Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/08/2019

In the Smokies, fishing has been good to great with unseasonably mild temperatures. With colder weather in store over the next couple of days, expect the fishing to drop off a bit. In other words, things will be more like normal winter fishing conditions in the short term. At some point we expect winter to return for real as well, but time will tell on that one.

On the tailwaters, we are dealing with massive amounts of water with no end in sight. The Caney Fork and Clinch Rivers are both rolling at very high levels. While a few fish can certainly be found on each of these, there are safer and better places to catch a few trout. The one bit of good news here? The reservoirs seem to be mostly falling now so somewhere down the road we might get better flows again.

Musky fishing should be starting to turn on. Flows are starting to drop into what we consider to be the sweet spot on our favorite rivers. Check back for more on this as we have time to get out on the water.

Photo of the Month: Cold Weather Jaws

Photo of the Month: Cold Weather Jaws

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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