Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 12/3/2019

Winter fishing is nearly upon us. Snow yesterday has given way to falling water temperatures in the Smokies. In general, fish will be hunkered down, although by tomorrow they should start to get more active again as temperatures warm. For the next three months, expect many more fish in the slower places in the Park. Think nymphs and maybe streamers but don't be surprised to find fish rising to blue-winged olives or midges on some days.

On tailwaters like the Clinch, brown trout and some fall spawn rainbows are doing their thing. This is a good time to review good ethics when it comes to spawning trout. Remember that these are the next generation of trout and the best thing you can do is to leave them alone. Avoid wading through spawning areas and don't fish for obvious spawners. For the foreseeable future, we should have high water thanks to big rains this last weekend. Fishing out of the drift boat will be very good through the winter with both nymphing and streamer fishing a distinct possibility. Want to swing for the fences and go for just one monster? Streamers will just get better and better going into January and February.

The Caney is slowly coming around. A few shad are coming through the dam, but lingering water quality problems are limiting the fishing. Winter streamer floats will produce shots at larger brown trout for anglers willing to work hard. Next spring should bring good fishing again.

Winter is our favorite time to get on the musky streams. In between bouts of high water, those will be fishing well for the next few months.

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fishing Local

The local creeks are fishable!!!!  That's the big news, at least for me.  The fishing is challenging but on warm days it can improve drastically as low elevation snow and ice melt fill the creek and the water takes on a slight stain.  I managed a couple of hours fishing on both Friday and Sunday afternoons.  The difference?  Friday was in the 50s and the water was slightly stained while on Sunday I was fighting ice on my line and in my guides the whole time.

Amazingly, there were more fish sitting out on Sunday but they were also way more spooky than the fish on Friday.  Of course, with the slight stain on Friday it is a distinct possibility that I wasn't seeing fish that were actually there.  The fish were a bit more willing to chase on Friday in the slightly warmer water temperatures.  The larger fish did not seem to want to expend energy for the most part.  I had some nicer browns come out and casually stare at my slowly bounced streamer but looking and eating were two different things.

One of the amusing aspects of Friday's trip was being photographed for the Daily Camera, Boulder's newspaper.  More to come on that later.

I fished slowly and enjoyed my time on the water while adding to my knowledge of Boulder Creek.  Each stream has its own set of quirks, and I'm slowly learning what is now my local creek.  As with other Colorado waters, etiquette seems to be lacking on Boulder Creek (expect a rant in the near future).  I had one guy stop and fish the other side of the pool I was working and even casting in the same spot I was fishing on Friday, and I'm talking about a fly fisherman who should have known better.   Anyone who has ever fished Boulder Creek knows the pools can be a bit tight to say the least.  The best part, I could have hit him with probably 5 feet of line out plus my 9' leader.  Yeah, that's close!

Despite the cramped fishing conditions in one pool, everything else was wide open for me to fish!  I worked the pools with various small streamers and started to find willing fish.  The larger fish were tight to structure and would ease out from under ice shelves or back eddies to stare at my streamer before vanishing again.  On Friday I finished the day with 4 little browns to hand and all came on the streamer.


Yesterday, despite the cold temperatures, the ice along the creek was continuing to loosen and melt although at a much reduced rate.  I expect this current cold snap to keep the fish sluggish for at least a few days.  Early on, I had some shelf ice that looked like the bank (covered in sand) break under me.  Since I was in hiking boots and jeans, the result was a bit chilly.  Thankfully I stayed warm enough to fish for a good hour or so before calling it quits.  The ice on the stream created some beautiful pictures just waiting for my camera to come out.






The only fish I managed yesterday was a persistent brook trout that hit and/or followed again and again before finally impaling itself on the small streamer.  Gotta love brookies!!!!




In the same pool that I caught the brook trout in I finally found a better than average brown.  It came out to follow my streamer once and that was it.  However, I do know where it lives and will be back to catch it!!!  Streamers will be my weapon of choice unless I stumble across a good hatch...

This winter I really fished streamers almost exclusively in the freestone streams nearby when they were fishable.  On tailwaters I have stuck with the tried and true double nymph rig with mostly small stuff.  Streamers are nice in that they require a more active approach and also the results are so visual.  There's nothing like seeing a charging brown, even if its just a little 8 incher.

I've been tying more and more lately and will probably fish again this next weekend.  The long weekend could turn out to be epic so stay tuned for more!!!



10 comments:

  1. Catching them on clousers eh?

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    1. Kevin, sorta, kinda, not exactly, and sure.... :D Seriously though, basically a Clouser but have made some adjustments so it is more like a Gotcha or Crazy Charlie. I really lump them all in the same category though so, yep, it was a Clouser! Shoot me an email if you are interested in more specifics...

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  2. I know how those hole jumpers can be up there I'm just surprised that are out this time of year. Can't wait to hear what the Camera was up to.

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    1. Howard, I was surprised as well, especially since there were lots of options on where to fish...

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  3. Beautiful freestone stream, what size streamer were you using? As for stream etiquette some individuals will differently crowd in if you are landing fish. The tailrace where I fish is famous for that. Enjoyed the post!!

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    1. Bill, I'm mostly fishing #6-#10 streamers. The larger ones are tied on a short shank hook so they are effectively a #8 or #10 with a larger hook gap.

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  4. Anonymous8:13 PM

    Great shots! Great fish! Too bad about the "other guy" crowding your spot! That's my biggest pet peeve about public lands and waters, lack of courtesy. We're all in this together baby! Why crowd each other out! Definitely not cool!

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    1. I don't mind fishing close to people when there are no other options. If someone fishes near me on the Taylor or Frying Pan, that's just part of the game. What I don't get is crowding when there are plenty of other options. I'll agree with you that a lack of courtesy is a huge problem today for sure!

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  5. Anonymous11:13 PM

    Looks and sounds like you had an enjoyable time on Boulder Creek despite the close proximity of the other fly rodder. Howard directed me to a day on Boulder Creek last fall that I really enjoyed. Hope to do it again this year. Maybe we can all wet a line together one day on the creek. Enjoyed the camera work!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mel! Boulder Creek is a gem, especially considering its proximity!!!

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