Guided Trips


Fishing is good in the Smokies and other mountain streams if you can catch it on a day where the wind is minimal. Otherwise, expect lots of leaves in the water for the next few days. Delayed harvest streams are also being stocked and fishing well in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.

In the Smokies, fall bugs are in full swing. We have been seeing blue-winged olives almost daily although they will hatch best on foul weather days. They are small, typically running anywhere from #20-#24 although a few larger ones have also shown up. A few October Caddis are still around as well. Terrestrials are close to being done for the year although we are still seeing a few bees and hornets near the stream. Isonychia nymphs, caddis pupa, and BWO nymphs will get it done for your subsurface fishing. Have some October Caddis (#12) and parachute BWO patterns (#18-#22) for dry flies and you should be set. Not interested in matching the hatch? Then fish a Pheasant Tail nymph under a #14 Parachute Adams. That rig can catch fish year round in the Smokies.

Brook and brown trout are now moving into the open to spawn. During this time of year, please be extremely cautious about wading through gravel riffles and the tailouts of pools. If you step on the redd (nest), you will crush the eggs that comprise the next generation of fish. Please avoid fishing to actively spawning fish and let them do their thing in peace.

Our tailwaters are still cranking although the Caney is finally starting to come down. I'm still hoping to get a firsthand report on the Caney Fork soon although it might be sometime next week or the week after before that happens at the earliest. Stay tuned for more on that. Fishing will still be slow overall with limited numbers of fish in that particular river unfortunately.

The Clinch is featuring high water as they try to catch up on the fall draw down. All of the recent rainfall set them back in this process but flows are now going up to try and make up some of the time lost. It is still fishing reasonably well on high water although we prefer the low water of late fall and early winter as it is one of our favorite times to be on the river.

Smallmouth are about done for the year with the cooler weather we are now experiencing. I caught a few yesterday on the Tennessee River while fishing with guide Rob Fightmaster, but overall the best bite is all but over. Our thoughts will be turning to musky soon, however. Once we are done with guide trips for the year, we'll be spending more time chasing these monsters.

In the meantime, we still have a few open dates in November. Feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in a guided trip. Thanks!

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Well, it was so cold yesterday that I lost a fish...a really nice fish as in a big 18-20 inch trout. Mother nature tricked me though, making me think it was nice out. Seriously, it wasn't all that cold when I started fishing. To celebrate the start of spring break (should be called winter break), I went down to check out the Caney Fork river for a couple of hours. I started out up near the dam with a shad pattern. Despite the dead and dying shad floating lazily along, the fish didn't really seem interested. Oh, and did I mention that it wasn't that cold? In fact, it felt much nicer than I expected.

Finally I decided to head downriver and make the switch to smaller flies. The midge hatch seemed to be an all day event. That probably had to do with the cool (not cold, YET) air temps and clouds not to mention that occasional rain and drizzle. The fish were feeding heavily on the small bugs which seemed odd with all the giant meals floating along.

Anyway, I made the transition on down the river. After tying on a new leader more suited to fishing midges, I soon made my way down to the water and was soon caught up in the business of landing fish. The fish acted like they were starving. Oh, and it was starting to feel cold out.

Then IT happened, the worst thing when your hands start getting cold. My tippet, fly and indicator became horribly tangled. There's only one solution for this disaster and I bravely began the long and tedious process of retying. My left hand was so cold at this point that I couldn't use my thumb and index finger to grasp things much at all. Knot tying became an incredible adventure taking closer to 20 minutes instead of the usual 20 seconds it takes to tie on new tippet AND a fly.

My effort was not in vain though. I soon was catching even more fish than before. I worked my way slowly upriver and then back down. Then I saw the fish. It was feeding in 3-4 feet of water and the flashing side gave it away as a really nice one. I made the cast upstream of this fish a bit farther than I normally would because I knew these big fish tend to cruise instead of staying in one spot. Indeed, my indicator sunk almost immediately and the fight was on. My poor numb hands just couldn't compete with the muscle and grace of the nice fish. It was pulling a lot of line and I was having a hard time operating the fly reel. With these larger fish, the smallest bit of slack means the end of the fight and my quick fight was no different. I was left only with a memory and slight irritation. A perfectly good chemical handwarmer was sitting up in the car but I had been too lazy to go retrieve it. There were gloves in the trunk but, yeah, too lazy....

Too add insult to injury, I worked back upstream and on the return trip down, I hooked either the same fish or one very similar again! This battle was even more brief...I finally realized that it wasn't healthy for my hands to get that cold and I called it a day around sunset...

Despite my losses, I still caught plenty of nice fish. Also, over the course of the afternoon, I did see one huge brown crashing the dead/dying shad on the surface. I guess I'll just have to get back soon to try again. This next week is going to provide some unsettled weather. This time, I'll be better prepared to stay warm. Just because it doesn't feel to cold at first doesn't mean it won't get colder...


  1. I don't even see any snow. Tenn can't be that cold right now. At least you got something for your frozen paws.

  2. Boooo. Says the southener to the crazed northener! Cheer's on the numb fingers and nice fish! Awesome as usual!

    We gotta hit the stream some time soon!

  3. Foulhooked,you're right. It really isn't that cold...I should have prepared and been a bit more ready for the cool air so my hands could have stayed functional. I think I'm going to start keeping one of the handwarmers in a vest pocket.

    Brett, we definitely need to fish...have you been able to get out much lately?

  4. Y of course! I think Kris may wanna load up the boat and head your way in the near and dear future for a float on the Caney! It be killer for certain. How long's the s break? We outta hook up this weekend! Hiawassee maybe? Lemme know!


  5. Brett, my break is pretty much full but I'll be fishing a lot during the upcoming weeks. Weekends are good and I can usually sneak away on Tuesdays...let me know if you head towards the Caney or HI...

    If you get a chance, talk Kris into heading towards the Caney soon. I don't know how much longer the shad are gonna last and you guys would have a blast...



Subscribe to the Trout Zone Anglers Newsletter!

* indicates required