Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 11/16/2017

Fishing is good on the Clinch River right now and that is where I'm doing most of my guiding and fishing. The Smokies have been good as well.

In the Smokies, the brown trout are wrapping up the spawn. Over the next few weeks, the opportunity to catch larger than average brown trout is definitely elevated. I like to throw nymphs or streamers right now and through the winter. Next spring should be good with hatches starting by the first of March and peaking by late April or early May. This is one of the best times to fish in the Smokies so start planning that trip now!

The Caney Fork is about a week away from seeing some more reasonable water levels. If the flows drop, expect some very good fishing as we move into the winter.

Photo of the Month: Evening in the North Woods

Photo of the Month: Evening in the North Woods

Friday, May 23, 2008

Last Time and New Job


Today I made one last (most likely anyway) trip to my home river before heading east for the summer. If all goes as planned, I'll be living in Townsend by this time next week. I was hoping for a cloudy day on the river to get the fish going but it was not meant to be. The clouds gave out on the drive down only about 5 miles from the river and it stayed bright and sunny the whole time I was there. Despite the less than ideal conditions, I still managed to catch a good number of fish. Most of the fish where caught on various midge patterns and would only eat if I got my flies right on the bottom.


I probably won't make it to the Caney for awhile now but that will be fine because I'll be on the wild trout streams of the Smokies as often as I want to (when I'm not working). You can rest assured that I'll be hitting the evening hatch often and hopefully will still have time to post reports. Additionally, I'll probably experiment a little with smallies and make a trip or two to the South Holston, Watauga, Clinch, and/or Holston rivers.

Best of all, I'm getting the opportunity to work for a fly shop which I've always thought would be a great experience. I'll be working for Little River Outfitters for a couple of months this summer until school starts again. I'll be working in the shop and taking care of the fly tying materials section. It doesn't get much better than helping folks out with fishing so I should have an awesome summer! Ya'll stop by and see me if you get the chance...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Recent Fishing


Finally, a fishing report! Yesterday I decided I couldn't wait any longer and headed down to the Caney Fork River. With gas prices approaching $4/gallon, it is hard to go fishing too often. Thankfully I'll be in the Smokies for the summer and can pretty much fish whenever I want, but more on that later...for now back to the fishing...

Summer is a lazy time for me immediately after school gets out and before I start at a summer job. I generally don't get up early even if it is to go fishing (tomorrow I might make an exception). Yesterday was no different and I planned to start fishing when they shut off the generators at 11:00 a.m. On the way down, I noticed a few members of the Buffalo Valley deer herd.


The river was becoming crowded when I arrived since wadeable water was hard to come by. I found my own bit of river and started fishing and was soon becoming disgusted with all the little guys that couldn't stay off my flies. Apparently the spring stocking of small browns happened recently and they were all ravenously hungry.

After messing with the small fish for awhile, I finally started moving around and found a few better rainbows.
The section I was fishing was becoming pretty boring though and I soon decided to try something else and headed downriver to catch up with the falling water. The new location proved to be much better and I finally got to try a setup I've been wanting to use for awhile. The main difference with other deep nymph rigs I've used in the past was the strike indicator. I finally found the conditions perfect for use with a Thingamabobber, and I made the most of it. The indicator worked great and was extremely sensitive showing every little tick on the bottom not to mention the fish that seemed to be flocking to my flies. The fly combination that seemed to work best was a Copper John for weight with a small midge dropped behind. Plenty of fish liked the Copper John as well as the midge. I think this setup will become one of my favorites for the Caney Fork.


I hooked several nice fish landing a several chunky rainbows, a nice little brown, and my first Caney Fork brookie! What a day...


