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

Sunday, June 10, 2007

More From Oklahoma

Oklahoma can get pretty interesting once the sun goes down. For starters, the sunsets can be spectacular. We didn't get to witness any particularly interesting ones but they were quite nice still.

As the darkness deepens over the landscape, the creepy crawly critters come out to play. I've always been intrigued by snakes despite a rather healthy respect for them. This has led to the enjoyment of slowly driving back roads at night after the sun has gone down looking for new and interesting snakes to photograph. My goal is generally to find a rattlesnake but usually the best I can come up with is a copperhead. This night was no different from the norm except that the copperhead I found had a serious attitude problem. The little guy wanted to chase me around. After getting back in the car and letting the snake cool down a bit, I cautiously got out again and this time it stayed still for some decent pictures.

Getting chased around the dark Oklahoma countryside is tiring business and shortly thereafter I retired for the night. The next day would bring slower fishing but I did manage the best bass of the trip, albeit not very large.


A stroll down a country road allowed me to check on the local bovines. They all seemed to be doing rather well but were very curious. I decided maybe they just wanted their pictures taken and obliged with a few shots.

I'm always glad when the cows are behind a good solid fence. There were a few frightening experiences I had earlier in life involving free-ranging cattle hanging out on roads I was travelling. The funniest was when I was headed south back to Arizona from Moab, Utah. I was rolling through the Navajo reservation when suddenly, ghostly colored forms appeared to be floating all around me. Probably the sheep and cows were more frightened than I was but you probably won't be able to actually convince me of the fact. Whatever the case, ever since I've believed that the place for such creatures is behind a fence, or at least, not wandering the highways in search of some poor traveler to terrorize.

Scheduled for the fourth day of the vacation was a trip to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska. Normally we slowly drive the roads through the preserve, viewing plenty of bison in addition to the wide array of local birds. This particular day the bison were not cooperative. The nearest we came was probably a solid half a mile away. The scenery was still nice though and well worth our time.

I decided ahead of time that the last day would be dedicated to the long rod. By mid afternoon I finally got away down to the creek and started fishing. Right away I had a nice fish on the popper but then things slowed down. Finally I settled on the popper with a simi seal leech dropper and this seemed to be the best solution. The gar never did come around much so I didn't really get any good shots at it. The panfish were more than cooperative though and made the afternoon enjoyable.

As always, it was a great trip to Oklahoma. Hopefully I'll be able to return again in the not too distant future. I'm usually doing pretty good if I can make it out there every couple of years so we'll see. In the meantime, I'll be trying to figure out what exactly gar eat and how you go about catching them...

3 comments:

  1. hawgdaddy7:52 AM

    Gar...perhaps I can help. Supposedly, you can take a length of nylon rope and unravel it so that you have a frayed mess. Tie it to the end of your leader and twitch it like a wounded minnow around a nearby gar's nose. If the gar strikes, let him chew on the fly for a bit. The idea is for his teeth to get caught in the frayed rope. Then reel him in. Hang on though, and be careful releasing him. If you own Whitlock's Fly Fishing for Bass, it covers this technique near the back, if memory serves. I've got a feeling you could make a proper fly to do the same thing by securing the frayed rope to a hook and gluing some eyes to the side.

    We used to catch a lot of gar on Lake Guntersville with conventional tackle. We'd use large minnows for bait with slip floats, out in the main river channel. You'd let the gar run with the line for 30 yards or so, then set the hook. Lots of times, you'd be able to hook them in the mouth/snout by using this technique. If you want a real thrill, hook one accidentally while flipping a big jig for bass through the milfoil. When you set the hook and yank a 3 ft long gar into the boat with you, you'll never forget it.

    hawgdaddy

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  2. Your description of using frayed nylon or something else is ringing a faint bell, if only I could remember where else I have heard about it. Anyway, I'll be sure to make some frayed nylon flies next time to try for these fish. Thanks for the tip!

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  3. hawgdaddy10:06 AM

    If memory serves, John Gierach mentions it in one of his books as well. If you're a Gierach fan like myself, that's probably where you picked it up. Take care,

    hawgdaddy

    ReplyDelete

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