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

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Exploration

Lately I've had exploration on my mind. As I prepare to head west in search of fly fishing nirvana, I've thought of past trips both close to home and far away. The terminology is relative of course. To me, close to home means I can go there often which means a 2-3 hour drive. This is a doable day trip and a nice weekend getaway.

Over the years, some of my favorite streams have been discovered on weekend trips where I go with little or no expectations simply hoping to see the world and maybe catch a fish or two in the process. From roaming the backcountry of the Great Smoky Mountains or Cherokee National Forest to trying new tailwaters throughout Eastern and Middle Tennessee, I've had many great trips. The memories these days have provided come not always just from the fish I catch although those are often memorable in themselves. Instead, I have enjoyed the overall experience...a deer wading deep across the Tellico River. A bear wandering a backroad in Georgia. The large copperhead near dark along the Hiwassee. Even fish occasionally, such as some of the epic days I've had high in the Smokies on new water. All of these combine to produce an experience that will not soon be forgotten.

Lately I've been thinking about the past years when we had more water and I didn't feel guilty fishing in the heat of the summer. My first trip to the Tellico area brought me face to face with Bald River Falls as it plunged over the cliff and down to mingle its waters with those of the larger Tellico River. The falls is an icon in my mind, representing the whole Tellico area which have given me plenty of pleasant surprises. It is a place to escape from the heat, to get out into nature and away from crowds if you know where to go.

Some of my favorite trips of exploration have been "out west." Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, South Dakota, all these states have a special place in my memory and not always because of the fishing. From hiking slot canyons in Utah to descending deep into the gaping Black Canyon of the Gunnison, my time has been well spent seeking those treasures only accessible to those willing to put forth some effort. It is always worth it and I look forward to my next discovery, the next hidden gem that I know I'll find, I just know it....

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