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, January 29, 2010

Force Feeding

Sometimes you have to hit a fish in the nose to get it to eat....literally. A couple of weekends ago I was fishing in the Smokies with a couple of fishing buddies, Joe and Caleb. Joe was fishing a nice flat run while I spotted from on top of the bank. In the back, a brown aggressively chased his offering but wouldn't quite eat. After a couple of repeat performances, the fish finally saw him and moved into the middle of the stream where it sat motionless on the bottom.

Not wanting to bother with a fish that was only eleven or twelve inches, Joe worked on upstream. I continued to watch the fish. Finally it occurred to me that the fish would probably eat if I could just force feed it. I grabbed my fly rod which had a weighted wooly bugger and crept into position. The first several casts drifted close but there was little interest from the fish. Once it gave a half-hearted glance at the fly drifting by but that was it.

I couldn't shake the feeling that the fish would eat and decided to try and drift the fly directly into the fish. A couple of casts later, the fly was drifting perfectly and a well-timed mend set up the final drift. Suddenly the fly seemed to disappear into the fish, and I set the hook hard. I can't say that I actually saw the fish open its mouth, but I did notice the fly just seemed to vanish with the fish being the only likely culprit. After a brief but lively battle, I brought the fish to hand and Joe came back downstream to snap a couple of pictures for me. It definitely wasn't the largest fish I've ever landed but it was one of the more satisfying. I believe it was the first time I ever force fed a fish intentionally without having it ever move to take the fly...


  1. Anonymous10:28 AM

    Makes me think of the salmon swing where fish are snagged in the mouth. I've fished all over and I'm not sure anything tops the satisfaction of catching browns in the Park. Good work.

  2. Ok, Mr. Knapp, So i was sitting here trying to figure out what the exact definition of an intelligent comment was. The definition of intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge. So I read your blog and came to the conclusion that you spend an excessive amount of time upended in a runnel with your fly fishing rod! And that you have a passion (if in case no one noticed) beyond the definition of passion for fish and fishing. So this is my intelligent denouement. Hope you enjoyed, and please come again when you can't stay so long! JK

  3. Elise, glad you had time to check out my blog. Hope you are having a good break!

  4. David - Stumbled upon your blog and glad I did. Looks like you fish some beautiful water. I've "following" your blog and will add it to my blogroll. Feel free to do the same (although you don't have to). Look forward to reading about your future outings.

  5. Reuben Hall11:00 AM

    Knapp, this is what I learned from this post.
    Fishing takes a lot of patience, the kind that I wish I had. Especially when it is necessary to creep up on a fish, and then with some potency stuff the fly into its mouth: Patience is a virtue. Now I understand that fishermen have a great deal of patience not only with fish but also with anything else that requires it!!
    And as for an intelligent elucidation, I hope this qualifies.

  6. Troutrageous, thanks for checking out my blog and thanks for the link. I added one to your blog.

    Reuben, patience is definitely a fishing as well as teaching...hahaha.



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