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

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fishin' When it is Cold

Fishing has long been a year-round hobby for me but many people prefer to stay inside and keep warm when the temperature plummets in the middle of winter. That's too bad because they are missing out on some fantastic fishing, especially in the tailwaters where the steady water temperature insures a year long supply of bugs for the trout to munch on. Even the mountain streams can provide a good time because those fish still have to eat even when it is cold although probably not as much.

My biggest challenge when fishing during cold weather has always been staying warm. I don't really like fishing with gloves because I feel it really limits my dexterity for casting and also for playing the fish. For awhile I used half-finger gloves while fishing when it was cold but when I lost one of the gloves, I started searching for a better solution. This past weekend, I found a very reasonable solution to the glove problem. Recently, I bought a nice cheap pair of warm gloves (Thinsulate) to try out for cold weather fishing and Sunday was my second time trying them out on the water. The first time I didn't like them very much but it was much colder this past Sunday and I knew that without gloves of some type, I wouldn't be on the water very long.

Starting out, I wore them on both hands but was still having a bit of a difficult time controlling my line. It was after a couple fish (when I naturally had to remove a glove anyway) that I decided to go without on my left hand glove for awhile. This worked out great since the glove on my right hand was collecting all the water off of the line as I stripped it in. As long as you keep your hands thoroughly dry, they will stay warm longer. Best of all, I was out there catching fish and not freezing in the process.

Two other suggestions on keeping your hands warm are to take something to dry your hands on and to take and use hand warmers. I did both and the hand warmer in particular worked wonders. It is always difficult to tie knots in cold weather. The hand warmer not only kept my hands warm but in so doing also contributed significantly to my ability to change flies comfortably.

Another suggestion on fishing in cold weather is to rig up at home. This option isn't for everyone and by doing this you will be guessing blindly what the fish will want. If you guess wrong, you won't be catching fish until you change flies. It worked out great for me though on Sunday. Knowing the river you will be fishing definitely helps in making this a viable option.

I'm still working on solutions to the fly reel freezing up everytime you catch a fish but I suspect the only solutions either include not going fishing in the first place or not catching fish. Ice in the guides and reel are just part of the game when the weather gets cold...

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