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Drought Outlook

The drought outlook from the Climate Prediction Center has been updated and things are looking up for Tennessee and the southeastern US. The current drought map still shows severe drought for portions of southeast Tennessee and a narrow band of extreme drought further south in neighboring states. The outlook presents a much happier picture though with improvement expected. We have been receiving some good rain here in Tennessee the last couple of days so things are definitely doing better. Hopefully we'll soon be completely out of the drought...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fishing in the Smokies

Last Friday I made a day trip up to the Smokies for a couple of reasons. The first was to look into a summer job in Townsend. The other was obviously to fish. Things are looking great for the summer and I should be headed over to Townsend in a couple of weeks. More on that development once the details are finished, but let's just say I'm excited for the opportunity...



As far as the fishing, things were a little slow for me. I was definitely not on top of my game on Friday but I did manage a few fish. The nicest fish came to hand on a hard-bodied black ant pattern. Strangely, my troubles with losing flies continued, and its always when I snag my nymph rig on the bottom of a spot too deep to wade. My thoughts turn more and more towards the purist side of the sport on days like Friday. Perhaps I'll use dry flies more this summer. They are definitely more fun, but I'm always mildly annoyed trying to keep them floating after a few fish.



Since I'll be heading east soon, I'm hoping to get in a few more trips on the Caney. I'd planned to head down today but Mother's Day turned out to be an all-day thing which was just fine. Tomorrow I'm headed to Nashville for a few days and will check on the river for an hour or two on the way by. The next week I'm even thinking about camping for a couple of nights to really experience all the river has to offer, assuming I don't start work for a few more days that is. I really want to catch some of the monsters I've seen on the river in the last few months. Should be fun on tiny flies and light tippet...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

"Fool's Paradise": A Short Book Review


One thing I don't do enough of is read some of the better fly fishing literature out there. In fact, I don't read a whole lot anymore about fly fishing in general, but that has mostly been a product of trying to keep my grades up in college. All my reading that is not related to classes has fallen by the wayside. Thankfully school is out for the summer and just in time I was contacted about reviewing John Gierach's new book, "Fool's Paradise." I jumped on the opportunity and just received the book yesterday. One day and 211 pages later, I'm left wondering where all my time went.

This book was a relaxing down to earth read that was easy to relate to. I have to admit that this is the first of his books that I have read, not because I don't like his writing, but because I just haven't bought many fly fishing books in general. That has been a mistake. For years I've heard people discussing some of Gierach's books and the general consensus always seems to be that the guy can write.

Fly fisherman tend to enjoy thinking at least a little or else they probably would not participate in the sport in the first place. In "Fool's Paradise," Gierach mixes interesting fishing stories with observations on the sport and life in general. He reminisces about the good old days such as when Montana didn't have a posted speed limit. One of favorite mental pictures came after reading the following regarding speed limits in Montana:

"Reasonable and prudent" was the only daytime rule, although I do remember once riding in a pickup that was stopped by a cop who asked, as if he were just passing the time of day, "Don't you guys think a hundred and there is a little excessive when you're towing a drift boat?" We explained that we were going fishing. He asked where and we told him. He wished us luck and told us to "Just take it easy."

There's got to be a good cartoon that could be made from this, and if I was half the talent as an artist that Gierach is as a writer I could probably make something pretty hilarious.

One of the most refreshing elements of the book is the lack of detail on where some of his greatest fishing memories were made. In a day when kiss and tell articles sell major fly fishing magazines, it was a special experience to read a fly fishing author that honored the age old tradition of maintaining silence about a great place to fish when asked to keep quiet by the guy showing him the river. His stories remind and inspire that yes, there really are still places were big dumb trout are the norm...places that are still pristine and bull trout can still be caught without having a federal ranger appearing out of the brush to haul you off to the penitentiary for targeting an endangered species. He also shows that he is just as crazy as a fly fisher can be, telling about fishing when it is excessively cold outside on one of those days where you start to wonder what exactly it is you are trying to accomplish or prove. Stories like this can be understood by just about any diehard and at least admired by the more lazy fisherman who only come out when it is warm.

My only complaint about this book stems from two deja vu moments I had when I realized I was reading the exact same paragraph that had appeared earlier in the book. Of course, it fit well in both places but would have better fit in just one and nevermind which...

