Guided Trips


Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

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...


  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.


  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!

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



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