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, December 19, 2008

Big Browns and Small Streams

This fall has been a great one for catching large brown trout. The Caney was phenomenal albeit a bit crowded at times. The Clinch produced good fish and the Cumberland was spectacular as should be expected. Unfortunately the hopeful end of the drought has also coincided with increased generation be TVA on the tailwaters throughout the region. One of the only tailwaters with a reliable schedule for fishing lately has been the South Holston River.

During the past week, I've fished the SoHo twice and found good fish both times. Local anglers have been catching fish up to 15 and even 20 pounds and while I never saw any of the real behemoths, I did find plenty of willing fish and even a few good fish.




My best fish was a female of around 20 inches that took an egg pattern as soon as I got a good drift. I landed another very large male that was not fair hooked so this fish does not really count but was still a beautiful fish that I enjoyed getting to see up close. I had spotted a really good fish but couldn't see it very well. Casting just above where I thought the fish was, my line went tight almost before the flies hit the water. I reacted by setting the hook into what turned out to be the wrong end of the fish. After following the fish downriver, I got it under control and managed to remove mine and some other flies as well that the poor fish had picked up somewhere. This was the last fish of the day and while I enjoyed fishing for large tailwater trout, I'm really missing the simplicity of a small stream, a 4 weight and a handful of dry flies.

While dry flies may or may not catch fish, I'll likely head for the mountains soon where I can hone my skills on the wily rainbow, brown and brook trout that inhabit the streams of the Smokies. This winter I've set myself the goal of unlocking the secrets of fishing the freestone streams in the winter. The fish clearly still have to eat and I'm set on figuring out how to catch lots of fish in the cold weather. James Marsh over at Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains has provided some inspiration with entertaining articles in his Fishing Journal. Recently he had a series of articles on fishing cold water in the Smokies that will be a good starting point for my experiments. I'm fully convinced that if one is willing to change tactics, catching lots of fish in the winter on a freestone stream is not out of the question...

3 comments:

  1. David,
    Very nice. I have been waiting for your post before deciding whether to make the drive or not. I guess I will try to go the Monday or Tuesday after Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  2. David; Sounds like you've had a decent year and have the remainder of the year all planned out. The photos of your trips have been great as are the stories that accompany them. Maybe one day we'll get the chance to do some fishing together. Have a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year and a safe one.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Travis, I might try to head that way again so if you want company give me a holler...

    Deerslayer, it has been a fun year for fishing. Next year when it warms up again we need to fish somewhere around Crossville. I'm sure you know a lot of the smaller streams that I haven't even tried yet...

    ReplyDelete

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