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

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Lull


My fishing time has been increasing significantly lately. This past weekend I was able to take the new float tube out for a short maiden voyage. The fishing was great but the catching was nonexistent. I am excited to use the tube to exploit the many untouched stillwater opportunities in the area. It will also come in handy on my excursions out west.

With the recent unseasonably warm weather has come an excellent response from the fish. Trout in the mountains are feeding enthusiastically on the bounty now constantly passing in the current. Smallmouth bass are starting to be caught again on the lower elevations of the same streams. This past Sunday found me headed for the Smokies again. My observations from the trip surprised even me.

This time of year, the normal routine is for the insects to become active in the middle of the day. Significant hatches tend to start around noon, give or take an hour. The norm has been significantly altered however due to the very warm temperatures we have been experiencing. It appears that the Quill Gordons are just about over now. Naturally a few stray bugs are still emerging but the bulk of the hatch has passed. If my observations from Sunday are accurate, it actually appears that we are in a lull between hatches. Hendricksons have started but are not particularly heavy yet. A random assortment of stoneflies, caddis, and several mayflies are all trickling off but not in consistent all-day action. The midge hatch was actually probably the best of any type of insect I observed, but I was there to fish dries and didn't even feel like dropping a Zebra Midge under my Parachute Adams.



Fish are still more than willing to eat a dry...you just have to find the ones that are looking up. The weather featured a bright sunny day which have in turn drove the fish deeper during the middle part of the day. Fishing on Sunday felt much more like mid summer when early and late are the rule to consistent action. The fish that did rise generally did so in the shade although that was not 100% true.


One of the highlights of the day was having my license checked by a ranger. I am always glad to see them out patrolling the streams and made a point of telling him that I appreciated his efforts. I hope everyone else will do the same when a ranger or fish and game officer stops by. They have a tough job and I notice that we as fly fisherman (myself included) often like to grumble about a lack of enforcement. A little positive feedback can go a long ways towards getting better enforcement and effort from the people responsible for enforcing the fishing regulations.

If the hatches in the park were a bit on the light side, the caddis hatch below the park was more like a blizzard. I stopped on the lower portion of Little River to try and find some smallmouth bass and was amazed at the number of little black caddis in the air. It looked exactly like pictures I have seen of the famed Mother's Day Caddis on rivers like the Arkansas in Colorado. Unfortunately, trout are almost nonexistent in the lower sections so there were no fish actively rising to the banquet. The smallmouth were not very cooperative but I did manage one small fish on a Clouser. I intend to spend a lot more time this year figuring out smallmouth. Hopefully I'll find some larger ones soon...

At one point during the day, I spent some time just enjoying the beauty of a mountain stream in early spring through my camera lens. The following are a few of the shots I took. The first picture is of a nice run that produced several rises but all from smaller fish. I took a rainbow and a brown, one near the back, and one at the head of the run.


3 comments:

  1. Hi David. Glad the maiden voyage went well or at least you didn't share any difficulties, if you ran into them. Since I started fishing from a float tube, it seems that you have to cruise around and find the school, then you catch fish. Black also seems like the ideal color for lakes and ponds.

    Mark

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  2. David, Beautiful fish and absolutely beautiful water!
    If you're thinking of really becoming a tuber for trout go out and look at the writings of Denny Rickards. Also Brian Chan if you're looking to fish Chironomids.

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  3. As always I loved reading your blog I was in Deep Creek this weekend caught a few nice ones great pictures!!

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