Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 4/23/2017

SPECIAL UPDATE: HIGH WATER EVERYWHERE!

The next couple of days will be tough just about anywhere you go. High water is the rule and heavy runoff has muddied lakes as well. Best to stay home and tie flies for at least the next day or two. Once the stream levels settle down, fishing in the Smokies should be good.

The fishing has been great lately! This spring has been phenomenal in the Smokies. Long hatches have produced dry fly fishing lasting for hours every day. The Caney Fork has been producing some great fish on high and low water.

In the Smokies, we have a high water day. That should soon give way to good flows and hatches as well. Evening hatches should really be going strong now at good flows. It is the time of year for yellow, cream and tan.

Unfortunately Center Hill Lake is filling rapidly and the USACE will be running a lot of water for a while to drop the lake back down. If you are interested in streamer floats, those will be able to happen into May this year. This is as good a time and method for getting into big fish as any. Once the lake level drops and flows go down, the fishing should be excellent on low water. We had some unreal trips on low water before all of this rain happened.

The musky and smallmouth bass rivers are totally blown out. If you are wanting to get in on this fishing, contact me about a float in May. Once conditions settle down, the fishing will be very good.


Photo of the Month: Shad Eating Rainbow

Photo of the Month: Shad Eating Rainbow

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More New Blogs

I just added a couple more blogs to the links list so check them out... The first is High-Noon Trout and is a blog on trout fishing in the high Sierra. Someday I hope to do some extensive fishing in California including some backcountry trips into the Sierras so this blog will be providing some incentive to do that trip. The other blog is Tar Heel Fly Fishing based out of North Carolina and the author is a young fly fisherman that also happens to enjoy the weather apparently (another hobby of mine) so it should be an entertaining read. The author is also a Carolina Panthers fan but I'll try not to hold that against him. Anyway, give both of these blogs a look...

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to everyone and thank you for taking the time to read my blog! This has been a great fishing year for me and thanks for letting me share my favorite moments on the water with you. Here in Tennessee we have been getting one of the best Christmas gifts of all in the form of plenty of water. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of the ongoing drought. Yesterday I took a drive up to the Smokies to check on a few streams and take some pictures. Here is a sample of what I saw on Little River...


Just above Metcalf Bottoms...

Water over rock...

Just above Metcalf again...

Sheet ice after the puddle drained out...

Another view of the run shown above...

Head of the big run...


Fresh beaver cutting on the April Pool

April Pool

The remains of the April Pool beaver dam...

Another view of the beaver dam...

Plenty of water now...

Cold day on the river...

Near Elkmont

Just below Elkmont

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Trouble at Kingston Coal Plant

If you live and fish in East Tennessee, there is a good chance that you've fished the Clinch River at some point. The river was one of the better tailwaters in the area for many years before declining. Lately it seems to be on the comeback trail probably largely due to new special regulations such as the ones that have made the Caney Fork such a spectacular fishery. Just when things were looking up, news of a potential environmental disaster is coming from the very banks of the river. The Kingston Coal Plant is a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal-fired powerplant that apparently just polluted a rather large area.

According to the story from CNN, a large area of sludge broke free from the containment area, eventually covering around 400 acres in the potentially hazardous material. While TVA officials say it can't yet be called toxic,

One environmental attorney called that statement "irresponsible." The ash that gives sludge its thick, pudding-like consistency in this case is known as fly ash, which results from the combustion of coal. Fly ash contains concentrated amounts of mercury, arsenic and benzine, said Chandra Taylor, staff attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center.


Wow, mercury, arsenic and benzine...sounds great for the Clinch. Fortunately for the trout fishery, this spill occured well downstream of the prime trout water. Still, as the Clinch is a major tributary to the Tennessee River, this is clearly a bad situation. Of course, I'm probably a little more bitter than normal since TVA is generating on most of the area tailwaters making a tailwater trip highly unlikely in the near future (unless its the SoHo)...that and the fact that the spill has already been killing fish in the area... I guess at this point the best thing to hope for is that the cleanup can be done quickly and thoroughly...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Big Browns and Small Streams

This fall has been a great one for catching large brown trout. The Caney was phenomenal albeit a bit crowded at times. The Clinch produced good fish and the Cumberland was spectacular as should be expected. Unfortunately the hopeful end of the drought has also coincided with increased generation be TVA on the tailwaters throughout the region. One of the only tailwaters with a reliable schedule for fishing lately has been the South Holston River.

