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

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Return

Trout streams have a way of drawing me back again and again.  Sometimes I go back to the same spot again and again and usually for different reasons ranging from a big fish I've spotted to just nostalgia.  Other times I return to the same stream but desire a new stretch of water, something still vaguely familiar and comfortable yet refreshingly different all at once.

Last week, after spotting a big brown on Sunday, I started plotting my return.  With fall break looming, I originally planned on fishing with Juan of Hopper Juan Fame.  As a hard working guide and tier, he could only get away one day so I planned to camp somewhere near the South Platte or Arkansas and "pre-fish" on Thursday before meeting up with him on Friday.  The phenomenal fishing on Sunday changed my plans however.  I figured I would just fish on Rocky Mountain National Park on Thursday and take a day trip down to the South Platte or Arkansas on Friday.  About the time I decided to adjust my plans, other circumstances intervened to cancel our fishing trip this time so I was now fully committed to making a day of it on Thursday.  If I had energy left, I might still explore solo down along the South Platte on Friday.

Arriving at the first stream, I quickly rigged up and began fishing.  A short time and a few fish later, I decided to head to the other stream and look for that big brown.  As always, driving around in the Park is a great experience.  Elk were everywhere although when I'm heading off to fish, the wildlife are just a nuisance that slow drivers in front of me down.  Its hard to complain about being in the wild though and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive to my next fishing hole.

Finding no one where I wanted to fish at the next spot, I changed flies to something that a big brown would probably enjoy.  I cast into the pool, once, twice...the big brown hit like a freight train, appearing almost magically from wherever he had been lurking.  My eyes had been glued to the rock he shot out from other the previous trip so I know he had been hiding in a new spot.  Whatever the case, I was now VERY glad for the heavy 1x tippet I was fishing and quickly fought the fish into the shallows.  Time should never be wasted in fighting a fish you plan to release and this fish was no exception.

I posed for a couple of quick pictures which my friend Catherine graciously took for me so I could keep the fish in the water as much as possible.  It was a beautiful brown and definitely made my day!

Catherine McGrath Photograph 

Catherine McGrath Photograph

Despite fishing some more, and even catching some more nice fish, nothing would surpass returning to catch a big brown I had spotted previously.  The rest of the day was spent exploring some new areas which included driving the long way home.  As always here in Colorado, the scenery impressed but I was already considering my next day's adventure...


12 comments:

  1. Well done David. Nice job on putting the work in to go back and fool that beautiful fish.

    Ben

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    1. Thanks Ben! Returning to catch a spotted big fish is one of my favorite things in this sport...

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  2. Nice! I sure wished we could have made the trip but.... Next time. That is a good looking brown and hard to beat anywhere you go.

    Juan

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    1. Juan, will be looking for to another opportunity to fish together. And thanks! I was pretty happy about that fish.

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  3. Lovely scenery and a beautiful brown trout! Yes, spotting a big trout makes you want to go back to see if it's still there and naturally if you can get him to take. I have a lot of places of returns but unfortunately some of them have been ruined one way or the other by humans that cannot leave the places as they found them. Sad but true. Glad you got your big brown!
    My best,
    M.O.

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    1. M.O., that is always frustrating when you find your favorite spot trashed because someone was careless. I've seen that too much in my life...

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  4. David, isn't that really what flyfishing is all about? The Dream, the Implementaion of your Plan, and, the Realization that your Dream came true when your Plan was successfully Implemented! Congratulations on that big Brownie!

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    1. Mel, that is definitely a great summary of fly fishing! I think I might have to chase the dream again this afternoon...

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  5. Nice going David. Mel and I are anxious for some lessons.

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    1. Howard, I'm looking forward to a chance to hang out with you guys. I'm sure you can show me a thing or two about fishing here in Colorado...

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  6. Absolutely beautiful Brown! Hard to beat any day where that is the result.

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    1. Thanks Atlas! It definitely made my day...

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