Guided Trips


Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

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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