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

Monday, January 23, 2012

Searching

Fishing can be a real task sometimes, especially when the fish are being selective or when they are hard to locate.  With wild fish we expect refusals, breakoffs, and sometimes they are even difficult to find.  Stockers are another thing.  Normally they eat anything and then fight half-heartedly for a few seconds before rolling over and being brought to hand. 
Yesterday I went searching for some stocked rainbows in a nearby lake.  Occasionally in the cold months, I will take advantage of the local stockers more out of curiousity than anything else.  My standard pattern is a smallish bead head Simi Seal Leech.  Once I catch a couple I start to experiment.  Afterall, it is a little interesting to find out a list of things trout will hit when they are dumb enough, nevermind that some people don't even count these stockers as worthy of the name trout. 

The standard procedure is pretty much to find a place where I can cast and start stripping the fly anywhere from just under the surface to really deep.  If the fish are around that normally will pick up a few.  When I arrived on the water, the lower end of the lake was heavily stained, some would even say muddy.  My hopes for good fishing began to dwindle when I had an idea.  This trip was going to require a little more searching than I normally would do.

Walking along the trail, I enjoyed the cool fresh air.  The breeze was light and the temperature in the low 50s felt a lot more like late fall or early spring, definitely not the middle of January.  A quick stop to stick my hand in the lake jolted me back to reality.  The water was definitely cold so any hope of picking up a few bluegill was fading quickly.  As I continued along the upper end of the lake, I had a very specific spot in mind.  When I was almost there, I heard the type of splash that can only be a fish.

 
Quickly searching the water before the ripples vanished, I located the fish.  It was hanging in the current as I was now in an area where the lake narrowed to the receive the creek that was its main water source.  Another fish soon made its presence known, and I set about finding a good spot to cast from.  The first three casts were a little short of my intended target but the fourth one was perfect, and soon I saw a small trout appear out of the off-color creek water to nail the leech pattern.  Now I was glad that I brought my rarely fished 3 weight.  The fish fought much better than it would have on anything heavier and the rod is so light that it feels like I'm fishing with nothing at all. 

After landing the trout, I stood up and aimlessly flicked my fly back out into the creek in preparation for another real cast.  Immediately another fish flew up to hit it and it was game on.  This time, I worked the fish in close and then left it in the water while I got the camera out.  Some of my friends question whether or not I really catch fish as often as I claim so I document a catch every now and then, even if it really isn't very noteworthy.  These rainbows were all looking pretty healthy.  Their fins had mostly grown back and while they are still a bit pale, that should all change by the time the spring hatches really kick into high gear.

 
About this time I started to wonder what were the fish actually rising to.  Have you ever been out fishing only to realize that you have no idea what the fish are really up to?  My first guess of midges proved to be the correct one.  It was more of an educated guess than anything and it took me a little while before I actually noticed the tiny light gray insects on the surface of the water and occasionally flying by.  Thankfully, the fish were still uneducated enough that I didn't need any 7x and #28 dry flies, and occasionally its nice to fish for something a little less demanding.

In the end, I landed a total of 4 little rainbows, all of which put an admirable bend in the 3 weight.  The search for fish was over, but ironically it was not my eyes but my ears which originally located the fish.

I'm thinking more and more about the Smokies.  Every time I close my eyes I can see insects drifting lazily down the current as trout rise enthusiastically to spring's bounty.  The next few weeks will include a lot of tying in preparation for the spring, but also will probably feature at least one or two trips to the Park to explore the streams in winter.   

4 comments:

  1. Nice story! It's always fun with some trout action. Especially using light gear and actually having to look for the fish. Sometimes stocked fish have to substitute the wild trout even if the latter one is perferred.
    Have fun preparing for the spring,
    M.O.

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  2. I enjoyed reading about your outing and look further for more.

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  3. Since I've been a follower for a couple of years, your friends can take Shoreman's word that you ARE catching fish on a regular basis. You can send the money now.

    Mark

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  4. Thanks guys for reading!

    Mark, I'll have the check in the mail as soon as I have a phone number so my friends can call you for confirmation!

    ReplyDelete

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