Guided Trips


Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

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


  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 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.

  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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