Guided Trips


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

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Annual "End of School" Trip

The last week has been very busy for me. Semester finals and the end of school meant it was time to go fishing for a few days. Each year I do a trip, sometimes brief, sometimes long. This year I had planned a long weekend in the Smokies. The weather forecast was for a 60% change of rain for Friday night and Saturday. Usually this means you will have some showers or storms but they will not last too long. Throw in a variable in the form of the Trout Underground's Tom Chandler visiting on his yearly Tennessee trip and you should expect a significant rain event. Significant rain is usually not good for the streams. Little River still looked like this on Monday.

I had forgotten the strange effect he has on Tennessee weather so I went ahead with the camping trip. Thankfully, we had changed from a backpacking trip to just car camping at the last minute and this made things much better.

I met my cousin and his girlfriend at Little River Outfitters in Townsend before driving up to Elkmont to camp. This gave me the opportunity to drop off my St. Croix Legend Ultra that had broke just days before to be sent back to St. Croix for repair. After getting fixed up at LRO, we went and set up camp.

Friday evening included the traditional drive around Cades Cove to gawk at the everpresent wildlife. After seeing plenty of deer and turkeys, I managed to get a few minutes of fishing in on Abrams Creek. This nice trout took a #16 sulphur parachute pattern.

A few other fish came to hand on nymphs and then it was back to camp for a hot meal. We sat around the fire sipping hot cocoa and roasting marshmellows, enjoying the warmth in the cool mountian air. Then it was off to bed, presumably to wake up to a nice day. Instead, it started raining at some point during the night and didn't let up until well into Saturday afternoon. I can't complain though because my Big Agnes tent kept me dry the whole time and the streams never really got blown out.
Saturday morning, we finally got up in the light rain and cooked a huge breakfast that included the staples of eggs and hashbrowns. Once again, I was glad I wasn't backpacking. We then all piled into my car to drive over the the North Carolina side to drive a small park road up Straight Fork and then back down the Blue Ridge Parkway. Straight Fork turned out to be a beautiful little stream and I got in some more fishing time. Only a few minutes were necessary to catch several rainbows and one brown, all on a Tellico nymph.

I also saw this nice March Brown flying around. We continued on up the road only to find a "Road Closed" sign blocking our way. So we drove back down and then headed back over the hill. As we came over the ridge, we saw just why mountains are named "Smoky." Shortly after this, I got a few minutes on a brookie stream and caught this beautiful fish while wet wading in the chilly 51 degree water.

The rain had finally quit so we went back to camp and started putting a fire together to cook supper. After a bit of effort splitting wood to get dry kindling, we had a great fire going and supper was soon cooking. We were tired and so we just ate and went to bed.

The next day I had made plans to fish Deep Creek with a buddy. He showed up promptly at 10:00 and we drove over the hill. I had fished upper Deep Creek before but this was my first trip to the lower end. It proved to be a beautiful stream full of healthy rainbows and browns. The fish seemed to all be sitting down on the bottom and despite what turned out to be a gorgeous day, would not take our dries. Tellico Nymphs accounted for plenty of fish however. Later, we drove back to the Tennessee side to hit the evening hatch at Metcalf Bottoms. The fishing here was excellent. I caught rainbows and browns and broke off on a couple nice fish. The hatch was incredible as well with Yellow Sallies and Sulphurs (two types) coming off in large numbers plus lots of other random bugs. Most of my fish here came in the heavier pockets and runs but I managed a few on dries as well.

Monday was my last day in the mountains and I decided to just fish Little River. I packed up my stuff and tied a few Tellico nymphs before heading out to fish. The fish were cooperative again but they were still on the bottom. Tellicos and George Nymphs accounted for most of my fish. I got a nice brown to eat a midge in one of the large pools on Little River but didn't get the hook set. Later I broke off on a good fish in heavy pocket water. The nicer fish were obviously feeding but catching them was a different story.

There were more snakes around then I care to ever see while fishing...

Overall, this was a great trip!


  1. Don't blame me for the weather. Except for last Saturday's rain, it was right where I left it...

  2. I suppose that is fair, but if next years trip gets rained on when your in the area, it WILL seem a bit suspicious...



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