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, March 30, 2011

Stalking Risers

Spring in the Smokies is for rising trout.  Usually this means lots of 4"-10" rainbows with a few browns thrown in the mix.  Yesterday I had some business in Knoxville so as soon as I finished, the Park started calling my name.  The sunny skies and warmer temperatures had me dreaming of big hatches and even larger trout.  Large browns do not rise freely to insects very often, especially in the freestone streams of east Tennessee, but if you are going to catch one on a dry then spring is the time to do it. 

When I first arrived at the stream, there were good numbers of Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, and even some Hendricksons mixed in as well as a huge midge hatch.  Several fish were rising, but I was after larger game.  I spent a lot of the afternoon simply looking for large browns.  Some time was spent simply covering water with a dry or double nymph rig and I scored a few decent fish this way as well.  Several very nice fish were out feeding, but it wasn't until late in the day that I struck gold.


I was creeping along the bank of a nice pool when I noticed a dark shadow float to the surface to take an insect.  It was so unexpected that I almost ignored it, but thankfully my fisherman's instinct kicked in and I froze.  Thankfully the fish hadn't seen me, and I watched from behind the cover of a large tree trunk as the fish moved back and forth in the lazy current, rising occasionally to pluck something from the surface.  I checked the rest of the pool to make sure I wasn't missing something larger before returning to sit on the bank and observe the nice fish.  The brown was still there and another slightly smaller fish had moved in behind to feed as well. 

After considering my options and observing the fish, I carefully tied on a dry and crept down the bank to within 15 feet of the fish.  Stripping several feet of line off the reel, I carefully made two false casts and then dropped the fly gently above the fish.  For a second nothing happened.  Then the fish moved and began its ascent through the water column as my heart started pounding.  For an agonizing second (or was it an eternity?), the fish stared hard at the fly and then confidently inhaled my offering. 

As soon as I raised the rod tip, I knew I had a solid hook set and a good chance at landing the fish.  What I hadn't counted on was the fish going aerial.  My heart sunk as the fish repeatedly took to the air, but soon it grew tired, and I confidently raised its head prior to netting. After a couple of pictures, I cradled the fish gently in the current while it regained its energy before heading for a rock to hide under. 

At this point my day was perfect, and I couldn't ask for anything more.  I did spot another good fish, but finally decided to just head home and let the other fish in the stream feed in peace for that day.

 

8 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:06 PM

    What a great looking fish! When are going to come try some saltwater? Kevin Thomas

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  2. Kevin,

    Man great to hear from you. I was wondering just last week what you are up to these days... Going to be in FL for awhile still?

    David Knapp

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  3. Always good stories. Keeps the readers adrenaline flowing. Nice when you can work, then hit the creek.

    Mark

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  4. great fish. always fun to sneak up on them like that

    dustin

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Wow that is a beauty of a Brown. That header picture is like a Utopia. I live in Wisconsin and I am always searching for nice holes. I would love to stumble onto that hole coming up around a bend. I will have to plan a trip to Tennessee sooner than later... Great Blog and the pics are awesome!
    Crouchin Low and Tight Lines!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous8:07 PM

    Looks like I will be here a few years. I caught quite a few spanish on the fly last Saturday. Heading back out this weekend. I've got a flats boat and a couple 8wts. Come down sometime! Kevin Thomas

    ReplyDelete

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