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

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

"There he is!"

Stalking and sight casting to trout is my favorite aspect of the sport of fly fishing.  Some days I would rather spend my time looking for fish instead of casting.  Once a fish has been sighted, the real fun starts as a plan must be developed.  That includes figuring out the best position to cast from, what cast to use, deciding what the fish is eating, what imitation will work, and finally putting everything together.  Sometimes it turns out much easier.

Recently, I was fishing a Smokies stream with my buddy Joe McGroom.  We were hunting brown trout which had finished spawning a couple of weeks prior to our trip.  This time of year they are hungry and willing to eat a properly presented fly.  I had a wooly bugger with a small dropper tied on ready to fish in the hope that the hungry fish would not be very picky. 

As we moved up the stream, the fish were noticeably absent from the places we expected them.  Usually this time of year, the fish have moved into the deeper holes and slower runs, but can often be sighted in their favorite feeding lies.  Despite our expectations, only a few fish had been found out feeding.  We had walked about a mile and a half of stream and only spotted 3-4 fish up to 17 inches.  Joe had only landed two small fish, and I had barely even cast but we were covering a lot of water and knew that eventually we would start finding fish. 

We were taking turns walking in the lead.  I had just moved up to take the lead and was stalking slowly up the edge of the stream when I caught a flash of brown.  A nice brown was in the middle of one of the better runs.  Immediately I froze.  Joe crowded up behind, peering into the stream as I exlaimed, "There he is!" 

"Where?" was his reply.  I was already stripping line from my reel.  "Right there" I said as I dropped the flies 12 inches upstream of fish.  Immediately it nailed the bugger, and I raised the rodtip.  Joe didn't have much trouble seeing the fish as it tore around the stream trying to throw the fly.  Soon I landed the fish and posed for a quick picture.  The fish taped out at 15 inches which definitely isn't a monster, but at the same time was one of the most memorable fish I've caught this year.
Joe McGroom Photograph 

 Joe McGroom Photograph

Later in the day I hooked another fish that would probably have gone an inch or two longer.  This fish nailed the same fly as the first and went ballistic once hooked.  Oddly though, after what felt like a good solid hookset, the fish simply threw the fly after about 3 seconds.  I was left staring at its rapidly vanishing shadow which moved into a column of bubbles and disappeared for good. 

I've had days on the stream where only one fish would have been really disappointing, but I felt a sense of accomplishment at the end of this day...its not just about how many you catch that counts...

3 comments:

  1. David,

    Great post, and nice Brown! I know what you mean about how it isn't always the number of fish that counts--I personally prefer quality over quantity, and a cagey older trout or two found, approached, and successfully fooled usually makes my day.

    Iain

    ReplyDelete
  2. A wild 15 inch brownie may not be some folks idea of a "monster" but in the SE (on wild water) that's a very nice trout indeed! Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks guys! That fish definitely made the trip...

    ReplyDelete

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