Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/22/2020

High flows continue across the area but trends are definitely down. A recent cold snap broke the ongoing heatwave so fishing in the mountains has slowed dramatically. Right on schedule, some of our tailwaters should begin returning to more normal flows for this time of year meaning float trips are certainly possible.

For the Smokies, a warming trend should commence as we go into next week. By mid week the fishing should be decent before the next cold front returns us back to winter again. On warmer days, look for midges and possibly winter stoneflies hatching. Some blue-winged olives will be possible on foul weather days as we head towards February. The best fishing is still a few weeks out, but no longer feels like an eternity. Expect good spring hatches to start in late February or early March with blue quills and quill gordons along with little black caddis and early brown and black stones. By April, things will be settling down with the pinnacle of spring fishing usually happening from mid April through the month of May.

On our area tailwaters, high water continues to be the story. The Caney Fork still has at least a couple of weeks of high flows and that is assuming we don't get any more heavy rainfall. This time of year, that is asking a lot. The high water is good for one thing, however. Shad. Yes, the cold months are prime time to try and hit the famed shad kill and catch a monster brown trout. Same thing goes for the Clinch.

Speaking of the Clinch, the good news is that flows are scheduled to begin dropping tomorrow. A steady two generators will feel like low water after the recent period of two generators plus sluicing. Two generators opens up some nymphing possibilities in addition to our favorite winter pastime, stripping streamers for monsters.

The musky streams are settling into fine shape and will be an option moving forward as well. Remember that bouts of high water will get them stained or even muddy for a few days, but as flows come down the fishing should pick back up.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Monday, October 24, 2011

Big Rainbows on Small Dry Flies

This past weekend, I was able to get away for a float trip with David Perry.  We wanted to check on how the Caney was fairing.  While some people were looking for spawning browns, we took a different approach and looked for big fish chasing streamers early while the water was high.  Rainbows are really feeding heavily right now in preparation for the colder months ahead. 

Early in the float, I had just switched to one of my favorite streamers, a Stacked Blond (super easy to tie as well), when a nice little brown of about 16 inches slammed the streamer about two strips into the retrieve.  After a brief fight in which the fish was no match for my 7 weight rod and 12 lb. tippet, we quickly netted him, took a couple of pictures, and watched the first score of the day swim off into the now receding flows. 


Continuing down the river, we eventually started fishing the nymph rods, picking up the odd brookie or rainbow.  However, the best fishing was still to come.  As it got later in the day, the fish started to look to the surface for the increasingly heavy midge hatch that also had a few caddis thrown in.  Lots of fish started to rise as the sun drifted lower in the sky.


Finally, that moment all good fly fisherman are looking for arrived.  A pod of big risers was located.  The drift boat was maneuvered ever so carefully into position, and we began probing the water and switching patterns until the magic fly was discovered.  I didn't have the pattern I wanted as I haven't been tying midge dries lately.  Now is the time to change that problem because David Perry did have the right pattern and his reward was large!  A big rainbow sipped the fly ever so gently.  The next few moments were tense as the big fish ran straight for a big log, veering up and over it at the last second into open water.  Finally the beautiful fish was in open water, and I backed the drifter over to the shallows for a couple of pictures.

 


After releasing the beast, we continued through the deepening shadows, picking up another fish or two on the dry patterns.  I got back on the streamer rod, missing a couple of half-hearted hits.  Finally we got off the water just as night was conquering the last gleams of light.  This was definitely one of the best days on the water since the cicada hatch last spring.  These are the types of days that keep bringing us back in search of that next big fish...

3 comments:

  1. That's a nice little fly in the rainbow's lower jaw! It is reminiscent of an old and ancient fly we use in England called "the Grey Duster"...

    Regular Rod

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous5:22 PM

    beautiful looking fish

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi David.
    Wonder how a Thinmint would work on the Caney? If you can't find any, send me your address and I'll mail you a couple.

    Mark

    mkautz@volcano.net

    ReplyDelete

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