Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 04/19/2019

Easter Weekend Update: The Smokies have been pounded with rain today and will feature high water through the holiday weekend. If you must get out and fish, wait until late in the weekend and be very cautious. Fish the edges and stay safe!

Otherwise...our early hatches are giving way to lighter colored bugs now. Light Cahills, Pale Evening Duns, Blue-winged Olives, March Browns, and Hendricksons have all been on the water at times. The huge Black Stoneflies are around now as well and providing some big bites for hungry trout. Sulfurs should be starting fairly soon, especially with all of the nice weather we are having. Little Yellow Stoneflies are just starting to show up now as well and will get much stronger as May approaches. The yearly pinnacle of spring dry fly fishing is quickly approaching!

Tailwaters are starting to fish well. The Caney Fork is still blowing a LOT of water. That should change fairly soon if we don't get too much rain. I'm thinking we might start seeing some opportunities in early May if things hold steady, maybe sooner. The Clinch has been fishing extremely well. Big hard fighting rainbow and brown trout are the target here on light tippets and tiny flies. Bring your A game or go home disappointed. Sulfurs should start to really take off shortly along with more caddis than we have already been seeing. On Tuesday's float, fish were taking a variety of bugs including midges, caddis, and the odd sulfur.

Warm water options are really taking off as well. That is assuming that flows cooperate. Big rain events will shut this down for a few days, but otherwise, everything is fishing very well right now!

Photo of the Month: Early Spring Rewards

Photo of the Month: Early Spring Rewards

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Observe, Analyze, Plan, Execute

Some of my most memorable fish have come when I’ve had to work for them. Size doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with making a fish memorable. One of my more memorable fish this summer was just a small brown trout. I remember that fish well for a reason. I caught the fish by formulating and following a careful yet simple game plan.


Often a fish is memorable because of a great cast. Several years ago I was fishing a stream “somewhere out west” that also happens to be one of my favorites all time. The stream had trees lining the banks so the casting conditions were very similar to my home waters here in the Smokies. I had spotted a nice 14 inch brown rising just upstream, but the fish was in a very tough spot to cast into. A branch was hanging low over the stream directly above the rising fish making the presentation difficult, at least to me at that stage in my fly fishing career. The cast would obviously need to be punched up under the limb if I wanted any chance to catch the fish. My first cast was perfect with the fly landing far up under the tree and miraculously not snagging on the foliage. The fish did its part by casually eating the fly and soon thereafter I briefly admired a beautiful wild brown. I’ve caught many browns since then and will no doubt catch more but I’ll always remember that fish with a sense of accomplishment.


Catching a memorable fish generally comes down to the ability to carefully observe and then analyze the situation, planning the presentation, and executing the game plan. Another brown was memorable more recently. Once again it was not for anything particularly great, just a feeling of accomplishment when everything came together exactly as I had planned.

A small deep pocket caught my eye as I moved up the stream while fishing near Elkmont. I knew there had to be a fish lurking because of the depth of the pocket and the quality of water around it. There was just one problem. A branch was lodged between the rocks in the pocket leaving a decent piece of water to present a dry on but no room for error once a fish was hooked. Only one solution would work. If a fish hit, I knew my only chance would be to pull it all the way out of the water and into the main channel where there was room to maneuver without the fish snagging on something in the stream. My first cast produced an explosive strike from a 7 inch brown. The hookset was perfect with just enough extra power to lift the fish away from the potential hazard. If I had let the fish run back into its home it would no doubt have snagged the fly on a branch and escaped. Instead I had a picture and a memory…



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