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

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!!!

8 comments:

  1. Beautiful browns and a great final GSMNP report... for a while. Best of luck during your move.

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  2. As you know, the fly fishing opportunities in Colorado are plentiful and almost always in beautiful settings. I hope you enjoy living there and wish you the best of luck with your new teaching job.

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  3. Madison Brown such an interesting and awesome blog with lot of quality information and also some very beautiful pictures.

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  4. I found this blog a little to late. A relative recently moved to Crossville and I was looking forward to exploring the trout waters in the area. I will continue to read past posts and will look forward to knew ones in the future. Awesome last report and GOOD LUCK with the move and your future.

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  5. David
    What a great post, glad you was able to get in one more trip before the school bells start ringing. My wife and I will be making a trip to the Smokies in the fall, and I hope to get in some fishing. Thanks for sharing

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  6. David,
    What a nice pictorial post it is. The pictures of the fishes and the trouts are really awesome.The water is very transparent. I like enjoying to see such a natural view too. Howwever I Like fishing, Carp fishing . I love doing it since my child hood. I usually do Carp fishing with mu uncle. Thanks again for such a nice post.

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