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, 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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