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

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Help the Hiwassee


This afternoon I was perusing the Little River Outfitters message board and read a thread from Byron Begley. He had heard that some regulation changes were being considered for the Hiwassee River and wanted to give everyone a heads up. After doing a bit more research, I came across this article from the Polk County News. According to the article, TWRA is considering removing the "Trophy Section" designation and also adding a delayed harvest season.

The delayed harvest is a great idea, but I can't really say that I think it will increase the quality of the fishing. TWRA's version of a delayed harvest is basically to stock fewer fish with the idea that they will be caught over and over again. I fear that enforcement will continue to be very limited meaning that the fish will end up leaving the river anyway. While going to school in Chattanooga, I fished the Hiwassee a fair amount and was never checked for a license. If TWRA would step up enforcement then the delayed harvest is a great idea.

I wish the Trophy section would be left alone. It really is not doing its job particularly well, probably somewhat due to the lack of enforcement. The remote nature means would-be poachers can come and go at will with a very small likelihood of getting caught. Additionally, water quality problems during summer wreak havoc on the trout population in this area. Not all the fish die though. I know for a fact that brown trout are holding over in the river, at least on a limited basis. Better enforcement of current regulations and better stocking strategies could still make the Trophy section a great fishery. For example, brown trout tend to migrate upstream from their stocking location. Instead of stocking fingerling browns at Big Bend, TWRA should consider stocking them further downriver so they can move up into the Trophy section and get a chance to grow for awhile.

Unfortunately, there are so many things wrong with the Hiwassee that there really may not be a good solution. Still, I urge everyone that cares about this river to take a few minutes to let TWRA know how they feel about the proposed changes. Simply send an email to TWRA.Comment@tn.gov. Please include “Sport Fish Comments” on the subject line.

I would recommend supporting the delayed harvest proposal. However I cannot support removing the Trophy Section designation. Even if the section is largely failing in its purpose, it still gives these fish somewhat of a refuge on a river that is hammered throughout the warm months by many fisherman. A small sanctuary that is occasionally violated is better than opening everything up to normal fishing regulations.

An additional recommendation I would add is to limit brown trout to one kept per day. The current proposal is to allow up to two browns per day. However, brown trout hold over much better in this river than rainbows and limiting the number leaving the river would offer better opportunities for trophy fish.

Again, please take a few moments to let TWRA know what you think.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the heads up - I'll provide a comment cross my fingers. It's a great river and it needs our help.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your efforts! I hope everyone else takes the time to send in comments as well. It will take all of our efforts and a little luck to stop this one I fear...

    ReplyDelete

Newsletter

Subscribe to the Trout Zone Anglers Newsletter!

* indicates required