Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 2/11/2017
Fishing has been good lately, both in the Smokies and on the tailwaters. I have been privileged to spend time on both tailwaters and in the Smokies recently. Up in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a few bugs are showing up with the warm weather we've been experiencing. With temperatures supposed to be cooling again this week, I don't expect huge hatches. That said, blue quills, early brown stoneflies, little black stoneflies, and probably some little black caddis should be trickling off. This will be especially true when we get a string of warm days. Quill gordon mayflies are not far behind now with the warm winter we've had.

On the tailwaters, the fishing has been mostly good. The Caney Fork is fishing well on streamer floats. Some high water nymphing is picking up a few fish as well. Several people have taken advantage of my special February tailwater trip to book streamer floats. If you haven't a clue what I'm talking about, sign up for my newsletter so you can stay informed about specials on guide trips and other things.

Now is the time to start thinking about spring fishing. The bookings are rolling in for float trips on the Caney Fork. Spring hatch trips in the Smokies will book quickly as well so contact me soon if you want to get out in 2017!

Photo of the Month: First Trout of 2017

Photo of the Month: First Trout of 2017

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Change of Season

Despite the warm weather that remains for at least a couple more weeks, fall is lurking just around the corner. The drought has continued to worsen with several weeks passing since the last area-wide rain event. That is likely about to change though as the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay are forecast to move across East Tennessee. Moisture should begin increasing from south to north beginning tonight into tomorrow. The details are not perfectly clear yet, but according to the National Weather Service in Morristown, 2 day rainfall totals may approach 3-4 inches over parts of East Tennessee. With the bad luck we've had this year, I'll believe it when I see it but at least things are looking up.

The upcoming season is my favorite of the year. Typically our freestone streams are low and clear making the sight fishing opportunities better than average. The fall colors are always great. The browns will start becoming more aggressive in the upcoming weeks as they feed heavily before the spawn. Best of all, the warm weather crowds will start dwindling leaving me with a lot more water to myself. As winter sets in, I'll be able to sleep in and hit the water in the middle of the day and probably see no more than 1 or 2 other people out on the colder days. That's my kind of fishing...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Busy

To all of you that have been checking back daily for updates and reports from my trip to Colorado a couple of weeks ago, please be patient. I moved back down to Chattanooga late last week and started student teaching this week. Unfortunately we haven't got Internet access yet at my apartment but I promise it will happen soon. When it does, I'll be back with regular posting including stories from my trip and current fishing reports. This next weekend is looking like a possible Caney Fork trip. Chickamauga will need to be visited quite a bit again as well. So keep checking back and I should be back up and running within a few days...

Friday, August 15, 2008

First Day, Big Fish

The first day of my trip to Colorado this summer started off fairly slow. Our first destination was the Taylor River just north of Gunnison Colorado. Over the course of the first day, I only managed 2-3 fish and nothing really worth bragging about although one of the rainbows was a nice fish approaching 17 or 18 inches.



The fishing this year seemed strange with many of the areas that were stacked with fish last year appearing barren in comparison. There were still some fish but not the same numbers as last year. During our time on the Taylor, we found many more fish but they tended to be stacked up in deeper water and not up feeding in the shallow runs. When we could find fish up feeding, the fishing was not too bad. Finding the correct fly was often a tedious process but once tied on, the proper fly would immediately hook a fish.

Before ever leaving for Colorado, my buddy Trevor and I had discussed the possibility of night fishing. This year we were determined to give it a shot. As darkness set in, we each stuck some fish on small spinner patterns and other dries and then switched to nymph rigs. The reason I switched to subsurface flies was that I could fish them on a tight line and theoretically feel the strikes. This type of fishing can be frustrating and I finally switched on my head lamp to look for fish feeding along the banks. As I walked up the stream, I finally spotted what appeared to be a large rainbow feeding on the edge of the faster flow. I switched off the light and waited a couple of minutes before beginning to cast to where I thought the fish was. After what seemed an eternity and many casts, I felt a bump and quickly set the hook. The fish raced off into the blackness with me frantically running up and down the river as the large rainbow ran at will. Finally, after what probably was 15 or 20 minutes, I finally led the big fish into the shallows where Trevor netted it for me.

The first thing we noticed where the apparent wounds on top of the fish above its head and also near the tail. Large chunks of skin were missing without any apparent puncture wounds which seems to rule out a heron. I don't know if there are any otters in this area but have never seen any. If anyone has any ideas I would be glad to hear them.



After a couple of "hero" shots, I carefully let the big fish go, cradling it gently in the current until it swam off to be caught again another day (or night). The surprising thing about night fishing was that there were several other people doing it as well. The poor fish in the C&R section of the Taylor get hammered day and night all summer long and probably a good bit of the cold season as well. After this trip, I told Trevor that I had some serious doubts about fishing the "famous" Colorado streams during the summer ever again. This was brought on by another incident but that's a story for another day...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ants Revisited

Fishing in the park nearly every evening this summer was a blast. I found plenty of willing trout but often they would want a terrestrial before they were interested. You'll remember that time and again I mentioned ants as being one of my top producing flies. Normally I'll fish a sunken ant pattern tandem with a standard nymph or a Green Weenie, but I've finally found a dry that I like enough to give a shot. Ian Rutter has shared one of his killer ant patterns over on his site and it is well worth a look. Ants should continue to be effective in the park for a few more weeks. Also, when you're tying this winter, don't neglect to tie plenty of terrestrials for your boxes including some ant patterns. They'll save the day time and again...trust me...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Home is Best

Every year I enjoy fishing my home water here in Tennessee, and if I'm lucky I make a trip out west to fish somewhere. Today I wrapped up my summer fishing with a trip to the Caney Fork river to see how it was faring. The results were excellent with plenty of opportunities to sight fish to nice trout.

My first fish was a solid 14 inch brown that bulldogged for awhile. After subduing that fish I continued walking slowly up the bank looking for larger fish feeding in the shallows. Not more than 20 feet above where I landed the first fish, I saw what I was looking for. A dark shadow flashed in a depression behind a weedbed betraying a good fish. I tried casting from a couple different spots before positioning myself slightly up and across from the fish. Fifteen minutes later, everything came together and I watched my dry fly indicator dive under. Gently raising the rod tip produced a violent commotion as the fish realized that all was not well. The big brown quickly went airborn causing me to hold my breath until it was back in the water and all the knots had held. Several scorching runs and another jump later, I finally guided the large trout into the shallows where I netted it. Another fisherman was kind enough to snap a couple pictures for me and then I released the nice fish to catch again in a few months.


This was the perfect end to a great summer. I couldn't have asked for anything better...

Back Home

The last week and a half was a blur of driving, fishing, and camping every night. I was fortunate to experience some of the finest rivers that Colorado has to offer. This year's trip did not produce as many large fish as the trip we took last year but still had some great moments. I'll miss all the good times I had this summer but it will be good to get back to school to finish up and graduate.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll make reports and tell stories about the different rivers we fished in Colorado including the Taylor, Gunnison, Frying Pan, Roaring Fork, South Platte, and Arkansas rivers. So without any further rambling, here's some pictures to get things started...


Taylor River Brown



Gunnison River Brown

19" Gunnison Rainbow

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