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

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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