During the past week, I've fished the SoHo twice and found good fish both times. Local anglers have been catching fish up to 15 and even 20 pounds and while I never saw any of the real behemoths, I did find plenty of willing fish and even a few good fish.




My best fish was a female of around 20 inches that took an egg pattern as soon as I got a good drift. I landed another very large male that was not fair hooked so this fish does not really count but was still a beautiful fish that I enjoyed getting to see up close. I had spotted a really good fish but couldn't see it very well. Casting just above where I thought the fish was, my line went tight almost before the flies hit the water. I reacted by setting the hook into what turned out to be the wrong end of the fish. After following the fish downriver, I got it under control and managed to remove mine and some other flies as well that the poor fish had picked up somewhere. This was the last fish of the day and while I enjoyed fishing for large tailwater trout, I'm really missing the simplicity of a small stream, a 4 weight and a handful of dry flies.

While dry flies may or may not catch fish, I'll likely head for the mountains soon where I can hone my skills on the wily rainbow, brown and brook trout that inhabit the streams of the Smokies. This winter I've set myself the goal of unlocking the secrets of fishing the freestone streams in the winter. The fish clearly still have to eat and I'm set on figuring out how to catch lots of fish in the cold weather. James Marsh over at Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains has provided some inspiration with entertaining articles in his Fishing Journal. Recently he had a series of articles on fishing cold water in the Smokies that will be a good starting point for my experiments. I'm fully convinced that if one is willing to change tactics, catching lots of fish in the winter on a freestone stream is not out of the question...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Poll

Yet another poll is up and this time I'm asking if you are going to take vacation time to fish around the holidays. It seems the rivers get crowded around Christmas and New Years Day. Is that just my imagination or maybe everyone is just fishing on the weekend. I've got to say though that it sure feels like people are out fishing during the week a lot. Anyway, vote in the poll and if you have any really cool trips lined up leave a comment here and let me know where you're going... I'll probably head for upper east Tennessee and probably the Smokies as well over the next few weeks. The Caney will be blown out for awhile so a trip to the Hiwassee might be in order as well...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fluoro For Bigger Fish

Our most recent poll closed a couple of days ago and the results surprised me a bit. I honestly did not expect to discover that nearly a third of you use fluorocarbon tippet for all your fishing. Well over half are using it for at least some of your fishing while just over one quarter of you don't use it at all.
It took me a long time to start using it and lately I've been using it more and more. Two summers ago I started using it when a buddy recommended I get some for the Frying Pan River in Colorado. My first spool was Seaguar Grand Max in 6X andit is still the best I've ever used although quite expensive. The beauty of using Fluorocarbon is that it supposedly is harder to see underwater compared to standard monofilament. Even better, it is stronger than comparable mono. Lately I've switched over to the Rio Fluoroflex Plus which is almost as good as the Seaguar. It is also a little cheaper which is good for the money starved trout bum. Cheaper here is relative and a good spool of fluorocarbon tippet will generally set you back $10 more than a comparable spool of mono tippet.

So now the big question, is it really worth it? After catching lots of large trout over the last two years, I'm really becoming a believer in the stuff. I've lost an unbelievable number of good fish due to the 6X monofilament breaking but have yet to break off a good fish on fluorocarbon tippet. A few weeks ago, I fought a monster brown on the Caney for several minutes before losing it. The line just went limp and I was sure it had broke off. Reeling in I discovered that the large fish had just straightened the #14 hook. A fish large enough to straighten a #14 hook is a big fish but it did not break the 6X tippet. On the initial run the fish headed straight for a large log and I was forced to apply a lot of pressure. With monofilament I have no doubt that I would have broke the fish off. So again, I ask, is it worth it?
Here's a few reasons I think it is...




End of the Drought?

After two major storms systems this past week, the southeastern United States may be well on the way to recovering from the ongoing drought. Here in Tennessee, three day rainfall totals were upwards of 4 inches across a wide area with some places getting even more. Area streams and rivers are flowing high and strong again for the first time in awhile. Center Hill Lake has come up 6 feet in the last 4 days meaning the Caney Fork will be unfishable for wade fisherman for quite awhile. Little River in Townsend peaked at over 3000 cfs and is still flowing well above normal. The forecast for the next week calls for more rain so things are definitely improving.

