Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 12/4/2018

After a brief warmup and another borderline high water event, the streams of the Smokies are once again receding and getting cold. The spawn is winding down for the year so please avoid walking in/around gravel areas in the tailouts of pools and riffles. Those eggs need to survive for another generation to be born. When temperatures rise a few degrees, trout will become active and eat nymphs and streamers well. On cold days, don't expect too much although you might find a large post spawn brown trout.

The tailwaters are all flowing high and keeping us mostly limited to streamers. The Clinch might offer some high water nymphing, especially once they start to dial back the flows. Unfortunately it will be at least another couple of weeks before that happens it seems. The Caney Fork is fishing ok on high water but nothing to write home about. I floated last week and we did not do particularly well. We did find a bunch of crappie which seemed unusual at best. The good news? Water temperatures here are coming down and Center Hill Lake surface temperatures are falling rapidly as well. Shad kills should be in our future for sometime this month and of course January and February and perhaps later into the spring. This fishing is very inconsistent day to day, but when you hit it right you might have the best fishing of your life.

Musky streams are up and down with the rains. We hope to get in a few musky floats soon. As always, check back here for updates as conditions change.

Photo of the Month: Fall on the Tellico

Photo of the Month: Fall on the Tellico

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Farewell Tour

Thankfully it was not my last chance ever to fish the Smokies.  With family still living in the area, I will be back to visit and will probably bring a fly rod along on those trips when time will allow for an excursion.  For the present however, yesterday was a farewell tour of sorts, a chance to visit my beloved Smoky Mountains one last time before the craziness begins.

Hoping for one last good brown trout, I got up at the unearthly hour of 3:30 a.m. and was soon on the road.  With the early sunrise of summer, I still was not on the water as early as would be best but luck was with me.  My buddy Ethan was already out fishing when I arrived and had located some good fish.  We decided to check out the pool again and sure enough, a monster brown flashed the streamer but would not hit again.

Slightly stained from recent rains and much higher than in recent weeks, Little River was perfect for fishing nymphs but still a little low for effective streamer fishing.  I switched rods and tied on two flies that are always killer in the summer including my soft hackle Isonychia pattern.  We headed down the river to another spot in hopes of finding more big fish.

The next pool obviously had some big fish moving around.  I was realizing that it was one of those magical days when the browns actually feed during daylight hours in the summer.  Time was short though since the sun would soon be over the ridge and on the water.  Ethan worked on a couple of the fish and soon we moved up the stream to a nice little run where I have generally had good success for rainbows but never any browns.

On my first cast, I changed things up with an active retrieve.  A brown exploded on the larger of the two flies and I quickly tossed the flies back for another go.  Sure enough, the same fish did its best to try and eat the fly but somehow completely missed the hook.  A third cast indicated that the fish had become wise to the game.  Determined to win, I moved up and set up a dead drift right down the middle of the run.  At the deepest point, the line hesitated, and I set the hook into a beautiful fighting brown trout.

The fish jumped and fought like a much larger fish as it tried to outwit me.  In the end, I corralled it while Ethan took over camera duty.  I removed the smaller fly, the soft hackle, and watched the fish swim strongly away, ready for another angler to enjoy the same experience.

Ethan Mcgroom Photograph

Continuing up the river, Ethan worked a large pool while I just watched.  Sometimes it only takes that one fish to satisfy.  This was one of those days.  I had accomplished what I came for.  Anything else would seem like a bonus, or worse yet, potentially greedy.  Above the big pool, a short section of rapids offered a pocket that at higher water levels would be frothing and unfishable.  As Ethan worked his way up, I decided to toss the nymphs in for fun, one of those "I wonder what will happen?" type casts.

The line froze and I set the hook.  This time a larger brown trout started running around the river.  The water was too swift to successfully land the fish so I followed it down stream.  The fish was smart and tried the trick of wrapping the line around a rock.  The current provided a nice advantage for the fish as well.  Remembering the earlier nice fish, I decided that I probably used up my luck for the day and that the fish would probably release itself somehow.  Moments later, I happily banished that thought as I beached the fish on a small sandy strip. Longer but much thinner than the other trout, it was still colored wonderfully.  Ethan was nearly walking on water behind me as he pushed through the rapid to see the fish.  Another picture, another memory stored, and I watched the fish vanish into its watery home.

Ethan Mcgroom Photograph 

Ethan Mcgroom Photograph 

Ethan Mcgroom Photograph

The stream had already been generous with me, but my day was not over.  Fishing a bit longer with Ethan, I started to just enjoy the day and take shots of the stream and scenery.  Eventually Ethan needed to head home so I went into Townsend to talk to the good people at Little River Outfitters and buy a couple of items.  Afterwards, I decided to make another trip into the Park before heading back home.



I messed around on a small stream, as well as on Little River again.  In one place, I found a nice sized rainbow willing to play.  The small stream yielded small rainbows as well as great scenery and the certainty that I was fishing fresh water.


My camera came out more and more to photograph my surroundings.  Recognizing that it might be a while before I return, I wanted to make the most of my time in the Park. Near the small stream, I found butterflies in profusion.  The fish aren't the only thing interesting on these trips!



Finally, drowsiness reminded me that the day had started early, and I had best head for home.  Cruising down I-40 towards the Plateau, I couldn't help but grin.  It had been quite a day!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Relocating

Big changes are looming on the horizon.  I just accepted a job in Colorado and will be moving that way soon...as in soon enough to start the new school year.  Things have been moving pretty fast and will continue to be that way.  I'm looking forward to the possibilities for career advancement and working with some new people, but naturally am also interested in learning about some new spots to fish.  My favorite parts of Colorado (so far anyway) are located far from where I will be, so I probably won't be fishing there as much as I might like.  Teaching in a new school will keep me busy as will the next few weeks of transition.

With that in mind, please forgive me if the updates and fishing stories come with less frequency for the next few months.  I want to focus on the new job which means some things like this blog might temporarily be put on hold.  I will still check in at least some though and intend to post trip reports and other news.

To all my Tennessee friends, thanks for making my fishing experiences awesome!  I will miss all the good times, but will be returning to visit, hopefully often, and will be doing at least a little fishing then.  The Smokies will always be the best!!!

In the meantime, I look forward to meeting new people and making new friends in the sport in Colorado.  Hopefully I can find some people willing to show me around and put up with a new guy...

Monday, July 09, 2012

Almost

Imagine yourself close to one of the best trout streams in the southeast.  Large brown and rainbow trout call these waters home.  Brown trout are frequently caught in excess of twenty inches.  This amazing stream is right at your finger tips -- but you do not have the opportunity to fish it.  Yes, I had to suffer a little this weekend.

Two good friends were getting married in the Asheville vicinity.  With a couple of hours of spare time, some friends and I went for a quick drive through the Pisgah National Forest.  Just enough time was available for a short walk so we strolled over the short path to Moore Cove Falls.  Just a thin curtain of water was pouring over the falls but it was still quite picturesque.


Later, driving on down the road towards Brevard before heading back to Asheville, we passed the Davidson River while I drooled over the thought of big trout.  Sometime I will return and fish this legendary stream.  In the meantime, I'll think about how I almost got there...

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