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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Winter Turns To Spring

Rarely can one go hiking and hike to a destination in winter but return in spring. No, I'm not talking about the technicalities of when the calendar says the season has changed, but rather a snowfall so beautiful, so magical, and yet so fleeting, that if it weren't for the pictures I probably would assume the whole experience was just a pleasant dream. 

Hiking in the Smokies is never a guarantee, and in fact, I was not sure on this trip if we would be able to access our preferred trailhead.  Upon discovering the road open we were all excited.  When I found undisturbed snow on the trail, I was ecstatic.  Being the first person through the woods after a fresh snowfall is something I would like to do more often, especially on popular hikes where you will rarely find the trail completely devoid of strangers.

 
Our goal on this day was Ramsey Cascade.  On the previous trip, my friend had a near death experience that could have been a lot worse than it really was.  This time we were hoping for less wind and a safe journey.  The trail ascends through the forest, never far from the nearby Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River.  At times you can see the stream while at others the trail is high on the hillside above the gorge and the water below is camouflaged behind layers of Smoky Mountain forest.


Before leaving our van, I happened to glance in the side door window and saw a reflection of the magical wintry forest around me. 


Heading on up the trail brought deepening snow yet never too much for pleasant hiking.  The sun started rising above the steep ridges and at times peeked through the trees, the snow sparkling as the sun's rays touched it for the first time.

 
We made good time and even stopped long enough to find the exact same log that hit my friend last April.  We jokingly took a couple of pictures, recalled how thankful we should be, and continued on our way.


Moving higher through the forest, we found the banks of streams cloaked under the new snowfall.  Further up the stream, the sun was now striking the canopy and its blinding light added a bit of mystery to our pictures.


Finally, we reached our destination.  Cold air was still rushing down the gorge and we quickly started to feel the chill.  Standing around after a brisk hike in cold air makes everything seem colder than it really is.  Accordingly we began the return trek much sooner than we would during warmer seasons.


 
Moving back down the mountain was interesting.  The snow was now in full melting mode, both falling off the trees (and usually down the back of my neck) and vanishing from the surface of the forest floor.  By the time we made it back down the Middle Prong proper, only a dusting remained on the shady side of the stream.


Everyone made it back in good time and even better spirits.  We were amazed at our good fortune to hike in such a beautiful place at just the right time!





 

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:29 PM

    Loved the story and the pictures. Beautiful! What an enjoyable hike!

    ReplyDelete

Newsletter

Subscribe to the Trout Zone Anglers Newsletter!

* indicates required