Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 12/3/2019

Winter fishing is nearly upon us. Snow yesterday has given way to falling water temperatures in the Smokies. In general, fish will be hunkered down, although by tomorrow they should start to get more active again as temperatures warm. For the next three months, expect many more fish in the slower places in the Park. Think nymphs and maybe streamers but don't be surprised to find fish rising to blue-winged olives or midges on some days.

On tailwaters like the Clinch, brown trout and some fall spawn rainbows are doing their thing. This is a good time to review good ethics when it comes to spawning trout. Remember that these are the next generation of trout and the best thing you can do is to leave them alone. Avoid wading through spawning areas and don't fish for obvious spawners. For the foreseeable future, we should have high water thanks to big rains this last weekend. Fishing out of the drift boat will be very good through the winter with both nymphing and streamer fishing a distinct possibility. Want to swing for the fences and go for just one monster? Streamers will just get better and better going into January and February.

The Caney is slowly coming around. A few shad are coming through the dam, but lingering water quality problems are limiting the fishing. Winter streamer floats will produce shots at larger brown trout for anglers willing to work hard. Next spring should bring good fishing again.

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: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

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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