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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cicadas

Have you ever gone fishing knowing that a certain hatch might be on, and yet remaining pathetically unprepared because you just didn't get around to tying a few patterns up?  I've been known to suffer from this affliction a time or two, the most recent happening just yesterday.  A particular brood of 13 year cicadas is emerging across a large portion of Tennessee as we move into the summer.  There is a certain little lake near Cookeville that I like to fish occasionally, and the last time I was down there the cicadas were definitely hatching.

The noise was so obvious on the drive to the lake that I didn't even need to get out of my car before I knew with certainty that the cicadas were out in force.  In fact, as I wandered through the woods around the lake, the noise was deafening.  I wondered if a person could go insane from the bedlam but then quickly moved to the more positive line of thought involving fish hammering big dries. 

Then I remembered that I had intended to tie some new cicada patterns, but in all the hurry that we call life I had forgotten.  At this point I began a ritual that is, for me at least, frighteningly familiar.  It involves digging through box after box of flies in the vane hope that I stashed a cicada in some obscure corner of a fly box normally reserved for a completely different type of pattern.  As my options dwindled, I kept returning to the box that held my extended body salmonfly patterns from a couple of years ago when I chased this hatch around Colorado as well as in Yellowstone National Park.  One fly in particular stood out to me.  Instead of tying it with the usual orange foam, I had used black foam with orange thread to provide the segmented look.  Realizing it was my best option at the moment, I tied it on and began stalking fish cruising the shallows. 

The first two fish I cast over did not like the shadows darting overhead and headed for the sanctuary of deeper water.  The next fish was not as intelligent and promptly slammed the salmonfly posing as a cicada.  After a couple of quick pictures I moved on, catching a few more bass and some bluegill and redear before reeling in to change flies. 

Catherine McGrath Photograph

Sometimes, when the catching aspect of the game is particularly successful, I start to wonder if the fish would hit any other patterns.  This thought process initiated, it didn't take long before I reeled in to change flies.  Surprisingly, the fish weren't entirely dumb.  Other normally solid patterns did not produce as well and it was obvious that the fish really were starting to prefer the juicy morsels that occasionally ended up in the water. 

Catherine McGrath Photograph

During the course of the afternoon, it was not entirely lost on me that I was just catching bait in the overall scheme of things.  Three times, the water nearby erupted with small baitfish fleeing for their lives as a dark torpedo materialized below.  These big bass got me wondering if maybe I shouldn't bring my float tube next time to really fish the lake properly.  But then, is size really that important?  Shouldn't I just be content catching plenty of fish on big dries? 

Now that I know how important the cicada really was to the success of the trip, I will probably tie a few up in my spare time.  In fact, it's entirely possible that I will get carried away and tie more than I possibly need.  In the end, this works out just fine.  I'll probably end up fishing with a buddy that had the same problem I had, knowing he needs a few cicadas but just didn't take the time to tie any.  When that happens, I'll open my box and ask, "Want to try one of these?" 

Catherine McGrath Photograph

Catherine McGrath Photograph

1 comment:

  1. David
    Nice largemouth, did you try any hoppers, or tiny poppers. The reason I am asking is a friend of my son-in-law in Franklin used the hopper in the place of the Cicadas and landed some nice bass. Great Post.

    ReplyDelete

Newsletter

Subscribe to the Trout Zone Anglers Newsletter!

* indicates required