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

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Eyes Turn Westward

As summer approaches, the realization that my trip west is approaching has me scouring the Internet for any and all information on the Montana and Wyoming areas. I enjoy keeping track of the fishing Journal at Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone just to see what they have been catching and what works at various times of the year. The Dakota Angler & Outfitter maintains a fishing report as well that I check from time to time. Western South Dakota really has some excellent fishing and is a must-fish stop for me when heading to the Yellowstone area.

The latest word from the Billings Gazette in Montana appears to indicate the the Mother's Day Caddis are starting on the Yellowstone River. Rumors have been floating around of good numbers of caddis showing on the famed Arkansas River in Colorado as well. Of course, this leaves me wondering why I chose to head west at the hottest and most crowded time of the summer. Some of my best fishing in western South Dakota has been during early May to mid June. The early season in Yellowstone National Park can be an experience as well. The Firehole is often one of the best options for early season fishing in the park and it provides reliable hatches of BWOs, PMDs and evening caddis.

The early season can be a hazardous time to plan a trip around however. Depending on runoff, most western rivers will be high and dirty at best and quite possibly downright unfishable. If you time it right however, early season fishing can be among the best of the year as the crowds are nowhere to be seen and big trout hungrily feast on the bounty of spring. This can be the best time to fish the high country lakes throughout the Rockies. The expert stillwater fisherman will generally all tell you that the time for large fish is either soon after ice-out or in the late fall just before everything freezes. Some of my best early spring memories involve high country lakes. From Apache trout in Arizona to Grayling in Yellowstone, the early season often provides non-stop action for the adventuresome angler.

That's all well and good, but this year I'm going to settle for the terrestrial action of summer. I've been dreaming about the big Cutts in Yellowstone for awhile now and this is the year to make it happen, which reminds me...I've gotta tie some flies....

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