Guided Trips


Fishing continues to be good to excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee. 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 Yellow Quills are still hanging on in the mid to high elevation brook trout water although not for long. October caddis (more properly, great autumn sedges) are hatching in good numbers now on the North Carolina side of the Park and just starting on the Tennessee side. Terrestrials still have a place in your fly box as well although they are definitely winding down for the year. 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. Brook trout are still eating smaller yellow dry flies as well. 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 hoping to get some type of a report for there soon. 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 are holding off for 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. 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 and one or two in October. 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

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Walk in the Park

That's exactly what I did this past Sunday. The weekend was spent camping at Elkmont which was great as always albeit a bit expensive. They seriously need a student rate so poor college students like myself can enjoy some time in the park without breaking the bank. I guess I just need to start backpacking instead of car camping...and now I'm off topic...

One of my favorite ways of fishing is to hike in on a day trip, sometimes up to 15-16 miles roundtrip. Sunday's goal was not that optimistic. I'm out of shape after a lazy winter so 10 miles roundtrip seemed reasonable. The trailhead at Elkmont was reasonably busy when I arrived at 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning. An hour later, I was 4 miles deep in the backcountry and ready to start fishing. The stream temperature was about 48 degrees and the clouds hinted that the air temp might not climb much as the day progressed.

A double nymph rig seemed reasonable considering the conditions and I tied on a GRHE with a softhackle dropper and a couple small split shot. After a couple fruitless casts, an energetic rainbow hit the Hares Ear and the day progressed nicely in similar fashion. An hour later I had caught 10 fish and was getting hungry. During lunch I began noticing that every time the sun poked through the clouds bugs would start flying up from the stream. After I started fishing it began to make sense. The rocks were all covered with newly hatched yellow stoneflies. It was too cold to fly quickly so they were waiting for the warmth of the sun to take to the air.

This revelation brought out my trusty Tellico nymph as the new dropper and the catching continued. Not long after lunch I hooked and lost the best fish of the day, a brown pushing 11 inches. I missed a nice brookie as well but the rainbows kept coming to hand at a steady pace.

Somewhere after 30 fish I began to wonder if they might hit a dry and out come a yellow Neversink Caddis. The fish must have been starving, because they attacked it with reckless abandon. The time was slipping away unfortunately so I finally called it a day and started the trek back to the trailhead with another amazing day on the water under my belt. By 7:00 p.m. I was on the road back to Chattanooga with a great sunset in front of me and a relaxing weekend behind...


  1. In prior years I visited the Smokies a couple weeks from now, and that yellow stone dry has always been my best fly.

    I've fished up above Elkmont several times, though the farthest up the Little River I've gone was about a mile past that small footbridge across the river.

  2. TC, That section above Elkmont is some of my favorite water in the park. There is a little bit of everything including good dry fly runs, pocket water, and a few good pools... Definitely a great place to spend time! Too bad you can't make it this year but it looks like you've been having some great fishing out there...

  3. ijsouth10:13 PM

    That was a pretty sunset Sunday; we saw it from the parking lot of Steak N' Shake in Athens (it's a ritual - we always stop there on the way home). However, the fact that we were seeing the sunset there meant that we didn't get home until almost 5 in the morning. I was a zombie at work yesterday.

    I saw a pretty good hatch on Straight Fork on Saturday, but nothing rose to them. It was a different story Sunday on Cosby - we did very well...about 40 between my oldest and myself. I wasn't planning on fishing Cosby this trip - I hate to rely on it like a crutch, but after a near-skunk on Saturday, we wanted some action.

    Heard y'all were in Cataloochee over the weekend, too...I like that area, even if it is a pain to get to.

  4. Ijsouth, glad ya'll had a great trip! Cataloochee is a really cool place although I think the rainbows over there were hit pretty hard by the drought last summer. All we were catching were browns and brookies... Had some interesting problems with the radiator but that's a story for another day...

  5. ijsouth12:13 PM oldest actually outfished me, but I beat her in quality fish ;)...You're probably right about the 'bows in Cataloochee, and I wouldn't be surprised if the brookies take advantage of it. Last summer, I caught a nice spec on Palmer, and not very far up the trail either...I was surprised. There were a lot of nice bows in that stretch, too...and if they're out of the picture, the brookies will have less competition.

    From what your partner posted over on LRO, I know exactly which road you were on...and, that is a scary place to break down - miles from anywhere.

  6. Wow, you have skills. The pics you take of skys and landscapes are awesome. Great site!



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