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

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Satisfying Day


Any day fishing is satisfying, but some are more so than others. Today was the first day of low water on my favorite river in a long time. The masses already know that the water is off and there were plenty of people on the water. Thankfully I was still able to find places to fish.

My first stop was enough to get me excited. I hooked and landed an 18 inch fish within the first 5 minutes of fishing a deep run. Unfortunately, this quick start did not lead to a spectacular day of catching fish. I checked several other spots that I always enjoy fishing and finally ended up at my favorite spot. Rarely do I make a trip to the river without stopping there and today was no exception.

I fished for awhile and was thinking about leaving. About that time another fly fisher stopped by to chat and asked if I had a stream thermometer. I did indeed and while I checked the water temp, we chatted about fishing and bamboo fly rods. After determining the water temperature to be 59 degrees, I started back up the river. Suddenly I saw a rise...and then another...and a few minutes later another. Three rises is definitely not very many but enough to convince me to try a dry/dropper. My first fish came to a zebra midge so I dropped that beneath a Parachute Adams.

Moving upstream, I began stalking a nice riser. The brown would rise leisurely but regularly. Instead of spooking when I put my flies over it, the fish just slowly worked its way up the river. I kept following for around 50 feet and finally I stopped to carefully observe the fish. The next rise convinced me that the fish was taking adults from the surface instead of pupa just beneath or in the film. Out came the box of dries and I searched through my midge selection for one of my favorite patterns from this past summer. Quickly I cut off the zebra midge and then tied on the #22 midge dry. After adding some floatant, I started casting again.

A few casts later my timing coincided with the rise of the fish, and I was attached to a healthy brown. After fighting and landing this 15 inch fish, I took a few moments to enjoy the beauty of the day and savor the satisfaction of solving a difficult fish. Compared to some fish I've caught, I really didn't fish very long for it, only about 30 minutes. However there is very little that is as satisfying as solving a difficult riser, especially when the solution involves a tiny dry fly.

I caught a few more fish on the dry. Every fish that rose consistently would eventually eat my midge pattern. Overall it was a great day on the water, and I enjoyed the late day dry fly action.

In a couple of days I'm headed to the Smokies for a night or two of camping and of course some fishing. Additionally, I have some other articles that I need to finish and should be up in the next day or two. Check back often during the next week as I should be able to fish quite a bit over the break.

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