Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/22/2020

High flows continue across the area but trends are definitely down. A recent cold snap broke the ongoing heatwave so fishing in the mountains has slowed dramatically. Right on schedule, some of our tailwaters should begin returning to more normal flows for this time of year meaning float trips are certainly possible.

For the Smokies, a warming trend should commence as we go into next week. By mid week the fishing should be decent before the next cold front returns us back to winter again. On warmer days, look for midges and possibly winter stoneflies hatching. Some blue-winged olives will be possible on foul weather days as we head towards February. The best fishing is still a few weeks out, but no longer feels like an eternity. Expect good spring hatches to start in late February or early March with blue quills and quill gordons along with little black caddis and early brown and black stones. By April, things will be settling down with the pinnacle of spring fishing usually happening from mid April through the month of May.

On our area tailwaters, high water continues to be the story. The Caney Fork still has at least a couple of weeks of high flows and that is assuming we don't get any more heavy rainfall. This time of year, that is asking a lot. The high water is good for one thing, however. Shad. Yes, the cold months are prime time to try and hit the famed shad kill and catch a monster brown trout. Same thing goes for the Clinch.

Speaking of the Clinch, the good news is that flows are scheduled to begin dropping tomorrow. A steady two generators will feel like low water after the recent period of two generators plus sluicing. Two generators opens up some nymphing possibilities in addition to our favorite winter pastime, stripping streamers for monsters.

The musky streams are settling into fine shape and will be an option moving forward as well. Remember that bouts of high water will get them stained or even muddy for a few days, but as flows come down the fishing should pick back up.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

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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