Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 12/3/2019

Winter fishing is nearly upon us. Snow yesterday has given way to falling water temperatures in the Smokies. In general, fish will be hunkered down, although by tomorrow they should start to get more active again as temperatures warm. For the next three months, expect many more fish in the slower places in the Park. Think nymphs and maybe streamers but don't be surprised to find fish rising to blue-winged olives or midges on some days.

On tailwaters like the Clinch, brown trout and some fall spawn rainbows are doing their thing. This is a good time to review good ethics when it comes to spawning trout. Remember that these are the next generation of trout and the best thing you can do is to leave them alone. Avoid wading through spawning areas and don't fish for obvious spawners. For the foreseeable future, we should have high water thanks to big rains this last weekend. Fishing out of the drift boat will be very good through the winter with both nymphing and streamer fishing a distinct possibility. Want to swing for the fences and go for just one monster? Streamers will just get better and better going into January and February.

The Caney is slowly coming around. A few shad are coming through the dam, but lingering water quality problems are limiting the fishing. Winter streamer floats will produce shots at larger brown trout for anglers willing to work hard. Next spring should bring good fishing again.

Winter is our favorite time to get on the musky streams. In between bouts of high water, those will be fishing well for the next few months.

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Creekin'

Back on the water, I've moved away from the tailwater trout and onto small stream panfish and bass.  The smallies are really active now as well as all manner of sunfish.  I've been on multiple Cumberland Plateau bluelines lately both here around Crossville and down towards Chattooga.  The next three months will provide some of the best fishing these streams have to offer.

As far as gear, I normally fish a fast-action 9' 4wt rod.  Two weeks ago I fished a St. Croix Legend Ultra on the creeks near Chattanooga.  This past Friday I was fishing a prototype rod from James Marsh.  Both times I had my old, battle-worn Orvis Battenkill reel with a four weight Rio line.  The important thing is that you choose a rod capable of throwing anything from little beetles or ants to small clousers and wooly buggers.  Any reel and floating line will do for this type of fishing.  Generally the fish aren't picky although they can be a bit spooky at times when the water starts to get low. 

Last Friday, I fished a local creek that is flowing well above seasonal norms due to all the rain we have had lately.  The fish was slow at first, mainly because I was unused to fishing with the higher water conditions.  Once I tied on the correct fly and figured out where the fish were, it was game on! 

I probably caught in the neighborhood of 30 fish in a couple of hours give or take although I can never truly keep an accurate count of how many fish I catch.  Catching fish is one of those bonuses to any fishing excursion, and I try to keep my definition of success at least somewhat detached from the number of fish caught.  Still, its always nice to come back and tell everyone that I caught more fish than I could count or remember. 

My dad came along just to hang out and take a few pictures of the scenery.  It is always nice to have someone around while fishing, at least most of the time.  It is hard to juggle the camera and the fish without causing undue stress to the fish although definitely possible.  Having someone else along just simplifies the whole process. 

David H. Knapp Photo 



I didn't end up taking many pictures.  Most of the fish were on the small side as is normally the case on these streams.  Thats not to say that large fish aren't around, just that they don't show up on the end of my line very often.  This week looks like it will contain minimal fishing.  I'll be tying for myself and filling a couple of fly orders as well.  The following week is shaping up like a possible backpacking opportunity.  I'm thinking along the lines of big brown trout, but we'll see what happens...

6 comments:

  1. I hear you about catching as a bonus.

    Pretty fish!

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  2. Beautiful fish. I love chasing smallies and red eyed rock bass. They are both my two favorite fish. It really doesn't matter the size for them as they are both great fighting fish. I can also appreciate the small stream setting. This is probably my favorite type of water to fish. I can't wait to see how you do for the rest of the season. Nice work and nice post.

    Jeff

    J & M Flies

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jeff,

    I'm learning to enjoy these fish more and more every year. It helps that they are so accessible. I'll definitely be heading out again soon to catch someo more of these amazing fish!

    David Knapp

    ReplyDelete
  4. David,

    Glad to hear that you are appreciating them more. They really are great fish. I cut my teeth on brookies in small mountain streams but switched to the smallies and red eyed rocks when I learned how they fight and about the top water action.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sounds like a great trip. My father and I did the same just last week.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice post, I just got into some smallies this last weekend. It was probably my most productive smallie day ever. They were all on the small side too. If you'd like to see pics. Check out my blog.
    http://fishwithkev.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete

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