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, August 28, 2007

Stream Ethics

Much thanks to those that noticed and voted in our poll on whether or not people should be fishing in the Smokies. The end results where interesting but probably approximately what I would have expected. The final tally had 60% of voters saying that people shouldn't be fishing, 15% said it was fine to go fishing, and 25% said it depended on the water temperatures.

Honestly, I believe any of these answers is fine because it is a personal decision. Everyone that fishes should develop some type of ethic because the thought process is important. Too me, it all revolves around respecting your quarry.

Personally, it bothers me to fish under these conditions but it also occurs to me that there are places around the country where the streams cease to flow part of the year with the remaining fish stuck in isolated pools. These fish do just fine and actually thrive, having adapted over the years to the inconsistencies of nature. A prime example would be some of the streams in the desert southwest.

Regardless of whether we fish during the low water or not, it will be extremely interesting to see how the fish populations are doing once the flows improve. Hopefully it won't be too long!!!


  1. ijsouth9:06 PM

    I don't know if you saw my post about this past weekend in the park over at LRO. The only reason I was up there was to look at (and, as it turns out, buy) an acre of land in the Cosby area. I also ended up fishing Cosby Creek in the park, but only because I had been watching the radar the day before, and I knew that area got a really good soaking - over an inch. The stream was in pretty good shape, and I ended up catching over 20. The interesting thing was, I picked up a few rainbows in areas where previously I had only caught brookies, which tells me the lower stretches of the stream were getting warm before the rains.

    The next day, I fished Straight Fork on the N.C. side, and it was fine - 63 degrees and flowing well; that area had received some recent rains, too. In fact, it was amazing to watch, as I drove over the mountains - on the N.C. side, I could see rain forming and hitting the sides of the mountains. When I got over to the Tennessee side, the clouds thinned out. I took a look at Walker Camp along the road, and it was in really sad shape, flow-wise. The water was barely moving. I ended up going through Metcalf Bottoms on my way out of the park, and needless to say, it was looking pretty pathetic.

    So, I guess it depends on where you go...but regardless of the shape of a particular stream, the mountains need rain, and cooler nights. I took the temp at the West Prong of the Little Pigeon, and it was 69.5...a month ago, it was around 63. I have to think, sooner or later, the pattern will change.

  2. ijsouth, I'm glad that some of the streams are starting to come back up a little. I haven't fished Cosby yet but probably will sometime in the next year or two. Its interesting the rainbows are higher up although as you said, they were probably searching for cool water. Hopefully the rain and better flows in some watersheds will be the start of a trend. Todays rain should help as well. I'm looking forward to fall on Little River if we can just get a little rain...

  3. ijsouth7:56 PM

    Cosby is a wonderful little stream, and so easy to get to; it does amaze me that more people don't fish it. I guess the fact that it is tucked in the Northeast corner of the park, and that it is completely enveloped by the canopy, keeps people away. Also, you aren't likely to get any monsters there - no browns, and the bows and brookies are mostly on the small size. However, I was pleasantly surprised last weekend - I didn't get my usual share of dinks - most were right around the 6-7 inch mark. I thought it was funny how the bows fought - they fought like the brookies, heading for the deepest water around and shaking their heads like jumps.

    It really is a prime Springtime stream, although I bet it's pretty good in the Fall, too. Now that I own a chunk of land less than a mile from the park, I'm sure I'll be fishing it a lot.



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