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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Slowing Down

Have you ever been on vacation only to realize that everything is still moving way too fast?  Often I find that I don't really start to slow down and relax until the third day of a trip, and so it was in the Everglades. 

Normally on trips, I use my camera to document as many experiences as possible.  Part of the joy for me is in the photography itself, not to mention that it's nice to be able to look back on the trip in a tangible way sometimes.  In the Everglades, I didn't even take out my camera until the second day on the water, and then only for a couple of pictures.  By the third morning, I woke up relaxed and refreshed (finally, I might add) and immediately set to work using my camera.

The morning quickly turned stormy as a powerful cold front, responsible for a major tornado outbreak in the Tennessee and Ohio valleys a couple of days earlier, was bearing down on south Florida.  The good news?  The wind would finally be at our backs, making paddling a joy instead of a painful chore.  The bad news?  Storms were forecasted.  Thankfully, one storm cell went to our east, and another skirted off to the west, but we only received a five minute shower with occasional sprinkles the rest of the day. 

Arriving at our home for the next two nights, a campsite called Lostmans Five, we set about drying wet gear from the morning rains.  After quickly pitching my tent, I grabbed the camera to document our camp and everyone else still putting up tents and organizing gear.



Lostmans Five is a great little campsite that picks up any west or northwest breeze off of Lostmans Five bay. The campsite is a ground site, but a raised wooden platform covers the camping area since the low ground is prone to being muddy.  An outhouse is perched on the end of the small dock, leaving one to wonder what happens when a hurricane comes through.  Thankfully it wasn't hurricane season so we felt relatively safe using the facilities.

Sitting on the end of the dock, I drank in the scenery.  Occasionally birds would fly by across the bay and the water itself was mesmerizing.  I could watch the gentle waves for hours, although exploring sounded pretty good as well. 


That evening, we paddled up Lostmans Creek a few hundred yards and then drifted back down with the tidal current.  I  had brought the fly rod along and fishing the current felt just like drifting down a tailwater throwing streamers for trout.  Ladyfish were very prevalent in this wild 'Glades stream and finally, right around a point in a textbook ambush spot, I found another snook.  This one was a little nicer than my first...

Catherine McGrath Photograph

A beautiful sunset lit up the sky.  The clouds had long since cleared out as the front was now well south of the area.  We fixed something to eat, and appreciated the relative absence of mosquitoes from the area.  Finally we all went to bed, thinking about paddling east into the wild Everglades the next morning.



4 comments:

  1. Looks like a great trip! Love the way the campsite is tucked in...and nice fish! Really nice photos, too!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks! This was probably my favorite campsite of the trip although camping on the beach later was pretty cool also...

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  3. I hope you ate one of those Snook. A very good tasting fish. One nice thing about rain in Florida, it can be raining across the street, but not where you are and if you do get wet, you're dry in a half hour or so.

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mark, did not eat any of the fish. Did not know they tasted good but something to remember for later...

    ReplyDelete

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