Guided Trips


Fishing has slowed down in some places and heated up in others. Smallmouth bass fishing on the streams of the Cumberland Plateau has been good to excellent while the tailwaters have slowed down somewhat.

In the Smokies, streams are getting low and warm. Stick with mid and high elevation streams for now until we get some rain and cooler weather. Right now it looks like this will probably last for another week although we do have some rain forecast next week. Let's hope that happens! A variety of bugs are working here, but lean heavily on your terrestrial box. Yellow Stimulators in particular have also been good lately.

The Caney Fork continues to produce a few fish here and there. Stripers are still thick in the river which isn't helping the trout at all. As long as things stay dry, this will be a viable option. There are a few large fish present if you know where to look. Yesterday's big fish was a 21.5" rainbow caught while sight fishing. Don't expect that every day, but if you're prepared to put in your time, there are good fish to be caught (and released!!!).

The Clinch seems to be in the middle of the annual late summer drawdown of Norris Lake. High water will be the norm here for the next few weeks. If you don't have a boat, then don't bother except, possibly, during early mornings. Weekends are offering some morning windows but crowds will generally be thick as well.

Fall fishing is not far off. The Clinch should fish well unless we have a wet fall. Sometime between mid October and early November, we should see flows start to come down. The Smokies are my personal favorite for fall fishing. The fish will be hungry and maybe even looking up!

Photo of the Month: Guide Trip Fish of the Year for the Smokies

Photo of the Month: Guide Trip Fish of the Year for the Smokies

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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