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, April 11, 2012

Low and Slow


Those two words sum up my Caney Fork experience late this afternoon.  Rumors of minimal numbers of fish in the river needed to be tested, and I found it to be true, sorta.  The river still has fish in it, but overall I would say that the fishing was as slow as I've ever experienced there.  The water was unbelievably low.  I have no idea why the Corps is not at least running a 200 CFS sluice but something clearly needs to be done. 

Information from reliable sources suggests that trout stocking has not really been taking place much over the winter months because of poor water quality.  The water seemed unusually warm to me for this early in the year, and I can only hope there is enough cool water in the lake as we head into the warm months to support trout through until next winter.  At least some big fish have survived but the larger rainbows in particular seem to have taken a hit.

The good news is that the fish will still eat.  Good midge hatches are happening on the upper river.  You will notice right away that the birds are working above the water for their food.  The other thing you will notice is the distinct lack of rising fish.  If you go, focus on the deeper water and on the shoals where faster water funnels into the deeper runs.  Midges and sow bugs will catch some fish...

If you really want to fish, there are still fish to be caught but until the flows improve, expect to work hard for every fish.  The low clear water produces some very spooky trout.  The fish you do catch will all be healthy looking fish with their fins intact, at least until the stocking truck shows up.  Don't expect big numbers of fish, but at least you're out on the water.

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