Guided Trips


Fishing is good in the Smokies and other mountain streams if you can catch it on a day where the wind is minimal. Otherwise, expect lots of leaves in the water for the next few days. Delayed harvest streams are also being stocked and fishing well in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.

In the Smokies, fall bugs are in full swing. We have been seeing blue-winged olives almost daily although they will hatch best on foul weather days. They are small, typically running anywhere from #20-#24 although a few larger ones have also shown up. A few October Caddis are still around as well. Terrestrials are close to being done for the year although we are still seeing a few bees and hornets near the stream. Isonychia nymphs, caddis pupa, and BWO nymphs will get it done for your subsurface fishing. Have some October Caddis (#12) and parachute BWO patterns (#18-#22) for dry flies and you should be set. Not interested in matching the hatch? Then fish a Pheasant Tail nymph under a #14 Parachute Adams. That rig can catch fish year round in the Smokies.

Brook and brown trout are now moving into the open to spawn. During this time of year, please be extremely cautious about wading through gravel riffles and the tailouts of pools. If you step on the redd (nest), you will crush the eggs that comprise the next generation of fish. Please avoid fishing to actively spawning fish and let them do their thing in peace.

Our tailwaters are still cranking although the Caney is finally starting to come down. I'm still hoping to get a firsthand report on the Caney Fork soon although it might be sometime next week or the week after before that happens at the earliest. Stay tuned for more on that. Fishing will still be slow overall with limited numbers of fish in that particular river unfortunately.

The Clinch is featuring high water as they try to catch up on the fall draw down. All of the recent rainfall set them back in this process but flows are now going up to try and make up some of the time lost. It is still fishing reasonably well on high water although we prefer the low water of late fall and early winter as it is one of our favorite times to be on the river.

Smallmouth are about done for the year with the cooler weather we are now experiencing. I caught a few yesterday on the Tennessee River while fishing with guide Rob Fightmaster, but overall the best bite is all but over. Our thoughts will be turning to musky soon, however. Once we are done with guide trips for the year, we'll be spending more time chasing these monsters.

In the meantime, we still have a few open dates in November. Feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in a guided trip. Thanks!

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

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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