Guided Trips


Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Sunday, December 09, 2012

A Date That Will Live in Infamy

December 7, 1941 is naturally memorable to any patriotic American, but then there is December 7, 2012.  I'm guessing the trout of Clear Creek might remember this one for awhile.  I did not have much time on the water, 2 hours or so at best, but the trout were out and hungry.  The weather is mild enough to have the trout on the feed but still cool enough that most people are avoiding this stream.  That's just fine with me.

After taking care of a few items of business, I grabbed my gear and headed towards Golden.  After having a blast throwing streamers last Sunday, I assumed the continued warm weather would have even more of the stream open to fishing.  My hunch proved correct as the majority of the stream was free of ice now at least on the lower end where I focused my efforts.  Small streamers were again the name of the game.  I fished a couple of different white streamers and the fish were willing to eat them both dead drift with occasional twitches and also ripped through the currents to imitate a fleeing baitfish.

The irony of the situation had me feeling sorry for the people hurrying past just a few yards away on the busy highway.  Here I was, enjoying the beautiful afternoon and evening out in nature, while everyone else was in a hurry to get to the casinos not far up in the mountains.  It made me very thankful that I find so much pleasure in nature although I'm not sure that I'm saving much money compared to everyone else...

Back to the fishing, things started out okay but not great.  I had a few half hearted follows and a few more genuinely interested fish.  Amazingly, there were still fish out in the riffles and pocket water although many more have already moved to the larger pools where they will spend the cold winter months.  The water temperatures had come up some since last Sunday.  Again I relied on the highly scientific hand dip technique and feel fairly safe saying the water temperature was at least 5 degrees warmer than on my last trip.  As the shadows grew longer, the fish responded to the more comfortable water temperatures.  Perhaps the approaching front had them anxious to eat as well.  Whatever the reason, more and more fish started to attack the streamer.  Finally I brought one to hand and the skunk was off!

Over the last 45 minutes, I stung and even plain ol' missed more fish than I can remember.  The first fish was the smallest and the others included some very respectable trout.  Again, like the last trip, I couldn't connect with the largest fish of the day.

Perhaps the most enjoyable part was the fact that the stream was living up to its name.  I could see the bottom even in the deepest pools and was sight fishing despite not wearing my polarized sunglasses.  The fish were sitting out in all types of water and it was an enjoyable game seeing which ones would chase and eat and which ones would totally ignore my efforts.  Apparently a few fish received a memo detailing my fishing trip because they were just a bit wise to my efforts.  The rest though were not so intelligent and kept me entertained until I knew that it was time to head home...

I wrapped up the evening lying down on a boulder overlooking the top of a nice pool with my camera pointed upstream.  As the light grew less and less, I took several pictures to remember the peace that I found along a busy highway.  I'm sure there is a profound lesson to be learned there as well, but at the moment, I was just glad to be outside soaking up the experience...


  1. David, I meant to post a comment earlier, but my life stepped in and made me do other things. Your photos are beautiful and I'm more convinced now more than ever that we need to hook up. But please, can we wait until the temps. get above 50 degrees?

    1. Howard, we could wait, but on the other hand, we could get out this weekend! How about the Blue? Temps in the low-mid 20s if we are lucky...haha. Seriously, I'll be looking forward to fishing sometime next spring or summer. I know that my trips are going to be few and far between for the next 2 months unless we get an extended warm spell again. And if you change your mind about winter fishing let me know...

  2. Cool shots, especially like the first one. Good stuff as always.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Peter! I was pretty happy to catch them considering the time of year...



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