One of my favorite chapters was called The New Guy. It brought together all the elements of fishing with a new potential fishing buddy including the telling of all your best fishing stories that everyone else in the group has already heard plenty of times. Best of all, the new guy in question was Jim Babb who is of East Tennessee origin. Making it even more personal was the fact that his brother Walter Babb is the guy that taught me how to fish nymphs in our Appalachian mountain streams.

Overall this was an excellent book which I would highly recommend. I'll be reading it again at a more leisurely pace and probably looking to buy more of Gierach's books in the near future...

New Links

I have added another link that you should check out. It is to the Fishing Fanatic and is the blog of another of my east Tennessee fishing buddies. The most recent post contains a couple of pictures of beautiful South Holston River brown trout, there's some motivation for you...

Tying the Perfect Mayfly

I've finally found the time to finish looking at some DVDs that James Marsh sent me awhile back. School caught up with me and I got too busy to review them but now want to make mention of them.

The titles were "Fly Fishing The Great Smoky Mountains National Park," "Tying Perfect Mayfly Nymphs," and Tying Perfect Mayfly Emergers, Duns & Spinners." I won't go into detail on the one about fishing the Smokies since Hawgdaddy over at the Tennessee Valley Angler did a great review you can check out here which basically says everything I had planned on saying. Great minds really do think alike...

The two tying DVDs were inspirational in a good way and also in a slightly annoying sort of way. I say annoying because they did a spectacular job of reminding me how basic my fly selection often is and even worse, how disorganized my fly boxes tend to become. If you want to learn just a few basic patterns that you can tie in different color combinations to much virtually any mayfly in the country then you really need to check out these DVDs. They not only show you how to tie the 14 basic patterns but also include recipes to match any mayfly hatch you may encounter streamside. The main downfall of these DVDs is the same for any tying program. The information is crucial and necessary and there is no better way to learn than by watching, but when it comes down to it, watching people tying on a video is not that exciting. However the organization that this will bring to your fly boxes and tying will be ample reward for the time spent watching. In the process, all but the best tiers will probably discover some new idea that will prove useful in their general tying as well.

I watched these while I tied which I found to be just about perfect. You can pay enough attention to gain the quality information contained in them but still accomplish something else useful at the same time.

These programs are perfect for use in conjunction with the "Hatches Made Easy" that James Marsh has on his Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountain and Yellowstone websites. If you haven't stopped by those sites in awhile, be sure and check them out. He has been making daily additions detailing the various hatches so there is plenty to see...

Caney Fork

Today I finally made the trek down to the Caney Fork for a few hours of fishing in the rain. The river is in great shape, and as long as we don't get too much rain the generation schedule should only get better. Best of all, there are plenty of quality fish in the river now after several months of higher flows. The fish are strong and healthy and hopefully a little dumb although today didn't prove that latter point at all. Unfortunately no big fish were landed, but the 10-14 inch rainbows were still a blast regardless. The fish I didn't land were the ones I will be going back for. I had strikes or briefly fought 3 fish in the 16-18 inch range and saw several that were much larger. Next time the outcome will be different...

Tomorrow I'm making the drive over to the Smokies for the day. It should be fun and I'll try and have a report up as soon as possible if anything exciting happens and probably even if it doesn't...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Busy

School's out!!! You would think that I could go fishing even more but not so. Probably my grades will reflect the abundance of fishing lately, but it was definitely worth it. Between moving home, graduation weekend for friends (mine will be later this year), and thinking about a summer job (why can't I just go fishing instead of doing something less important like working?), the fishing scene has been really slow. With a trip to town to search for that all-important job looming in my immediate future, the chances of fishing aren't all that great. On the other hand, THE CANEY IS FINALLY WADEABLE meaning that I might have to prioritize. Clearly, checking on the status of the river is much more important than landing that job. I can always put off work, well not always because it costs a lot of money just to get to the river, but perhaps one trip to the river is needed before I work too hard...

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