Guided Trips


Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Friday, January 16, 2009

2008 Year in Review: The Early Months

For the sake of this post, I'm considering the early months of 2008 to be January through March. The year held many interesting firsts for me and the early months had several big ones. I got the year started in January and enjoyed one of my best days on the Caney of 2008 on what turned out to be the coldest day that I spent fishing for the year.

The temperature never got out of the low 20s meaning that I fought ice in my guides and reel all day. Despite the cold, the day was memorable because the fish were feeding heavily on the midges that were having a hard time flying off. It was so cold that as soon as they emerged onto the surface, they couldn't fly away. The fishing was leisurely and enjoyable and I even managed to stay warm.

In February I chased lake-run fish for the first time and also started targeting some warm water species such as white and yellow bass. The lake-run experiment was spotty but I did find some nice fish.

The fishing below Chickamauga dam was an absolute blast and for the first time in awhile I found myself enjoying fishing for something other than trout. The white bass and hybrids really fight well, often bulldogging with strong head shakes. The shad kill in the Chickamauga tailwater was good and the fish would happily take just about anything white. On one of my excursions I hooked and landed my first freshwater drum. It was very heavy in the strong current but didn't fight particularly well for its size.

As March rolled around, the trips to Chickamauga continued along with an increase in the frequency of my trips to the Hiwassee River. The fish were generally feeding well and the spring of 2008 was a good one on this amazing tailwater.

Below I'm putting a couple more pictures from the early months of 2008. Hopefully I'll get around to spring and early summer of the year soon. Until then, remember to stop by Little River Outfitters on Sunday afternoon if you're in the area. Hope to see you there...


  1. Very Nice David

    One day I hope to hit the Hiawassee again and I will have to hit you up on some info. I haven't been in about 10 years. I would love to get back soon.

    When do you think is the best time to go? I don't have a drift boat so I would have to wade. I have always been hesitant to set a trip b/c of the generating schedule. I don't completely understand it.

    Thanks for the pictures and I look forward to seeing more.


  2. In my opinion Spring is the best time to be on the Hiwassee. March and April, especially early April are best. The crowds start coming out in earnest as it warms up so late April into May is often a zoo... The generation schedule can be tricky...basically if its raining a lot, they'll be generating a lot. In another month or so should see some favorable generation schedules if we don't get abnormally high amounts of rain between now and then... Best way to do a trip is to stay flexible and be able to leave somewhat at the last minute. The fishing is good when they pulse a generator ever 3-4 hours. The push of water gets the bugs hatching really well...

  3. Thanks David...I will try to get up that way late May Early April. Two kids under 3 years old kills any kind of flexibility!! ha

    One of the main reason I build rods is to just stay connected to it.

    Thanks again,



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