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, September 18, 2009

High Water


Rare late summer rain has been drenching middle Tennessee for the past several days. Last week I snuck away to the Caney Fork for a couple of hours one afternoon. The water was slightly stained and I was wondering why. Despite the stain, the fish were still feeding heavily and I was even able to do a little sight fishing. The clarity was really not that bad, and I believe the stain made the fish a little less cautious. The nicest fish was a chunky brown of around 13 or 14 inches that was beautifully colored.


Yesterday I went back to check out the river and see what effect the recent rains were having on the river. Upon arrival, I found the majority of the river blown out with extremely muddy water. Despite the fact that the generators were off when I first arrived, the river at Happy Hollow looked like a 1 generator pulse had just come through. It was much higher than normal and full of debris. Lots of logs, trees, and root wads were floating down the river, and all the creeks had dumped a large quantity of rock and gravel into the river. I even saw a dead trout floating downriver. Overall I don't think this will severely impact the river but only time will tell. I do know that boaters will have to be careful and watch for new obstacles.

After watching the river awhile, I headed up to the dam to fish after the generators were turned off from the afternoon pulse. I noticed something very interesting. The normal discharge from the generators was perfectly clear while the sluice was heavily stained. Apparently the baseflow of 250 cfs coming through the sluice gate is the source of the off color water.

The higher flow during generation turned out to be a good time to throw streamers. I spent around an hour fishing a shad immitation before the water started receding. Several brown trout went crazy for the streamer, but as soon as the water started dropping out, the fish switched to midges. I spent another hour or so fishing a zebra midge under a dry fly and this produced plenty of fish although none of any real size. The largest was again around 14 inches.

Currently Center Hill Lake is continuing to rise although not too quickly. If the trend continues, I would expect to see an increase in generation for a couple of weeks to keep the lake at or below the target levels. This will definitely be the case if we get any more substantial rainfall. The most recent hazardous weather outlook from the National Weather Service in Nashville suggests that more rainfall is likely.

While the rainfall is definitely beneficial, I wish it would come in moderation. This beats the drought of the last few years though so I won't complain too much...

2 comments:

  1. Mid TN Lee3:56 AM

    Looks like you were right about the generation...it's looking like 11 AM - 7 PM tomorrow. They will prob stick with this schedule until the weekend.

    I fished near the dam Sunday, and the water was surprisingly pretty clear. Did well with midges/streamers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ahh Fall weather, Big browns moving up and streamers galore! Oh how I love fall fishing.

    ReplyDelete

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