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, March 20, 2013

Chasing Panfish

One of my favorite spring rituals involving fishing is chasing panfish as they put on the feed in preparation for spawning.  Bluegill, shellcrackers, and crappie all are perfect fly rod fish: they are aggressive and will readily eat just about any well-presented fly.  Here in Colorado I have focused mainly on trout, but hope to change that soon.

On my recent trip to Tennessee, I had to make a stop at the small lake near my parents' place that is my early season hot spot.  The stop turned out to be only about 15 minutes, both because I had friends along and because it was downright COLD.  Yep, I forgot how bone-chilling the humid air of the southeast can be.  The recent cold front had ushered in gusty northwest winds and after catching a fish, I was happy to head back home.

Catherine McGrath Photograph

The crappie are not exactly on fire yet, or were not on that particular day.  My educated guess says that the crappie fishing improved drastically this last weekend with the warm temperatures.  Hopefully I'll find a good spot or two to chase some panfish nearby soon.  Maybe, just maybe, even this afternoon...

8 comments:

  1. Crappie are really fun with a fly rod. They hit so strange. It always feels like the fly is dragging through grass when they hit.

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    1. I've always thought the same thing, except for once. I had a BIG crappie come out and nail a buzz bait (yep, used to spin fish) just like a bass. One of the craziest things I have ever seen.

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  2. Another thing that you and I have in common, David. I absolutely love chasing Bluegill and Crappie or Perch for that matter. Like you, I have to adjust my thinking now that I live in Colorado and see if I can find some willing Panfish!

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    1. Mel, I'm going to be trying to find a good spot and am hoping there will be some bass included as well!

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  3. FYI, the two big ones I caught last year were on the Thin Mint.

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    1. Mark, I'm a believer in that fly now. I tied up a bunch for the Smokies but then ended up fishing even larger streamers due to the high water. They will still catch a bunch of fish for me sometime this year though!

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  4. David
    I enjoyed the video. Was the crappie you were catching stocked in this pond? Sometimes they get brought in ponds in the form of eggs on Cranes legs. For me there is a difference in the feel of a crappie and bluegill on the fly rod, more darting with the bluegill. Thanks for sharing

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    Replies
    1. Bill, I'm not sure if they were originally stocked in there or not but would assume so. I definitely know what you mean about the feel of the fish. I can almost always tell whether I have a bluegill on or a crappie. They feel a lot different for sure!

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