That's fine with me as the well-known tailwater has been getting hammered for the last several weeks and this should give the fish a chance to grow without the constant fishing pressure. This time of year often brings on a shad kill meaning those that want to brave the high flows and rip streamers might catch a large fish. Right now it might be a little two high. I'd probably wait until they cut back to one generator but then it should start to get interesting. The fish will be even stronger due to the high flows.



The weather situation out west is encouraging as well. A quick check of the National Weather Service homepage shows winter storm warnings, blizzard warnings, and winter weather advisories across much of the west . Forecasts for the entire Rocky Mountain region from Arizona and New Mexico north to Montana for the next week indicate several strong storm systems will traverse the region over the next several days. Lots of snow means a good fishing year next summer so the more the better!

Back on the home front, big things are happening this week. I will finally be graduating from college with a B.A. in Mathematics, a Minor in History, and secondary teaching credentials. In celebration I'll probably be doing my fair share of fishing this next week including another pilgrimage to the South Holston River in search of the monster browns that make this tailwater famous. The last trip did not produce any monsters but this week should be better...

Friday, December 05, 2008

Midges: Tiny Bugs for Large Trout

Midges are extremely important as a trout food on many waters around the country. My buddy Trevor Smart told me about this amazing video from Ralph and Lisa Cutter which shows the various stages of the midge life cycle.

These insects are particularly important as we enter the coldest months of the year. On many days, midges may be one of the only things hatching and to be successful, a good fisherman will be sure and carry the appropriate patterns to match the hatch. Soon I'll be sharing some of my favorite midge patterns including how to fish them. Until then, enjoy this video...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Caney Crowds

The Caney Fork has become one of the top tailwaters in Tennessee but unfortunately everyone seems to know about it. The crowds are only getting worse so if you decide to fish it consider yourself fairly warned.


Despite the crowds the river still fishes well, that is if you don't mind constantly being crowded. Last Friday I headed down to the river to fish and was the first one on a particular run. I started out with a new pattern that I have thanks to James Marsh from over at The Perfect Fly Store and Fly Fishing the Smoky Mountains. The fly was a Cream Midge Pupa and the Caney trout were taking the pattern well. There were lots of midges hatching when I first arrived at the river and the occasional rise looked more like the fish were taking bugs just under the surface. In this situation a midge pupa is deadly (another favorite is the Zebra Midge) and the fish responded well to the new pattern.


I had probably 20 minutes of fishing in when some more people showed up and proceeded to box me in on the extreme upper end of wadeable water at that access point. Things slowed down but I knew it was a good spot. Deciding to hang in there, I spent the next hour or more changing flies and tinkering with my rig. Finally I got things dialed in again and started catching fish again. The guys below me decided it was the best spot on the river after I caught several fish and as soon as I left, they headed right up.
None of the fish I caught were monsters this trip but there were several decent fish to around 17 inches including to gorgeous rainbows that fought like tigers. I honestly thought I had tied into a big brown both times I hooked a good rainbow but was pleasantly surprised to find one of the Caney's better 'bows attached. The browns should be off the spawning shoals soon if they aren't already and the best fishing is yet to come. Those cold days when most people are smart enough to stay home will provide some of the best fishing of the year.


Of course, remember that each person's definition of great fishing varies greatly. For me, solitude (or at least a few manners from fellow fisherman) rate right up there with catching tons of large fish. For this reason, I'll be heading back to the park for as much of my fishing as possible in the upcoming weeks. It probably won't be as often as I would like but I'll enjoy each opportunity. Those cold days where the line is icing will find me back on the Caney though... I still have more flies to try from James Marsh and I'm looking forward to ripping a few streamers soon on the Caney as well...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Current Poll

Please take a moment to weigh in on our newest poll. How many of you use fluorocarbon tippet? I started using it consistently this year. The cost is definitely a bit steep but worth it if you can afford it. I've been using Rio Fluoroflex Plus and am sold on the stuff. Seaguar Grand Max is awesome also but even more costly than the Rio. If you haven't tried fluorocarbon tippet yet I would urge you to give it a shot, especially on the tailwaters. I think you'll be glad you did...

Happy Thanksgiving

This time of year provides a lot to be thankful for. From a fishing perspective things couldn't be better. The cooler temperatures are keeping the crowds off the streams but the fish are still feeding heavily making a fishing trip a lot of fun. Yesterday I had the opportunity to fish the South Holston. Opportunities for large fish were minimal unfortunately but I still had an incredible day fishing with friends. The weather was great and it was fun to be on the water again. Tomorrow I'll be wetting a line somewhere else, probably on the Caney. I'm definitely thankful for good health and the privilege of fishing as much as I do.

