Guided Trips


Fishing is good in the Smokies and other mountain streams if you can catch it on a day where the wind is minimal. Otherwise, expect lots of leaves in the water for the next few days. Delayed harvest streams are also being stocked and fishing well in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.

In the Smokies, fall bugs are in full swing. We have been seeing blue-winged olives almost daily although they will hatch best on foul weather days. They are small, typically running anywhere from #20-#24 although a few larger ones have also shown up. A few October Caddis are still around as well. Terrestrials are close to being done for the year although we are still seeing a few bees and hornets near the stream. Isonychia nymphs, caddis pupa, and BWO nymphs will get it done for your subsurface fishing. Have some October Caddis (#12) and parachute BWO patterns (#18-#22) for dry flies and you should be set. Not interested in matching the hatch? Then fish a Pheasant Tail nymph under a #14 Parachute Adams. That rig can catch fish year round in the Smokies.

Brook and brown trout are now moving into the open to spawn. During this time of year, please be extremely cautious about wading through gravel riffles and the tailouts of pools. If you step on the redd (nest), you will crush the eggs that comprise the next generation of fish. Please avoid fishing to actively spawning fish and let them do their thing in peace.

Our tailwaters are still cranking although the Caney is finally starting to come down. I'm still hoping to get a firsthand report on the Caney Fork soon although it might be sometime next week or the week after before that happens at the earliest. Stay tuned for more on that. Fishing will still be slow overall with limited numbers of fish in that particular river unfortunately.

The Clinch is featuring high water as they try to catch up on the fall draw down. All of the recent rainfall set them back in this process but flows are now going up to try and make up some of the time lost. It is still fishing reasonably well on high water although we prefer the low water of late fall and early winter as it is one of our favorite times to be on the river.

Smallmouth are about done for the year with the cooler weather we are now experiencing. I caught a few yesterday on the Tennessee River while fishing with guide Rob Fightmaster, but overall the best bite is all but over. Our thoughts will be turning to musky soon, however. Once we are done with guide trips for the year, we'll be spending more time chasing these monsters.

In the meantime, we still have a few open dates in November. Feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in a guided trip. Thanks!

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Too Much Fishing

There's probably no such thing as too much fishing, but I've been getting close. In the last few days I've fished the catch and release water in Cherokee, North Carolina and also spent some time on several streams in the Smokies. Naturally I've had a great time, but all the fishing has cut into my blogging time.

The Cherokee trip was a strange one. I honestly expected to have a killer day over there and probably could have by getting there earlier in the day and moving around some. Despite only fishing for a few hours, I did manage a few nice fish as did my buddy Trevor. Late in the evening we switched to streamers and caught a few more as the light was rapidly waning. The pictures turned out a little grainy because of the low light conditions and the fog on the water. You should get the general idea though...

Sunday was a fun day of something different. I was supposed to meet some guys from New Mexico and show them some of the streams in the Smokies. They had fished here in east Tennessee once before and were excited about trying some new water. Unfortunately the water situation was a little sketchy to say the least. Because of all the rainfall lately, the tailwaters were mostly pushing a lot of water. Originally I had hoped to take them to the Caney to chase some good browns but that idea was definitely not going to work. Plan B kicked in which involved fishing in the Smokies. Having fished up there for many years, I can usually find some fish even with high water conditions.

I met Phil and the other guys at Little River Outfitters and we headed up into the mountains. Little River was pretty high even for someone that fishes it a lot so we decided to try some smaller streams. This proved to be a good idea for the most part. We fished one of my favorite small stream rigs which is a Green Weenie and a hard-bodied ant. This is deadly during high water episodes because a lot of terrestrials are getting washed into the streams. The fish were enthusiastic although a bit less so than I expected. Thankfully everyone was catching at least a few and were also getting used to the tight casting conditions and continual mending that is required in the mountain streams.

After fishing up through some of the better pools, we opted to break for lunch and then try something else. After a quick trip back into Townsend to grab some Subway, we got back on the road and headed just over the ridge to the North Carolina side to try for the Smoky Mountain Slam. This was not as good of an idea. While we did catch a few the action was definitely slower. I was surprised to see that the water was higher on that side of the park. Often the Tennessee side gets more water but apparently not this time.

Finally we decided to finish the day by chasing some specs. None of the guys had ever caught a southern strain brookie so we stopped on the way back over the ridge to catch a few. None of the fish are big in this water, but each one is still special. Phil was the lucky one that caught some brookies and one of the other guys managed a few rainbows. It was fairly slow here as well though. I dredged a few fish up on a Tellico nymph including a beautiful brookie. We finished up around 6:00 as the guys needed to head back to Knoxville. A big brown sounded like fun so I went over to Little River to finish my evening.

I have not fished streamers enough and decided to dedicate the last couple of hours to ripping streamers in the slightly stained water. Despite 3-4 hits and moving a few others, I just could not hook up with any browns. Finally I decided to grab the camera and spend a little time documenting the beautiful evening. The light was perfect and the stream looked great after several years of drought.

A big surprise was in store though. The evening was still young, and I wanted to make one last stop on the river. The lower portion of Little River has a few smallies. I've never caught one in the park, until Sunday evening that is. I had cast my streamer to some dead water near the back of a large pool when suddenly the line went tight. The fish felt small and I figured that a little brown had impaled himself on the streamer. When I landed the fish I was shocked to see a little smallmouth. I also caught a decent rainbow on the streamer before I called it an evening. Overall I had a great day. It is always fun to show my favorite streams to other people although they didn't fish nearly as well as I would have hoped. Still everyone caught a few so it wasn't too bad of a day.

Hopefully these guys can make it back to fish again when the water conditions are a little better. If the generation schedule is favorable, we'll hit a tailwater or two next time!

I still owe you a lot of reports from out west as well as a couple of product reviews. Please check back soon for more. I'll have those up as soon as possible!


  1. Yep - you really have to keep a balance between fishing too much and blogging!

    There just aren't enough fantastic bloggers on fishing!

    I love the cute little smallmouth bass!

  2. Great pictures especially the pic of the month. Keep it up.

  3. Hi. I was wondering if you would give me a link on your site. I have a blog at
    I will of course do the like wise.
    Tight lines

  4. Great blog - and fantastic pics. I especially love the one at the bottom with the Zebra - I'm a bit partial to those flies (especially olive and chartreuse.

    Glad I found your corner of the blogosphere - look forward to reading more.

  5. Anonymous10:10 PM


    It was a genuine pleasure meeting and fishing with you on Sunday! We'll definately be back your way soon and you have a full weekend fishing out of the drift boat on the San Juan when you make it out this way. We really appreciated the hospitality!


  6. Phil, Glad you guys were able to come fish the Smokies! Hopefully next time will have better water conditions... Thanks for the flies! I'll be tying a bunch of new patterns now...

    David Knapp

  7. Brian, I like your blog and have included a link to it on mine.

    Colorado Angler, thanks for stopping by. I've got to agree with you about the zebra of the best flies ever for sure! I'm always amazed at the size of fish that will eat it...

  8. Anonymous6:35 AM

    I was playing games online however for reading this post more interesting thanks for the share please do keep it going great job....Loving this.


    Best place for your complete Internet marketing



Subscribe to the Trout Zone Anglers Newsletter!

* indicates required