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 27, 2013

Tying Feathers

Do you ever want to try and steal some feathers from a duck?  I've come close to considering this one a few times.  Just imagine what all these feathers would look like on a fly.  If we could harvest these without killing the duck, it would be a great renewable source.  Instead of buying a bag of feathers, each tier would simply keep a small flock of various birds...  I'm sure someone would consider this cruelty to animals, but if I was this duck, I think this solution would be much preferred over getting shot...


11 comments:

  1. I have considered it, and plan to do it when I have a property where I can keep some birds. I was thinking more along the lines of chickens that might produce some quality hackles. I figure I can just pick up feathers they drop (molt) and probably won't need to do any inhumane plucking.

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    1. Jay, that's a great idea! I have been on the receiving end of some beautiful peafowl feathers obtained this way. If you pick up the feathers soon after they are shed you can normally get some excellent specimens!!!

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    2. I do that!! My parents have Araucana and ISA Brown chickens-- it always seems like there are feathers lying around!

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  2. As soon as my new neighbor (lives where the people lived with the Llamas) moved in he brought me 4 bags of duck feathers. Yeh, he's a duck hunter. Only problem I have is I don't know what to do with them. I've yet to find a recipe that calls for duck feathers.

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    1. Mark, do you have flank feathers or wing feathers or both? If you have the smaller flank feathers, the fibers make great tails as well as wing cases on lots of different nymph patterns. My favorite variation on the Gold-ribbed Hare's Ear nymph is tied with mallard flank feathers for the wing case. It normally out fishes a standard GRHE back in the Smoky Mountains although I haven't tried it here in Colorado yet.

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    2. Hi, Mark and David, just to jump in here. I have used Mallard Flank feathers for years in tying one of my favorite Streamer patterns. Trouble is I have to buy my Mallard Flank feathers since I don't have any duck hunting buddies. I would look kind of silly chasing them around at the pond in the park where I live just to maybe pick up a flank feather or two.

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    3. Mel, I'm in the same boat and buy all my feathers. If you ever decide to harvest some duck feathers at the park let me know. I'll be glad to come video the event!

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  3. Well, I don't have much interest in growing my own so to speak, but I'm always on the lookout for feathers from natural sources or from friends who hunt. I've got some beautiful turkey feathers last year from a friend in Ohio. Best pheasant tail nymphs I've ever tied.

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    1. Generous friends who hunt are definitely great to have! I have a large collection of pheasant tail feathers from a good friend that come in handy all the time when I'm tying flies!

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  4. id rather shoot the duck (and pheasants), more time on the water, a great dinner, and feathers to tie flies!

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