Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 12/4/2018

After a brief warmup and another borderline high water event, the streams of the Smokies are once again receding and getting cold. The spawn is winding down for the year so please avoid walking in/around gravel areas in the tailouts of pools and riffles. Those eggs need to survive for another generation to be born. When temperatures rise a few degrees, trout will become active and eat nymphs and streamers well. On cold days, don't expect too much although you might find a large post spawn brown trout.

The tailwaters are all flowing high and keeping us mostly limited to streamers. The Clinch might offer some high water nymphing, especially once they start to dial back the flows. Unfortunately it will be at least another couple of weeks before that happens it seems. The Caney Fork is fishing ok on high water but nothing to write home about. I floated last week and we did not do particularly well. We did find a bunch of crappie which seemed unusual at best. The good news? Water temperatures here are coming down and Center Hill Lake surface temperatures are falling rapidly as well. Shad kills should be in our future for sometime this month and of course January and February and perhaps later into the spring. This fishing is very inconsistent day to day, but when you hit it right you might have the best fishing of your life.

Musky streams are up and down with the rains. We hope to get in a few musky floats soon. As always, check back here for updates as conditions change.

Photo of the Month: Fall on the Tellico

Photo of the Month: Fall on the Tellico

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A Changing River


This past winter, minor rumblings erupted into widespread complaint about the Caney Fork River here in Tennessee. Unethical anglers had simply taken too many large fish out of the river during the spawn. After fishing throughout the winter and spring and not finding the same numbers of large fish, many people concluded that the river was toast. Fortunately, a changing attitude about the resource now prevails and many fisherman are moving towards catch and release as a way to keep good fish in the river. So far this summer, I have not seen as many fish leaving the river on stringers as in the past. This is in no way to say that people are not keeping fish anymore because they are but I believe that an attitude shift is taking place.

Current regulations allow fisherman to keep 2 brown trout with a minimum length of 18". The problem with the current regulations is that it is producing a river full of fish up to 17" but not nearly as many over that as the river is capable of supporting. Based on the number of complaints and suggestions this spring to TWRA, we will probably see some new regulation proposals this fall for the river. It would be nice to have a slot limit of 16"-22". I really do not mind people taking fish as it is their legal right but it would be nice if the fish were allowed to grow just a little longer before harvesting. Brown trout in the 18"-22" range are really the perfect size. There will still be larger fish, but the river could support a large number of fish in this range and the fishing opportunities would be exceptional.

The floods we experienced this past spring also severely damaged the river and raised the water temperature of Center Hill Lake. As a result, current water temperatures on the tailwater are running a little warmer compared to other years. The flushing the river received during the high water episode actually does not appear to have damaged the actual river. The huge weedbeds are still intact and the river has not changed too much. The fish populations on the other hand took a significant hit. Prior to the high water, you were guaranteed to hook several hard fighting rainbows in the 16"-18" range in a fishing trip if you knew where to look for them. Now it seems that the overall number of rainbows is quite low. I don't want to make any generalizations based on just a couple of fishing trips but I would have to say that the number of quality rainbows has definitely decreased. On a positive note, the brown trout population seems to be doing very well. There are good numbers of fish in the river from 5"-6" all the way up through 17"-18". Larger fish are there, but it often takes a change in tactics to find them.

The shift in the fish population is definitely significant. Fisherman will probably fish the river and think it is much worse off than it was and in some ways they would be correct. However a change in your tactics will allow you to continue to catch fish. Numbers of brown trout are definitely up but these fish will still eat similar flies. Sight fishing opportunities abound if you know where to look and are proficient at spotting fish. The bug life on the river seems to be doing well also. Midge hatches are still the main fare for the resident trout but scud and sow bug populations are also doing fine.

Overall I would say that the Caney still has a lot of potential. I really do not expect much from it for the rest of the year but with the slowly changing attitude of the people who fish it and regulation changes from TWRA, I believe it can still be a quality trout stream to rival any river in the southeast.

3 comments:

  1. good post! Lets hope the river can recover, a few bad apples can ruin the whole barrel... er, river.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful fish. Shame people keep them. Grocery stores sell trout that are raised on farms. Trout in wild streams should be left for the sportsmen to enjoy. Just my humble opinion though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great photo, I always enjoy them, butI get so disgusted with what I see happening to our streams by those who do not care.

    ReplyDelete

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