Guided Trips


Fishing continues to be good to excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee. Delayed harvest streams are also being stocked and fishing well in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.

In the Smokies, fall bugs are in full swing. We have been seeing blue-winged olives almost daily although they will hatch best on foul weather days. They are small, typically running anywhere from #20-#24 although a few larger ones have also shown up. A few Yellow Quills are still hanging on in the mid to high elevation brook trout water although not for long. October caddis (more properly, great autumn sedges) are hatching in good numbers now on the North Carolina side of the Park and just starting on the Tennessee side. Terrestrials still have a place in your fly box as well although they are definitely winding down for the year. Isonychia nymphs, caddis pupa, and BWO nymphs will get it done for your subsurface fishing. Have some October Caddis (#12) and parachute BWO patterns (#18-#22) for dry flies and you should be set. Brook trout are still eating smaller yellow dry flies as well. Not interested in matching the hatch? Then fish a Pheasant Tail nymph under a #14 Parachute Adams. That rig can catch fish year round in the Smokies.

Our tailwaters are still cranking although the Caney is finally starting to come down. I'm hoping to get some type of a report for there soon. Stay tuned for more on that. Fishing will still be slow overall with limited numbers of fish in that particular river unfortunately.

The Clinch is featuring high water as they try to catch up on the fall draw down. All of the recent rainfall set them back in this process but flows are now going up to try and make up some of the time lost. It is still fishing reasonably well on high water although we are holding off for the low water of late fall and early winter as it is one of our favorite times to be on the river.

Smallmouth are about done for the year with the cooler weather we are now experiencing. Our thoughts will be turning to musky soon, however. Once we are done with guide trips for the year, we'll be spending more time chasing these monsters.

In the meantime, we still have a few open dates in November and one or two in October. Feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in a guided trip. Thanks!

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Monday, September 19, 2011

TWRA Changes Proposed

The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency has unveiled its proposal for regulation changes for the upcoming year.  The proposed regulation changes and/or additions seem reasonable, and I can support them.  Over the past 2-3 years TWRA has made tremendous strides in implementing regulations that enhance fisheries across the state and the new changes look to continue that trend.

However, TWRA has a proposed guide license on the table which appears to be completely ridiculous.  It unfairly targets trout guides, the largest number of which are fly fishing guides.  The proposal "was made to consider a fishing guide license only for the following waters: the rivers immediately below Wilbur, Watauga, South Holston, Cherokee, Norris, Appalachian, Tim’s Ford, Center Hill, Dale Hollow, and Normandy dams."  If you fish in the great state of Tennessee, you know that the above listed waters are all of the state's trout tailwaters. 

The justification from TWRA for the proposal is "that a guide license is needed to assist in expenses at TWRA’s state fish hatcheries due to the likely reductions in trout production at federal fish hatcheries in Tennessee, Dale Hollow and Erwin National Fish Hatcheries."  I can understand that people should pay to utilize a resource, but TWRA stocks many other fish species than just trout.  Maybe they already have funding for those hatcheries, but the burden should not be limited to just fishing guides.  Any walleye guides, striper guides, musky guides, etc., should also help shoulder the burden because TWRA stocks those fish as well.  In the end, if a guide license must be introduced, I think all guides should have to purchase a guide license. 

The following is the email I sent to TWRA:

I am writing concerning the proposed fishing guide license. While I don't have a problem really with the concept of a guide license, I do have a problem with TWRA finding just another way to charge their "customers." The main proponents of a guide license do have a good point that a lot of out of state guides are making lots of money off of our state's resources. If that is the real problem, then charge the out of state guides to utilize our resources and in the process, advance local Tennessee business interests which is always a win-win situation.

If the issue really is one of finding funding for the hatcheries, then this is one of the most ridiculous proposals I have seen in a long time. Why is it that you only want to target trout guides? If you implement a guide license, you should require one for ALL fishing guides across the board, regardless of what species they primarily target. I know that TWRA stocks species other than trout, yet there is no mention of a tax on striper guides or musky guides, or any other guides. This is very pointedly directed at trout guides and should never get anywhere close to being implemented.

Additionally, if you really want to make the right people pay for the trout being dumped in our streams, charge an "urban" fishing license fee to cover all the trout that are dumped in various bodies of water throughout the winter to provide "trout fishing" to people who normally do not go to the effort of seeking out these beautiful fish in more natural environments. Every single fish that is stocked in the winter stocking program is doomed to death, either by high temperatures and low dissolved oxygen during the summer or in the frying pans of those who like to catch and keep their fish.

Also you should consider charging catch and keep fisherman a higher license fee (trout stamp, striper stamp, musky stamp, etc...) than all the catch and release anglers. Sure there is some mortality of fish with the catch and release anglers but not nearly as much as if they are killing everything they caught. If I and some of the other excellent anglers I know kept all the big fish we caught on rivers like the Caney Fork, Clinch, and South Holston, then the population of larger fish would soon be decimated.

For full disclosure, I am NOT a guide nor am I associated with any fishing or tackle shops. I do fish with guides on occasion and would hate to see yet another tax burden on them as they try to maintain their livelihood.

Thank you for your time and consideration of my opinions.

If you are interested in contributing your opinions to the decision making process, please contact TWRA at  Please include "Sport Fish Comments" or "Guide License Comments" in the email subject line.  I would encourage everyone to send your comments to TWRA as they are fairly good at listening to public opinion/input. 


  1. David,

    That was my major complaint as well. It seems as if they are targeting only trout fishing guides. I agree that if they are going to charge one type of guide, they should charge them all. I would almost guarantee that the bass guides working Dale Hollow and Kentucky Lake are raking in the money. Not to mention all the striper guides all across the state...

  2. Your point is well stated, but do the Federal (USFWS) hatcheries have anything to do with walleye, stripers, musky, bass, etc.? If they don't then I can understand fully why trout guides are specifically targeted.
    I have to agree, they're should be a C&R license at a lesser fee than a harvest license. That's something that I think is long overdue.

  3. Jay,

    To my knowledge most of the hatcheries in question do not produce anything other than trout although not sure about the musky. My point is that if TWRA is losing federal dollars from part of their budget, then they should redistribute their budget evenly across all fisheries and let all users of the state's resources pick up the rest of the tab.

    David Knapp



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