Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/22/2020

High flows continue across the area but trends are definitely down. A recent cold snap broke the ongoing heatwave so fishing in the mountains has slowed dramatically. Right on schedule, some of our tailwaters should begin returning to more normal flows for this time of year meaning float trips are certainly possible.

For the Smokies, a warming trend should commence as we go into next week. By mid week the fishing should be decent before the next cold front returns us back to winter again. On warmer days, look for midges and possibly winter stoneflies hatching. Some blue-winged olives will be possible on foul weather days as we head towards February. The best fishing is still a few weeks out, but no longer feels like an eternity. Expect good spring hatches to start in late February or early March with blue quills and quill gordons along with little black caddis and early brown and black stones. By April, things will be settling down with the pinnacle of spring fishing usually happening from mid April through the month of May.

On our area tailwaters, high water continues to be the story. The Caney Fork still has at least a couple of weeks of high flows and that is assuming we don't get any more heavy rainfall. This time of year, that is asking a lot. The high water is good for one thing, however. Shad. Yes, the cold months are prime time to try and hit the famed shad kill and catch a monster brown trout. Same thing goes for the Clinch.

Speaking of the Clinch, the good news is that flows are scheduled to begin dropping tomorrow. A steady two generators will feel like low water after the recent period of two generators plus sluicing. Two generators opens up some nymphing possibilities in addition to our favorite winter pastime, stripping streamers for monsters.

The musky streams are settling into fine shape and will be an option moving forward as well. Remember that bouts of high water will get them stained or even muddy for a few days, but as flows come down the fishing should pick back up.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

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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