Guided Trips


Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Monday, May 06, 2013

Nasty Weather Rocks

When short on time, go fishing anyways!!!  Unable to get away until 4:00 pm, I still headed out to fish and set my sights on Rocky Mountain National Park.  On the way up, I noticed that seemingly ALL the elk in the Estes Park vicinity were out feeding.  The fishing prospects were a bit more interesting at this point.  I've noticed that when the wild creatures are all out feeding, the fishing is often a lot better.  Naturally I hoped this would hold true again.

When I got out of the Troutmobile, I found myself longing for the fleece that I had left at home.  My raincoat would have to suffice both to block the impending rain (or would it be snow?) and cold.  The old workhorse 9' 4 weight St. Croix Legend Ultra was put together, and I tied on a Bellyache Minnow. This is one of my favorite streamers for short line streamer fishing with floating lines.  The weight is distributed perfectly so it rides correctly in the water column.

On the very first cast, a really nice brown swirled but missed the hook.  I got excited because I had the whole stream to myself and the fish were hungry!  Continuing downstream and pounding the banks, I had fish regularly chasing the streamer.  The sky warned me that rain was imminent, but I kept working steadily.

Just as the first drops were starting to fall, I finally felt a solid tug on the line.  I quickly got the camera out and snapped a couple of pictures before the rain became too heavy.  The camera was soon back safely in the bag and stayed there until things dried out a bit.

Throughout stream, fish started rising as a hatch got underway.  The fish were taking what appeared to be BWOs although I never caught any and they could have been large midges.  My hands were so cold that changing my rig was not an option so I stuck with the streamer.  Besides, I wanted to catch a big fish!

Slowly the rain grew less and less and then finally just stopped as though the clouds had gotten tired.  The gloom started to lift as the sun showed itself vaguely through the clouds in the west above the mountains.  

My fingers were freezing and after stepping in a puddle (hey its hard to cast, properly swim the fly, and walk all at the same time!) my foot was cold too.  Tempted to give up, I realized that I was almost through the section of stream and kept going.  Fish were still hitting the streamer when I came to Dead Elk Bend.  Well, that's what I call it.  Probably the locals have another name for it.  My name was spontaneous due to the rather fresh but stripped remains of an elk nearby.  

The bend pool nearby had a perfect ambush spot for a nice brown.  My cast lobbed the streamer towards the slack water.  As soon as it splashed down, I was swimming the fly out towards the current. A dark shape rocketed out from under the bank and inhaled the streamer.  The heavy tippet allowed me to land the fish quickly.  I set my camera down on top of my gear bag and snapped a quick picture.

After releasing the fish, my day was completed when I was treated to a beautiful sunset over the mountains.  

I strolled back through the fields to my car, satisfied with another great outing!


  1. I suggest gloves (I carry two sets in my backpack), hand warmers (I have a 10 pack in the glove box), and you already know about the jacket. Then again, you younger guys can manage the cold a lot better than us geezers.

  2. Mark, I actually had some gloves back in the car but was too lazy to go get them. Probably I deserved to be cold all things considered...

  3. Great pictures! what camera and lens are you using?

  4. David, nice report, and it looks like you had a pretty good outing. By the way, great self portrait with the big brown of the day, I'm impressed!




Subscribe to the Trout Zone Anglers Newsletter!

* indicates required