I'm not sure whether to feel flattered or not, but when a photographer recently wanted to take my picture fishing, I figured it couldn't hurt and if photographing me broke his camera, well that would be his fault. I've experienced photographers before, such as over on the Taylor, and figured it wouldn't be all bad. It all began a week and a half ago on Friday afternoon when I headed over to fish Boulder Creek for an hour or so.
Upon arriving at the parking area, I got out of my car and started rigging up to fish. A photographer from the Daily Camera approached me and made the rather astute observation that I was about to do something "outside." Since his assignment was to take a picture of someone doing something "outside," would I be so kind as to allow him to take my picture? After getting my name, he left me to do my thing while following at a respectful distance.
Soon I was fishing away, nearly oblivious other than when I heard the camera clicking away. Soon I found myself on an ice shelf under a bridge where a nice brown came out to swirl on my streamer. Hoping to lure it back out again, I continued fishing and soon found myself photographed right into the newspaper. That's right, on Saturday morning there I was, front and center on the "Local" section, fishing away on the ice shelf.
I soon told the photographer I was heading downstream "a ways," and he graciously allowed that he had got all the pictures he needed and said his thanks and good bye. I enjoyed the next hour and ended up with four fish so it was not a bad trip!
FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/21/2016
Current fishing conditions in the mountains have been tough although rain overnight has bumped up the levels on Park streams, especially on the Tennessee side. Be careful as lots of leaves are going to be coming down now with brisk northwest winds behind the cold front. That can make fishing challenging. If you do fish, I would suggest fishing dry/dropper with a #14 Orange Stimulator or Orange Elk Hair Caddis up top and a bead head Green Weenie, Isonychia Nymph, or Blue-winged Olive Nymph (#18-#20 bead head Pheasant Tail will suffice here) underneath. Focus on stealth and accurate casts.
If you are flexible in where you fish, I recommend heading for your favorite tailwater to trout fish. Most tailwaters are offering good flows for wade fishermen right now and the fish are hungry. The Hiwassee River has been recently stocked for the delayed harvest and the Caney Fork continues to fish very well on our guide trips. The Watauga, South Holston, and Clinch Rivers should be great as well.
If musky are on your mind like they are for me, then be patient and hope for more rain. The musky streams and rivers are very low right now and we need some water before safely navigating those streams in the larger boats that are preferred.
A NOTE ON SPAWNING TROUT
This is the time of year that brown and brook trout as well as some strains of rainbow trout spawn. On rivers like the Caney Fork, many anglers choose to target these spawning trout. This is unfortunate, especially this year. There are plenty of pre- and post-spawn trout to target if you want to catch big fish. With low water the norm, the Caney Fork actually has a chance at producing some natural recruitment this year barring any unforeseen high water. The same thing applies in the Smokies. Spawning brown and brook trout are extra vulnerable because of the low water and should be allowed to do their thing in peace. The future of these fisheries depends upon conscientious anglers doing the right thing. If you must fish to spawning trout, please use very heavy tippets and quickly land and release all fish caught. If you want to learn how to be successful this time of year without chasing active spawners, please consider booking a guided trip, and I would be glad to teach you how to hunt these large fish.