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

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Snowy Solitude

One of the rare pleasures of fly fishing, at least for me, is fishing in the snow.  Yes, it can be ridiculously cold, but the quiet and solitude of being outside during a snowstorm is well worth the price of admission.  When the snow started to pile up yesterday, my first thought was to go home and relax.  My evening opened up a bit however and with time to spare, I headed for Boulder Creek.


After finding the lower creek muddy on Sunday, I figured with the cold weather it had to have dropped and cleared.  Wrong.  Entering Boulder Canyon instead of fishing in mud, I was impressed with how quickly the road conditions deteriorated as I left town.


The Trout Mobile has seen better days and the balding front tires suggested an extended adventure deep into the canyon would be foolhardy at best.  So it was that I found myself stopping just above Four Mile.


The stream was a black ribbon through an otherwise white landscape.  Again I wondered if it was wise to fish, but, curious on how the fish would respond to the snowstorm, I quickly rigged up.  In retrospect I should have used gloves, but I didn't plan to fish long so just through on my lucky fishing cap, a fleece, and a rain coat and scrambled down to a nice pool just below a stretch of pocket water.


Not really wanting to move, I started changing patterns, looking for that one that might do the trick.  A Bellyache Minnow produced several soft hits including some from nicer fish.  The cold water had the fish a bit lethargic though, and I failed to connect.  Several other patterns were tried and I even dropped a soft hackle behind a little streamer to no avail.  Miraculously, I could still tie knots, sorta at least.  This is my usual "test" for getting "too" cold.  Opening up the streamer box, I stared for a while.  Finally, I reached for a Girdle Bug but at the last second my fingers veered to a sculpin pattern.  I was now in the zone, making the right choice without even knowing why.



It took only a couple of casts before I had a solid hit and quickly pulled in a beautiful but sluggish brown from the chilly water.  I took a couple of pictures, then started to consider the warmth I had left at home.  Hunger reminded me that it was past supper time and probably time to get out of the canyon before dark.  Pausing, I took another picture of the stream, thankful for the opportunity for an hour of solitude in the snow.



6 comments:

  1. I don't know if you are gung ho or a glutton for punishment. In either case, I commend your dedication.

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    1. Thanks Mark, I'm not sure which one it is either sometimes but hoping its gung ho. Thanks for reading!

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  2. One of my favorite places to fish...when the temperatures get a tad bit warmer!

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    1. Howard, I'm looking forward to having a full summer to fish Boulder Creek. Getting to know my local creeks and their moods throughout the year is always an enjoyable process...

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  3. Excellent, David! Cold or hot, I envy your access to such a wonderful environment. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Scott! I'm blessed to have such a place close by...

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