Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 4/23/2017

SPECIAL UPDATE: HIGH WATER EVERYWHERE!

The next couple of days will be tough just about anywhere you go. High water is the rule and heavy runoff has muddied lakes as well. Best to stay home and tie flies for at least the next day or two. Once the stream levels settle down, fishing in the Smokies should be good.

The fishing has been great lately! This spring has been phenomenal in the Smokies. Long hatches have produced dry fly fishing lasting for hours every day. The Caney Fork has been producing some great fish on high and low water.

In the Smokies, we have a high water day. That should soon give way to good flows and hatches as well. Evening hatches should really be going strong now at good flows. It is the time of year for yellow, cream and tan.

Unfortunately Center Hill Lake is filling rapidly and the USACE will be running a lot of water for a while to drop the lake back down. If you are interested in streamer floats, those will be able to happen into May this year. This is as good a time and method for getting into big fish as any. Once the lake level drops and flows go down, the fishing should be excellent on low water. We had some unreal trips on low water before all of this rain happened.

The musky and smallmouth bass rivers are totally blown out. If you are wanting to get in on this fishing, contact me about a float in May. Once conditions settle down, the fishing will be very good.


Photo of the Month: Shad Eating Rainbow

Photo of the Month: Shad Eating Rainbow

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Weekend Walk

The holiday weekend has been good to me so far.  On Friday, it was off to a local creek to swim and even do a little fishing.  The swimming was great, but the fishing was a little slow.  The recent thunderstorms still had the stream high and stained, but the fishing should improve soon.  

Yesterday was spent with my family.  In the afternoon we went to a favorite destination: Black Mountain.  A segment of the Cumberland Trail runs from there to highway 68 above Grassy Cove.  We normally just spend a little time walking out to the overlook where the view extends from Grassy Cove to the Smoky Mountains when the air is clear.  Knoxville was its usual hotbed of pollution so the distant views were lacking.

When I'm out with my camera, the natural limiting factors often cause me to approach photography from a different perspective.  Anyone can walk to the edge of an overlook in awe and snap a few pictures.  Few people take the time to look at the smaller scenes constantly playing out around them.  With the air too hazy, I started to look more closely at my immediate surroundings.  The first thing that jumped out at me was a wild blueberry bush growing along the cliff edge.  As I was shooting, a fly unexpectedly entered the scene and added that little something extra.


Not far away, but back in the woods and shade, the Mountain Laurel was mostly done blooming.  Here and there, a few bushes still had enough flowers left to be worth a quick picture.
  

The new spring growth was obvious all around.  In particular, I was drawn to several trees and shrubs that had seemingly large quantities of red for this time of year.  Expected in fall, it was nice to have something other than the shades of green so common in the spring.


Along the road by the parking lot, some vines were trailing along but again looking more like fall than spring.  The contrast between the fresh spring green and bright red was much more vivid than anything in October.  


Flowers were growing here and there, and right in front of our vehicles was a nice patch of daisies.  Experimenting with different angles and exposures, I found myself wishing for my tripod.  In the end, I was more or less satisfied with the result although nothing ever turns out exactly perfect. 
 

The treat of the day was found on the road back down the mountain.  On the way up I had noticed a few bursts of colors on the hill above the road.  The shady north side of the mountain is the perfect area for Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron and we hit the jackpot with the Flame Azalea.  I would have my dad stop the car, jump and and run straight up the hill to the flowers.  After several pictures, it would be back in the car to find more.  The thing that amazed me was the variety in color from a brilliant red to bright orange and even a few muted shades of orange.




  


Monday, May 21, 2012

School Is Out

Finally!!!!  School is out, and I want to go fishing.  My time on the water will be somewhat limited, but I'll be out at least a little.  I'm planning on making at least a couple of trips for trout in the Smokies as well as possibly the Caney Fork a time or two.  However, most of my fishing will be done locally for smallmouth and panfish.  Hopefully I'll have a better update soon and possibly a good fishing story.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thanks Mark!!!

Several months ago, Trout Zone reader Mark (Shoreman) asked if I had ever tried a Thinmint on the Caney.  In the ensuing discussion, he graciously offered to send me some to try out.  Since then, I have rarely been on the Caney, and always during very low water when dry flies or midges where the way to go.  However, I kept telling myself that it would be killer in the Smokies. 

