Guided Trips


Current fishing conditions in the mountains have been tough although rain overnight has bumped up the levels on Park streams, especially on the Tennessee side. Be careful as lots of leaves are going to be coming down now with brisk northwest winds behind the cold front. That can make fishing challenging. If you do fish, I would suggest fishing dry/dropper with a #14 Orange Stimulator or Orange Elk Hair Caddis up top and a bead head Green Weenie, Isonychia Nymph, or Blue-winged Olive Nymph (#18-#20 bead head Pheasant Tail will suffice here) underneath. Focus on stealth and accurate casts.

If you are flexible in where you fish, I recommend heading for your favorite tailwater to trout fish. Most tailwaters are offering good flows for wade fishermen right now and the fish are hungry. The Hiwassee River has been recently stocked for the delayed harvest and the Caney Fork continues to fish very well on our guide trips. The Watauga, South Holston, and Clinch Rivers should be great as well.

If musky are on your mind like they are for me, then be patient and hope for more rain. The musky streams and rivers are very low right now and we need some water before safely navigating those streams in the larger boats that are preferred.

This is the time of year that brown and brook trout as well as some strains of rainbow trout spawn. On rivers like the Caney Fork, many anglers choose to target these spawning trout. This is unfortunate, especially this year. There are plenty of pre- and post-spawn trout to target if you want to catch big fish. With low water the norm, the Caney Fork actually has a chance at producing some natural recruitment this year barring any unforeseen high water. The same thing applies in the Smokies. Spawning brown and brook trout are extra vulnerable because of the low water and should be allowed to do their thing in peace. The future of these fisheries depends upon conscientious anglers doing the right thing. If you must fish to spawning trout, please use very heavy tippets and quickly land and release all fish caught. If you want to learn how to be successful this time of year without chasing active spawners, please consider booking a guided trip, and I would be glad to teach you how to hunt these large fish.

Photo of the Month: The Colors of a Rainbow

Photo of the Month: The Colors of a Rainbow

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I just want to give a shout out to everyone that stopped by Little River Outfitters on Sunday to join me for the fly tying session.  Talking flies and how to fish them are always a lot of fun for me and I specifically want to thank Byron, Paula, and Daniel for having me.  I will likely be heading up to the Park again soon to get in on the early spring hatches.  Things have been amazing already this year from everything I have heard and I can't wait to get in on a good hatch myself. 


  1. What did you tie?

    Regular Rod

  2. I tied a variety of mountain and tailwater patterns, several of which are my own flies or variations on flies without a name. I tied the Belly Ache Minnow, a striper fly of my own design I call the PB&J (for Puglisi, Bunny, and Jelly), and a variation of the Crazy Charlie/Gotcha, all of which are great streamer patterns in the Smokies as well as area tailwaters and warm water streams. I also tied three tailwater flies, the Ray Charles, Zebra Midge, and a Micro-Tubing Midge Larva pattern. Finally, I tied a few Smokies patterns including a beadhead caddis pupa, Quill Gordon Spundun, Soft Hackle Isonychia, and my version of the Tellico Nymph. Lots of variety to keep things interesting!

  3. Anonymous4:11 PM

    David, Those were some great pics of your hike up to Ramsey Cascades. Beautiful!! I used to do a lot of backpacking on the AT as well as most of the trails in the park (not able to hike far now due to PD - but I flyfish now to get outdoors) and was wondering if you had ever hiked to the Mt Cammerer firetower during winter . Its quite a sight with icicles , snow, etc....
    Also I enjoy your posts on LRO and those pics.
    See Ya , Mike



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