Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/17/2017

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

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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