Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 11/1/2018

Fishing is good in the Smokies and other mountain streams if you can catch it on a day where the wind is minimal. Otherwise, expect lots of leaves in the water for the next few days. Delayed harvest streams are also being stocked and fishing well in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.

In the Smokies, fall bugs are in full swing. We have been seeing blue-winged olives almost daily although they will hatch best on foul weather days. They are small, typically running anywhere from #20-#24 although a few larger ones have also shown up. A few October Caddis are still around as well. Terrestrials are close to being done for the year although we are still seeing a few bees and hornets near the stream. Isonychia nymphs, caddis pupa, and BWO nymphs will get it done for your subsurface fishing. Have some October Caddis (#12) and parachute BWO patterns (#18-#22) for dry flies and you should be set. Not interested in matching the hatch? Then fish a Pheasant Tail nymph under a #14 Parachute Adams. That rig can catch fish year round in the Smokies.

Brook and brown trout are now moving into the open to spawn. During this time of year, please be extremely cautious about wading through gravel riffles and the tailouts of pools. If you step on the redd (nest), you will crush the eggs that comprise the next generation of fish. Please avoid fishing to actively spawning fish and let them do their thing in peace.

Our tailwaters are still cranking although the Caney is finally starting to come down. I'm still hoping to get a firsthand report on the Caney Fork soon although it might be sometime next week or the week after before that happens at the earliest. Stay tuned for more on that. Fishing will still be slow overall with limited numbers of fish in that particular river unfortunately.

The Clinch is featuring high water as they try to catch up on the fall draw down. All of the recent rainfall set them back in this process but flows are now going up to try and make up some of the time lost. It is still fishing reasonably well on high water although we prefer the low water of late fall and early winter as it is one of our favorite times to be on the river.

Smallmouth are about done for the year with the cooler weather we are now experiencing. I caught a few yesterday on the Tennessee River while fishing with guide Rob Fightmaster, but overall the best bite is all but over. Our thoughts will be turning to musky soon, however. Once we are done with guide trips for the year, we'll be spending more time chasing these monsters.

In the meantime, we still have a few open dates in November. Feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in a guided trip. Thanks!

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Last Cast

Spur of the moment fishing trips always have an element of uncertainty. The careful planning that goes into most trips is nonexistent and expectations are usually kept low. After all, when you get a last minute opportunity to get out on the water, the experience is often sufficiently satisfying and catching fish can be a pleasant afterthought.

Most of this week has been spent telling myself I need to fish more. Fishing Sunday and Monday apparently wasn’t enough to make up for the recent dearth of fishing trips. What I’m really craving is a good trout fishing trip, but when the nearest trout water is 50 minutes away you simply take what you can get. About three miles from where I live is a small lake that most people would miss when driving by. It is tucked back in the woods mostly out of sight and the entrance is unmarked. However, it is a public lake with a TWRA boat ramp. When I first bought a float tube earlier this year, I envisioned evening trips to this particular lake on a regular basis, but so far those dreams have not been realized.

In an effort to start fishing more and begin learning the lake, I decided to drive over last evening to see what was going on. The float tube came out and was soon ready to go. I quickly dug through my fly boxes looking for enough random bass and panfish flies to make the evening a success. Soon I was on the road, happy to be going fishing again. The first time I took the tube out, pre-launch preparations took me quite awhile but this time I was in the water fairly quickly, kicking my way across the lake with a large diving hairbug in tow.

The first 20 minutes produced absolutely nothing on the large bassbug so I switched to a small Clouser. Again, nothing happened. While I don’t consider myself a particularly proficient warm water fisherman, I at least like to imagine that I can manage to get by. The first 30 minutes on the water had me wondering if I really truly had no clue what I was doing or if the lake only offered poor fishing. Finally, after kicking across the lake to another shoreline, I snagged my fly within a few feet of the bank and had to work in close to retrieve it. As I moved into the shallows, I saw small bass and bluegill spooking in all directions.

Convinced that it must be my method, I decided to try a smaller fly. Out came the fly boxes again and this time I decided to try a small Simi Seal Leech. These simple but deadly flies are some of my favorites for bluegill and small bass and work great for trout as well. Again I started slowly working the shoreline, but other than a couple of bumps, I couldn’t buy a fish. Moving into a cove, I finally discovered one reason that at least some of the fish weren’t biting well. I discovered a large area of bedded fish. There appeared to be both bass and some type of sunfish in this area although I can’t be positive that both were on beds since one may have been raiding the beds of the other.



The scenery was great!

The trip was pleasant and while it would have been nice to catch a few fish, the Mountain Laurel blooming along the water’s edge helped make my effort worthwhile. I still had to get back to the ramp though. The area where I found the large concentration of fish had been rested long enough so I slowly worked my way back. The first cast up against the shore produced a solid strike, and I soon was admiring a small bluegill. Releasing the fish, I quickly caught another, this time a yellow perch. Next, a nice 8” bluegill came to hand. Then the dreaded lull took over.



First decent fish of the evening...


An offering to the fish gods or a weak effort at an interesting camera angle?

The evening shadows were growing long and the sun had disappeared below the hills. I decided that one last cast was in order before I called it a day. Most people have more than one "last cast," but I was actually reeling in line after this one. Right on cue, the largest bluegill of the day struck and staged a determined fight. The fish literally hit as I was reeling in the line so I just kept cranking away. The fish fought valiantly, but in the end I was the victor, my reward being a couple of pictures of the nice 9”+ fish. After watching the fish swim off, I started kicking back across the lake.



Big fish of the trip

Probably midway back, excruciating pain surged through my leg. “What now?” I thought as a muscle cramp threatened to end my trip while I was still out on the lake. The leg simultaneously wanted to double up and straighten itself out. Balancing my fly rod across the tube, I massaged the tired muscles, hoping to end the misery. Reclining in the tube with my legs sticking straight out, I paddled slowly with my hands, laughing to myself at the absurdity of trying to go anywhere very quickly with my hands as the main propellant. I was making progress though and the thought of standing up to stretch my leg kept me going. By and by I realized that I could kick with the one good leg without going in circles if I was careful. Slowly the pain eased and by the time I approached the boat ramp, I was again kicking gently with both legs.

While some people would be worried about going out in a float tube again, I took the muscle spasms as I sign that I need to get out more. After all, the best way to avoid a problem of this nature is to strengthen the muscles involved. Last minute trips always seem to have a random occurrence, it just so happened that this one was quite unpleasant. Maybe next time I’ll make up for it by catching a monster fish.

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