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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Winter!

Winter has blown in with a convincing dusting of snow and frigid winds.  This morning I woke up to a beautiful dusting of wet snow that stuck to all the trees.  The ground itself was largely too warm still for anything to stick to it resulting in a beautiful sight:  lush green grass still carpets my yard while the trees wear a frosty coating. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

High Water

High water is the theme across middle Tennessee today.  Rivers like the Caney Fork are high and look to remain that way for an extended amount of time.  Upstream, Great Falls Reservoir is dumping a lot of water right now, like 59,398 cfs and still rising.  All that water will end up downstream in Center Hill Lake which means it will eventually will come on down through the tailwater section. 

The Cumberland Plateau region and much of east Tennessee is under a flood warning as many small streams have burst their banks.  Needless to say, fishing will be on the back burner for a while as water levels return to normal.  The exception to this will be with the anglers chasing large fish.  For those in the know, this might be one of the best times to chase a trophy.

If you can, get out there and throw streamers!  You just might tie into the fish of a lifetime...

Mountain Water

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Epic Campfire

Last week, I got out for a one night camping trip that was supposed to be the start of a several day adventure.  Well, plans change and I ended up cancelling the backpacking portion of the trip due to some unexpected extenuating circumstances.  The campfire was epic enough to count for 3 nights worth of camping though.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Evening on the River

Stripers Everywhere!!!

The recent heavy rain across Tennessee (at least by normal fall standards) has increased generation releases on area tailwaters.  That means that the rivers that host stripers are killer right now if you want to chase the big fish.  I have seen nice fish on several rivers but the action won't last too long.  Once the water temperatures drop enough the stripers will migrate downstream to calmer waters for the winter.  At that point, varous steam plants across the state will come into focus as striper hot spots. 

All the fish I've caught lately have come on my PB&J shad streamer.  This fly continues to produce well for stripers and also pulls in walleye, largemouth bass, catfish, white bass, hybrids, drum, and just about anything else I throw it at.  The following striper was caught fairly recently and ran about 130 feet before slowing down.  After the initial run, it turned around and ran straight at me all the way to my feet!  Talk about a smart fish...thankfully the hookset was solid, and after a good fight, I was able to get a couple of pictures of the nice fish. 

Joe Mcgroom Photograph 

Joe Mcgroom Photograph

Friday, November 11, 2011

Having Fun


I never realized how much I enjoy having a nice DSLR around, but ever since the mishap a couple of months ago, it has become much more apparent that I really enjoy taking pictures.  Recently, a friend loaned me their camera for an afternoon, and I had a blast just messing around outside my house.  Here are a couple of the results. 


Monday, November 07, 2011

Ever Fish Lees Ferry?

Or anywhere on the Colorado for that matter?  If you have every fished Lees Ferry or the Colorado River downstream, the National Park Service is currently drafting its Glen Canyon Dam Long Term Experimental and Management Environmental Impact Statement.

Over the past few years, the Park Service has been working more and more to restore native species wherever possible.  In the Colorado River, this means trying to reverse the decline of the humpback chub to the detriment of the rainbow and brown trout in this amazing fishery.  Unfortunately, the problem with using means to remove the trout is that it completely ignores the fact that the Colorado River is an environment forever altered by Glen Canyon Dam. These fish would be struggling regardless of whether or not trout are in the river, because they are not used to the water chemistry and temperature now constantly flowing through the Grand Canyon.

As the EIS is being formulated, the public is encouraged to send in comments to help shape the document.  I have already sent in mine, obviously in support of the wild trout.  If Glen Canyon Dam was going to be removed, then I would not have a problem with managing the river for native species.  However, the fish that are flourishing are perfectly adapted to the new conditions.  Killing all the wild fish won't alter the fact that they are best suited to the cold clean water now flowing through the Canyon.

If you have ever enjoyed fishing or hope to fish Lees Ferry or the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon someday, I hope you will take a minute to send in your comments on this to the NPS.  Just let them know that you care about wild trout and that the environment is the problem for the native species, not the trout.

North Carolina Gold

While out walking a stream this weekend, I came across a slab of gold in a nice run.  The fish was actively feeding, but I ended up spooking it without a hookup.  Yesterday was a different story.  The fish fell for a caddis pupa...

Tyson Musgrave Photograph

Tyson Musgrave Photograph

Friday, November 04, 2011

Heading Out

This weekend is dedicated to fishing the Smokies.  I'll be camping with a bunch of friends and doing a fair amount of fishing over the next couple of days.  Stay tuned for an update on how the fishing is in the mountains...

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