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

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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