Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 12/3/2019

Winter fishing is nearly upon us. Snow yesterday has given way to falling water temperatures in the Smokies. In general, fish will be hunkered down, although by tomorrow they should start to get more active again as temperatures warm. For the next three months, expect many more fish in the slower places in the Park. Think nymphs and maybe streamers but don't be surprised to find fish rising to blue-winged olives or midges on some days.

On tailwaters like the Clinch, brown trout and some fall spawn rainbows are doing their thing. This is a good time to review good ethics when it comes to spawning trout. Remember that these are the next generation of trout and the best thing you can do is to leave them alone. Avoid wading through spawning areas and don't fish for obvious spawners. For the foreseeable future, we should have high water thanks to big rains this last weekend. Fishing out of the drift boat will be very good through the winter with both nymphing and streamer fishing a distinct possibility. Want to swing for the fences and go for just one monster? Streamers will just get better and better going into January and February.

The Caney is slowly coming around. A few shad are coming through the dam, but lingering water quality problems are limiting the fishing. Winter streamer floats will produce shots at larger brown trout for anglers willing to work hard. Next spring should bring good fishing again.

Winter is our favorite time to get on the musky streams. In between bouts of high water, those will be fishing well for the next few months.

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

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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