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, 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. 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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