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

Friday, July 04, 2008

Don’t Take My Picture!!!

When I go fishing, I almost always carry a camera. One never knows when the perfect photo op will present itself, and of course there is always the possibility of catching a truly memorable fish. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about photographing fish however, it is that you can never expect a fish to just roll over and pose.

This presents a problem for the conscientious angler: how do you achieve the balance between getting the perfect shot and yet not compromising the life of the fish in the process?

There have been times where I’ve caught a nice fish but because of a variety of factors decided the shot was just not worth it. Perhaps the fish was acting severely stressed or the water temperature was quite high. Sometimes I feel like I didn’t play the fish fast enough and it just needs to be returned to its natural state as soon as possible. Often though I manage to come up with a decent picture.

There are a few things I try to keep in mind with respect to the health of the fish. First I always wet my hands before touching the fish. Too many times I’ve seen first hand the ugly result of improper handling. The fish will soon have nasty white spots where the mucous membrane has been damaged or removed if you are not careful. Second, I try to keep my fish in the water as much as possible. Many of my shots are taken with the fish laying on its side near shore, and these shots are always done either with the fish still lying in shallow water or on a wet bed of moss or grass. Fish should never be placed on dry dirt, rocks, or anything else streamside. Finally, I try to keep fish off of rocks that are not either in the water or more than a couple of inches from the water. If the fish starts flopping it can hurt itself if it doesn’t reach water immediately. Once again, the great shot is just not worth killing the fish.

Of course, sometimes in the excitement of the moment you still place fish in a less than ideal position for the photograph. I’ve done it plenty of times myself but by trying to remember the fish, you can usually get a good shot and keep the fish in shape for the next contest.

Fish are not always cooperative for pictures. Often they remind me of a young kid that is camera shy. I’ve got some hilarious pictures over the years when a picture was taken just as the fish bolted for freedom. This summer I’ve already had some pretty good ones. Maybe these are the best pictures of all. I’m left with a funny memory, because after all, it is supposed to be all about having fun…

A fish makes a bolt for freedom...


The fish leaps just as the picture is taken...

4 comments:

  1. Do you leave your optio on a certain setting all the time or switch it up? I have a w20 and it seems to take alot of blurry pictures, especially the shots i want!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Craig, I mostly just use the auto setting. The one thing I will change depending on what I'm trying to do is whether the flash is off or on auto. Mine takes plenty of blurry pictures as well so I generally take a few pictures of something I want to be sure and get...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ha - those are some of the best photos...they certainly tell a story!

    ReplyDelete

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