Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/08/2020

Unusually warm and wet conditions continue to prevail here in middle and east Tennessee. This upcoming weekend is looking like more rain and possibly even severe weather. The wind forecast is bad enough that I wouldn't bother going fishing until Sunday at the earliest unless you can go tomorrow.

In the Smokies, nymphing will be the name of the game, but don't be surprised to see some blue-winged olives from time to time. With all the high water, think streamers, big stoneflies, or worm imitations.

Tailwaters like the Caney Fork and Clinch are still rolling with a lot of water. Both rivers are over 10,000 cfs. While this is still fishable, I don't really recommend it. Flows this high are generally all about swinging for the fences if you feel like hunting a trophy. Many days it won't happen. Once in a while it will. Throw big streamers, hope for a shad kill, and get out there. Those big fish won't get caught if you're sitting home on the couch.

The Caney will produce decent fishing if we ever get flows back down at least a little. One generator would be ideal. Right now I'll even take two. Minimum flow looks a long ways off right now.

On the Clinch, you can throw streamers and also possible nymph up a few fish. If you pick your spots, there are places to nymph even on 12,000 cfs. Let's hope it gets back down to two generators or less soon. Every time we get a big rain event, look for some low water for a day or two or three. TVA will hold water back at tributary dams like Norris to reduce downstream high water effects. This gives those of us who like to wade a day or two to fish.

Winter is our favorite time to get on the musky streams. In between bouts of high water, those will be fishing well for the next few months.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Fun Continues: Smokies


As the season begins to change, my desire to head for the Smokies grows by leaps and bounds.  The call of wild trout in a beautiful mountain setting is too much to ignore.  The second of my five days of fishing was dedicated to going to the Smokies.  I made a quick phone call to see if my buddy Joe was fishing.  He said he was and told me approximately where to look for him when I arrived. 

The drive up was intense.  A slow moving cold front was working its way through the area, producing very heavy showers and thunderstorms well in advance.  I drove through some of the most intense rain I've had to drive in yet and was becoming hopeful that Little River would be up a little and possibly stained.  Summer rainstorms after extended periods of low water can produce phenomenal fishing. 

I found Joe in a pool known to hold big browns which is no surprise for anyone that knows him.  He has a knack for finding and landing big fish like few people I know.  On this day, he had not landed any monsters, but had seen a couple of nice fish.  After I rigged up, we both fished up a short section of stream that has produced well on occasion.  A few small rainbows and a couple of suckers later, I moved out of the first pool and into the pocket water above. 


There were three good seams to try.  The closest one proved the hardest to put a fly in.  As soon as I did, though, an explosion rocked the end of my line and a nice brown started plowing around through the run.  Unfortunately, after a few tense seconds, the brown unhooked itself, and I was left shaking my head. 

After I quit pondering the missed opportunity, we decided to head upriver and try another section.  This one was better as far as the overall quality of the fish was concerned.  I managed several chunky rainbows but unfortunately no browns.  The water started to take on more and more color.  Finally we headed back to the bank nearest the cars and it turned out to be none too soon.  The water rose some more and became more like chocolate milk in a matter of just a few minutes. 


For the rest of the afternoon, I spent some time ripping streamers and some time taking pictures.  The second activity was much more successful than the first although its always fun to fish big flies.  I'm hoping to head back to the Park in the near future so stay tuned for more updates...



Saturday, September 18, 2010

First of Many: Caney


Last week, I had a streak of 5 days in a row with at least a little fishing.  That is better than I have had in quite awhile, and as we continue to move into fall I expect my opportunities to get out to continue improving.  While still only a shadow of its former self, the Caney Fork continues to produce good fishing for mostly stocker rainbows.  There are larger holdover fish to be had, but I've been having trouble keeping them on when hooked. 

The trip last week was interesting for a couple of reasons.  First, there were no releases from the dam that particular day so I was able to get a good look at the river during low flows.  Anytime you can see a river at its lowest point, take advantage of the situation.  Even if the fishing is not perfect, you will learn some valuable information about the stream bottom.  The second interesting thing about the trip was the apparently very recent stocking.  I found freshly stocked fish, some in huge pods, all over the river. 

If these fish can escape the stringers and grow awhile, we'll have some excellent fishing over the next couple of years.  They have not learned much about what they are supposed to eat yet.  In fact, a fly with a bit of drag seemed an incentive to strike instead of a deterrent.  I finished my day ripping a very small streamer with a trailing softhackle through a small hole and watching as these stockers fought over the opportunity to slam the flies. 

In between pestering the little rainbows, I managed to find a willing brown that posed long enough for a picture.  I'm always glad to catch the browns so this fish made the trip that much better...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Monster Bass

Large fish don't come around every day.  When I catch one it makes my trip but when I catch multiple large fish in an outing, it can well be the trip of the year.  This past weekend I made another trip for smallies, redeye, and anything else that would hit a fly.  Each time I explore a little further but this time it was somewhat in vain.  The fish would eat, but the water was so low that stealth was paramount.

As I moved further into unexplored territory, the fishing improved but the large fish seemed to be lacking.  However, the high point was still to come.  Finally, on a remote pool teeming with fish, I found two quality fish feeding.  Realizing that my years of searching for that trophy smallmouth might be coming to a close, I purposefully slowed everything down so I wouldn't make any last minute mistakes.  I even remembered to check my line for nicks and made sure the fly was sufficiently sharp. 

Assured that everything was in order, I crept closer and made a cast.  Everything came together perfectly, and I made the right cast the first time.  The hookset was good and I found myself attached to a hefty smallmouth.  Mere seconds later, I was shocked to be holding the nice fish after such a short fight.  After a couple of pictures, I released the monster back to its home. 

I peered back into the pool and found the other large fish still out feeding.  After another careful cast, I hooked up again.  Luck was on my side for once!  After the same routine, I moved down one more pool to finish out the day.  One more big fish came out to play bringing the total number of big bass to 3 for the day. 

In addition to the monsters, I also caught a few average fish for the stream, but after the excitement provided by the large fish, I didn't even bother to take any pictures.  Now I can't wait to go back to find what further secrets have yet to be revealed on this beautiful stream...

Here are the three nice fish I managed to land...:D




Friday, September 03, 2010

Low Flows and Hungry Fish


Every local trip I make for bass and panfish, I end up wondering why I don't stay close to home more often.  This past weekend was no exception.  Some friends wanted to go swimming, and of course I was interested in the fishing possibilities.  We arrived at one of my favorite streams and while they all started preparing to swim, I started stringing up a four weight fly rod.

Once everyone was ready, we started down the stream in search of a good swimming hole.  I tried to move on ahead so I was fishing unspoiled water.  The fish seemed to be particularly uneducated on this day.  I threw a Simi Seal Leech and never changed flies.  The only requirement seemed to be getting the fly in the water.  The highlight of the day was finding two "large" smallies in the 16 inch range.  For this stream those are good fish, and I will be back to catch them at some point.




All too soon the trip was over, but I'll be back as soon as I can, maybe even this weekend.  In the meantime, I might finally get a trout trip in this afternoon so check back to see if anything exciting happens...



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