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

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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