In other things, I'm thankful to almost be done with college. Graduation will be here in another three weeks or so. I have a great family and lots of good friends. God has definitely blessed me and life is good!

I hope everyone that reads this blog has a great Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Upcoming This Week

Coming soon...some of the best fishing of the year...and according to our poll most of you will be taking advantage of the prime fishing conditions. As winter conditions become the norm, more and more people are staying home instead of getting out and fishing, at least that's what I thought. Our most recent poll would lead one to believe otherwise. Nearly 80% of respondents said that they get out and fish during some of the best fishing conditions of the year, otherwise known as winter.

Based on personal experience, I have a hard time believing that this is an accurate sample of all fly fisherman. The last two weekends of fishing on the Caney Fork seem to have reinforced this belief. While catching plenty of nice fish, my buddies and I often had large sections of the river to ourselves without putting in much effort. This is highly unusual on the popular middle Tennessee tailwater where it sometimes feels like you should have brought your own rock. Many people stay away once the air temperature drop but as many of you obviously know, this is a huge mistake. I won't complain though because it leaves lots of water for me.

This next week will be a good one for fishing. I'm looking at taking a trip up to the South Holston River. If the first trip goes well I might drive up again and fish it twice in one week. Of course I would like to fish the Caney or Cumberland also so time will tell exactly where I end up fishing. I'm encouraged by the weather forecast though. On Monday we have a cold front forecast to push through the southeastern United States bringing rain showers to most areas of middle and eastern Tennessee. The drought is still keeping area freestone streams very low so any rain we get is beneficial. By next weekend it looks like a stronger system might be moving in. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to fish during nasty weather. The fish will be very active during the day with the cloudy skies and new moon. Fisherman should be also...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Back on the River

Joe Mcgroom photograph


Once again I spent some time on the river this past weekend. Unfortunately it looks like that will be my last time on the water until next week during break. The cold weather kept a lot of people off the river for a second weekend in a row. This was good for us because it meant we were able to fish all the best runs without any competition for a change.

Our first stop didn't produce any fish over 16 inches or so. Despite the lack of larger fish, the fishing was still excellent. There were several times that we were all hooked up simultaneously. The river is absolutely on fire right now if you have the correct flies and know where the fish like to feed.

The water started coming up after we had fished for a couple of hours so we headed up to fish just below the dam. This proved to be a good choice and we found the largest fish we spotted all day. After working a pod of good fish for several minutes, I finally hooked one and it immediately went ballistic. Thankfully all my knots held and I was soon admiring a beautiful male brown in the shallows. After a couple photographs, I released the fish and watched it bolt back to the dark run it calls home.

Joe Mcgroom photograph


Later on I came back to the same pod after they had calmed down and hooked a beast. The fish tore across the river towards a log on the far bank but I somehow managed to keep it from hanging up. Next it decided to head downriver. Moving quickly in pursuit, I grew increasingly nervous as the battle was becoming drawn out and I knew it was a monster. Suddenly the line went limp and I was left to ponder what might have been. Reeling in my line I discovered that it was no fault of my own. The #16 hook had straightened out partially, just enough for the big fish to gain its freedom.


Joe's big brown

My buddy Joe Mcgroom also managed to catch a pig. If he wasn't ruined last week he definitely is now.

Joe with his big brown...

We're planning a trip to another Tennessee tailwater during Thanksgiving break and this trip will include some monster browns hopefully. I'm hoping to find that 32 inch monster I mentioned in the previous post...

"Hero" shot of my big brown - Joe Mcgroom photograph

Friday, November 14, 2008

Massive South Holston Brown

Yesterday I drove up to fish the Smokies and look for big browns. While the fishing was not bad, I didn't catch any of the monsters that I was hoping for. In fact we didn't even see fish over 18" although we probably just didn't look in the right spots. There is at least one large brown somewhere in the park because Smokies guide Ian Rutter caught it last week. Most people would love to catch a fish that nice (myself included) but catching the large fish in the park doesn't happen overnight. It takes a lot of time on the water learning the stream and the fish before it happens...until I catch one of my own, I'll be looking at the pictures of Rutter's brown a few more times... I'm sure there are at least a few more to be caught, so while the tailwaters are fun I'll definitely be heading for the park again sometime soon.

