Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/22/2020

High flows continue across the area but trends are definitely down. A recent cold snap broke the ongoing heatwave so fishing in the mountains has slowed dramatically. Right on schedule, some of our tailwaters should begin returning to more normal flows for this time of year meaning float trips are certainly possible.

For the Smokies, a warming trend should commence as we go into next week. By mid week the fishing should be decent before the next cold front returns us back to winter again. On warmer days, look for midges and possibly winter stoneflies hatching. Some blue-winged olives will be possible on foul weather days as we head towards February. The best fishing is still a few weeks out, but no longer feels like an eternity. Expect good spring hatches to start in late February or early March with blue quills and quill gordons along with little black caddis and early brown and black stones. By April, things will be settling down with the pinnacle of spring fishing usually happening from mid April through the month of May.

On our area tailwaters, high water continues to be the story. The Caney Fork still has at least a couple of weeks of high flows and that is assuming we don't get any more heavy rainfall. This time of year, that is asking a lot. The high water is good for one thing, however. Shad. Yes, the cold months are prime time to try and hit the famed shad kill and catch a monster brown trout. Same thing goes for the Clinch.

Speaking of the Clinch, the good news is that flows are scheduled to begin dropping tomorrow. A steady two generators will feel like low water after the recent period of two generators plus sluicing. Two generators opens up some nymphing possibilities in addition to our favorite winter pastime, stripping streamers for monsters.

The musky streams are settling into fine shape and will be an option moving forward as well. Remember that bouts of high water will get them stained or even muddy for a few days, but as flows come down the fishing should pick back up.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Friday, March 07, 2008

Tough Days

Days where you seem to catch fish every cast are a lot of fun albeit unrealistic. Yes, it usually takes at least some type of skill to have great days even when the fish are "on." However, it is the slow days that really show you where you are at. March has started out tough for me. On Monday, the 3rd, I took a quick trip to the Smokies.

I had a tough time bringing a couple of fish to hand on nymphs. One of my problems seems to have been that I fished Abrams creek for awhile in the afternoon. It probably would have been better to stick to Little River. The water I covered on Abrams apparently had already been fished through earlier in the day (which I naturally didn't find out until after the fact) which made things very tough. Then again, it just seemed like one of those days where things aren't working well for me.

It happened again yesterday. A buddy and I went up to Upper East Tennessee to fish the South Holston and Watauga. Unfortunately, both rivers were still suffering the effects of the recent heavy rains and where anywhere from stained to muddy depending on where you were fishing in relation to the dams. On the South Holston, the fish were feeding heavily but it didn't seem to make any difference. I only managed a couple fish over the course of the day, a small 'bow and a small brown.

Knowledge and observation is the key to succeeding on the water. Both of my recent fishing trips I was lacking in both categories. Unfortunately, it was more in the knowledge than the observation. If I had brought the appropriate fly patterns, I believe that I could have been catching plenty of fish on the SoHo. Blackflies were hatching in large numbers and at least one riffle had good numbers of rusty spinners hovering over it but not many fish were in that particular water. The blackflies were my main trouble. I had some good larva patterns and they produced several takes throughout the afternoon but I was having trouble hooking up. Late in the day, I believe the fish switched mainly to taking the adults and this is where my troubles began. No patterns equals no fish. It was fairly obvious what was hatching and what the fish wanted but I didn't have anything even close to a good match. That won't happen again. Next time I'll have some appropriate patterns ready and the fish will be more willing. Until then, I'll be at the vise getting ready...

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