of the low water and should be allowed to do their thing in peace. The future of these fisheries depends upon conscientious anglers doing the right thing. If you must fish to spawning trout, please use very heavy tippets and quickly land and release all fish caught. If you want to learn how to be successful this time of year without chasing active spawners, please consider booking a guided trip, and I would be glad to teach you how to hunt these large fish.

Photo of the Month: The Colors of a Rainbow

Photo of the Month: The Colors of a Rainbow

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 seems that I have a lot of ambition for my summer fishing, so I'm off to the vise...


  1. Nice post David. Sparkle dun is one of my favourites.

  2. Sparkle duns have been very good to me, especially on spring creek-like waters around the west, such as the Firehole in YNP. Fish just can't resist 'em it seems like...

  3. I like your blog by the way, just checked it out...

  4. Thanks. You have some really great pictures here.

  5. hawgdaddy11:05 AM

    Make sure and tie some size 12 black foam beetles for Yellowstone. That's about all I could get the fish on Slough Creek and the Lamar River to hit last summer. BTW, I am a shining example of fly tying laziness myself. Nice website. Keep up the good work.


  6. Thanks for that suggestion. I'll be sure and tie up several. If I make it to Yellowstone as I'm planning, Slough Creek and the Lamar are high on my list of priorities. My last trip to YNP was in June so those watersheds were still unfishable.



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