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

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Floating with Southeastern Fly

Nathan Stanaway photo


Backpacking in the Smokies is always an enjoyable experience. I've been looking forward to the opportunity to do so for awhile and couldn't wait to get on some of my favorite water in the Park. Unfortunately the best of plans don't always work out. Due to several factors, we had to cancel the Smokies trip. To salvage the weekend, my cousin Nathan decided to come up to Crossville instead, and we planned on floating the Caney.

Originally we planned on taking my canoe, but when David Perry from Southeastern Fly asked if we were interested in floating with him, we both thought that would be a good idea. This turned out to be perfect since David knows the river so well. He showed us a couple of tricks he has for days that seem slower at first, and it made all the difference.

We planned on meeting early. I was actually on time for a change, and we were ready to float by around 6:45 or 7:00. The first hundred yards of the float was spent just trying to navigate through the maze of other river users. Once we got out in front of everyone though the fishing immediately improved. Nathan and I started out fishing, and soon we were both catching fish. The midge hatch produce some excellent fishing on a dry/dropper rig. I wanted to catch some larger fish and eventually couldn't resist the call of the streamer rod.




Within just a few casts with a Stacked Blond, I had a little 10 inch brown on and thought it might turn out to be a good streamer day! Unfortunately the quick success soon turned into lots of follows and flashes but few strikes. Still, I was turning fish and some nice ones at that so I was a little reluctant to stop throwing big streamers for big fish.

We continued down the river and things really slowed down as the sun hit the water. The hordes of canoes coming down the river weren't helping either although most people were being polite. The glaring exception was a boat that motored by within 6 feet or so between the drift boat and the bank that was probably no more than 30 feet away at this point and probably much less. This was while I was working the streamer rod to said bank, and it was all I could do to restrain from blasting one of them in the head with a big streamer. Some people are just not very intelligent.

The dry spell continued for a good distance down the river, largely due to the fact that we were spending a lot of time experimenting. Finally, David went to his bag of tricks and showed us his favorite method of fishing the Caney when it is tough. Immediately we started catching fish and within 10 minutes, I nailed a nice 18 inch brown. That fish made my day, and I was ready to relax for awhile so I took over the oars. Rowing on low water is not a difficult job at all...

Nathan Stanaway photo

Nathan Stanaway photo

David nailed several good fish including browns up to 17 inches. Nathan took over camera duties for awhile and we got some nice pictures of all the fish. When we were about a half a mile or mile above the takeout, Nathan took over in the front and proceeded to catch his own nice 16 inch brown.






The river is slowly coming back although it has a long ways to go before it gets anywhere as good as it used to be. The numbers of fish are still not particularly good and the heavy boat traffic does not help. There are definitely fish to be caught though and even some very nice ones. I'll be looking forward to the opportunity to fish the Caney again, hopefully in the next week or two.

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