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

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Small Ponds Waking Up

This is one of my favorite times of year. In the mountains the trout are rising to the best hatches of the season, and at the same time the warm water scene is heating up. This past week we had an outing for the guys at the school I teach at. There would be a small lake very close by so I took a couple of fly rods hoping to get a little fishing.
Things worked out much better than I anticipated when a bunch of guys wanted to go swimming and I was assigned to be one of the people to supervise. Naturally I rigged up the two rods. At this point some of the guys were watching with a bit of interest and one came over and asked if he could try it out. I'm always glad to give my students a chance to try the sport. Last year's outing produced good results with the bluegill for all the students that tried fly fishing.

This year I was a bit surprised by the fact that only one guy, Michael, was really interested in trying it out. We both strung up our rods, mine for bass and his for bluegill, and started to slowly make our way around the pond. I fished the first spot, all the while providing commentary on what I was doing and I.
Michael K. Photograph

As I was bouncing my fly past some structure, a bass came out to inhale the offering. The guys were all impressed and I was happy. Last year we couldn't buy any bass on this lake so it was a good start. After getting a couple of pictures, we continued moving around the pond. I slowly worked ahead, constantly watching for fish and directing him to sneak up and cast when any were spotted. Still, the fish were very spooky and we were having a hard time getting close enough for his basic casting skills.

Michael K. Photograph

Finally, we were about out of time. I stopped at a small bay and proceeded to pick up my third small bass of the day while he jumped in a canoe with another guy to take a shortcut back. As I was releasing my fish, I heard him shouting, "Mr. Knapp, Mr. Knapp!!! I've got one!!!" I sent back instructions to keep the fish in the water until I arrived and then hurried on around to where he was. He had a big grin on his face and a nice little bluegill. After helping him pose with the fish, I snapped a couple of pictures and then we released the fish. All in all, it was a great outing and hopefully another young person was converted to the sport.

I currently have a new float tube sitting in my living room waiting for its maiden voyage. I'm hoping to do that tomorrow or Sunday so check back soon for more warm water action here in East Tennessee. I'll be heading for the mountains again soon as well...


  1. Great job recruiting fly fishers! Always worthwhile getting people in the outdoors whether they turn into anglers or not. Just essential for people to see what's out there.

  2. Way to go David. Getting young people out on a day like that could easily turn them into fishermen. We need more youngsters learing about fishing.


  3. Very cool post. :D

    Its nice helping people get into some fish that are new at.

    Ill have to check out your blog now.

  4. David
    I am for getting anyone outdoors these days, especially the young kids. Nice looking bass, was it on a popper? I have been on our local lake 3 times this week using nymphs and today poppers with my son-in-law. I will be doing a post on the trip Sunday. Again great job. Bill

  5. Nice work! Great stuff!

  6. Bill,

    I wasn't fishing on the surface...the fly that was working is a variation on the Crazy Charlie but tied in minnow colors...

    David Knapp



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