Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 12/3/2019

Winter fishing is nearly upon us. Snow yesterday has given way to falling water temperatures in the Smokies. In general, fish will be hunkered down, although by tomorrow they should start to get more active again as temperatures warm. For the next three months, expect many more fish in the slower places in the Park. Think nymphs and maybe streamers but don't be surprised to find fish rising to blue-winged olives or midges on some days.

On tailwaters like the Clinch, brown trout and some fall spawn rainbows are doing their thing. This is a good time to review good ethics when it comes to spawning trout. Remember that these are the next generation of trout and the best thing you can do is to leave them alone. Avoid wading through spawning areas and don't fish for obvious spawners. For the foreseeable future, we should have high water thanks to big rains this last weekend. Fishing out of the drift boat will be very good through the winter with both nymphing and streamer fishing a distinct possibility. Want to swing for the fences and go for just one monster? Streamers will just get better and better going into January and February.

The Caney is slowly coming around. A few shad are coming through the dam, but lingering water quality problems are limiting the fishing. Winter streamer floats will produce shots at larger brown trout for anglers willing to work hard. Next spring should bring good fishing again.

Winter is our favorite time to get on the musky streams. In between bouts of high water, those will be fishing well for the next few months.

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

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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