Guided Trips


Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

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...


  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

  2. beautiful looking fish

  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.




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