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

Friday, March 02, 2007

Getting Reacquainted

New streams are always fun. You never know what you will find on new water. Old streams are nice also though...the ones that you could fish in your sleep. Some places I can tell approximately the size of fish that will be caught beside a certain rock. Today was a day for getting reacquainted with a favorite river. It has been altogether too long since I had fished the Caney Fork. I knew that with all the rain over the last 24 hours, most of the river would probably be discolored at best and most likely just plain old muddy. However, a short section up near the dam is unaffected by tributaries and after briefly trying farther downriver, I started fishing immediately below Center Hill Dam.

The water was very cool as I waded to where it was about waist deep just below the dam and began casting. Some fish had been sporadically rising so I knew they were there. Despite the windy conditions, I was soon slinging my line out in the vicinity of the occasional rises. My offering....the usual rig I start with on the Caney, a dry with a zebra midge dropper. I had been casting for probably 10 minutes when a fish discovered the zebra suspended under the dry and quickly inhaled it. I raised my rod and had an energetic rainbow dancing on the other end. As usual on the Caney, I immediately overestimated the size of the fish I had on. It was pulling like a freight train and I just knew I had hooked a solid 16 inch fish. After several nerve wracking runs that had me fretting about the 6X tippet, I finally brought a 13 inch rainbow to hand. I quickly slipped the hook out of its jaw and watched as the fish darted away. Another 20 minutes and I had another fish on, comparable to the first.

I was enjoying myself but curiosity overcame the fact that fish were there and biting and I decided to wander downstream a bit. After an hour of looking around and missing a couple of fish, I worked my way back upstream to just below the dam. A good midge hatch was underway and the trout were reacting by feeding a bit more. I was soon working a good run that I knew had some nice fish in it and quickly had a fish on. The 10 inch rainbow was released and I started working the head of the run.

My cast landed as soft as a feather and I intently watched for signs of a take. Suddenly, a couple of feet downstream from my flies I thought I saw the flash from the side of a nice fish. "Steady," I told myself, "wait for it." Just as my dry floated over the spot, it vanished as the fish took the zebra midge dropper. I gently raised the rod and knew immediately that I was into a fish a bit better than the 12-13 inch fish I had been catching. The first hard run was capped with a spectacular leap as the fish sought freedom. It was soon followed by a second and third leap and I was getting nervous. Would the tippet hold against so many strong runs? I kept turning the fish as it tried to run and slowly worked it towards shallow water. The vivid colors were incredible and all I wanted was to snap a couple of quick pictures of this beautiful fish. Finally, the stars aligned and I brought the fish to hand. It was colored up nicely, probably because it is the spawning season. After getting a couple of pictures, I eased the fish back into the water and was glad to see it rocket away back to its hole. I tried fishing for a few more minutes but knew that I should be getting home. This fish was enough and I decided to quit bothering the other fish for the day. I think I'm going to have to continue getting reacquainted again soon though!!!

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