Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 12/3/2019

Winter fishing is nearly upon us. Snow yesterday has given way to falling water temperatures in the Smokies. In general, fish will be hunkered down, although by tomorrow they should start to get more active again as temperatures warm. For the next three months, expect many more fish in the slower places in the Park. Think nymphs and maybe streamers but don't be surprised to find fish rising to blue-winged olives or midges on some days.

On tailwaters like the Clinch, brown trout and some fall spawn rainbows are doing their thing. This is a good time to review good ethics when it comes to spawning trout. Remember that these are the next generation of trout and the best thing you can do is to leave them alone. Avoid wading through spawning areas and don't fish for obvious spawners. For the foreseeable future, we should have high water thanks to big rains this last weekend. Fishing out of the drift boat will be very good through the winter with both nymphing and streamer fishing a distinct possibility. Want to swing for the fences and go for just one monster? Streamers will just get better and better going into January and February.

The Caney is slowly coming around. A few shad are coming through the dam, but lingering water quality problems are limiting the fishing. Winter streamer floats will produce shots at larger brown trout for anglers willing to work hard. Next spring should bring good fishing again.

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: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Whack a Rainbow, Save a Brookie


This past weekend I stopped by a small brook trout stream that I like to fish. For the first time ever I caught several rainbows. An occasional rainbow is to be expected in this particular water, but unfortunately there were a few more than would qualify as “occasional.”

The first real pool I fished was loaded with fish. My first cast to the middle of the pool resulted in a flashing strike. Looking forward to admiring a brook trout, I quickly brought the fish to hand. I was surprised to discover a rainbow on the end of my line. One rainbow in a pool with 6-8 brookies had beat all of them to a supposed item of food. I’ve always heard that the rainbows out-compete the brook trout here in the Smokies streams but that was easily the most obvious instance of this I’ve ever experienced.


I’m starting to wonder if a policy requiring fisherman to kill rainbows in certain stretches of water might not be a bad idea. In Yellowstone National Park you are required to kill all lake trout you catch on Yellowstone Lake. Perhaps something similar might be beneficial to our special brook trout here in the Smokies…

Oh yeah, despite the rainbows, I still caught several brookies

3 comments:

  1. ijsouth11:17 AM

    You wrote: "I’m starting to wonder if a policy requiring fisherman to kill brookies in certain stretches of water might not be a bad idea."

    You meant rainbows, right? It's a point to ponder, for sure. Last November, I was surprised by a few rainbows on Cosby, and pretty high up too - previously, I had never caught anything but brookies from the campground on up. Now for the twist - back in March, my oldest and I caught brookies on Cosby well BELOW the campground...in fact, we weren't very far from the park boundary; I had assumed that there would be nothing but rainbows that low.

    I downloaded a video not long ago, that showed some very large (Canadian) brookies spawning - they were big enough to have kyped jaws...a rainbow kept attacking them, biting the @#@#$#@$ out of the female brookie, in an attempt to get at the eggs. So, it seems to be true that rainbows tend to be more aggressive, and therefore will out-compete brookies if the water is compatible for both...I do know that rainbows cannot tolerate acidic water as well, so that is one barrier to them as you go higher.

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  2. Yeah, that should read "rainbows" :D... I suppose I should proofread these things before publishing... Anyway, I know that rainbows are supposed to not be very tolerant of acidic water but these fish were in a stretch of water known for that very problem. Daniel here at LRO pointed out to me that in that particular stretch of water, the fish are northern strain brookies probably so maybe that is the reason for a seeming lack of official concern... Regardless, I definitely wouldn't be opposed to a "kill the rainbows" requirement on some specific stretches of water...

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