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 23, 2009

2008 Year in Review: Just Gets Better

Currently I'm setting at 20 days without wetting a line and I'm really starting to have some withdrawals. Last weekend wasn't too bad since I did get to spend Sunday tying at Little River Outfitters which is probably the next best thing to going fishing. However, the lack of fishing is really starting to hurt so I felt like it was a good time to continue my 2008 Year in Review posts. As the early months gave way to the warmer weather of spring, the fishing just kept improving.

Early on, I focused largely on the Tennessee River, especially just below Chickamauga dam where the fishing was often exceptional for white bass and hybrids. As the weather warmed, the skipjack started running and provided a lot of fun on the fly rod. These fish are called Tennessee Tarpon for a reason and absolutely go crazy when hooked.

The other big moment below Chickamauga came when I caught my first ever double on the fly. Hopefully I'll do it with trout this year but until then, its hard to beat these two nice fish.

I also took several trips to the Smokies including a great one on April Fool's. It turned out that the fish were the foolish ones and I managed several beautiful wild rainbows.

In May, things went from good to great when I received a phone call from Little River Outfitters in Townsend inquiring whether I would be interested in working for them over the summer. I would have been crazy to say no and before I knew it I was busy at an awesome summer job (as long as I overlook Wapsi Hell that is). The best thing about this was that I could fish every evening in the Smokies if I wanted which I generally did.

Another big first occurred when I caught my first Caney Fork slam of a rainbow, brown, and brook trout. TWRA began stocking brookies on the Caney this past year and so far the results are promising. I'm willing to bet that we start seeing some 16-18" brook trout this next year. The Caney Fork has a lot of food available for the trout and the fish in that river grow very quickly. By fall of 2008 a few brookies were already pushing 13-14" so 2009 should be epic.

The big story in the Smokies that became apparent by early summer was that the ongoing drought had not given up yet. The streams were frighteningly low by June although we did see a few rounds of thunderstorms over the summer which helped a bit.


  1. Great stuff David...looks like you had a GREAT year in terms of fishing...

  2. Dave- Check out my blog and see my two trout/two fly picture.

    I had a great year. Caught more trout than any other! I almost exclusively used a BHPT nymph under a Yellow Sally. Road Prong was terrific in the spring but later on in the summer I left it alone since there was no water.

    Jeff Wadley



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