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

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Is Spring Here Yet?


Apparently the fish think so. Going fishing on Friday the 13th seems like an invitation for all kinds of bad luck. Expensive rods breaking, monster trout throwing the fly, falling into the ice-cold water of mid February...all these are a distinct possibility when you go fishing on a day traditionally said to bring bad luck. However, my fishing trip yesterday would have made even a cynic believe that there really is no such thing as bad luck.

Early in the trip I started wondering if it was a bad choice to fish on such a day. Little River with it's shot at larger browns was calling to me and I started off fishing somewhere between Metcalf Bottoms and Elkmont. After working slowly up a 2oo yard stretch of water with only one missed strike to show for my efforts, I decided to move to a different stretch of water. Again things were slow, although in all honesty it was a very technical stretch. The one fish that I managed to feed picked a most opportune time to eat because my line was tangled around some streamside structure and the hookset failed miserably.

After taking a few moments to ponder the fishing thus far, I decided to move to a more intimate setting. Tremont was the perfect size for the type of fishing I wanted and upon arrival, I decided to go against conventional wisdom and fish a dry. Earlier in the day I had seen plenty of midges and little black stoneflies along with a few small black caddis and early brown stoneflies so a generic #16 parachute Adams seemed appropriate.

I moved down to the water and left my thermometer on the stream bottom while I made the first few casts. Picking a slow eddy in a nice deep pocket, I delicately placed my fly in position to dance tantalizingly in the current, spinning lazily around and around. After what seemed like an eternity, I saw a dark form materialize from the depths and lazily inhale the fly. Without thinking I firmly set the hook and was soon admiring the first rainbow of the day. Wondering if it was a fluke, I checked the stream temperature (43.5 degrees Fahrenheit) and quickly moved up to the next likely pocket. This time I missed a strike. In increasing surprise and excitement I moved up to yet another spot and this time caught another trout. In the next hour, I caught a total of 8 rainbows on dry flies proving that fish still have to eat even at cold water temperatures.


Later on, after moving to another section it was time to try some nymphs. The fish still fed happily on the Tellico and Brassie I was offering although they didn't hit the fly as hard as they would have if it was warmer out. By the end of the day, I had caught 15 fish which goes to show that there are still fish to catch even in the cold months.


One of the amusing things about the fishing trip was the size of the fish. I caught 4-5 fish that were in the 3 inch range. For some reason, at least on this stretch of water, all the smaller fish were out feeding. Maybe they just haven't figured out how to be lazy and conserve energy. I'm really glad I decided to fish the Smokies because it was a great change of pace from the extremely crowded Caney Fork that I've been experiencing lately. While I enjoy catching large fish, it was just as rewarding to be out catching 3-7 inch rainbows as it has been to fish the Caney lately. That said, I'm still excited to get out on the river tomorrow and hopefully will have some good stories by tomorrow evening!
Of course, spring isn't really here yet but I'm excited about the approach of the warmer months with their important hatches bringing up some nice fish to dry flies. I'm in the early planning stages of some great trips for the upcoming spring including some backpacking trips to prime water in the Smokies... As always, stay tuned for more info...

2 comments:

  1. I'm very ready for Spring to get here soon!

    Troutdawg
    Flyfishaddiction

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous9:33 PM

    I love fly fishing in the spring.

    ReplyDelete

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