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, September 18, 2013

Getting Drenched

I was there when the floods started.  At the time it was not clear that floods were on the way.  Where I was fishing, I got a firsthand look at what a Colorado cloudburst could do, not in the same way that we would see destruction over the next few days of course but still pretty impressive.  The forecast called for a chance of rain, but as the day wore on the clouds thinned.  As a good fisherman I hoped that the clouds would return.  When I arrived at South Boulder Creek at Walker Ranch, the sky was again starting to lower.  Off to the south it was darker and more threatening.  Perfect fishing weather.  It was Tuesday evening, September 10, 2013.

On the creek, I was surprised when streamers did not give me any results.  We are quickly approaching fall and the brown trout should be aggressive now or soon.  Fish were rising though.  It started to drizzle.  Quickly I changed leaders and added some 6x tippet. BWO weather.  I dug out my box of dries and scrounged around in the one compartment where I keep my small patterns.  A few #20 BWO Sparkle Duns were there from my tying spree last fall that came as a result of a fantastic experience fishing the little dries on Clear Creek.  By now the drizzle was falling harder.  Adding floatant was a challenge.  I leaned forward to protect the dry fly with my hat brim and body as I rubbed the Aquel into the body of the little fly.  Pulling out a bottle of Frogs Fanny, I put it conveniently into my pocket.  I would need a lot to keep that fly afloat.

Finding one of the best pools empty, I quickly moved in.  Rain was steady and my camera bag was getting wet.  Looking around, I noticed a small boulder with an overhang under a bush.  I shoved the camera bag underneath the overhang and hoped it would stay dry enough.  Fish were almost causing the water to boil with rises by now.  Every once in a while a larger mayfly would make an appearance as it labored upstream just above the water, all the while getting pelted with raindrops...or was it dodging them?

I settled into a nice rhythm. Cast, cast, set, land fish, release, repeat.  Some nicer rainbows started mixing into the catch.  The little rainbows looked a lot like the little 'bows I used to catch in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.  It was raining, making it feel even more like home.  I could get used to this.

A gully washer moved in, pelting the water so hard that every 3 or 4 casts I was applying Frogs Fanny with the same procedure as the original floatant.  Still the fish were eating.  A guy from somewhere back east came down the canyon as he headed for the bridge and a quick hike out.  We chatted in the pouring rain and then he continued on his soggy way.  Even with my rain coat on I was getting drenched.  What a day to wet wade.  Yet another wallet drying experience loomed in my immediate future.  I checked under the rock to see how my camera was doing.  The bag was pretty damp.  Maybe it's time to hike out.  Fish were still rising though so I kept fishing.

The runoff hit the stream pretty hard just a couple of fish later.  I noticed the murky torrent along the edge of the clear water.  With the dam just upstream, I felt fairly safe from flash floods.  The road was another story though.  I've been bogged down in mud before and didn't want a repeat performance.  Hiking upstream, the real mud hit. I had left at just the right time.  The fish were still biting but the clarity would have changed that inside of 2 minutes.

Despite the wet conditions, the rain nearly stopped as I hiked out.  I was still soaking in the experience, literally and figuratively I might add.  The fishing experience was one of the best I've had since moving to Colorado, and it had been too wet to photograph any of it.  Apparently leaving your camera safely under a rock to keep dry is as good as leaving it at home to guarantee a great time of fishing.

That night, I reflected on the amazing trip I had just had.  With growing concern I noted that the rain was continuing and forecast to become heavy the next day.  I still had no idea what that would actually mean though.

Now I have no clue when I'll fish some of my favorite streams here on the Front Range.  Thus, it seems fitting that my last and best memory might just be of getting drenched...

6 comments:

  1. I don't mind the rain as long as it's warm. Once it's around 40 I hate it. The worst is the drizzle with wind that just cuts through you. I'm always like just snow already. I'd rather be cold and it's snowing.

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    1. Kevin, the rain was cool enough that it was a little annoying but not dangerously so. I'm with you on the cold rain. Snow is much better, especially when I can fish in it...

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  2. David
    It takes a truly dedicated fly fisherman to fish through conditions like, and you my friend are among the best. Was there any lighting along with the rain? Thanks for sharing--enjoyed the read

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    1. Bill, thankfully there was no lightning, just the heavy almost tropical-like rain. I don't do lightning and would have been making tracks back to my car...

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  3. Nice post David. I would have wimped out much earlier. But then again, I know what came happen in the foothills and it can happen fast. Sounds like a day to put in the scrapbook.

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    Replies
    1. Howard, next time I'll probably end up being a little more cautious now that I've witnessed what water can do in these hills. I was definitely blessed to have had a good trip and make it out safely.

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