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

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...

5 comments:

  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,

    hawgdaddy

    ReplyDelete
  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...

    ReplyDelete
  3. hawgdaddy9:00 PM

    Davie,
    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,

    hawgdaddy

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous2:38 PM

    David,

    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.

    ReplyDelete
  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!

    ReplyDelete

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