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

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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