Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/08/2019

In the Smokies, fishing has been good to great with unseasonably mild temperatures. With colder weather in store over the next couple of days, expect the fishing to drop off a bit. In other words, things will be more like normal winter fishing conditions in the short term. At some point we expect winter to return for real as well, but time will tell on that one.

On the tailwaters, we are dealing with massive amounts of water with no end in sight. The Caney Fork and Clinch Rivers are both rolling at very high levels. While a few fish can certainly be found on each of these, there are safer and better places to catch a few trout. The one bit of good news here? The reservoirs seem to be mostly falling now so somewhere down the road we might get better flows again.

Musky fishing should be starting to turn on. Flows are starting to drop into what we consider to be the sweet spot on our favorite rivers. Check back for more on this as we have time to get out on the water.

Photo of the Month: Cold Weather Jaws

Photo of the Month: Cold Weather Jaws

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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