Guided Trips


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

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. 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. ijsouth11:31 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. ijsouth10:33 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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