Guided Trips


Fishing is good in the Smokies and other mountain streams if you can catch it on a day where the wind is minimal. Otherwise, expect lots of leaves in the water for the next few days. Delayed harvest streams are also being stocked and fishing well in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.

In the Smokies, fall bugs are in full swing. We have been seeing blue-winged olives almost daily although they will hatch best on foul weather days. They are small, typically running anywhere from #20-#24 although a few larger ones have also shown up. A few October Caddis are still around as well. Terrestrials are close to being done for the year although we are still seeing a few bees and hornets near the stream. Isonychia nymphs, caddis pupa, and BWO nymphs will get it done for your subsurface fishing. Have some October Caddis (#12) and parachute BWO patterns (#18-#22) for dry flies and you should be set. Not interested in matching the hatch? Then fish a Pheasant Tail nymph under a #14 Parachute Adams. That rig can catch fish year round in the Smokies.

Brook and brown trout are now moving into the open to spawn. During this time of year, please be extremely cautious about wading through gravel riffles and the tailouts of pools. If you step on the redd (nest), you will crush the eggs that comprise the next generation of fish. Please avoid fishing to actively spawning fish and let them do their thing in peace.

Our tailwaters are still cranking although the Caney is finally starting to come down. I'm still hoping to get a firsthand report on the Caney Fork soon although it might be sometime next week or the week after before that happens at the earliest. Stay tuned for more on that. Fishing will still be slow overall with limited numbers of fish in that particular river unfortunately.

The Clinch is featuring high water as they try to catch up on the fall draw down. All of the recent rainfall set them back in this process but flows are now going up to try and make up some of the time lost. It is still fishing reasonably well on high water although we prefer the low water of late fall and early winter as it is one of our favorite times to be on the river.

Smallmouth are about done for the year with the cooler weather we are now experiencing. I caught a few yesterday on the Tennessee River while fishing with guide Rob Fightmaster, but overall the best bite is all but over. Our thoughts will be turning to musky soon, however. Once we are done with guide trips for the year, we'll be spending more time chasing these monsters.

In the meantime, we still have a few open dates in November. Feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in a guided trip. Thanks!

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

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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