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

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Carrying Your Gear: A New Perspective

For many years in this sport, a vest was the only way to carry your gear. There were very few fly fisherman that even considered any alternative. Things are different now of course but I had not realized how different until this poll closed. Nearly 50% of you are apparently using a chest or lumbar pack of some type. That doesn't mean that people aren't using vests, just not as much.

Personally I still have a vest and where it some of the time. If I can get away with a lanyard I prefer to go light. There are times though when you are on a new stream or perhaps a challenging spring creek or tailwater where you don't want to be caught unprepared. In those circumstances a vest is still very beneficial. My vest is organized carefully and I always know where everything is when I carry it.

The beginning of this summer brought about some big changes in how I carried gear. Up until that point I had always used a vest. Then I got a lanyard and everything changed. Now I usually like to wear a fishing shirt with the large pockets so I have a place to stow a couple fly boxes. The vest holds pretty much everything else I need. I can always throw an extra pack of leaders and a couple strike indicators in a pocket and I'm good to go.

The benefits far outweigh any negatives for me. When I carry the vest, I'm prone to carrying too much. This seems to be a common problem for most fly fisherman since we always like to be prepared. When you have a lanyard, there just is not anywhere to put more gear so you are forced to cut back. A heavy vest can pull on your shoulders all day leading to tightness in your neck and consequently tension headaches. Once you get used to a lanyard, you almost forget that it is there.

I haven't tried any chestpacks. Honestly I was planning on getting one before I found an excellent deal on the lanyard. I am guessing that the benefits of a small chest or lumbar pack are very similar to that of the lanyard. If anything it might be better because you can carry slightly more stuff without overloading.

The final word for the day...my recommendation: If you haven't tried something other than a vest yet, try a chest or lumbar pack or a lanyard...I think you'll be pleasantly surprised...

3 comments:

  1. If I may add...

    ...if you are to get a chest/lumbar pack, make sure it's one that does both. I prefer to keep it around my waist, but sometimes it's just not practical. Also, my pack is always overloaded...I probably stuff more into it than I could into a vest. And with it in lumbar mode, I still feel like I'm fishing light even if it is packed...at least until I open it.

    Ed

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  2. Ed, thanks for adding that detail. I have quite a few friends that have gone with a pack that they hang over their shoulder/neck and can also be converted to a fanny pack and they really like it a lot. I haven't tried any of these options yet but have been thinking that a small lumbar pack with a water bottle holder would be the perfect compliment to my lanyard...

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  3. ijsouth9:01 PM

    I wear a vest, and you described me to a 'T' - I carry way too much. On this last "trip" (really, the evacuation from Gustav), I only fished a few hours a day, and I ended up using one fly - a Mr Rapidan. I certainly didn't need to carry umpteen dozen boxes of flies, etc, but I did - I just have the feeling that I need to carry any possible fly imaginable, in case they're picky, etc. If I'm able to come up for Thanksgiving, I'm going to do some exploring that will require a lot of hiking...rather than lugging my hippers and all my stuff, I'll try to pare things down and will stick with my hiking boots....I'll just avoid getting wet.

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