Guided Trips


Fishing is excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park now. We have had a couple of shots of rain the last week and a half which has helped keep the streams flowing strong for this time of year. The cool overnight temperatures will get the brown and brook trout seriously thinking about spawning. Please be careful this time of year and avoid walking on fine sand and gravel in riffles and tailouts. Leave the spawning trout alone so they can do their thing. When you find brook or brown trout that aren't spawning, they are aggressive and looking to feed. Recent guide trips on brook trout waters have been anywhere from good to excellent. Streams with rainbows and browns have been excellent as well. There are good numbers of fish to be caught in the Park right now!

A variety of bugs have been hatching lately. On cloudy days, Blue-winged Olives have hatched along with some other small mayflies. Various caddis, including the Great Autumn Brown Sedges (often referred to as October Caddis by locals) are hatching and provide a nice bite for the trout. Little Black stoneflies are hatching as well. Fish are eating both dry fly and nymph imitations and even still hitting some terrestrials. Don't forget your beetle, ant, and inchworm fly box. A Parachute Adams or Yellow or Orange Stimulator should work well for a dry fly. Smaller bead head Pheasant Tail nymphs should work as a dropper. Caddis pupa are also catching a lot of fish as are stonefly nymphs.

On the Caney Fork, things have been tough lately. The river has been running warmer than is normal this time of year because of heavy generation earlier this year and also with a stain due to the sluice gate operations. Work has been underway to install vented turbines on the generators and they have been working to try and tweak them to improve dissolved oxygen. One day, we were floating and they were checking the DO and found it at 1.5 ppm. If I remember correctly, the minimum target is 6 ppm. Obviously 1.5 is way too low. Trout were sitting along the banks and in back eddies gasping for oxygen. Hopefully all of this won't have too much of a long term effect on the fishery, but needless to say, things are a bit difficult as of right now. Cooler weather should help. Once the lake turns over, oxygen and clarity will improve quickly.

The Clinch River has been fishing well if you can hit it on low water days. Small nymphs and midges will get the job done here.

Smallmouth bass are about done for the year, but we will be back out on the musky streams again soon looking for the toothy critters. This is tough fishing, but the rewards can be sizable.

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

First Day on the Job

Yesterday was the first day at my summer job working for Little River Outfitters in Townsend, Tennessee. I’m going to enjoy working there. A lot of my time was spent doing the more mundane tasks of receiving shipments from some of our distributors and getting them out in the store. The most enjoyable part of working there though is being able to talk about something I love doing. I’ve always enjoyed fly fishing, and helping others with fly selection and offering advice on where to fish is about as good as it gets (and did I mention I get paid for this?).

Being able to go fishing in a mountain stream after work for wild trout ain’t bad either… As soon as I got off work I headed up Middle Prong to check out how the fish were doing. The fishing was very good with lots of bugs on the water near sunset. There were little yellow stoneflies both hatching and also out laying eggs. The big news from last evening though is that the large yellow stoneflies are out in force. I’ve never seen that many large bugs flying around at one time. As usual this time of year, just about anything yellow worked well including Neversink Caddis, a parachute Sulphur, and a yellow soft hackle. Because of the large stoneflies out and about, I’ll probably be somewhere up the East Prong this evening chasing some larger fish…wish me luck!

For now it looks like I’ll be working weekdays so stop by and see me…


  1. You got it - I'm wishing you luck, cuz I wanna see some more great photos like that one!

  2. ijsouth1:15 PM

    Great to meet you yesterday...we paid the price by not making it home until 0330...I'm going to have to figure something out to get some more sleep before/during these short trips to the mountains.

    BTW, what is considered "fairly high" up on Lynn Camp? We went up higher than we ever had yesterday during the "fish out", but I suspect that we should have gone a lot further - we would have done better. It's tough, with the girls being such flatlanders...they kept asking when we could stop and fish. We made it as far as a little wooden bridge on the trail, a little ways past where Marks Creek enters the stream.

    We saw some yellow sallies - not a blizzard of them but fairly impressive numbers, on both Cosby and Straight Fork on Saturday and Sunday evening.

  3. Thanks guys!

    Ijsouth, it was great meeting you as well. Hope to see you in the shop again this summer if you can make it up... About Lynn Camp, on that first day of the fish out there were some guys that went WAY up there and they were the first 3-4 to get in so even if you had kept going you would eventually have been fishing "used" water. Honestly, I never go very high before fishing. If you want to get beyond the usual day fisherman, you've got to get up well above Panther Creek... For what its worth, I generally plan on 4 miles on any given park stream to leave 99% of all other day fisherman behind.

  4. That previous comment should read that I never go very high before fishing Lynn Camp. Most other streams I hike awhile...

  5. ijsouth1:48 PM

    Gotcha...I was prompted to ask by a comment Daniel made in the shop - he asked if we had made it as far as the Panther Creek trail. Actually, as I think on things, we really don't have to hike much on most of the streams we fish. You can start catching brookies right out of the parking lot at Cosby, although this last time we did hike a little bit to the higher sections. Straight Fork has road access along a big section of its length, and beyond the road there's no trail.

    It's hard for us to hike much - there's no way for the girls to prepare for it, given that, as I type this, I sit a massive 15ft above sea level. I can do a lot more of that when I'm up there by myself (I usually get up there alone once a year, at Thanksgiving). The first time I fished the park, I went to Cataloochee, and I must have hiked about 10 miles that one day - I hiked far more than I fished.

    Hope to get back up soon...hopefully before the 4th of July weekend. I think we'll hit Road Prong this next trip.



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