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, May 22, 2009

Results May Vary

One reason I keep returning to the stream with a fly rod in hand is because I can always count on Mother Nature to keep things interesting. There are days where I can do no wrong and it seems the fish are literally throwing themselves onto the hook. Other days are much different and it is only through patience and perserverence that I catch fish. Yesterday was one of those more difficult days.

I made another quick trip to the Smokies because I needed to stop by Little River Outfitters. Not that I need an excuse to go fishing but it does make it seem more reasonable to everyone around me. Two trips to the Smokies in a week is a bit extravagant on my salary, but at least I'm keeping my priorities straight.

After stopping by the shop, I drove up to the trailhead at Elkmont. I had a friend with me that I'm teaching to fly fish and wanted some pocket water that would not require long casts. The plan was to fish some bead head nymphs under an indicator. In the past, this has been a fool proof way to put beginners on fish...not pretty of course, but the important thing is that they start catching fish. After fishing up through a normally productive stretch without catching anything I started getting suspicious. I fished some as well and only missed a couple of strikes for the effort.

Finally in one hole we had lots of fish hit but my buddy was having a hard time with the hookset on these extremely fast fish. I was getting hungry and decided a break might be in order. On the way back down the trail, we stopped at a hole that I can always find a fish in so I could catch one to show him. Success finally smiled on us and I was able to show him what a wild rainbow trout from the Smokies looked like.


We headed back to Subway in Townsend and then went over to Tremont. The first stretch of water that we fished was really nice and should have been producing well. Once again the fishing seemed off. I was really suspicious this time, thinking that most likely someone had already fished through there ahead of us. My suspicions were confirmed this time when we hiked back down the road, following wet footprints nearly all the way back to the car.

Once again we moved upstream and finally found some decent fishing. The fish were still picky and seemed to prefer the flies down in the surface film instead of riding high. The highlight of the day was when my friend caught his first trout and it was on a dry fly! It was not a large fish but that one fish meant a lot to him. Shortly after he hooked and landed another. Unfortunately, the increasingly dim light caused the pictures to come out blurry but I don't think it matters too much. He is enjoying learning to fly fish and has made a lot of progress already. I don't think he lost one fly in the trees all day long!

Overall it was a strange day on the water. I felt that we were fishing behind someone for a large portion of the trip. There were a ton of anglers on the water as we drove up Little River Road and I'm becoming thoroughly convinced that everyone that is losing their job due to the recession is going fishing. I just don't remember ever seeing so many people fishing on weekdays as there have been over the last few months.

The bugs were largely absent until very late in the day. Near sunset, things improved dramatically with light cahills, little yellow stoneflies and golden stoneflies all making an appearance in good numbers with lots of other random bugs thrown in for good measure. After the great hatch Sunday evening, it was a bit frustrating to wait so long on the bugs to show up but it was worth it. Our last fishing was all done with dry flies and the fish weren't too picky... The stream was beautiful in the evening light as sunset approached. I grabbed my DSLR and took a few pictures from the bridge at the traihead on Middle Prong...


2 comments:

  1. Great post. When you're using a BH dropper under an indicator does it matter what kind of indicator you use?

    Did you have to experiment to figure out the depth or do you have a 'goto' depth that you use?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. David, I like any small indicator that won't slip on the leader. I tend to use the twist on indicators because they are easy for people to get the hang of. Normally I will set the indicator for 2-3 feet. Of course, it is best to constantly adjust the depthy of an indicator but I've found that for someone that isn't used to fishing that way, leaving it 24-36 inches deep just makes things easier and they still catch plenty of fish... If you feel like the fly isn't getting down, put a split shot or two 10 inches above the fly to help...

    ReplyDelete

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