FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 3/23/2017
The fishing has been great lately! This spring has been phenomenal in the Smokies. Long hatches have produced dry fly fishing lasting for hours every day. The Caney Fork has been producing some great fish on high water.
In the Great Smoky Mountains, the spring fishing has started early this year. Quill Gordon (#12-#14) and Blue Quill (#16-#18) mayflies are starting to transition into Hendricksons (#12-#14). On foul weather days, the Blue-winged Olives (#18-#22) have literally poured off of the river. The recent cooler weather actually enhanced the dry fly fishing. The bugs have been having a harder time getting off of the water, so despite the cool water temperature, fish have been rising lazily through an extended afternoon hatch. Little Black Caddis (#18-#20) have been hatching well along with some Early Brown Stoneflies (#12).
On the tailwaters, the fishing has been decent to good. The Clinch is fishing well along with the Holston. The Caney Fork continues to be my river of choice, however. Streamer trips continue to produce and we are doing some high water nymphing as well. This is as good a time as any to have a shot at large rainbow and brown trout on this tailwater!
I still have some open dates for guided trips in April and May, but the calendar is filling fast. I've been turning away trips because people wait too long to book. Don't make that mistake!
Friday, February 24, 2012
Go fishing now!!! The first early spring hatches continue to happen pretty much daily over in the Smokies. Some nice fish have been caught on dry flies for the fishermen willing to work hard and find those wary browns.
Currently, bugs are hatching from near Townsend to up past Elkmont, but on the warmest days, the hatches are actually coming off pretty early. Larger fish will be easiest to catch on those days that keep all but the diehards off the water. Right now, the crowds are heavy on good days meaning you may be fishing used water. Thankfully, during hatches at least, you can still catch fish even on "used" water. This is the best time to fish if you are a relative Smokies novice as fly selection can be as simple as tying on a Parachute Adams. However, closer inspection will often reveal the fish to be taking Blue Quills or Black Caddis in various stages.
On a recent trip, I found a good hatch early in the day that dwindled to just a few stray bugs by early afternoon. During the hatch, the dry fly action was fast and furious. Before moving to another spot, I found a nice brown rising and got it to nail the dry. The first cast produced one of the most stressful refusals I have ever had as the fish rocketed out of nowhere just beneath the fly only to vanish just as quickly. The second cast must have been a better drift and a beautiful brown was soon posing for a quick photo.
The rainbows are fatter than I ever remember seeing a Smokies trout. The high water that has kept the tailwaters off limits to wade fishermen has done wonders for the fish in the Park. The warm winter probably helped as well. Anyway, I expect the next few months to produce some of the best fishing in the Smokies in the last 10 years. As soon as the tailwaters become fishable we should see similar epic fishing on them as well. Get ready for a great fishing year!!!
Posted by David Knapp at 5:32 PM