Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 12/3/2019

Winter fishing is nearly upon us. Snow yesterday has given way to falling water temperatures in the Smokies. In general, fish will be hunkered down, although by tomorrow they should start to get more active again as temperatures warm. For the next three months, expect many more fish in the slower places in the Park. Think nymphs and maybe streamers but don't be surprised to find fish rising to blue-winged olives or midges on some days.

On tailwaters like the Clinch, brown trout and some fall spawn rainbows are doing their thing. This is a good time to review good ethics when it comes to spawning trout. Remember that these are the next generation of trout and the best thing you can do is to leave them alone. Avoid wading through spawning areas and don't fish for obvious spawners. For the foreseeable future, we should have high water thanks to big rains this last weekend. Fishing out of the drift boat will be very good through the winter with both nymphing and streamer fishing a distinct possibility. Want to swing for the fences and go for just one monster? Streamers will just get better and better going into January and February.

The Caney is slowly coming around. A few shad are coming through the dam, but lingering water quality problems are limiting the fishing. Winter streamer floats will produce shots at larger brown trout for anglers willing to work hard. Next spring should bring good fishing again.

Winter is our favorite time to get on the musky streams. In between bouts of high water, those will be fishing well for the next few months.

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

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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