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

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...


  1. Mid TN Lee3:56 AM

    Looks like you were right about the'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.

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



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