Fast forward to yesterday and you find me rigging up along Little River and thinking about big browns.  I saw the Thinmint in my box and decided to tie one on.  On probably the third cast something blasted the fly and I thought, "wow, that's an easy way to catch big browns."  The fish ran all over the river and I kept thinking it was a big one. 

As I got the fish close, I saw instead a healthy rainbow.  Several rainbows later and the fly was falling apart.  I missed at least two very nice browns during this time as well.  When I'm looking for big fish in the Smokies, you can be sure that this fly will always be in my box from now on.  What a great pattern to add to the lineup!!!  Thanks again Mark...

 Nice Park rainbow on a well-chewed Thinmint

Partial Trip

Getting out in the Smokies is an opportunity that is not to be missed.  This past weekend's trip was special, a trip into the backcountry.  As much as I love backpacking, I don't do it often enough.  However, there is one aspect of backpacking that I really don't enjoy: going in the rain.

With the forecast practically guaranteeing a downpour, I opted to stay away from the overnight portion of my trip.  The messy forecast actually had me excited about the fishing though.  Hatching insects and nasty weather tend to go hand in hand.  I was supposed to fish with a new fishing buddy and he was not afraid of the forecast so the trip was still a go for Sunday.

The anticipation was building to the point where it was hard for me to go to sleep.  When it is after 11:00 p.m. and the alarm is set for 4:00 a.m., the logical side of my brain insists that I fall asleep.  As soon as your brain insists, the body rebels and the vicious cycle spirals out of control.  Sometime close to midnight I finally drifted off.  The alarm woke me up rudely.  As I moved around the house, my brain began to clear and the excitement returned. 

Arriving in the Park, we opted to head up Little River trail.  Our original plan was to hike a ways up but with the bad weather we knew that the stream would probably be ours for the day.  Accordingly we started fishing without going too far.
 
Somewhere on Little River...

Breck wanted to try some new techniques, especially fishing nymphs using the "high stick" style so common in the southern Appalachians.  I rigged up with a double nymph rig and set him up with a single bead head Tellico.  During my quick demonstration of the technique I landed two nice rainbows and we were off and running.  He quickly hooked and landed his first rainbow with the new technique and then we worked up the stream, taking turns at likely spots.
 
Breck fishing a nice pocket

As the rain continued to come and go, the insects became more and more active.  Finally we couldn't stand it any longer and tied on the dry flies.  After a couple of fish, it was obvious that while we could catch a few on top, the primary method for the day was nymph fishing. 

Later, after Breck had to leave in the early afternoon, I tried some new spots out.  The plan worked out perfectly.  Numerous mayflies and stoneflies were hatching and after picking up some really nice rainbows and missing a couple of larger browns on nymphs, I switched over to dries.
 
Rainbow caught nymphing a deep run 

Brown trout and dry flies!!!

This was the perfect way to end the day.  I caught a couple of browns on top and finally the previous late night and early morning caught up to me.  With daylight still left I opted to head on home before I fell asleep on my feet.  Thankfully, I managed to stay awake long enough to stop and spend a little time with my mom for Mother's Day.  When I finally fell asleep it was the sleep of exhaustion from a day well spent.   

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Backcountry

This weekend, I'm hoping to head for the backcountry of the Smoky Mountains.  Unfortunately I can only get away for one night, but of course that is better than none.  I've been tying a little, but not enough. Then again, I don't remember any trip I've ever been on where I had tied "enough" flies before leaving.  There is always the feeling that I should have tied more or maybe tied with more variety.

There is just one fly in the ointment.  My throat is a little scratchy, nothing serious mind you, but just enough to cause mild concern.  Must...not....get....sick.  Opportunities to backpack don't come often enough by any means so I'm really hoping I get to go.

Only time will tell, but in the meantime I'll be hitting the vise.  For this trip, I'm thinking of light colored flies.  Little Yellow Stones, Golden Stones, Light Cahills, Pale Evening Duns, and maybe even some terrestrials.  It has been warm long enough now that ants and inch worms will start to be important.  In fact, I think I just convinced myself that it is time to tie...

Monday, May 07, 2012

Super Moon

Out for a walk Saturday evening, I watched as a beautiful sunset gave way to a beautiful moonrise.







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