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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

SoHo Sulphurs


Good numbers of sulphurs still hatching at the end of the year = unbelievable...

The drive to the South Holston is always a bit tedious, but so far it is always worth it.  This past Tuesday was definitely not the best day to be fishing a technical river, the sun was bright, the water low and clear, and the air temperature was COLD.  The majority of the day featured temperatures cold enough to ice up our guides, requiring dipping the rod in the river every few minutes.  Still, experiencing a good hatch at this time of year (of something OTHER than midges), is worth whatever minor suffering we experienced.


I got to fish with Travis again and this trip proved to be a little more successful from a catching standpoint.  We both got things started early with an assortment of soft hackles, midges, and even a couple on eggs.  As the day warmed, we started thinking about those sulphurs that the river is famous for.  Rumor had it that the bugs were still coming off in good numbers, and we were determined to get in on the hatch if at all possible.  Finally we found an good unoccupied stretch of water and slipped into the river.  Almost immediately, a few explosive rises alerted us to the possible hatch.  Sure enough, there in the slack water near the banks, a few duns were sitting bravely, trying to figure out what to do now that they were out in the cold air.  The fish were having a great time. 

Cold weather has always produced some phenomenal dry fly action for me.  Hatches are often sparse to non-existent, although any hatch that does happen is a perfect feeding opportunity for the fish.  The cold air makes it harder for the insects to fly away, so instead they sit on the water until something eats them.  This was definitely the case on the South Holston. 


All the sulphur feeding fish I caught came on a Split Case nymph.  I tied a bunch of these up months (maybe even a year or two) ago and proceeded to forget about them.  They came in handy on this day and produced the most consistent action I had all day.  The fly fished well under a generic yellow parachute that vaguely resembled the adults.  I had exactly three rises on the dry the whole time.  Each time I was so surprised that I blew the hookset.  Probably it would be more accurate to say that the cold had slowed my reflexes, and since that makes me look a lot better as a fisherman, I'll go with the second story.  Enough fish wanted the nymph to keep me happy.  For the first time in awhile I quit fishing well before it was too dark to see.  I'll go with the cold story again on that one...




I don't know when I'll get to experience another good hatch.  If all else fails, I'll be in the Smokies for the early hatches in February or March.  In the meantime, I have a big trip to the Grand Canyon at the end of February/first of March to prepare for (yes there will be some fishing involved), and I also need to continue restocking my depleted boxes for the upcoming season.  I'm working on getting out west again this next summer, somehow, someway, and that will require a lot of flies as well as some creativity in raising the funds...  Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana...........time to start tying.......

3 comments:

  1. They have come off later this year then any year I can remember. I am still waiting for the end all be all pattern to convince some those browns to hit a dry with more consistency. Really nice post and great pics.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous2:36 PM

    I can tell I have more to learn about trout but what I do know is I'm lovin it.

    Whitetail Woods Blog / Deer Hunting and Blackpowder Shooting at it’s best.

    ReplyDelete
  3. David,

    It was fun, let me know when you want to go again. I will let you know next time I am planning on hitting the Clinch, and see if you are interested in coming along.

    Also, my wife and I went to the Grand Canyon the first week of March three years ago, and it was stunning. There was snow all along the rim, and they were doing a simulated flood of the Colorado River. I did a lot of fishing destination research before going out there, so let me know if I can be of any assistance.

    ReplyDelete

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