Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/17/2017

Fishing is excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park now. We have had a couple of shots of rain the last week and a half which has helped keep the streams flowing strong for this time of year. The cool overnight temperatures will get the brown and brook trout seriously thinking about spawning. Please be careful this time of year and avoid walking on fine sand and gravel in riffles and tailouts. Leave the spawning trout alone so they can do their thing. When you find brook or brown trout that aren't spawning, they are aggressive and looking to feed. Recent guide trips on brook trout waters have been anywhere from good to excellent. Streams with rainbows and browns have been excellent as well. There are good numbers of fish to be caught in the Park right now!

A variety of bugs have been hatching lately. On cloudy days, Blue-winged Olives have hatched along with some other small mayflies. Various caddis, including the Great Autumn Brown Sedges (often referred to as October Caddis by locals) are hatching and provide a nice bite for the trout. Little Black stoneflies are hatching as well. Fish are eating both dry fly and nymph imitations and even still hitting some terrestrials. Don't forget your beetle, ant, and inchworm fly box. A Parachute Adams or Yellow or Orange Stimulator should work well for a dry fly. Smaller bead head Pheasant Tail nymphs should work as a dropper. Caddis pupa are also catching a lot of fish as are stonefly nymphs.

On the Caney Fork, things have been tough lately. The river has been running warmer than is normal this time of year because of heavy generation earlier this year and also with a stain due to the sluice gate operations. Work has been underway to install vented turbines on the generators and they have been working to try and tweak them to improve dissolved oxygen. One day, we were floating and they were checking the DO and found it at 1.5 ppm. If I remember correctly, the minimum target is 6 ppm. Obviously 1.5 is way too low. Trout were sitting along the banks and in back eddies gasping for oxygen. Hopefully all of this won't have too much of a long term effect on the fishery, but needless to say, things are a bit difficult as of right now. Cooler weather should help. Once the lake turns over, oxygen and clarity will improve quickly.

The Clinch River has been fishing well if you can hit it on low water days. Small nymphs and midges will get the job done here.

Smallmouth bass are about done for the year, but we will be back out on the musky streams again soon looking for the toothy critters. This is tough fishing, but the rewards can be sizable.

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

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. 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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