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

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More Firsts! Getting Started with Everglades Fishing

On the trip to the Everglades, I was excited about my second taste of saltwater fishing.  Knowing very little about fishing the salt, I decided that I wanted to catch snook.  Why snook in particular?  People have explained snook to me as the brown trout of the saltwater.  That made sense and helped me understand what to do. 

Snook are ambush predators, lurking around mangrove roots and waiting for baitfish to come by.  Brown trout lay just out of current and I figured snook might do the same.  The second day of the trip dawned bright and promised to be very warm.  We loaded the canoes and I strung the fly rod together, deciding to start with a white stealth bomber (tricked out with flash and rubber legs).  I'm learning to really appreciate the noise making ability of this fly.  Furthermore, it dives and swoons in the water, looking just like a struggling baitfish or something else that is edible.

As we got under way with the day's paddle, I really wanted to get my first fish out of the way so I could relax.  Not knowing what else to do, I started thinking in terms of brown trout.  Paddling towards a creek that led to the next large bay, I noticed the tide had started moving in.  The current was moving around a distinct point just ahead, creating a seam between fast and slow water.  "Perfect," I thought and picked up the rod to cast. 

Amazingly, it only took about 5 casts to get that first fish.  As I fought it closer to the boat I saw that it was a snook!  Not a large fish, but a snook nonetheless.  Two years ago, estimates say that 70% of the snook in the Glades area were killed by the extremely cold winter.  I knew that meant the majority of the fish I did find would be smaller fish.  Since I've never caught any, I didn't care if they were small or large.  I was just happy to be catching fish.

Catherine McGrath Photograph 

Shortly after the snook, I found a school of ladyfish and had fun catching a few before it was time to paddle on.  As the trip wore on, I would become frustrated with the ladyfish because they were hard to keep off my flies.  Still, it is better to be catching something than to be going fishless...

Catherine McGrath Photograph

More fishing opportunities awaited deeper in the Everglades.  But in the meantime we had a brutal paddle ahead to reach our next campsite.  I put down the fly rod, not to take it up again until evening.

6 comments:

  1. Interesting. I always caught Snook on live bait, but I guess they take a fly just as well.

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark, I'll bet you caught some big fish that way. What sorts of live bait did you use?

      Delete
  2. What kind of rod/leader/fly etc are you using?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Matthew, I was using a 7 weight TFO TiCr-X with a floating line. Approximately 9 foot leader of my own devising along with 30 pound fluoro as a bite guard. The fly of choice was a white Stealth Bomber...

    ReplyDelete

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