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

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yellowstone: The Fishing

Better late than never right?  I realized that in the rush of teaching this last fall, I never finished posting about Yellowstone.  While I have enough pictures to last for several years of posting, I will keep the old trip reports to a minimum while still telling the rest of the story about Yellowstone.  The fishing was, well, let's just say a little unusual.  The great water last summer meant that my normal late July and early August expectations weren't met but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing! 

My fishing focused mainly on the Gibbon and Trout Lake.  The Gibbon because we camped at Norris and Trout Lake because we took a couple of hikes there for photography purposes.  Convenience was the name of the game.  On a trip where fishing was definitely not a primary goal, I was fortunate to still get out on the water a fair amount.  Early mornings and some late evenings were ideal times to sneak away and fish the upper Gibbon through the meadows by Norris Campground.  The setup was made even sweeter by the fact that we were just entering the prime terrestrial months and the Gibbon contains a healthy population of brown trout (at least for now).

 

Early mornings were spent probing cut banks, deep bend pools, log jams, and any other fishy looking structure for chunky browns.  The best brown of the trip required some effort to catch which is as it should be.  It first showed itself when it flashed out from under an undercut bank about 20 feet below a nice bend pool.  Just before annihilating my fly it must have got a glimpse of me lurking nearby, responding by slamming its mouth shut and vanishing back under the bank.  The next couple of days featured early morning visits back to "the spot," but I failed to get another glimpse of the fish. 

Finally, the time seemed right.  By this time my cousin, his wife, and another friend and his wife had joined us in the next campsite over.  As everyone else was just getting around to thinking about breakfast I announced that I was going to catch that fish.  Having laid it all on the line, I had to endure a gauntlet of good-natured jokes as I headed down to the water, "You mean like you went and caught it yesterday?  Or how about the day before?"  My response was to remind them that I never actually said I was going to catch the fish on those other days. 

With my fishing reputation at stake, I decided to do everything right.  This meant crawling along the stream at least 7-8 feet back from the bank and only raising the rod high enough to toss my offering out.  Finally, right in the deep bend cut 20 feet above the spot where the fish first was spotted, the fish struck.

My fly had just smacked the water when a golden brown flash engulfed the pattern.  On this particular morning breakfast bit back and the fish was soon in my net for the necessary picture so everyone would believe my fish story.  A friend had followed me down and did the honors with my camera. 



Not all fishing featured brown trout.  Even though I love browns, I enjoy catching other trout as well.  One of my favorite locations in Yellowstone is Trout Lake.  The resident rainbows, cutthroat, and cutbows can grow to ridiculous sizes.  Past trips to Trout Lake have resulted in rainbows up to 24 inches being landed.  This past summer that was not meant to happen.  I did see one gargantuan rainbow cruising on one of our forays to the lake, but it was spooky, and I never got a good cast over it. 

The cutthroat were another story.  The inlet was filled with spawning fish and plenty more were stacked up just below in the deep water.  This area is off limits to fishing and rightfully so.  The fish have enough stress to face with the lake's otter population.  There were just enough nice fish out and about cruising the shoreline to keep me interested without making things too easy.  As always, it was not easy to trick one of these fish but when I did it seemed like a bit of an accomplishment.  A float tube would be the best way to fish this lake, but I made do with what I had.


 

The fishing was fun, but the real fun on this trip was the wildlife viewing.  I caught browns, cutthroat, and brook trout which are always a treat but in the end, the trip will be remembered mostly because of the scenery and experience that is Yellowstone. 

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Man i sure wish I was there with you. I truly do enjoy trout fishing and that seems like the place to be.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rick, it is definitely one of the top places to be! If you haven't been I highly recommend taking a trip there...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice Post, Amazing fish.

    ReplyDelete

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