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, February 14, 2008

The Last Few Days

A tough weekend for fishing purposes meant that I didn't have any good updates for this week. My problem was a big exam I had on Monday that I needed to study for. I had been hoping to float the Caney and throw shad patterns for monster fish but that didn't happen (I have heard that the shad are coming through the turbines though so if you've got a boat, go float the Caney NOW!). Thankfully, I was able to get away Tuesday afternoon this week and again today to try out my skills on fish other than trout some more. Both trips had some great highlights...

On Tuesday, I caught one of the ugliest fish I've ever caught. It was my first Freshwater Drum which was definitely fun to catch at least once. Now that I've caught one, I don't really care to catch many more though. Both trips, I've also caught several Yellow Bass and Hybrids.

Tuesday's trip was interesting because the shad were coming through the dam in large numbers. The fish were absolutely gorging themselves and the first Hybrid I caught started coughing up shad (see picture below). Later in the day, I saw at least one very nice striper rolling down below me, and a guy with a Spey rod showed up and eventually caught what looked like a 6-7 pound fish from the same general area. Today I tried that area to no avail but did "catch" an interesting fish.

I had been casting downstream to where several fish appeared to be feeding when I looked off to my side in the slack water and saw a fish just sitting there. It appeared to be some type of gar or perhaps a pickerel. Carefully, I reached back and unfastened my net and slipped it into the water behind the fish. The fish appeared lethargic, maybe because the water was cold or maybe because it was sick. Regardless, I was able to net it and we got a quick picture of what appears to be a gar. Anyone here know much about these fish? I'd be interested in hearing exactly what type of gar you think this is...


  1. My mom caught a freshwater drum on one of her first fly fishing excursions with me. I know they can get pretty large (30lb+), but I don't know how you would go about targeting the big ones.

    I think you have a spotted gar on your in your hands. How cold was the water?

  2. ijsouth11:52 PM

    Grant above nailed's a spotted gar, pretty common. One of my kids caught one two years ago, and still talks about it. Ugly fish, but they can fight on the end of a line.

    Nice Gaspergou - that's the Louisiana name for freshwater drum - they look pretty much like the black drum you catch in saltwater.

  3. Anonymous9:54 PM

    Wow, that looks like fun! I have never fished for anything but trout with a fly rod. Do you mind if I ask what flies you used to catch these fish? Noe I want to give it a try also!


  4. The water is fairly cold although I didn't actually check the temp... I would say upper 40's to around 50 or so.

    MikeC, I've mainly been using various white shad immitations (just try to match the picture of the shad in this post)... Zonkers and Simi Seal Streamers have done the best for me so far along with smaller white wooly buggers... I've also had people recommend white Clousers. Hope this helps!

  5. Anonymous8:17 PM

    Where were you fishing when you caught the Hybrid in the photo?

  6. Tubakka11:31 AM

    Spotted gar as fun...but if you get into some long nose especially on fly rod, you've got a fight. They're the second to gators in size [a distant] but there's still a shot at 20 pound fish plus. My biggest is around 48", I used to target them for a couple weeks each year when they'd run up a local spillway to spawn. Go down at get about 50 in an hour and a half. I measured two that had been killed when some chain link in place to hold rocks down came unfurled on them. One was 52" the other was 58". They were huge fish, with ginormous teeth.

    gaspergou...I love that. my grandfather and I use to go down to Mississippi to fish and I learned that name. i get drum trolling now and then, and a big one is a good fight. But they roll over as soon as you put them back...not very hardy.

    I haven't been able to fish the Caney much. Only gotten 3 fish over 18" so far this year, one right at 20" but saw the biggest trout of my life come up on a bait at the dam. I musky fish...believe it or I'm used to inches. This fish was a mid 30" easy. Humongous. There are some monsters in there. I'd take those streamers and shads and spend some time down there man. I know people that have been schooled on baitcasters down there by trout. Talk about a fight on the fly! We oughtta go out sometime. you're welcome to float in my boat anytime.

  7. I've been fishing the Tennessee River here in Chattanooga lately...that's as specific as I'm going to get on here but if you want more information, please feel free to send me an email. You can find the link through my Profile...

    Tubakka, your continuing stories of seeing huge fish on the Caney are making me miss the river... I'm hoping to hit it a time or two over spring break the first week in March. I'd enjoy floating with you sometime and seeing how you target these larger fish. Might give me some ideas for the fly rod... Send me an email (link in my profile) or let me know where to send you one and we can discuss this further...

  8. Tubakka1:02 AM

    I can only show you what I know on spinning, and alot of that's location and approach I suppose. I have a couple friends that consistently get browns and rainbows in the 20" class using fact, those two are the best on the river I've met yet, an they're not guides, and they're about our age [still in college]

  9. Tubakka1:15 AM

    I'll hook you up with them. call me at 618-559-3494

  10. Tubakka, I'll give you a holler in a few days when I get home for spring break...



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