Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/17/2017

Fishing is excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park now. We have had a couple of shots of rain the last week and a half which has helped keep the streams flowing strong for this time of year. The cool overnight temperatures will get the brown and brook trout seriously thinking about spawning. Please be careful this time of year and avoid walking on fine sand and gravel in riffles and tailouts. Leave the spawning trout alone so they can do their thing. When you find brook or brown trout that aren't spawning, they are aggressive and looking to feed. Recent guide trips on brook trout waters have been anywhere from good to excellent. Streams with rainbows and browns have been excellent as well. There are good numbers of fish to be caught in the Park right now!

A variety of bugs have been hatching lately. On cloudy days, Blue-winged Olives have hatched along with some other small mayflies. Various caddis, including the Great Autumn Brown Sedges (often referred to as October Caddis by locals) are hatching and provide a nice bite for the trout. Little Black stoneflies are hatching as well. Fish are eating both dry fly and nymph imitations and even still hitting some terrestrials. Don't forget your beetle, ant, and inchworm fly box. A Parachute Adams or Yellow or Orange Stimulator should work well for a dry fly. Smaller bead head Pheasant Tail nymphs should work as a dropper. Caddis pupa are also catching a lot of fish as are stonefly nymphs.

On the Caney Fork, things have been tough lately. The river has been running warmer than is normal this time of year because of heavy generation earlier this year and also with a stain due to the sluice gate operations. Work has been underway to install vented turbines on the generators and they have been working to try and tweak them to improve dissolved oxygen. One day, we were floating and they were checking the DO and found it at 1.5 ppm. If I remember correctly, the minimum target is 6 ppm. Obviously 1.5 is way too low. Trout were sitting along the banks and in back eddies gasping for oxygen. Hopefully all of this won't have too much of a long term effect on the fishery, but needless to say, things are a bit difficult as of right now. Cooler weather should help. Once the lake turns over, oxygen and clarity will improve quickly.

The Clinch River has been fishing well if you can hit it on low water days. Small nymphs and midges will get the job done here.

Smallmouth bass are about done for the year, but we will be back out on the musky streams again soon looking for the toothy critters. This is tough fishing, but the rewards can be sizable.

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Cold and Wet

This past weekend I had the opportunity to camp in the Smokies at Elkmont for a couple of nights. It was a trip that I had been planning for awhile, and I was excited for the chance to get back to my favorite streams. As the time to leave approached, I noticed that the weather forecast was a concern. However, like the dedicated outdoorsman I try to be, I decided to go anyway. My buddy Joe was supposed to meet me for the first night of camping and we were going to fish all day together.

Upon arrival in the Park, I found Joe stalking a good brown which is what I normally expect to find him doing. He showed me where a monster had been sitting before it spooked and then we headed up towards Elkmont. Joe was going to keep fishing while I checked in to our campsite. After leaving a chair and the little paper to show that our site was occupied, I went looking for Joe again.

Naturally he was looking for more good fish but hadn't found any yet. I decided that, due to the late hour, I wasn't going to fish the first evening. Instead, I got my camera to document any good fish that Joe might happen to catch. Walking the bank, we found another good fish but spooked it before Joe could even get a cast on it.

At this point we decided to head back to camp for the night since it was getting dark. We stopped at the Crusher Pool on the way back and met a couple of guys from the Murfreesboro area that had been fishing. We swapped fishing stories for awhile and talked about the Caney Fork. Area fishermen are really excited about the regulation changes that will be enacted on the Caney in 2010. This river can support tremendous numbers of quality fish if the new regulations can be sufficiently enforced. After checking the Crusher for big fish, we continued on up to Elkmont and set up camp. After sitting out enjoying the campfire for a few hours, we both decided that it was a good idea to get some rest before the next day of fishing arrived.

Day two was tough. There is no other way to describe it. The rain was falling in earnest when we woke up. Joe was the tough one and went fishing while I decided to snooze a little longer. Finally he came back excited because he had found some good fish, and I rolled out of the warm sleeping bag. We fished several places during the day covering a large portion of the Little River. In all places we found fish feeding but the increasing number of leaves in the water and the rising water levels made catching them tough. Nymphs were at best very difficult to fish but I managed to fool a few fish on a BWO parachute.

Finally the conditions were just too tough and we both decided to quit fishing for the day. Joe headed home for the night and I spent awhile trying to decide whether to pack everything up and head home as well. In the end, I decided to stay which turned out to not be such a great idea. This week, I came down with the flu and have spent the last couple of days feeling quite miserable. I'll blame it on a combination of getting too cold and wet and eating way to much sugar over the weekend. Still, it was a great trip. The catching wasn't as good as I had hoped but if that was the only reason I go fishing, I would probably plan my trips around peak feeding times. The fall colors were nice and I had the chance to at least see some really quality fish. Strangely, I never really took any pictures which was mostly because of the rain. I'm not about to get my good camera out in bad weather.

I'm hoping to try and catch some more stripers sometime soon but this is really the season for trout. I'll probably head back to the Smokies sometime soon and will also start hitting the tailwaters as soon as they cut back on the generation. Right now I'm guessing that could happen as early as sometime next week although not for extended periods of time. I've still got a couple of product reviews coming as well so check back for those...

2 comments:

  1. Been there, done it David, except it's snow and fluctuating water levels here in my neck of Colorado. One week it's snow and cold, the next it's unseasonably warm. And we've been noticing the same thing here - hooking a lot of leaves and sticks with nymphs and not seeing many fish rise to the BWOs. Still, I'm going strong - heading out tomorrow and Friday. Hopefully I'll have some pics for you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. David,
    Hope you are feeling better,and I echo your thoughts on the tailwaters. I managed to fish Little River yesterday, but came away with nothing. I will give you a shout next time I head up that way.

    ReplyDelete

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