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

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Almost There?

Even a couple of weeks worth of high water on my local tailwater can seem like an eternity.  The last several weeks are starting to seem more like several years.  The last time I was on the Caney was last November.  Since then, the generation has been pretty consistent at over 10,000 cfs.  That's a lot of water no matter which way you look at it.  A few brave souls are still out in boats but most people have been trying other spots.


Now, Center Hill Lake is finally slipping below the magical 630 feet above sea level.  Unfortunately, in the colder months this threshold has little meaning.  Winter pool is much lower than that so while we might start to see TVA cut back on the generation a little, it is doubtful that there will be any wadeable windows any time soon.  The active weather pattern looks like it will continue for the foreseeable future, so it is doubtful that the lake will drop very fast.  In fact, don't be surprised if it spikes up again within the next week or two. 

Thankfully, there are still fish that can be caught.  In fact, when I stopped by the river to take a look a couple of weeks ago, there were fish rising in a very accessible spot.  I doubt I'll be driving 45 minutes to fish a small section of bank, but I can take comfort in the fact that I could if I really wanted to. 

The last few days have awakened the first stirring of spring fever somewhere inside.  Visions of Blue Quills, Little Black Caddis, Quill Gordons, and of course rising trout, have been dancing around in my head in several spare moments.  I find myself staring out the window.  What I'm really seeing is not the dreary sky threatening more rain, but huge hatches with lots of rising trout.  As inspiration grows, I'll be heading to the Smokies searching for fish willing to be force fed in the colder water now flowing.  Some days will be phenomenal with lots of fish out feeding. Other days will be classic winter fishing with tight-lipped trout hugging the bottom, but thankfully those days will soon draw to a close as winter gives way to spring.

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