Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/22/2020

High flows continue across the area but trends are definitely down. A recent cold snap broke the ongoing heatwave so fishing in the mountains has slowed dramatically. Right on schedule, some of our tailwaters should begin returning to more normal flows for this time of year meaning float trips are certainly possible.

For the Smokies, a warming trend should commence as we go into next week. By mid week the fishing should be decent before the next cold front returns us back to winter again. On warmer days, look for midges and possibly winter stoneflies hatching. Some blue-winged olives will be possible on foul weather days as we head towards February. The best fishing is still a few weeks out, but no longer feels like an eternity. Expect good spring hatches to start in late February or early March with blue quills and quill gordons along with little black caddis and early brown and black stones. By April, things will be settling down with the pinnacle of spring fishing usually happening from mid April through the month of May.

On our area tailwaters, high water continues to be the story. The Caney Fork still has at least a couple of weeks of high flows and that is assuming we don't get any more heavy rainfall. This time of year, that is asking a lot. The high water is good for one thing, however. Shad. Yes, the cold months are prime time to try and hit the famed shad kill and catch a monster brown trout. Same thing goes for the Clinch.

Speaking of the Clinch, the good news is that flows are scheduled to begin dropping tomorrow. A steady two generators will feel like low water after the recent period of two generators plus sluicing. Two generators opens up some nymphing possibilities in addition to our favorite winter pastime, stripping streamers for monsters.

The musky streams are settling into fine shape and will be an option moving forward as well. Remember that bouts of high water will get them stained or even muddy for a few days, but as flows come down the fishing should pick back up.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

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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