Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 02/03/2018

The Smokies are fishing slow on most days although the potential for a big brown is always present this time of year. Most days are seeing water temperatures in the low 40s at best and usually colder. Occasional midges, BWOs, and winter stoneflies will provide some surface activity on the warmer afternoons. For the most part, however, this will be a nymphing or streamer game this time of year. If we get some higher water, hit the brown trout streams with your favorite streamers (remember single hook only in the Park) and hunt that one trophy. When you catch it, take a picture to remember the moment and let it go for the next angler to enjoy.

Tailwaters have been fishing very well as of late. Our favorite, the Caney Fork, continues to have opportunities for both wade and float trips. Windows for wading look to go down sometime in the near future, unfortunately. The forecast this week calls for some potentially heavier rain which will probably kick the generators back on for a while. The good news? That means the shad kill should be in full effect. The Clinch and Holston have also been fishing well. If you want to check any of these tailwaters out, contact me for info on guided trips.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

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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