Guided Trips


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

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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