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, January 30, 2009

Caney Fork 2009


Finally! Today I put the first Caney Fork trip of 2009 in the books. I taught my morning classes and finally got away around noon. Shortly after the generators were turned off at 1:00 pm, I arrived at the parking area below Center Hill Dam. My reel had the spool of line I use when ripping streamers so I put the other spare spool with my "standard" line in my pocket and tied on a streamer to see what would happen. I've been hoping for a shad kill soon and decided on a white Simi Seal Streamer.

After wandering down the river for awhile, I finally got in and started chucking my streamer. It can't exactly be called casting but it was still effective. On about the 5th cast, a fish nailed it and after a brief fight, I landed my first Caney Fork fish of 2009, a chunky rainbow. "Great!" I thought, "The fish are killing streamers." Excited at the prospect of getting into some decent fish, I kept ripping my streamer but with no further action for about 20 minutes. Eventually I got one more but it wasn't quite as fast paced as I was hoping.


By this time I was really cold and waded over to shore to pull out the other spool and rig up with a deep nymph setup. With numb fingers, the normally quick operation took closer to 15 minutes but upon reentering the river, I had on the deadly combo of a copper john and a zebra midge.

Within a few short casts I had a fish on, and this turned out to be one of the prettier rainbows of the trip. Then it happened, the mother of all wind knots. Funny how these happen only on the coldest, nastiest trips of the year when your fingers don't want to work. I decided to take off the flies and see if this would speed up the process at all. Almost immediately, the knot worked out except for the tippet which I had to retie. After this annoying task was over, I was back into the fish. This continued for the rest of the day, ending the last 45 minutes before the evening generation with me stalking midging fish with a dry/dropper just below the dam.


Overall, I think it was a pretty decent day. I stuck one really good fish but lost it and cast over another that would have been around 18 inches. This spring should be another great one on the Caney. Soon we should see some shad coming through the dam as well. There may have been some already although I didn't seen any today. My guess is that we have to wait a bit longer. Normally February and March are the prime months. When it does, I'll be back hoping for some good action on streamers...

4 comments:

  1. Great looking fish David...The 2nd picture of the 'bow looks like a steelhead...He's got the chrome colored lateral line..cool stuff.

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  2. David,
    I will have to meet you over there soon. Are you carrying your Canon with you on the water? Those pics are wonderful.

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  3. Travis, all these pics were taken with my Pentax Optio W30. I got lucky this time with crisp pictures...doesn't always happen with that camera without several takes on each picture...

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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