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

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gunnison Trout Part II

The Gunnison River was very good to my buddy Trevor and I on our most recent trip out west. Recall that day one involved figuring out the hot pattern and lots of good brown trout. Day two started out with a trip down to the river. While at the Gunnison, it was a guarantee that I'd be down at the river fishing at every opportunity. Great fishing will do that to me...everything else becomes unimportant including heading back to camp for the occasional snack or water break.

The real draw here was the constant possibility of a monster fish. By some point on the second morning, I had already stuck 3 fish that were easily over 20 inches and at least one of those would have cleared 24 inches. The most frustrating of these was one that towed me all over the river before throwing the hook. The other two fights were much more brief but still disappointing. During the afternoon and evening of the second day we headed back out to water. A quick trip to the fly shop in town had added to the supply and diversity of materials for the hot pattern. One hour after returning to camp I was armed with 20 new midge patterns tied up in a variety of colors to match the prevailing bugs on the water.

It took awhile to get going again and strangely the first fish took a bright orange scud. I had been creeping ever so slowly down the bank when I looked down. Nearly at my feet was a nice rainbow facing downstream into a small back eddy up against the bank. After gently backing up so the cast wouldn't spook the fish, I made a couple casts. The fourth cast was perfect but I was surprised to see the fish move towards the scud instead of my new magical midge pattern. Arguing with a fish that wants to eat your fly is useless so I set the hook and quickly played the fish to the net for a quick picture. Later on it would take much longer to land my best rainbow of the day.


I had been nymphing in my favorite run in the East Portal vicinity when the indicator dove under. Gently lifting the rod brought an explosion from the depths as the big rainbow took the the air. After gaining a bit of control I figured the fight might not be too bad. These hopes were soon dashed as the brute tore out into the main current with another spectacular leap. I gave chase and soon found myself a around 200 feet downstream from where I originally hooked the fish. With a huge midstream boulder blocking downstream progress if the fish went on the far side of it, I decided to make my stand regardless of what happened. Thankfully all the knots held and I soon released a gorgeous 19 inch Gunnison rainbow.


As evening approached we returned to the best two runs on the river and continued to slay the fish. The strange part about day two was that the frequency at which we caught brown trout was plummeting while the percentage of rainbows was up sharply. This would be the pattern for the rest of the trip. We still caught browns on the Gunny but the majority of the fish were rainbows after the first day. As darkness fell, we stumbled wearily back to camp, exhausted from catching fish in the hot canyon all afternoon. Oh what a tough life...


2 comments:

  1. Beautiful coloration in those bows. Did they all look like that?

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  2. dog, those 'bows are among the most colorful I have seen anywhere, hands down. There are several tailwaters in Colorado that have extremely colorful rainbows and the Gunnison is one of the best of the best. All but the smallest of fish have that brilliant pink stripe down their side...

    ReplyDelete

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