Guided Trips


Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

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!


  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.


  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!

  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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