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

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Strange Fall

Normal fall low water in the Smokies

My official "Favorite Time of the Year" is back but in a strange way. The past two years have produced near perfect conditions on the tailwaters for fall fishing. Largely due to the drought, the low flows were idea for wade fishing and produced many good sight fishing opportunities for large browns feeding in the shallows. This year has been the exact opposite. We have recovered from the drought but payed for it with difficult conditions on the tailwaters.

A nice Cumberland brown

Originally I planned to do a multi-day camping trip on the Cumberland River this October. After the success I had last year, I couldn't wait to get back and chase some more big browns. Unfortunately, it appears that I will have to cancel my camping reservations and the trip. The flows are up and look to stay that way for at least another couple of weeks. The same thing goes for the Caney Fork and Clinch Rivers. The only tailwaters in the area with a shot at good wading conditions are the upper east Tennessee rivers.

Despite the tough tailwater conditions, the mountain freestone streams are all in peak condition. Recent high water cleaned out the streams and knocked down the rock dams thrown up by the tourist tubers. Water levels are high for this time of the year making for interesting fishing conditions. The fish are also healthier than they have been in some time. There is plenty of food in the streams and the fish have been eating well all summer.

Smoky Mountains fall rainbow

There are also some sleeper streams that no one knows about. They are definitely hit or miss, but if things turn out well, the hit will go for a home run.

As much as I enjoy fishing the mountains, I love fishing the tailwaters as well. Hopefully we won't get too much more rain. Right now I would say we are looking at about two weeks until the lakes drop enough to provide some fishable windows on the tailwaters. Any significant rain event will push that back further. In the meantime, I'll be putting in a lot of time at the vise, tying flies for the cold months.


  1. Maybe its for the best. The rivers will get a break this year from all the fishermen.

  2. Looks like you've been getting on a few nice browns lately!



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