Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/22/2020

High flows continue across the area but trends are definitely down. A recent cold snap broke the ongoing heatwave so fishing in the mountains has slowed dramatically. Right on schedule, some of our tailwaters should begin returning to more normal flows for this time of year meaning float trips are certainly possible.

For the Smokies, a warming trend should commence as we go into next week. By mid week the fishing should be decent before the next cold front returns us back to winter again. On warmer days, look for midges and possibly winter stoneflies hatching. Some blue-winged olives will be possible on foul weather days as we head towards February. The best fishing is still a few weeks out, but no longer feels like an eternity. Expect good spring hatches to start in late February or early March with blue quills and quill gordons along with little black caddis and early brown and black stones. By April, things will be settling down with the pinnacle of spring fishing usually happening from mid April through the month of May.

On our area tailwaters, high water continues to be the story. The Caney Fork still has at least a couple of weeks of high flows and that is assuming we don't get any more heavy rainfall. This time of year, that is asking a lot. The high water is good for one thing, however. Shad. Yes, the cold months are prime time to try and hit the famed shad kill and catch a monster brown trout. Same thing goes for the Clinch.

Speaking of the Clinch, the good news is that flows are scheduled to begin dropping tomorrow. A steady two generators will feel like low water after the recent period of two generators plus sluicing. Two generators opens up some nymphing possibilities in addition to our favorite winter pastime, stripping streamers for monsters.

The musky streams are settling into fine shape and will be an option moving forward as well. Remember that bouts of high water will get them stained or even muddy for a few days, but as flows come down the fishing should pick back up.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Friday, August 15, 2008

First Day, Big Fish

The first day of my trip to Colorado this summer started off fairly slow. Our first destination was the Taylor River just north of Gunnison Colorado. Over the course of the first day, I only managed 2-3 fish and nothing really worth bragging about although one of the rainbows was a nice fish approaching 17 or 18 inches.



The fishing this year seemed strange with many of the areas that were stacked with fish last year appearing barren in comparison. There were still some fish but not the same numbers as last year. During our time on the Taylor, we found many more fish but they tended to be stacked up in deeper water and not up feeding in the shallow runs. When we could find fish up feeding, the fishing was not too bad. Finding the correct fly was often a tedious process but once tied on, the proper fly would immediately hook a fish.

Before ever leaving for Colorado, my buddy Trevor and I had discussed the possibility of night fishing. This year we were determined to give it a shot. As darkness set in, we each stuck some fish on small spinner patterns and other dries and then switched to nymph rigs. The reason I switched to subsurface flies was that I could fish them on a tight line and theoretically feel the strikes. This type of fishing can be frustrating and I finally switched on my head lamp to look for fish feeding along the banks. As I walked up the stream, I finally spotted what appeared to be a large rainbow feeding on the edge of the faster flow. I switched off the light and waited a couple of minutes before beginning to cast to where I thought the fish was. After what seemed an eternity and many casts, I felt a bump and quickly set the hook. The fish raced off into the blackness with me frantically running up and down the river as the large rainbow ran at will. Finally, after what probably was 15 or 20 minutes, I finally led the big fish into the shallows where Trevor netted it for me.

The first thing we noticed where the apparent wounds on top of the fish above its head and also near the tail. Large chunks of skin were missing without any apparent puncture wounds which seems to rule out a heron. I don't know if there are any otters in this area but have never seen any. If anyone has any ideas I would be glad to hear them.



After a couple of "hero" shots, I carefully let the big fish go, cradling it gently in the current until it swam off to be caught again another day (or night). The surprising thing about night fishing was that there were several other people doing it as well. The poor fish in the C&R section of the Taylor get hammered day and night all summer long and probably a good bit of the cold season as well. After this trip, I told Trevor that I had some serious doubts about fishing the "famous" Colorado streams during the summer ever again. This was brought on by another incident but that's a story for another day...

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