Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/22/2020

High flows continue across the area but trends are definitely down. A recent cold snap broke the ongoing heatwave so fishing in the mountains has slowed dramatically. Right on schedule, some of our tailwaters should begin returning to more normal flows for this time of year meaning float trips are certainly possible.

For the Smokies, a warming trend should commence as we go into next week. By mid week the fishing should be decent before the next cold front returns us back to winter again. On warmer days, look for midges and possibly winter stoneflies hatching. Some blue-winged olives will be possible on foul weather days as we head towards February. The best fishing is still a few weeks out, but no longer feels like an eternity. Expect good spring hatches to start in late February or early March with blue quills and quill gordons along with little black caddis and early brown and black stones. By April, things will be settling down with the pinnacle of spring fishing usually happening from mid April through the month of May.

On our area tailwaters, high water continues to be the story. The Caney Fork still has at least a couple of weeks of high flows and that is assuming we don't get any more heavy rainfall. This time of year, that is asking a lot. The high water is good for one thing, however. Shad. Yes, the cold months are prime time to try and hit the famed shad kill and catch a monster brown trout. Same thing goes for the Clinch.

Speaking of the Clinch, the good news is that flows are scheduled to begin dropping tomorrow. A steady two generators will feel like low water after the recent period of two generators plus sluicing. Two generators opens up some nymphing possibilities in addition to our favorite winter pastime, stripping streamers for monsters.

The musky streams are settling into fine shape and will be an option moving forward as well. Remember that bouts of high water will get them stained or even muddy for a few days, but as flows come down the fishing should pick back up.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Monday, March 12, 2012

First Things First

While reviewing and reminiscing about the Everglades is high on my to do list, I am also very interested in the status of the local fisheries here in Tennessee.  Lots of rain mean the tailwaters are all pushing lots of water and although I love heading to the Smokies, I didn't have a whole day to get out and explore.  In the end I settled for a couple of hours at a local farm pond as a last opportunity for fun before break was over. 

This spot gets more than its fair share of pressure but the fishing for bluegill, crappie, and bass is still pretty decent.  This time of year can be iffy though as water temperatures fluctuate, sometimes drastically, and the fish may or may not be on the feed. 

When I arrived I noticed one thing right off: the water was much clearer than I normally would expect at this lake.  Not in just a nice clean water sense either, but in that icy clearness that cold water takes on.  Thinking my efforts might be in vain, I still went ahead and tied on a #14 beadhead Simi Seal Leech.  As long as I was there I was going to fish. 

Working along the shoreline in an shallower area that normally holds some nice bluegill, I settled into my normal routine of casting followed by a very slow twitch retrieve.  Several casts produced nothing and it seemed my fears were on the verge of being confirmed: it was simply too early.  Then I realized that in the cold water, the fly might need a little time to get deeper.  The next cast I waited for 5 slow seconds as the bead dragged the fly deeper before beginning the same slow retrieve.  Half way back to shore, I saw the end of the line twitch.  Normally bluegill will hit hard enough that you don't have to wonder but not this one.  It must have just barely touched the fly.  A quick hookset confirmed that a fish was messing with my fly, and it was soon swimming about as bluegill will do, using its flat body to full advantage to feel much larger than it really was.


Landing the fish, I quickly took a picture of the first spring bluegill and sent it back to grow some more.  Several fish later I decided to explore.  Several other stops produced fish as well. 


Heading back towards the car, I told my friend that I wanted to catch a crappie.  There is a spot that usually holds some but a couple guys were fishing it.  I set up nearby, close enough to have a shot but not so close that I crowded them any. 

For the first couple of casts I saw nothing.  Then the third cast produced a follow from a nice little bluegill.  "Slow down," I thought to myself.  Letting the fly sink even more than normal, I began a slow steady retrieve.  A tap on the end of the line brought the required hookset and I was soon staring in wonder at, of all things, a crappie.  I was suprised, more because I don't really catch that many here, meaning I didn't really believe it would happen.  Happily, I got a picture of my catch and was soon headed home, happy to have got a pleasant hour in on the water. 

Catherine McGrath Photograph

3 comments:

  1. That's a good way to freshen up your fishing skills.

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
  2. Some nice spring time warm water action. Thanks for sharing. I hope to be on some smallies in the very near future!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice job David! I have had some great experiences nymphing for gills in the "off" season. The takes can be very unique-- you described it exactly as a "tapping!" Here's a little article I wrote about nymphing for panfish-- http://calebboyle.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/boyle_aawarmwater.pdf

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