Guided Trips


High flows continue across the area but trends are definitely down. A recent cold snap broke the ongoing heatwave so fishing in the mountains has slowed dramatically. Right on schedule, some of our tailwaters should begin returning to more normal flows for this time of year meaning float trips are certainly possible.

For the Smokies, a warming trend should commence as we go into next week. By mid week the fishing should be decent before the next cold front returns us back to winter again. On warmer days, look for midges and possibly winter stoneflies hatching. Some blue-winged olives will be possible on foul weather days as we head towards February. The best fishing is still a few weeks out, but no longer feels like an eternity. Expect good spring hatches to start in late February or early March with blue quills and quill gordons along with little black caddis and early brown and black stones. By April, things will be settling down with the pinnacle of spring fishing usually happening from mid April through the month of May.

On our area tailwaters, high water continues to be the story. The Caney Fork still has at least a couple of weeks of high flows and that is assuming we don't get any more heavy rainfall. This time of year, that is asking a lot. The high water is good for one thing, however. Shad. Yes, the cold months are prime time to try and hit the famed shad kill and catch a monster brown trout. Same thing goes for the Clinch.

Speaking of the Clinch, the good news is that flows are scheduled to begin dropping tomorrow. A steady two generators will feel like low water after the recent period of two generators plus sluicing. Two generators opens up some nymphing possibilities in addition to our favorite winter pastime, stripping streamers for monsters.

The musky streams are settling into fine shape and will be an option moving forward as well. Remember that bouts of high water will get them stained or even muddy for a few days, but as flows come down the fishing should pick back up.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Done Fishin'...

Low water, warm water, both equally dangerous for trout and there is an abundance of both in the Smokies right now. My summer fishing has been great but I really haven't had enough trips to the mountains to suit me. However conscience dictates that I won't be heading that way anytime soon unless we get some rain, a lot of it.

With rainfall totals running 12-14 inches below normal and even more in some locations, the area streams are dangerously low and to fish under these conditions will adversely affect any fish caught. That is why I'm done fishing the mountains until fall at the earliest.

I won't be doing much of any fishing now for a few weeks as I work hard for another couple of weeks before the fun starts. Work should come first but after that I'm going to have a great time. The approach of my trip West has me tying flies like crazy. Between my preparation and work, fishing time will be in short supply. Yes, its a tough life and it will only get harder when I have to fish for a month throughout Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota...


  1. Anonymous9:48 PM

    hmm a month in Colorado, Wyoming and South bummer

  2. Yes, what makes it even more difficult is that I just HAVE to fish the whole time...tough stuff...

  3. Anonymous11:31 AM

    I wouldn't give up totally on the mountains. I certainly agree about not stressing the fish any more than they already are - my favorite brookie stream on the Tennessee side is a case in point - last time I saw it, it was really too low for comfort. However, from what I've seen, the North Carolina side has more water. We fished Straight Fork a few weeks ago, and it seemed to have a good flow of water, and the temperature was definitely cool (around 61). Some areas have been getting a little rain - it's very scattered, unfortunately. It's also unfortunate that we can't ship some of the rain we're getting here in South Louisiana up there - we're having our typical rainy summer.

  4. ijsouth, it is good to know that the water is staying cooler on the other side of the park. There is some beautiful water over there. I've been watching the temperature for LR at the park boundary and it is getting dangerously warm. The low water doesn't worry me except that less flow means it doesn't take as much to warm it to dangerous levels...

  5. Anonymous10:33 PM

    Yeah, I've seen the temps...and 4 weeks ago, well into the gravel at Tremont, it was 68 - so those streams that are on the lower sides of the park are definitely hurting. Meanwhile, the brookie stream I refered to earlier, while low, still had chilly water in the low 60s, so there's something to be said about the source of the water - the higher, the better, obviously. Just looking at a map, you can see how a number of the bigger streams on the NC side have origins at very high altitudes.

    We hiked a fair ways up Straight Fork, but we were no where near the source - it was, with the exception of a few choke points, still pretty wide. However, judging from the amount of blowdowns we had to scramble over, and the number of dry streambeds adjacent to the actual stream, you can tell that it can carry a LOT of water when it's rainy.

    In the meantime, I look at the radar from up there several times a day...for whatever reason, the Park seems to miss out on the better rains - mostly to the north, sometimes to the south. There's a good batch of rain that passed through here today - it pretty much rained all day down here. It's moving to the northeast, through Alabama, but it looks like it won't reach the mountains. My fear is that the rainfall will catch up all at once, and we'll be looking at the opposite problem - scouring floods.

  6. the rains are coming, I can feel it in my bones.



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