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

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Went Fishing, Got Cold, Caught a Few

Some people quit fishing through the cold months of the year, and that's just fine with me.  Getting out on the stream with little to no competition is a special experience, especially somewhere like the Smoky Mountains.  After the mad days of spring, summer, and fall, wandering up and down Little River and maybe seeing two other anglers is a refreshing change of pace. 

Yesterday, I headed for the mountains to meet my buddy Travis from the Fishing Fanatic.  We try to fish a few times a year, but often getting our schedules to match up can be a little tricky.  Despite the cold weather, we decided to fish no matter what.  Our original plan involved the South Holston but TVA's generation schedule has been a little strange to say the least.  Plan B was to head for the freestone streams of the Smokies.

After exploring our options, we finally settled on a good pool that always has a few willing fish.  A smattering of midges were hatching so I suggested to Travis that he start out with some type of nymph (preferably a stonefly) and a midge as a dropper.  From a good vantage point above the water, everything appeared to be completely dead at first glance.  However, our patience was rewarded and we soon saw fish moving around on the bottom.  The water was frigid but fish still have to eat, and they were moving around quite a bit.

Travis completed his setup with some split shot and moved into position while I stayed put so I could spot fish.  After a few casts, he was getting a perfect drift each time.  Eventually the inevitable happened and his indicator dove under.  Soon a beautiful wild rainbow was brought to hand, and I snapped a quick picture to prove we really did go fishing.  Some people have a hard time believing that I fish in such weather so pictures are always helpful.


We fished that pool awhile longer with Travis catching some more fish.  Finally we decided to head downstream to try another spot or two.  I picked up a nice rainbow at another favorite spot before we called it a day.  For as much time as we were out, neither of us actually fished a ton.  We both spent a good amount of time looking for nicer fish.  None of the better fish we saw were in a good spot to fish to so we left them without harassing them. 

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