Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 12/3/2019

Winter fishing is nearly upon us. Snow yesterday has given way to falling water temperatures in the Smokies. In general, fish will be hunkered down, although by tomorrow they should start to get more active again as temperatures warm. For the next three months, expect many more fish in the slower places in the Park. Think nymphs and maybe streamers but don't be surprised to find fish rising to blue-winged olives or midges on some days.

On tailwaters like the Clinch, brown trout and some fall spawn rainbows are doing their thing. This is a good time to review good ethics when it comes to spawning trout. Remember that these are the next generation of trout and the best thing you can do is to leave them alone. Avoid wading through spawning areas and don't fish for obvious spawners. For the foreseeable future, we should have high water thanks to big rains this last weekend. Fishing out of the drift boat will be very good through the winter with both nymphing and streamer fishing a distinct possibility. Want to swing for the fences and go for just one monster? Streamers will just get better and better going into January and February.

The Caney is slowly coming around. A few shad are coming through the dam, but lingering water quality problems are limiting the fishing. Winter streamer floats will produce shots at larger brown trout for anglers willing to work hard. Next spring should bring good fishing again.

Winter is our favorite time to get on the musky streams. In between bouts of high water, those will be fishing well for the next few months.

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Monday, December 03, 2007

Better Than Nothing



Everyone has those days when you're catching fish but they just can't compare with the fish in another location. After being spoiled on my home waters over Thanksgiving break, the rubber trout of the Hiwassee didn't give the same thrill that they sometimes do. For example, if I haven't fished in a few weeks, the Hiwassee is great, and usually I'll catch a few colorful fish that make up for the rest of the dumb stockers. This last weekend wasn't one of those days. All the fish were cookie cutter stockers that looked like this:


When you compare this guy to the fish I regularly catch on my home waters, there's just no comparison.


The day wasn't completely useless as I discovered some very nice browns that should give me a great challenge this winter. If I'm lucky, perhaps I'll eventually catch one of the big boys. Thankfully, Christmas break will be here soon and I'll be back on the Caney and will probably even get some time in on the South Holston. Not a bad way to spend the holidays... Until then, you'll find me at the vise preparing for the festivities.

December 2006, SoHo

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:05 PM

    Those rubber trout must be a specialty of Tennessee Fish & Game; I hung a few in Cosby, just before the stream leaves the park. All about the same size (around 12"), and no fight to them, even on a 2wt. I don't carry a net, but this is one time I wished I had one - I lost them both right at my hand, and I wouldn't have had any qualms about keeping them - the kids would have loved that.

    Amazingly, in the same stretch, I caught a beautiful, wild 7" bow that actually hit the reel - amazing what a difference it was in fighting ability...I was happy to release that one. In the meantime, a big egret or blue heron could get very fat on those dumb fish.

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  2. Anonymous5:11 PM

    First of all, GREAT SITE! Since I found this blog I check in almost daily to see what you've been catching. Between you and DD at hiwassee.net I have learned a great deal about fly-fishing, I am about 4 months into it now and am starting to actually catch a few. I think all of the fish I have caught have had some kind of brain-damage. Anyway, I live about 30 minutes from the Hiwassee and have to agree that there is not much going on there lately. I even hiked down the Quality Zone 3 times with only a small brown to show for it (it is very beautiful there, though).

    After seeing all the fish that you have caught on the Caney, I am now planning a trip there this weekend to check it out for the first time. I hope I get lucky and catch a few nice ones. My favorite rig-up is a brown hackle peacock with a pheasant tail nymph dropper. Think this set-up will work there as well? Any other advice would be well recieved! Again, great site, I know newbies like me really appreciate it!

    Mike C. Athens, TN

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  3. Mike, first of all, thanks for reading my blog. Your favorite rig should catch fish on the Caney. If you're going to be there in the morning, I would recommend adding a midge (I like zebra midges) to your setup. The fish seem to key on the midge pupa early in the day as the bugs start hatching and the zebra midge is a good match. If you look through the archives here on my blog (Feb. 2007 to be exact), I posted about how I rig up with a zebra midge. That is how I do a lot of my fishing on the Caney but to be successful, you'll need some other techniques as well and your softhackle with a PT dropper should cover some other situations well. This weekend should be good so have fun!

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