Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/17/2017

Fishing is excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park now. We have had a couple of shots of rain the last week and a half which has helped keep the streams flowing strong for this time of year. The cool overnight temperatures will get the brown and brook trout seriously thinking about spawning. Please be careful this time of year and avoid walking on fine sand and gravel in riffles and tailouts. Leave the spawning trout alone so they can do their thing. When you find brook or brown trout that aren't spawning, they are aggressive and looking to feed. Recent guide trips on brook trout waters have been anywhere from good to excellent. Streams with rainbows and browns have been excellent as well. There are good numbers of fish to be caught in the Park right now!

A variety of bugs have been hatching lately. On cloudy days, Blue-winged Olives have hatched along with some other small mayflies. Various caddis, including the Great Autumn Brown Sedges (often referred to as October Caddis by locals) are hatching and provide a nice bite for the trout. Little Black stoneflies are hatching as well. Fish are eating both dry fly and nymph imitations and even still hitting some terrestrials. Don't forget your beetle, ant, and inchworm fly box. A Parachute Adams or Yellow or Orange Stimulator should work well for a dry fly. Smaller bead head Pheasant Tail nymphs should work as a dropper. Caddis pupa are also catching a lot of fish as are stonefly nymphs.

On the Caney Fork, things have been tough lately. The river has been running warmer than is normal this time of year because of heavy generation earlier this year and also with a stain due to the sluice gate operations. Work has been underway to install vented turbines on the generators and they have been working to try and tweak them to improve dissolved oxygen. One day, we were floating and they were checking the DO and found it at 1.5 ppm. If I remember correctly, the minimum target is 6 ppm. Obviously 1.5 is way too low. Trout were sitting along the banks and in back eddies gasping for oxygen. Hopefully all of this won't have too much of a long term effect on the fishery, but needless to say, things are a bit difficult as of right now. Cooler weather should help. Once the lake turns over, oxygen and clarity will improve quickly.

The Clinch River has been fishing well if you can hit it on low water days. Small nymphs and midges will get the job done here.

Smallmouth bass are about done for the year, but we will be back out on the musky streams again soon looking for the toothy critters. This is tough fishing, but the rewards can be sizable.

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pike on the Fly


One of my goals on this trip was to get that first pike on the fly rod. On trips to the Boundary Waters and Quetico, I've done okay with spinning gear but this was the first time trying for them with a fly rod. After asking around a bit, I determined that we could pursue these fish during our stay on the Taylor. Apparently Taylor Reservoir is a good place to try for these toothy fish.


On our second day at the Taylor, we fished the "Hog Trough" in the morning and then moved up to the lake later in the day. Catching nice trout in the morning and then trying something new in the afternoon is not a bad way to spend a day. Terry Gunn from Lees Ferry Anglers had given me a few suggestions on where to try and what to expect so we headed over to the area he recommended. Slowly driving along the shore, I finally spotted a large fish cruising the shallows and quickly jumped out and rigged up. The fish had long since vanished by the time I was actually ready to throw in but we began searching the water anyway. I remembered the times I fished for them up in Canada and knew that a lot of patience and covering water was in order. However after covering the water for awhile without so much as a strike, we decided to try a different spot closer to the area I had been told about.

When we got there, I immediately realized that it was prime pike habitat. Weedy flats stretched well out from shore with a few slightly deeper channels. These fish love weeds and will lie in a good ambush spot until a meal passes by. We started covering the water again when I suddenly saw a huge swirl up against the far bank. I quickly stripped another 20 feet of line out and a good double haul delivered my fly right to the target. The fly slapped down on the water and I began stripping the line furiously but there was nothing. I cast again and this time something slammed the fly almost before it touched the water. It sounds so dramatic, but really I was a bit puzzled. From catching these guys in the past, I figured there had to be more to it. When I started reeling line, I started wondering if a stocker trout had attacked my fly. It just did not feel like much on the 7 weight. As I got it closer, I realized that instead, I had caught one of the little guys...a pike, but definitely not the trophy I had hoped for. Still, it was my first pike on the fly so my buddy Trevor kindly snapped a couple of pictures for me.


Convinced that there were indeed pike around, we began fishing with a renewed purpose. Slowly wading farther out, I was minding my own business when something absolutely erupted in the water a few feet away. I nearly walked on water for a second or two while things calmed down but then I started thinking. Pike are notorious for following a bait forever before committing. After this happened a couple more times, I was sure. Pike were following almost although to the rod tip and then just lurking a few feet away, waiting to see what developed. When I moved they would spook (or was it me that would spook?). I had enough big fish roll nearby to know that there are definitely some very large pike in Taylor Reservoir. Unfortunately neither I nor my buddy ever hooked into one. Thankfully, there is always next time. I'll be sure to have a better selection of flies, and hopefully they'll want to play when I return!

3 comments:

  1. I was there on Saturday 06/27/09 and i should have fished for pike. i fished the upper Taylor and Texas Creek. it was a blast. Lots of little fish including browns, brookies, and a Snake River Cutt. I went down to the Taylor below the dam and fished for about 20 minutes before the rain started. I had one brake me off---I think. Lots of big fish, but I wasn't to determined to stay and try for a bigger fish. There were lots of other fish in the upper river and I was having too much fun throwing my 2 wt.

    Juan

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  2. Juan, the upper river is definitely a lot of fun. When I get tired of throwing over the big guys down below without any takes, I'll usually head up above the reservoir and catch some of those browns in the Upper Taylor. If I'm feeling particularly lazy, I'll tie on a softhackle and just slowly fish downstream swinging it through all the likely water...definitely a lot of fun!

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  3. Great read David. In instances when the pike seem to follow your fly in vary the speed, length and amount of strips. A couple of really Quick long strips inter mixed with some short 20cm strips usually turns a pike on.Also use your rod tip to impart more action on the fly by moving it from side to side every now and then allowing the fly to move from right to left.
    Alternatively try using poppers. remember though that a pike will always strike the fly when it at rest so stay alert.

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