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

Friday, May 11, 2007

California Loves Their Frogs

The fight for frogs and other native species continues in California. According to this NBC story,
Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette said the state's trout stocking program fails to meet environmental laws designed to protect threatened and endangered species, although he declined to temporarily shut it down.

Trout fisherman will be unhappy with the ruling I'm sure and it does raise numerous issues. For example, poaching is generally a problem with just about any fishery including trout and normally, the stocked trout are an easy target. For that matter, what about all the people out fishing for their supper legally? This is all very theoretical, but what happens when there aren't as many trout to go around in the first place? Do native fisheries become a new or more focused target of the catch and keep crowd?

I agree strongly with protecting native species. However, I believe that some very well meaning people are trying to simplify the whole picture. Do trout eat frogs? Possibly, probably likely on occasion at least but is that the only reason for the decline? What about air quality issues which would ultimately affect water quality? Might this not be a culprit?

Not being a fisheries biologist, I cannot offer any support for any of these ideas or questions. That point remains however that the trout seem to be a convenient scapegoat for other problems.

According to the ruling, the California Department of Fish and Game must complete an environmental assessment. Great, once again it is a good idea and well-meant I'm sure. For that matter I'm all for it but if I go to California to fish, I would MUCH rather for my license fees to go towards improving the fisheries and enforcing the regulations instead of funding a study to see if trout eat an occasional frog.

One thing against the California Department of Fish and Game, they used a lousy excuse for their stocking. From the article:
The department had argued fish stocking was exempt from environmental review because the program, which the department took over in 1945, was in place long before environmental laws protecting sensitive species were enacted in 1970.

I give up, they deserved to lose the decision...

Not necessarily the right perspective but thats my two cents...

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