Guided Trips


Fishing continues to be good to excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee. Delayed harvest streams are also being stocked and fishing well in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.

In the Smokies, fall bugs are in full swing. We have been seeing blue-winged olives almost daily although they will hatch best on foul weather days. They are small, typically running anywhere from #20-#24 although a few larger ones have also shown up. A few Yellow Quills are still hanging on in the mid to high elevation brook trout water although not for long. October caddis (more properly, great autumn sedges) are hatching in good numbers now on the North Carolina side of the Park and just starting on the Tennessee side. Terrestrials still have a place in your fly box as well although they are definitely winding down for the year. Isonychia nymphs, caddis pupa, and BWO nymphs will get it done for your subsurface fishing. Have some October Caddis (#12) and parachute BWO patterns (#18-#22) for dry flies and you should be set. Brook trout are still eating smaller yellow dry flies as well. Not interested in matching the hatch? Then fish a Pheasant Tail nymph under a #14 Parachute Adams. That rig can catch fish year round in the Smokies.

Brook and brown trout are now moving into the open to spawn. During this time of year, please be extremely cautious about wading through gravel riffles and the tailouts of pools. If you step on the redd (nest), you will crush the eggs that comprise the next generation of fish. Please avoid fishing to actively spawning fish and let them do their thing in peace.

Our tailwaters are still cranking although the Caney is finally starting to come down. I'm hoping to get some type of a report for there soon. Stay tuned for more on that. Fishing will still be slow overall with limited numbers of fish in that particular river unfortunately.

The Clinch is featuring high water as they try to catch up on the fall draw down. All of the recent rainfall set them back in this process but flows are now going up to try and make up some of the time lost. It is still fishing reasonably well on high water although we are holding off for the low water of late fall and early winter as it is one of our favorite times to be on the river.

Smallmouth are about done for the year with the cooler weather we are now experiencing. Our thoughts will be turning to musky soon, however. Once we are done with guide trips for the year, we'll be spending more time chasing these monsters.

In the meantime, we still have a few open dates in November and one or two in October. Feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in a guided trip. Thanks!

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Crowds on the Caney

First Fish of the Day on Sunday

To say the Caney is crowded these days would be an understatement. Apparently everyone has heard about how great a river it is and has to get in on the action. Unfortunately for all those hopeful for a day of spectacular fishing, the river continues to be a bit tough for wade fisherman. I only saw a handful of fish caught today by fly fisherman but the bait guys seemed to be doing okay.

Crowds Below the Steps

My general fishing methods employ the use of 5x or 6x tippet (normally fluorocarbon) when fishing on tailwaters. The last couple of trips, Friday and today, have forced me to downsize. Today, all but one fish came on whatever fly was tied to the 7x tippet in a three fly rig. The first fly was on 5x, the next fly was dropped with 6x, and the last was on 7x. Over the course of the day I had to retie multiple times because I kept breaking off on the light tippet.

Several things really stood out to me today. Probably each will be worthy of its own separate post as I have time to mull everything over but for now I'll just mention them. First, it doesn't matter how great a river is, it can only handle so much pressure. Just before leaving for the day, I watched a couple of bait fisherman haul in one nice fish after another and put them on their stringers. When I say nice, I'm not talking about 12-14 inch fish but nice 15-18 inch fish. I realize that everyone is entitled to use their fishing license as they see fit, but watching that many quality fish leave the river is difficult knowing that given another 6 months, they would probably all be solid 18-20 inch fish. If the fish just had the opportunity to grow the river would be full of large fish.

The second thing that stood out to me today was that there is absolutely no boater etiquette being observed on this river except by a very small minority. I watched many boats float down the river without regard for the numerous wade fisherman. In fact, I saw a few wade fisherman literally dodging boats that refused to move. I saw probably 3 boats in which the occupants were polite including a well-known guide that went out of his way to maneuver clear of as many wading fisherman as possible. If you have any idea of how crowded the Caney is, you know just how many other boats were not very polite.

Finally, it seems that the fish are not spread out quite as much right now. Once you start finding fish it can be easy but it can take as much good observation skills as actual fishing skills to find the fish and figure out how to catch them.

Yep, that's a #28...

Today's best fish came on a #28 stripper midge on 7x fluoro tippet. On Friday, my best fish took a zebra midge also fished on 7x. Both fish were around 15-16 inches and fought well for their size. As much fun as the Caney is, I'll probably be looking to diversify my fishing experience in the next week or so. The Great Smoky Mountains have been calling to me and I'll probably be heading that way sometime midweek. I've got a few surprises up my sleeve and will try to have something exciting to share in the near future...


  1. That line-up of fisherman is crazy-- to heck with that! I always think its better to not be in prime water than to have to deal with crowds like that (someone is bound to get upset-- probably me). Pyramid lake here gets that way-- and all it takes is a 20 minute drive and you're all alone... even if fishless :-)

    I can't believe thats a #28... I've never used anything smaller than a #18! (tying on a #18 1x short scud hook is challenge enough for me right now)

  2. Mudboots, funniest thing is that it really isn't what I would call prime water. Decent yes, but most people are too lazy to explore for themselves and find better water... I've seen pictures of Pyramid Lake and it looks crazy but I'll have to try it someday. Do you fish it much?

  3. Anonymous2:05 PM

    Nice blog. It is funny about the crowds it was not very long ago that even on the weekends you could be by yourself. Do you post on If you do I am hidden_hatch on there. I fished the lower river on Friday with a friend. There were boats all over the place for that area. Keep up the good work.


  4. Hello I'm fernando, The Spanish. I have never seen a thing like that in our rivers. When I fish near my town it is difficult to see more than 2 anglers near the place you fish.Great job, and I am particularly amazed with the size of the hooks you use.
    Greetings. Fernando.

  5. Kindoff reminds me of the Davidson River crowds in late summer and throughout the fall. With temperatures in the upper 60's to low 70's in the middle of winter it's tough to find a secluded spot.

  6. hey david, i couldent agree with you more. when i fish these small trout stream gems in az and see people leaving with the larger breaders it hurts. but they are more than legal to. another point you made, crowds. for me one of the biggest reasons i love fishing, is getting away, relaxing and enjoying gods creations at its best. i hike the extra mile or drive the exrta hour just to get away, im sure many other anglers do to! sorry so long , but keep up the good work i really enjoy your postings!

  7. Houston, I haven't been on the trophyfishingtn board...just haven't gotten around to signing up yet... I do spend some time over on the LRO board though...

    Fernando, it must be nice to have the streams to yourself mostly. I wish I could fish and only see 2 other anglers.



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