Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/17/2017

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

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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