Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 12/3/2019

Winter fishing is nearly upon us. Snow yesterday has given way to falling water temperatures in the Smokies. In general, fish will be hunkered down, although by tomorrow they should start to get more active again as temperatures warm. For the next three months, expect many more fish in the slower places in the Park. Think nymphs and maybe streamers but don't be surprised to find fish rising to blue-winged olives or midges on some days.

On tailwaters like the Clinch, brown trout and some fall spawn rainbows are doing their thing. This is a good time to review good ethics when it comes to spawning trout. Remember that these are the next generation of trout and the best thing you can do is to leave them alone. Avoid wading through spawning areas and don't fish for obvious spawners. For the foreseeable future, we should have high water thanks to big rains this last weekend. Fishing out of the drift boat will be very good through the winter with both nymphing and streamer fishing a distinct possibility. Want to swing for the fences and go for just one monster? Streamers will just get better and better going into January and February.

The Caney is slowly coming around. A few shad are coming through the dam, but lingering water quality problems are limiting the fishing. Winter streamer floats will produce shots at larger brown trout for anglers willing to work hard. Next spring should bring good fishing again.

Winter is our favorite time to get on the musky streams. In between bouts of high water, those will be fishing well for the next few months.

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Monday, February 25, 2008

Back on the Water

My intentions have been good all along. I've been planning on going back to the Smokies to check for lake run fish and to just enjoy fishing for those wild trout. This weekend it finally happened. On Sunday I drove up to the park and hit a small stream and also checked a larger stream for lake run fish. I finished off the day with my first time on the Hiwassee this year.

The first stream I checked out was fairly slow but I still carefully worked the water, hitting every likely hole, pocket and run. Finally, as I was working upstream in full stealth mode, I saw the light gray color in the water ahead of me that looked like a feeding 'bow. As soon as it moved from side to side, I knew for sure it was a fish. Apparently it was hungry and I got more than one opportunity. My first try should have spooked the fish since I felt the strike and gave a solid hook set. The fish was set on continuing the feast though and soon I got another good drift and it ate. After a quick fight, I brought a beautiful rainbow to hand. I was struck by how skinny this fish was, maybe it was a post-spawn fish. After admiring it and snapping 2 quick pictures, I slipped the fish back into the water and watched it dart away.

So much better than a stocked trout...

My day would have been perfect with just that one fish. A stop at lower Abrams Creek was in order however. On the drive in, at least 5 Blount County Sheriff cars passed me. Later at the parking lot in the park, two more drove in in a hurry and after consulting, left again. I don't know what was going on but it was odd to say the least.


I didn't even end up fishing on Abrams. My rod came out of the car and I was thoroughly prepared but a slow walk along the banks of the stream yielded no fish sightings. This part of the stream won't have many if any trout except perhaps in the colder months when fish may move up from the lake. Also, it is a bit early for smallmouth. I was hoping to find lake run fish but it wasn't to be on this day.

It was only the middle of the afternoon when I left Abrams so I headed back down highway 411 on my way back to the Chattanooga area. The Hiwassee was conveniently located on the way back so I decided I should check it out. The first stop was at the powerhouse where one small rainbow was curious enough to check out my fly. Later on I moved down to the Big Bend area and picked up two more rainbows. I'm giving this river 2 more weeks before things bust loose. For superb spring dry fly action, this is the place to be if you want somewhere relatively close to Chattanooga and other points south.


As far as the bugs I saw, in the mountains there were midges of course along with a few stray stoneflies and maybe a couple caddis. On the HI, it was about the same but probably even fewer bugs (except for midges, there were good numbers of those). Like I said, this should all change very soon, no more than 3 weeks unless we enter an ice age. Once the hatches start, I'll try to keep you up to date on what is happening where.

I'm more excited for the spring hatches than I can ever remember being and I'll try to get to the Smokies as often as possible. Hopefully this will be the spring of a big brown for me. I've yet to break 20 inches in the Park so that is my goal. There may be a few big rainbows left as well. Most of those didn't do so well in the drought last year but the few that are left provide some nice surprises this spring. Last spring, I broke off on a rainbow that was at least 18 inches which is a monster for the park. I'm afraid it probably didn't survive the summer but I'll be back to find out.

1 comment:

  1. ijsouth10:39 PM

    It's getting closer to that magic time. Just yesterday, I noticed the azalias starting to bloom, and the willows are budding out. Now, we're more than a few weeks ahead of the Smokies, but it's always neat to see things fresh and green again. In a few weeks, the Quill Gordons will be hatching, and by the time we are up there after Easter, things ought to be busting out all over. My goal is for my 7-year olds to get their first fish on a fly, and for my oldest to get her first brown. As for me, I'll be happy catching those brookies up on Cosby.

    20 inches? That's quite a target...I was overjoyed with the 10-in rainbow I got on the WPLP - a great fight on the 2wt. Eventually, I'll probably get to the point of targeting the larger fish. That skinny trout reminds me of a bass I caught once - all head and tail, and nothing else. I tried to revive it, but it was a no-go. I was about to carve it up when our neighbors suggested a taxidermist in town that was reasonably priced. So, I have a 9lb largemouth mounted - it would have easily topped 11 if I had caught it a month earlier - I was surprised it was active at all.

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