Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 11/1/2018

Fishing is good in the Smokies and other mountain streams if you can catch it on a day where the wind is minimal. Otherwise, expect lots of leaves in the water for the next few days. Delayed harvest streams are also being stocked and fishing well in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.

In the Smokies, fall bugs are in full swing. We have been seeing blue-winged olives almost daily although they will hatch best on foul weather days. They are small, typically running anywhere from #20-#24 although a few larger ones have also shown up. A few October Caddis are still around as well. Terrestrials are close to being done for the year although we are still seeing a few bees and hornets near the stream. Isonychia nymphs, caddis pupa, and BWO nymphs will get it done for your subsurface fishing. Have some October Caddis (#12) and parachute BWO patterns (#18-#22) for dry flies and you should be set. Not interested in matching the hatch? Then fish a Pheasant Tail nymph under a #14 Parachute Adams. That rig can catch fish year round in the Smokies.

Brook and brown trout are now moving into the open to spawn. During this time of year, please be extremely cautious about wading through gravel riffles and the tailouts of pools. If you step on the redd (nest), you will crush the eggs that comprise the next generation of fish. Please avoid fishing to actively spawning fish and let them do their thing in peace.

Our tailwaters are still cranking although the Caney is finally starting to come down. I'm still hoping to get a firsthand report on the Caney Fork soon although it might be sometime next week or the week after before that happens at the earliest. Stay tuned for more on that. Fishing will still be slow overall with limited numbers of fish in that particular river unfortunately.

The Clinch is featuring high water as they try to catch up on the fall draw down. All of the recent rainfall set them back in this process but flows are now going up to try and make up some of the time lost. It is still fishing reasonably well on high water although we prefer the low water of late fall and early winter as it is one of our favorite times to be on the river.

Smallmouth are about done for the year with the cooler weather we are now experiencing. I caught a few yesterday on the Tennessee River while fishing with guide Rob Fightmaster, but overall the best bite is all but over. Our thoughts will be turning to musky soon, however. Once we are done with guide trips for the year, we'll be spending more time chasing these monsters.

In the meantime, we still have a few open dates in November. Feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in a guided trip. Thanks!

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Beginning

Warm nights are still the norm here on the plains.  High in the mountains the trees are hinting at the cool nights ahead.  Pockets of aspen in the highest elevations are turning golden yellow, splashing their brilliant colors across the slopes just below tree line.  Back in Tennessee, colors would start changing by late September, but even here on the plains I'm higher above sea level than everything except the highest elevations in the Smokies.  Winter comes earlier here, and I'm intent on enjoying the mountains before the snow flies.

The beginning of fall is here, never mind that it does not officially start for another couple of weeks.  Last Sunday I hit a high country trail.  In addition to the brook trout coloring up for the spawn and heading upstream, the trees were proclaiming the changing seasons as well.  The streams are low and clear and the late afternoon storms are definitely on the decline as the monsoon slowly winds down.  Fish are hungry, putting on as much weight as possible before ice takes over the streams and lakes.  As a fisherman, I love this time of year, likely because I feel like quite the pro when fishing for such hungry and aggressive fish.

On Sunday, I only made minimal progress up the trail before the stream was calling me.  That's one benefit of exploring a new area.  Instead of doing the smart thing and heading far upstream, you can ignorantly fish wherever there is water.  In my case, ignorance was bliss.  The brook trout were hungry and coloring up for the spawn.  Brook trout are probably not more beautiful at any other time of year.  The next two months is the time to catch them, not to mention all the other hungry fish out there.

As the trail and stream nearly merged into one, I had a front row seat and soon decided to jump in instead of carrying on as a specter.  The first thing I saw was a nice 8 inch brook trout that casually refused just about everything I tossed at it.  In faster water, a fish rose to the buggy Parachute Adams, and I was soon admiring my first fish of the day.  I snapped a picture and then remembered a fishtail picture for my buddy David Perry.



Moving up through the steep pocket water, I managed a fish from nearly every deep pocket and some of the smaller less obvious spots as well.  In one wide pool a chunky and colored up male rose from the deepest water to inhale my fly.  My excitement level shot through the roof as I saw the colors.  I dug out the camera and snapped a couple of pictures.  Another picture documented the little non-descript run that the big brookie rose from.  I suspect it had moved up from the deeper pool immediately downstream, but maybe it lives in the flat run year round.





Glancing up, I saw the beginning of fall broadcasting on the stream bank.  Eight years ago, I was in Arizona for the fall and while exploring the White Mountains, I fell in love with aspen dressed up in their fall colors.  My camera was still out, and after finishing with the aspen picture, I looked upstream and decided to continue taking pictures.  Every corner turned begged for another picture.  The beauty of this place was just incredible.



Moving upstream, I found some more willing brook trout.  The average size continued to be excellent and I found two more larger males sporting their spawning colors and some intimidating teeth.





Like a kid in a candy store, I was excited to discover what each new pocket and pool held.  The brookies seemed to just grow in size as I progressed upstream.  The lower portion of this stream follows a road and the average size of the fish I caught there was probably a couple of inches shorter than it was along the trail.  Finally, I decided to scratch my wandering itch and climbed out of the stream to hit the trail.  Looking up I spotted large patches of aspen turning gold high above.  After snapping a couple of pictures of the stream I had just left as well as the colors on the mountain, I was ready to head upstream.

Crossing the first bridge over the creek, I stopped to photograph the brook trout jumping the falls.  Another half mile up the trail I discovered a sign suggesting that I might find Greenback cutthroat nearby.  Glancing around, I saw a little pool beside the trail with a fish finning that looked different from the brookies I had been finding.  On the first cast the fish rose and I soon had my first Greenback!!!

Catherine McGrath Photograph

A nearby cascade suggested pristine Greenback water above so up the high I went.  Before long, however, I became more interested in the scenery than catching fish.  The views opened up quickly and  the cascades itself was stunning.






Absorbed in taking pictures, I didn't forget to catch another Greenback.  After following gravity back down hill, I found a few more willing cutts before deciding it was time to head back to the car for lunch.  By three in the afternoon, I get pretty hungry even when thoroughly distracted by the spectacular fishing and great scenery.





12 comments:

  1. Hi!

    Lovely pictures of beautiful trout and stream! Just gorgeous!

    Have fun taking wonderful pictures,
    M.O.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words! Mother nature was great last weekend...

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  2. The pictures turned out great.

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  3. Having fun in Colorado, are we? Looks like it to me.

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark, I'm having a great time in case it wasn't obvious already...

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  4. Oh, this is probably one of the best posts I've ever read and seen since I first started reading. The writing is superb and the photography outstanding. You've got it all and Colorado to boot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Howard! Colorado is showing me a great time!

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  5. Nice fish tail! Looks like you are getting dialed in out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought you would appreciate that...I was about to let that fish go and thought, "I need to take a fishtail picture for David Perry!" :D

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  6. Wow. Beautiful stream, fish, pictures. You are lucky to be able to visit such an amazing place.

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    Replies
    1. Lucky indeed! Thanks for reading...

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