Guided Trips


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

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Fishing in 2008

Following the theme of change so prevalent in the presidential primary campaigns, 2008 is going to be about change for me on the fishing scene. I'm going back to my beginnings as a fly fisherman so to speak, back to the smaller streams and eager trout. Perhaps putting it more succinctly, less fishing on the tailwaters. Sure, I'll still fish the Caney when I'm home on the weekend occasionally and probably will still try to make it up to the Cumberland if they ever quit running water. I'll probably even make a trip or two up to the upper east Tennessee tailwaters. However, more than anything I want to spend my time back in the woods and hills of east Tennessee chasing the wild jewels that inhabit our streams.

I want to try some different flies and better learn how to fish some of the more technical hatches. This of course will undoubtedly involve learning some new techniques. Also, not only will I be fishing my favorite mountain streams, I also want to explore new ones, maybe even find a new favorite. This will involve a lot of time in the backcountry, both on day trips and longer overnight type trips as well. I have plans to experience more of what the Smokies have to offer. Specifically, I plan on checking some rumors of lake run fish on the south side of the park and all those streams that drain into Fontana Lake. Of course, I've been saying that I intend to do these trips for awhile so time will only tell if I really make it. I better start planning now so it happens...


  1. ijsouth11:27 PM

    You will have fun this year, no doubt. There are some streams in isolated corners of the park that I plan on exploring this year. There's nothing like fishing an area where few, if any, have fished before, and to have that water all to yourself.

  2. david, being in chattanooga, have you ever considered fishing some of the N GA streams? I don't know if there's any close to you there, but seems there would be.

  3. Tubakka9:18 PM

    Dave, I was floating the Caney the other day, and saw a guy on a run. He looked JUST LIKE YOU [well...seeing as how I've never met you, he was close enough for me to think from the pictures]. He said no, but he knew you and your blog and had his own blog. I forget his name. We need to share a boat this year on the Caney. The shad kill should be coming soon, and I fully intend to beat my 28" on the Caney when it does. I've come close, had a few razorbacks come up on jerkbaits, but I'm almost convinced that to consistently catch the largest fish, it's going to take jerkbaits mixed in with a good live bait program, almost like musky fishing with a sucker over the side. I have seen fish over 8 pounds the past 10 trips to the Caney, and caught a couple more over 20". Here's the one thing I don't see any of the flyfishermen doing and they're shooting themselves in the foot: go down to the dam, either in a boat or on shore, if you have to PUT THE FLYROD DOWN for 20 minutes, but if you can flycast down there, just do it. Throw a streamer, spoon, or jerkbait, and just watch. You may not get hit, but I guarantee you will at least SEE a 5lb+ fish dance around it if you are there just when they cut the gens. 5lb is really conservative, expect to see an 8 or 10 at least. My friend got one to strike the other day, and it just snapped his line. Definitely over 10, probably 30". It's a show, but no one seems to get it. I doubt there's a higher concentration of larger fish anywhere on that river, Or any tailrace river for that matter, than right below the dam.

  4. Tubakka, it would be great to float sometime. I'm hoping to make it up for the shad kill this year and have some big flies ready and will tie more. I've been wanting to fish just below the dam as well but it haven't bothered taking my canoe down yet...



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