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, 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

    ReplyDelete

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