Guided Trips


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

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Upcoming This Week

Coming soon...some of the best fishing of the year...and according to our poll most of you will be taking advantage of the prime fishing conditions. As winter conditions become the norm, more and more people are staying home instead of getting out and fishing, at least that's what I thought. Our most recent poll would lead one to believe otherwise. Nearly 80% of respondents said that they get out and fish during some of the best fishing conditions of the year, otherwise known as winter.

Based on personal experience, I have a hard time believing that this is an accurate sample of all fly fisherman. The last two weekends of fishing on the Caney Fork seem to have reinforced this belief. While catching plenty of nice fish, my buddies and I often had large sections of the river to ourselves without putting in much effort. This is highly unusual on the popular middle Tennessee tailwater where it sometimes feels like you should have brought your own rock. Many people stay away once the air temperature drop but as many of you obviously know, this is a huge mistake. I won't complain though because it leaves lots of water for me.

This next week will be a good one for fishing. I'm looking at taking a trip up to the South Holston River. If the first trip goes well I might drive up again and fish it twice in one week. Of course I would like to fish the Caney or Cumberland also so time will tell exactly where I end up fishing. I'm encouraged by the weather forecast though. On Monday we have a cold front forecast to push through the southeastern United States bringing rain showers to most areas of middle and eastern Tennessee. The drought is still keeping area freestone streams very low so any rain we get is beneficial. By next weekend it looks like a stronger system might be moving in. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to fish during nasty weather. The fish will be very active during the day with the cloudy skies and new moon. Fisherman should be also...


  1. Anonymous4:15 PM

    Dave, I didn't let the cold weather stop me this past week. I was on the Mad River north of Dayton and caught two little bronws and a nice 14-16 inch brown and then to my suprise and big old carp which really put a bend in the rod.

    My fishing buddy must be getting old because he said it was too cold to go fishing. Funny thing, you don't notice the cold when you are catching fish or moving down the rive to find another spot.

    Scott Hall

  2. Scott, glad you were able to get out even though the weather is cold. Catching nice fish definitely makes it worth the trip....I think if people realized what they are missing there would be more people out fishing during the winter. With the proper gear a person can be just as comfortable when fishing in the winter as compared to warmer months...

  3. hey david here in az the the only real tail water is lees ferry on the colorado river. its a really good place to catch some big rainbows but thats about it. wandering if one of these days im able to make out east to tennessee you might show me some good tail water browns? oh and the best thing about winter fishing is when your fly line freezes :) jk. thanks. have fun on your next trip

  4. Ivan, I fished at Lee's Ferry a few years back for an hour or two. Never caught anything although my nymphing skills weren't much back then... It was a beautiful place though and I hope to make it back again someday. I think it would be awesome to take a boat upriver and fish up towards the dam.

    I know what you mean about the line freezing. Last winter I was fishing a tailwater during a cold snap and it only got to around 20 degrees during the day. I lost some nice fish because my reel kept freezing up (not to mention the fly line and guides)... If you make it to Tennessee I would definitely be glad to show you what we have here. I always need a good excuse to go fishing...



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