Guided Trips


Current fishing conditions in the mountains have been tough although rain overnight has bumped up the levels on Park streams, especially on the Tennessee side. Be careful as lots of leaves are going to be coming down now with brisk northwest winds behind the cold front. That can make fishing challenging. If you do fish, I would suggest fishing dry/dropper with a #14 Orange Stimulator or Orange Elk Hair Caddis up top and a bead head Green Weenie, Isonychia Nymph, or Blue-winged Olive Nymph (#18-#20 bead head Pheasant Tail will suffice here) underneath. Focus on stealth and accurate casts.

If you are flexible in where you fish, I recommend heading for your favorite tailwater to trout fish. Most tailwaters are offering good flows for wade fishermen right now and the fish are hungry. The Hiwassee River has been recently stocked for the delayed harvest and the Caney Fork continues to fish very well on our guide trips. The Watauga, South Holston, and Clinch Rivers should be great as well.

If musky are on your mind like they are for me, then be patient and hope for more rain. The musky streams and rivers are very low right now and we need some water before safely navigating those streams in the larger boats that are preferred.

This is the time of year that brown and brook trout as well as some strains of rainbow trout spawn. On rivers like the Caney Fork, many anglers choose to target these spawning trout. This is unfortunate, especially this year. There are plenty of pre- and post-spawn trout to target if you want to catch big fish. With low water the norm, the Caney Fork actually has a chance at producing some natural recruitment this year barring any unforeseen high water. The same thing applies in the Smokies. Spawning brown and brook trout are extra vulnerable because of the low water and should be allowed to do their thing in peace. The future of these fisheries depends upon conscientious anglers doing the right thing. If you must fish to spawning trout, please use very heavy tippets and quickly land and release all fish caught. If you want to learn how to be successful this time of year without chasing active spawners, please consider booking a guided trip, and I would be glad to teach you how to hunt these large fish.

Photo of the Month: The Colors of a Rainbow

Photo of the Month: The Colors of a Rainbow

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Cold Weather

Here on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, winter has arrived in a big way.  Recent high temperatures have not been above freezing and overnight lows are getting close to the single digits.  The first snowfall completed the appearance of winter with light snow showers stretching out over a couple of days.  Waterfalls near my house have been forming large areas of ice around the base and as well as icicles off the rocks nearby.  The Sandhill Cranes have mostly migrated south of the area but scattered flocks continue to fly over, hurrying towards the warmth and abundance of the southeastern U.S.  The large fields nearby now have wintering raptors hunting their broad expanses.  I have identified the majority as being Northern Harrier Hawks which usually appear around Thanksgiving and will be here until early spring.  

Since my car has been stuck, I've been getting my outdoor fix by hiking around near the house.  This has provided plenty of great opportunities for my camera.  On one recent hike, I even took the time to build a small fire to warm up while relaxing in the stillness of the woods.  The wind whispered through the trees, but my spot at the base of the rock was still and warm. 

A waterfall around the corner was the perfect spot to spend a few moments with my camera.  A large area of ice had formed at the base adding an interesting element to an otherwise common picture. 

Unfortunately my car is still not fixed so I haven't been doing any fishing.  Hopefully that will change this weekend.  I'm looking at trying to get out on the water on Sunday if at all possible.  I have been getting some good reports from the big fish hunters in the Smokies and have been dying to get back over there.  This is my favorite time of year to be out on the water.  The lack of company on the water more than makes up for the cold temperatures and physical discomfort, and of course catching a fish every now and then helps too... 


  1. Thanks! I've got several small waterfalls within a mile of where I live so I get to enjoy them fairly often...



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