Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/17/2018

Fishing continues to be good to excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee. Delayed harvest streams are also being stocked and fishing well in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.

In the Smokies, fall bugs are in full swing. We have been seeing blue-winged olives almost daily although they will hatch best on foul weather days. They are small, typically running anywhere from #20-#24 although a few larger ones have also shown up. A few Yellow Quills are still hanging on in the mid to high elevation brook trout water although not for long. October caddis (more properly, great autumn sedges) are hatching in good numbers now on the North Carolina side of the Park and just starting on the Tennessee side. Terrestrials still have a place in your fly box as well although they are definitely winding down for the year. Isonychia nymphs, caddis pupa, and BWO nymphs will get it done for your subsurface fishing. Have some October Caddis (#12) and parachute BWO patterns (#18-#22) for dry flies and you should be set. Brook trout are still eating smaller yellow dry flies as well. Not interested in matching the hatch? Then fish a Pheasant Tail nymph under a #14 Parachute Adams. That rig can catch fish year round in the Smokies.

Brook and brown trout are now moving into the open to spawn. During this time of year, please be extremely cautious about wading through gravel riffles and the tailouts of pools. If you step on the redd (nest), you will crush the eggs that comprise the next generation of fish. Please avoid fishing to actively spawning fish and let them do their thing in peace.

Our tailwaters are still cranking although the Caney is finally starting to come down. I'm hoping to get some type of a report for there soon. Stay tuned for more on that. Fishing will still be slow overall with limited numbers of fish in that particular river unfortunately.

The Clinch is featuring high water as they try to catch up on the fall draw down. All of the recent rainfall set them back in this process but flows are now going up to try and make up some of the time lost. It is still fishing reasonably well on high water although we are holding off for the low water of late fall and early winter as it is one of our favorite times to be on the river.

Smallmouth are about done for the year with the cooler weather we are now experiencing. Our thoughts will be turning to musky soon, however. Once we are done with guide trips for the year, we'll be spending more time chasing these monsters.

In the meantime, we still have a few open dates in November and one or two in October. Feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in a guided trip. Thanks!

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Monday, August 19, 2013

One, Two, Three, Set!!!

My favorite fishing trips are those I take with minimal expectations.  A box of dry flies, a 4 weight fly rod, and wet wading gear is the recipe for a perfect afternoon on the water.  If I catch a few small stream fish I'm happy.  Big fish are not the goal here although deep down I always hope to catch a bunch of fish.

A week or so ago I experienced one of those rare days where everything goes right.  My destination?  A small stream in Rocky Mountain National Park.  To be fair, around here it might be considered a medium sized stream.  Anyway, back to my fishing trip, I hit the road at the lazy hour of noon.  A stop at Taco Bell and Dairy Queen for burritos and blizzards provided the fuel I would need to navigate the steep pocket water reach I hoped to fish.

At the trailhead I was happy to find a parking spot on the first try.  Soon I was hauling my favorite 4 weight out of the trunk, an old Orvis Tight Loop Superfine.  I attached the Battenkill Original Reel I've had for the past 15 years and switched out to a fresh 7 1/2 foot 4x leader that I extended with some 5x tippet.  This rig has fished with me across the country from small streams in the Smokies to spring fed streams in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

A complex mixed hatch was going on.  Little Yellow Stoneflies, Caddis, PMDs (duns and spinners), midges, and other assorted flying critters were floating the breeze above the plunge pools and pocket water.  I'm all about keeping things simple and selected a Parachute Adams.  It didn't particularly look like anything I saw on the water, but with opportunistic fish I figured that wouldn't matter.

Walking up the trail, I wondered if the tiny tributary stream flowing under the bridge just ahead held any fish.  Glancing upstream into the 5 inch deep "run" above, I saw a shadow finning in the current.  My casts were sloppy as I tried to sling the fly under the overhanging brush.



My backcast snagged, and I spent the next few minutes untangling things.  Finally, 5 or 6 casts into the experience, I got the fly somewhat close to the fish.  It turned and ate the fly without hesitation.  A brook trout to get things going!


Moving on to the main destination stream, I started casting.  The first cast was blind, but then I spotted a trout holding.  My second cast was too far right, but the third was right on.  One fish every 5 or so casts?  I'll take it.  Moving on up the stream and away from the obvious access point, I started catching nice brook trout.  Even though the spawn is still a month or two away at least, the fish are already starting to show their fall colors.