Last night a quick check of some favorite websites indicated that I should have headed for the South Holston. Matt Champion from the South Holston River Fly Shop landed an unbelievable 32 inch monster. No, that's not a typo...32 inches.... For pictures and more details, check out the link. Plans are now underway for a trip up that way sometime in the not too distant future. In the meantime, I'm fishing this weekend so check back for updates in two or three days...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Current Poll

So far the overwhelming majority of you claim to fish even when the weather gets nasty. Based on my own observations, I know that this is not a good representation of the overall fishing population. For example, this past Sunday was a chilly day on the Caney. The number of fisherman on the river was definitely down from what it has been. Easily the majority of fisherman that were still out were fly fisherman which I found interesting. I'm not sure if that's always the case so I'll have to pay a little better attention from now on... Anyway, if you haven't voted yet in the poll, just look over to the right side of the page and let me know if you fish in the winter or not...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sight Fishing


Late day on the Caney...


Tiny flies, light tippet, sight fishing...this is about as much fun as you can have while fly fishing for trout in my opinion. Large flies with heavy tippet may produce explosive strikes but then it is just a tug of war. With light tippet and small flies you have to be gentle so as not to break off the fish, bend the hook or pop the hook free.

Joe's big brown...
The tailwaters have been providing some excellent opportunities for large fish lately and I've been on three separate tailwaters in the last three weeks or so. This past Sunday I fished with my buddy Joe Mcgroom of Little River Outfitters and my cousin Nathan Stanaway. Joe wanted to check out the Caney Fork River. My cousin just likes to catch fish so I've been teaching him the way of the long rod after he was forced to admit that it was superior to his beloved spinning rod. Impressively he has taken to it like a natural. This past Sunday he caught plenty of nice fish including the Caney slam of a rainbow, brown and brook trout.

Nice brown caught by Nathan

The best action lately has been on midges but other patterns are working as well including red copper johns. Sight fishing opportunities are good early in the day before the water comes up and again very late in the day once the water falls out.


Big male brown...(Nathan Stanaway photo)



Closeup of my big brown...(Nathan Stanaway photo)


The day was a success with Joe being ruined by a large tailwater brown. I warned him early in the day that it would be addicting. Even worse, fishing tailwaters tends to dull your mountain small stream skills. After catching a big male with an attitude, I'm sure Joe will be fishing the tailwaters with us again sometime soon...


The weather was frigid and we all finally gave up by mid afternoon. Not so much because we weren't catching fish as because it was really cold and we all had places to be. I'm sure I'll be fishing again soon, perhaps in the mountains and maybe on a tailwater. Check back for more on that... Finally, a few more pictures from recent fishing...






(Nathan Stanaway photo)

(Nathan Stanaway photo)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Weekend In Pictures

I did the tailwater thing again this weekend and found some decent fish. Things are not exactly on fire, probably due to the continued pleasant fall weather. Clear days and nights with temps reaching the low 70's during the day is nice, but I would much rather get some nasty weather sometime soon. Hopefully I'll get away from the tailwaters soon as well. The Smokies have been calling my name again and despite the fact that a front will be moving through just before the weekend, I might make an effort to get up there at the end of the week...

Anyway, without any further rambling, here's a few pictures from the weekend...






Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Links and The Fly Carriage

Being short on time means that I decided to combine a couple of topics I've been wanting to post about. My fishing time has been suffering as a result of student teaching as has my writing time. Hopefully that will start to change as the end of the semester approaches. Once again I plan on looking for some big fish this weekend on either the Caney or the Cumberland. Of course you'll be the first to read the fishing report.

Those that pay close attention might have noticed that I have added some new links. The first is the Fly Fish Addiction Blog by Troutdawg. Based out of Denver, Colorado, the author has access to some of the finest water in the west and also seems to make plenty of trips further abroad in the quest for great fishing. You'll find plenty of fishing reports, excellent photography, and even how-to articles on this blog.

The other new blog is the Four Corner Fly Fishing blog about fishing in the Southwest. There is a strong emphasis on Arizona which I have a soft spot for. I spent about a year in Arizona during 2004-2005 and discovered the incredible fishing opportunities that can be had in that state. My first Apache trout (and many more) were caught while I was out there along with plenty of nice rainbows, browns, cutts, and even some brookies. This blog has fishing reports along with some great pictures and even some fly tying articles. If you've ever thought about fishing in the Southwest or enjoy reading reports from other areas, this is a great blog to check out.

