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, 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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