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

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Junk and Shame

In fly fishing, there is the purist approach where you fish upstream and with dries only. Often you don't wade but instead walk the stream banks looking for that rising fish to cast to. Then there's that other approach, the one where you use flies that are gaudy and often quite ugly. Of course, there is a lot of middle ground here that one can comfortably negotiate without going all out one way or the other. I fall somewhere between the two extremes but occasionally resort to somewhat questionable methods that always leave me feeling a little guilty.

Most if not all of the "junk" flies actually imitate something the fish might be able to eat. Then why the guilty conscience? As do many fly fisherman, I prefer to fish dry flies but when they aren't rising enough to keep me happy, I'll tie on something else in a heartbeat. In fact, I sometimes get annoyed fishing dries because if the fishing is too good, then I must constantly(or so it seems) be drying the fly or tying on another.

The recent poll suggested that many of you would not want to fish an egg pattern or a SJ worm. I'm guessing that those are probably the ones that are much closer to mastering the art of fly fishing than I am. It is easy and enlightening to view junk flies as a crutch and in my opinion they are (and yet I still use them). That is probably why I feel guilty using them.

The majority are in the same boat as I am and admitted to using these flies on occasion. A few of you disagreed with my assessment of what is and what isn't a junk fly. I'm curious which ones and why if you care to respond. Just hit the comment button and let me know what you think....

Finally, much thanks to the purist out there!!! I was beginning to think that no one that fit that category was going to vote...I applaud you for maintaining the purity of tradition in this fine sport... Hopefully I'll be coming closer to your side of the debate by weaning myself from the use of junk flies although I doubt you'll see me giving up wet flies any time soon...

New poll is up by the way...check it out!

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