Best of all, each fish was eating the dry fly with abandon.  Brook trout are sneaky and their rises can be much more subtle than a rainbow would be in similar water.  Usually, when I saw the fly disappear, I would set the hook.  More often than not a trout would be on the other end of my line.  In fact, the trip reached "epic" status when I cast upstream to a boulder just above.  The fly drifted out of sight and I counted one, two, three to myself and then set the hook.  Sure enough, there was a brook trout dancing on the short line.


The stream alternated between steep pocket water and wider sections with nice runs and pools.  Fish were everywhere.  



I knew something was up when I started catching dinks.  It took probably 30 feet of stream to be sure, but I figured I was fishing behind someone.  Small fish were still coming to hand but the big chunky 8-10 inch brookies seemed to have evaporated.  The hour was getting late so I headed back down the trail.

When I passed a couple of pools that were huge for this stream, I had to stop.  Maybe, just maybe....

It wasn't until I threw all the way across alongside the undercut rock ledge before my fly vanished.  When I set the hook I was excited.  The potential large wild brook trout morphed into a brown and my smile grew even wider.  Variety keeps things interesting.  



Wouldn't it be crazy if I caught a cutthroat?  The slam was now within reach, but I was well below where cutts start to show up regularly.  The thought kept nagging though so when I spotted the nice "brookie" while standing on a rock I should have known better.  When I set the hook it didn't take long to figure out that this fish was not a brookie.  Cutthroat just don't normally seem to fight as hard, at least in my experience.  Thrilled to catch such a beauty, I snapped two quick pictures.  



A parting stream shot was in order.  The tourists had mostly left for the day so the rocks were barren and wild, just the way they should be.  


27 comments:

  1. Outstanding.
    Beautiful brook trout.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! This stream has some of the prettiest brook trout I've caught anywhere...

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  2. Replies
    1. Juan, we need to fish again sometime!

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  3. Great fish and pics. I love cutthroat but you're right about the fights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kevin, cutts are the strangest fish. I've had very few that really fought...

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  4. Nice sized fish for such a small stream. Just the scenery was worth it.

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    Replies
    1. Mark, I continue to be amazed at the average size this stream puts out.

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  5. David
    I really liked this post, not only for the beauty of the area and of course the trout, but also for the detailed description of the outing. Thanks for sharing

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Bill!!! Glad you enjoyed reading. Sometimes I wonder if I'm wasting my time and perhaps everyone just looks at the pictures. Its good to know someone is reading what I'm writing.

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  6. Well done! This is one of my favorite entries.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Lungs! Glad you enjoyed it.

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  7. brilliant and gorgeous fish, thanks for taking us on the journey!
    Tight Lines,
    Koz
    True North Trout

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed the trip with me!

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  8. It feels all that much better when you recognize the water and can call the fish by their first names. Great post David.

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    Replies
    1. Howard, I just wish I lived a little closer so I could fish here more often such as in the evening after work...

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  9. Great job on the slam! It is always amazing when days like that come together, and I must agree with the above sentiments: that brookie was gorgeous!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I never ceased to be amazed at how beautiful those fish are!

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. David, I am new to your blog. I linked through from Juan's blog. The stories makes the post, nice job. "If history was told through stories it would never be forgotten." One question though. You mentioned the Slam...where's the rainbow? Did I miss it?

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    4. Lencho, you did not miss it. I personally (probably should have clarified) have never actually seen a rainbow in the N. St. Vrain at Wild Basin and thus meant slam (three species I know exist there) as opposed to the gram slam which I consider a minimum of 4 species. Maybe I should have called it a hat trick... :)

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    5. I might add, "Welcome" and thanks for stopping by.

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  10. David,

    You are the Master!!. Spectacular pics and trips. I envy you back here in Tn.. I am ready to pack up and track you down. No kidding.

    Kelly Galloup is doing a streamer Class this fall and thinking about bagging that to come towards you.

    Keep representing the South in a way only the Dr. can.

    Watching you from afar,

    Breck

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Breck, you are welcome anytime you can make it out here! The streamer class would be incredible if you get the opportunity. Kelly is a great guy and really knows his stuff.

      If you make it to Colorado at any time give me a holler and let's go fish!

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  11. Anonymous1:48 PM

    Great pics David.

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