Rain. Temps in the 30s and low 40s. Camping. Not normally a recipe for good camping, some friends and I decided to battle the elements as we were all free this past weekend. We wanted to do a long hike in preparation for a trip to the Grand Canyon in another couple of weeks. Amazingly, despite the bleak forecast, the weather actually turned out very well. Friday night featured just some very light drizzle that quit once we set up camp. Saturday turned out to be partly cloudy which meant we had some great views once we got to the higher elevations.
For the most part the camera stayed in its case. The light was a little weak, and I knew that the pictures I stored in my mind were much better than anything my camera could accomplish. Our hike took us up the Anthony Creek Trail out of Cades Cove to the Bote Mountain Trail. Ascending up to the AT, we then took a right turn and headed west for three miles. In the process we took in views from Spence Field and Russell Field. Our route back down was the Russell Field Trail which connected to the Anthony Creek trail. Several hours and close to 15 miles later, we were back in camp, all a little sore, but everyone agreed that the hike was well worth it.
Sunday I planned to do a little fishing. The morning dawned overcast and stayed that way up until we headed out of the Cove. I was excited because the low light conditions increased the odds that some large browns would be out feeding. Sadly, as we drove back down Laurel Creek Road towards Little River, the clouds thinned and soon broke completely. The day turned out beautiful but not so good for fishing. I still managed some small rainbows and even got a 14 inch brown to come attempt to eat. Unfortunately I set the hook too early and missed out on pictures of the nice fish.
Hopefully I will be out fishing again soon, most likely on the Caney Fork this next weekend. This is the time of year to be fishing streamers as much as possible on the tailwaters and I'll probably try to do that some...with a little luck, the big guys might come out and play...
UPDATE: 9/12/2016 Smokies Fly Fishing Report -- Current Hatches: Isonychias (aka Slate Drake or Mahogany Dun), Mahogany Duns (Paraleptophlebia), Little Yellow Stoneflies, Golden Stoneflies, Tan and Cinnamon Caddis, inch worms, beetles, and ants. Some cooler weather has been helping conditions in the Smokies. Nighttime lows are falling enough to keep the lower elevations close to fishable. Probably give them another week though and then it will be game on. Fish are eating fairly well. Yesterday's Little River Outfitters Day 2 School was successful with all of my students catching fish even with the low water conditions.
Caney Fork Fly Fishing Report: Our floats continue to churn out some really nice trout. See some of the recent blog entries below for more on that. I have some availability if you are looking for a guided trip so contact me about a float or wade trip if you want to enjoy this fishing at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com or call/text (931) 261-1884.
Clinch River Fishing Report: Flows are mostly up so heavy deep nymphing or streamer fishing will be the way to go during periods of generation. Look for fish eating terrestrials along the banks and especially in areas of soft water. On low water, think midges and long fine leaders. Dark seems to be the color although both dark and silver beads are working on the midges. I recommend strike indicators with hooks in them on low water. Last week I caught my best fish on a #14 Yellow Stimulator that was serving as my strike indicator.
Holston River: Give this river a break on the trout sections until next winter. Water temperatures on most of the trout water are elevated and fishing now will stress these beautiful fish.
Cumberland Plateau Fishing Report: Smallmouth bass fishing is good but the water is low. We have another week or two of warmer temperatures before the final turn towards cooler weather begins. Both topwater bugs and subsurface offerings are getting it done. Before we know it, the cooler weather of fall will have us chasing muskie again as well!