Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 02/25/2018

Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Monday, June 25, 2012

Quick Fishing Summary

Since I was in Nashville over the weekend, I decided to stop by the Caney on the way home Sunday evening.  Rising fish greeted me when I arrived so I strung up a 4 weight and rigged up a dry with a Zebra Midge dropper.  A few small browns later, I was glad that I had stopped by my neighborhood tailwater.

Earlier in the weekend, friends of mine canoed from the dam to Betty's Island.  They reported that the boat and angler traffic was horrendous.  Right now you can basically forget fishing the river on the weekend in the normal areas.  Weekdays will be marginally better but still busy.

If you want to enjoy some great trout action, I would recommend heading to east Tennessee.  Choose from the tailwaters or mountain freestone streams.  If you are hitting the freestone streams and rivers, be sure you head high enough to get away from the worst heat.  Trout in the low elevations will be stressed due to higher water temperatures and resulting lower dissolved oxygen content.  Tailwaters will continue to fish well although the summer doldrums are upon us.  When the sun is high overhead with not a cloud in the sky, the fish can be pretty spooky.

Unfortunately, the weather pattern looks to stay about the same for the next week or more.  Hot and hotter seems to be the drill around here with dry conditions persisting.  Tennessee is slipping into drought conditions and I'm very concerned for area fisheries.  The tailwaters may be fine but low elevation freestone streams will probably see some fish kills by late summer if we don't start getting rain.

Dry years are a great opportunity for better than average terrestrial fishing.  I don't know why, but low water and terrestrials go hand in hand.  On the tailwaters, look for hopper and beetle fishing opportunities.  The annual cicadas are starting to hum as well so watch and listen for those.  In the mountains, a bumper crop of small hoppers along with normal ant, inchworm, and beetle fishing should make for a great terrestrial season.

As we move through the summer, terrestrials will increase in importance in the mountains along with Isonychia mayflies.  Little Yellow stoneflies and Golden stones will both continue to be effective although as the summer wears on they will be less significant.

On the tailwaters like the Caney and the Clinch, sow bugs will become more and more important and of course midges and blackfly larva continue to work well.  On the South Holston, the Sulphurs are on now as well as good beetle fishing during low water times.  If you want some phenomenal dry fly fishing, I recommend either the South Holston with its Sulphur hatches or the Hiwassee with the Isonychia mayflies.  The ISOs on the Hiwassee are unique from most Isonychias in that they hatch mid-stream instead of crawling out on a rock.  That means that drifting with dry fly imitations and emergers is a great way to get into some nice fish!

As the heat continues, striper action will get better and better in area tailwaters.  We have already seen some HUGE stripers this year and are excited to get back into the striper game.

Regardless of where you are, don't let the heat beat you!  Get out early and late to avoid the worst of the heat and catch some fish.  This is a productive time or year if you can get out...

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