Guided Trips


Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Briefly Connected

Perhaps the best catalyst for a great fishing story is the one that got away. As often as I fish and perhaps due to my skill level, I have more stories of this nature than I care to remember. Some are truly memorable though. The brief connection to a large fish can be a magical moment, sometimes outshining any landed fish during a fishing trip. This year I've already had my share of memorable experiences.

One occurred while I was fishing the Smokies probably a month ago. It was near sunset and I was at a large hole trying for a big brown. I worked up to the pocket water at the very head of the pool when it happened. The definite flash of rainbow was not what I was expecting. The fish leaped at my Tellico almost before it hit the water and then was gone with a souvenir. Big rainbows are not that common in the Smokies with a 12 incher considered a nice fish. Fish of 14-16 inches are large and this was larger, probably 18 inches and extremely fat. I haven't gone back yet but I'm confident that it will still be there next time. Fish don't get that big unless they are smart.

The next moment of connection was last Sunday. I was on my way to Nashville for the week and stopped at the Caney Fork to fish for an hour or so. The water was picking up speed as the generation pulse approached. As always, I just had to try a few more casts. A nice cast placed my fly on the far side of the channel where I knew good fish liked to feed. The dry I was using as an indicator suddenly sucked under and I gently lifted the rod. There was an eruption from the place my fly had vanished as a big rainbow took to the sky. Three jumps and a couple of short runs later I was beginning to think I would land the fish. Of course the fish had other ideas and decided to head downriver. The determined run seemingly could not be checked and then the line went limp. Dejectedly I checked my flies. The zebra midge dropper was still there, the fish had simply thrown my fly.

I'll never forget that fish though. Leaping into the sky the fish was spectacular and actually, I like to remember it that way...


  1. hawgdaddy11:24 AM

    I promise I'm not trying to spam your site...

    Your article reminds me of a big cutthroat I hooked and lost after a lengthy fight on the Lamar River last year. All I ever saw of the fish was a brief, broad, buttery side rolling through the current in front of me on its way downstream. I can still see it, and I find myself sometimes dreaming about it. Thanks for the reminder,


  2. I'll believe you aren't trying to spam and just be glad someone is reading this...Seriously though...thanks for the comments... If you have any tips on good flies for the Lamar (or any other stream in NE YNP) I'm all ears...

  3. hawgdaddy9:00 PM

    They really liked size 12 beetles and grasshoppers when we were there last July. I couldn't get them to touch smaller beetle patterns, and got nary a bite on mayfly or caddis patterns. I'm jealous of your trip plans, but still hope you have a great time! Take care,


  4. Anonymous2:38 PM


    I'm taking three boys fishing at Caney Fork Christmas week. None of us flyfish. Do you believe trout hit best when the water is rising, steady or falling? Also, do you have any recommendations concerning a good place with river access for bank fishing? Thanks. Hope you're finals are going well.

  5. I personally like fishing steady water the best but a lot of people like to fish falling water as well. The best place for bank fishing is probably up in the first mile or so below the dam. Otherwise, it helps to be able to wade. Betty's Island and to some extent Happy can be fished without getting wet as well... Mornings will probably be best... Good luck to you!



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