Guided Trips


Unusually warm and wet conditions continue to prevail here in middle and east Tennessee. This upcoming weekend is looking like more rain and possibly even severe weather. The wind forecast is bad enough that I wouldn't bother going fishing until Sunday at the earliest unless you can go tomorrow.

In the Smokies, nymphing will be the name of the game, but don't be surprised to see some blue-winged olives from time to time. With all the high water, think streamers, big stoneflies, or worm imitations.

Tailwaters like the Caney Fork and Clinch are still rolling with a lot of water. Both rivers are over 10,000 cfs. While this is still fishable, I don't really recommend it. Flows this high are generally all about swinging for the fences if you feel like hunting a trophy. Many days it won't happen. Once in a while it will. Throw big streamers, hope for a shad kill, and get out there. Those big fish won't get caught if you're sitting home on the couch.

The Caney will produce decent fishing if we ever get flows back down at least a little. One generator would be ideal. Right now I'll even take two. Minimum flow looks a long ways off right now.

On the Clinch, you can throw streamers and also possible nymph up a few fish. If you pick your spots, there are places to nymph even on 12,000 cfs. Let's hope it gets back down to two generators or less soon. Every time we get a big rain event, look for some low water for a day or two or three. TVA will hold water back at tributary dams like Norris to reduce downstream high water effects. This gives those of us who like to wade a day or two to fish.

Winter is our favorite time to get on the musky streams. In between bouts of high water, those will be fishing well for the next few months.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

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. Anonymous11:20 PM

    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. Anonymous10:13 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. Anonymous12:13 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!



Subscribe to the Trout Zone Anglers Newsletter!

* indicates required