Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/22/2020

High flows continue across the area but trends are definitely down. A recent cold snap broke the ongoing heatwave so fishing in the mountains has slowed dramatically. Right on schedule, some of our tailwaters should begin returning to more normal flows for this time of year meaning float trips are certainly possible.

For the Smokies, a warming trend should commence as we go into next week. By mid week the fishing should be decent before the next cold front returns us back to winter again. On warmer days, look for midges and possibly winter stoneflies hatching. Some blue-winged olives will be possible on foul weather days as we head towards February. The best fishing is still a few weeks out, but no longer feels like an eternity. Expect good spring hatches to start in late February or early March with blue quills and quill gordons along with little black caddis and early brown and black stones. By April, things will be settling down with the pinnacle of spring fishing usually happening from mid April through the month of May.

On our area tailwaters, high water continues to be the story. The Caney Fork still has at least a couple of weeks of high flows and that is assuming we don't get any more heavy rainfall. This time of year, that is asking a lot. The high water is good for one thing, however. Shad. Yes, the cold months are prime time to try and hit the famed shad kill and catch a monster brown trout. Same thing goes for the Clinch.

Speaking of the Clinch, the good news is that flows are scheduled to begin dropping tomorrow. A steady two generators will feel like low water after the recent period of two generators plus sluicing. Two generators opens up some nymphing possibilities in addition to our favorite winter pastime, stripping streamers for monsters.

The musky streams are settling into fine shape and will be an option moving forward as well. Remember that bouts of high water will get them stained or even muddy for a few days, but as flows come down the fishing should pick back up.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This is Home


Thanksgiving is a time to spend with friends and family.  This year it was also a time for me to return home after the big move to Colorado this past summer.  The priority for my trip was to spend time with friends and family but a side trip to the Smokies was also in order.  The Smokies are and always will be my favorite place.  Sure, when I'm knee deep in a Colorado river catching 20" trout, it may be tough to think too hard about why the Smokies are better.  Still, I will always consider the streams of the Smokies to be my original home water, the place where I learned to cast a fly rod and fool a few fish, and also the place where I took innumerable camping trips as a kid and got into backpacking as I grew older.  

The pool above is one of my favorites.  When someone talks about their favorite pool, they normally launch into a story of a monster fish caught there or some other memorable occurrence.  For me, its more about the fish I didn't catch.  Yep, there are some monsters in there, and I even saw one on my visit.  However, it is also one of the most fished pools in the river and it does not give up its trout easily.  

By the time I reached this pool with my buddy Jayson, we were starting to grow weary of the search for big fish.  Several large fish had already been spotted and even fished to, but they were far too spooky and we had come to that point where the stench of skunk was wafting our way.  Never to fear, the rainbows of the Smokies always seem hungry.  

On this day, nearly every big pool had lots of rainbows sitting high in the water column rising to midges and the occasional BWO.  I had tied up a collection of tiny parachute BWOs early this fall after getting into a great hatch on Clear Creek above Golden.  Rather proud of the little flies I had coaxed out of feathers and dubbing, I was happy for the chance to tie one on.  My buddy Jayson had already made the switch and missed a couple of nice rainbows and landed a couple more.  He had also caught an elusive brown.  It was not the monster we had originally hoped for but was still nice to see.


The four weight was in the car ready to be put together but I was slightly lazy and stuck with my 5 weight Legend Ultra.  Extending the leader to 6x tippet, I tied the fly on and started casting.  The trout were sitting just out of the fast current, waiting for the bugs they somehow knew were coming.  My fly must have been tasty looking.  In the first 6 casts I had 6 hits but no fish!!!  Nevermind that dilemma though because when fish are feeding this well you know it will happen.  

Of course, it eventually did.  I was happy to hold and admire one of the gems of the Smokies again.  Yes, the Smokies and Tennessee are home I thought as I watched the fish dart away.  A few rainbows later, I was ready to head back home and spend more time with those I don't get to see very often anymore.  Another time, I'll be back and spend more time in the Smokies.  Until then, I can keep remembering all the good times...


2 comments:

  1. It's sure nice to hear you got back home for the holiday David. I think we all have one of "those" special places that we need to get back to once in awhile.

    ReplyDelete
  2. James W8:39 PM

    Yes! - Motivation to head to the Park. It's easy to lose ambition this time of the year with cool weather and short days, but there isn't a much better time to be on the water. Thanks for sharing and glad you made it home for a few days.

    ReplyDelete

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