You've been wondering what the Fly Carriage is all about. This summer while working at Little River Outfitters, Daniel Drake offered me a sample of a new product to test. It was called The Fly Carriage and is a new way to keep used flies. Before, I used one of two options for used flies: either a fleece patch or one of the little fly cups you get when you buy flies from a fly shop. The problem with the fly cups is that it retains the moisture which speeds up the rusting process. I've never really liked the fleece patches because I smash my barbs and the hooks seem to always mysteriously fall off the patch. The Fly Carriage is an excellent alternative. Flies don't seem to have the problem of randomly falling off due to the hard foam used for this great fly holder. The Carriage is basically a zinger with a holder (kind of like the fly floatant holder) that holds a tube-shaped piece of foam that is around an inch in diameter. You simply hook the fly into the foam and it stays put. It has been the perfect compliment to my new keep it simple approach of a lanyard and a couple boxes of flies. I just hang it off the side of the lanyard and have the perfect place to store used flies. The only downside is that people who don't like gadgets hanging off their vest probably won't like it as much. The Fly Carriage is made by Simplifly Gear which is a small company started by Edward Philpot here in Tennessee. He lives not too far from my home tailwater, the Caney Fork so he fishes some great water regularly. If you've been looking for a new way to carry your used flies, definitely give this a try...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Colors of a Brookie



This weekend provided another opportunity to go fishing here in Tennessee. I'm going to be purposefully vague and mostly just show a few pictures. Several nice fish came to hand but I didn't get too many pictures. The two fish that were worthy were interesting for a couple of reasons. The first was the brookie and I believe the pictures speak for themselves. The colors are incredible and were even better there in person. I might have to do a trip to the Smokies in the near future to catch a few more brookies because I haven't fished for them enough this year. On Sunday I was reminded why I ought to pursue them more often...


The other fish was also memorable but for another reason. Despite the pictures, I really don't count this fish because it wasn't fair hooked unfortunately. I was a little slow on the hook set by which time the fish had already spit out the fly. Thankfully I was still able to slow it down so the fight didn't last too long and I didn't have to break it off...I'm hoping to go chase some big browns somewhere to the north next weekend...hopefully they'll all eat and I'll be quick on the set...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Smokies Camping Trip


Each fall I try to make at least one camping trip somewhere in the mountains. Here in Tennessee that means I almost always head for the Smokies. The year I was in Arizona gave me the opportunity to visit the White Mountains where you can fish with a backdrop of golden aspen while listening to the elk bugling in the distance. No matter where I am though, the theme of visiting mountains stays the same. This year I made the trip to the Smokies for my annual trip.

The plan was to camp out Smokemont Campground which I had never stayed at before. Now that I've been there, I have to admit that I like Elkmont better but that might just be because the Little River watershed is really my home waters. The North Carolina side of the park has plenty of great water to fish including one of my park favorites, Deep Creek. Other than Little River, Deep Creek would have to be my favorite for several reasons including the excellent population of brown trout and also it receives less pressure than Little River once you get into the backcountry.

While camping at Smokemont, I enjoyed fishing Deep Creek, a small blueline that will remain nameless, and Straight Fork. The fishing at Deep Creek was a bit more crowded than usual which was surprising but I still managed to catch a nice little brown to go along with some small rainbows. While over there we also took in some of the area scenery including the Indian Creek falls.

On Saturday, we decided to do some hiking to enjoy the great fall colors. We also wanted a hike with a view so that meant a trip up to the top of the ridge where we decided to hike to Andrews Bald. I have been wanting to hike to one of the balds for some time now. This was the first time that I've visited one and the scenery was fantastic.



Straight Fork was a blast to fish. I've always enjoyed fishing it and am always surprised at how well it fishes despite the easy roadside access for several miles. By this time the rest of our group had left to head back to Chattanooga so I enjoyed a couple of hours of solo fishing. The fish rose steadily to my October Caddis pattern which I tied on after seeing some giant caddis flying around. I even managed a couple rainbows that were larger than the normal park average by a couple of inches.




Overall it was a great camping trip with the main downside being the low water that is still affecting our area. On the bright side, the continued drought has kept generation on the tailwaters to a minimum meaning that fishing opportunities there are maximized. Tomorrow I'm going to take advantage of that and go looking for some more monsters somewhere. Next weekend I'm starting to think about another trip for monster fish so stay tuned for more...

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