Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 11/1/2018

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

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Saving the Best For Last

The last day in Yellowstone proved to be the most memorable. This was the day for Slough Creek and one final shot at the fish of Trout Lake. We really had no idea what to expect from Slough Creek. By this point of the trip we were getting lazy and didn't feel like hiking in (like all the guidebooks tend to recommend). The word was that the lower meadows held the largest fish but they were also the toughest fish in the whole creek. I've learned to not put much faith in such stories, largely because I've often found good fishing where everyone else struggled.

We arrived at Slough relatively early in the morning since we could only fish until 2:00 in the afternoon. We stopped at the first pullout that caught our eye and walked down to look at the water. In awe we saw several very nice fish slowly cruising the pool and feeding as they swam slowly along. The plan had been to eat a quick streamside breakfast but I just couldn't wait after I saw the fish all feeding so well. After a quick trip back to the car, I returned ready to catch some fish. A small midge seemed appropriate since those were the only insects we saw on the water as of yet. My buddy Trevor decided on a Green Drake since the fish were supposedly used to seeing them. This proved a much better choice than mine and he was soon into several nice fish at the head of the pool. I was patiently stalking a nice fish and even got it to eat but couldn't get the hook set. A little while later another fish moved into range and this time I got everything right and soon had my first Slough Creek fish to hand.


I had caught my fish so I could focus on more important things such as eating breakfast. After the break, I decided to try some other flies. I really wanted to throw big dries so I figured it couldn't hurt anything. By this time the wind was really picking up making casting a real chore. The surface of the stream was covered in chop and that made it hard to see even my large #8 Chernobyl Ant. The fish didn't seem at all bothered by the wind and it probably helped conceal our presence. I soon found a sweet spot and nailed several nice fish including this rainbow that was somewhere around 18 inches.

Just when the fishing seemed to really be getting going, the afternoon closure went into effect. We had caught our fish though and were satisfied with the results so it was off to camp for an afternoon of relaxation.

Evening finally rolled around and we just couldn't resist one last trip up to Trout Lake. Our few glimpses of large fish were enough to motivate us to keep on trying. When we got to the lake, we were surprised to find several people fishing. The other evenings we had fished there, we generally had the lake pretty much to ourselves. There were several people fishing from float tubes which really is the best way to fish this lake.

We slowly made our way around the lake to our favorite area for evening sight fishing. When we got there, we saw a couple decent fish working but our efforts were in vain for awhile. Finally, some of the other people began to leave and we were able to spread out and cover a bit more shoreline. I moved down and finally spotted two very nice fish, a cutt that was around 18 inches and a considerable larger rainbow. This particular evening there were lots of cream midges flying around so I decided to try a Zebra Midge. After working the two fish for awhile, I finally had the satisfaction of seeing the smaller of the two turn and charge my fly. Soon the weight of a nice cutthroat was ripping line of my reel. I fought the fish carefully until it was right up to the bank and then made the mistake of trying to kneel down to land the fish. This was the wrong move and the fish immediately thrashed one last time, throwing the fly in the process. I watched helplessly as the fish swam back into the depths. Feeling rather sorry for myself, I wandered back down the bank to where I had hooked the fish.

Amazingly, the larger fish was still cruising the shoreline looking for some tasty morsel and I had the perfect appetizer tied on. My first cast was behind the fish but the next one was perfect and I watched in awe as the fish turned and nailed the fly. I waited just long enough to be sure of a clean hook set and then lifted my rodtip. The fish went absolutely ballistic. It went on a continuous run nearly to my backing before I was able to get it under any semblance of control. I was worried that my drag might not hold up to such a determined fish but everything was doing fine. I hollered over to Trevor that I had a good fish on and wanted a picture. Finally, as the big fish began to tire and come in, I decided I wasn't risking such a nice fish. I jumped into the water so I would be in the best position to land the fish. Beaching such a magnificent fish was not a good option in my opinion so I gently led it into the shallow water between me and the shore. Carefully, I grabbed the tail of the big 'bow and then cradled my other hand under it. The fish was tired and calmly posed for a couple of quick pictures after which I spent another minute carefully reviving the beauty. Finally, with a powerful thrust of its tail, the fish sped back into the lake leaving me with a memory and a couple of pictures.


This was the perfect cap to an already great Yellowstone trip. Of course, I can't wait to get back and next time, I'll have a float tube for fishing Trout Lake the way it should be fished. Another stop on the trip was yet to be made though including more car trouble...

2 comments:

  1. Man, now that's a nice bow! If that doesn't put a grin on your face, nothing will.

    Trout Lake ended up being one of my favorite places to fish in Yellowstone. There are so many big fish in there!

    Gotta agree with you on the float tube.

    Great photos!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great read, awesome Bow... nice site as well. I'll be dropping in more often.

    -Bryan

    ReplyDelete

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