Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 11/1/2018

Fishing is good in the Smokies and other mountain streams if you can catch it on a day where the wind is minimal. Otherwise, expect lots of leaves in the water for the next few days. Delayed harvest streams are also being stocked and fishing well in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.

In the Smokies, fall bugs are in full swing. We have been seeing blue-winged olives almost daily although they will hatch best on foul weather days. They are small, typically running anywhere from #20-#24 although a few larger ones have also shown up. A few October Caddis are still around as well. Terrestrials are close to being done for the year although we are still seeing a few bees and hornets near the stream. Isonychia nymphs, caddis pupa, and BWO nymphs will get it done for your subsurface fishing. Have some October Caddis (#12) and parachute BWO patterns (#18-#22) for dry flies and you should be set. Not interested in matching the hatch? Then fish a Pheasant Tail nymph under a #14 Parachute Adams. That rig can catch fish year round in the Smokies.

Brook and brown trout are now moving into the open to spawn. During this time of year, please be extremely cautious about wading through gravel riffles and the tailouts of pools. If you step on the redd (nest), you will crush the eggs that comprise the next generation of fish. Please avoid fishing to actively spawning fish and let them do their thing in peace.

Our tailwaters are still cranking although the Caney is finally starting to come down. I'm still hoping to get a firsthand report on the Caney Fork soon although it might be sometime next week or the week after before that happens at the earliest. Stay tuned for more on that. Fishing will still be slow overall with limited numbers of fish in that particular river unfortunately.

The Clinch is featuring high water as they try to catch up on the fall draw down. All of the recent rainfall set them back in this process but flows are now going up to try and make up some of the time lost. It is still fishing reasonably well on high water although we prefer the low water of late fall and early winter as it is one of our favorite times to be on the river.

Smallmouth are about done for the year with the cooler weather we are now experiencing. I caught a few yesterday on the Tennessee River while fishing with guide Rob Fightmaster, but overall the best bite is all but over. Our thoughts will be turning to musky soon, however. Once we are done with guide trips for the year, we'll be spending more time chasing these monsters.

In the meantime, we still have a few open dates in November. Feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in a guided trip. Thanks!

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

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.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous12:18 PM

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

    ReplyDelete
  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

    ReplyDelete
  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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