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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Persistence

Have you ever gone fishing when you just weren't really feeling it?  After spotting and successfully stalking the nice brown trout,  I began to think that my day had reached its climax early.  My plan had been to head to a nearby river where I have hooked large fish before.  In fact, the fish in this particular spot have taken me to school.  The largest rainbow I've ever hooked was on this river.  The fish threw the fly after peeling line in one continuous blistering run downstream until I was well into the backing.  Those moments happen but rarely, at least when I'm trout fishing.

This was supposed to be one of those redemption trips where you find and hook a nice fish and then don't lose it in the process of fighting it.  I just wasn't feeling it though.  Rigging up with a deep nymph system complete with midges and my favorite sow bug pattern brought a little confidence, but then the long times between even the most subtle of takes had me thinking increasingly about heading home.  Knowing that the fish were there was kind of nice but not hooking them was not helping with the feeling that the day was winding down.

Finally it was decision time.  I'll just head on out.  Then I noticed that the water had dropped a few inches and decided to try another few casts.  You know, just one more.  Of course, one became three, then four, and on cast four the indicator shot under.  Forget those gentle takes, this was undoubtedly a fish.  Pulling back, I realized that it was not just any fish but a decent trout, hopefully a brown.  The golden flash moments later verified that last bit.  The fish had succumbed to the sow bug pattern.


Yes, I was happy now.  My persistence had paid off.  Again I contemplated leaving, but again I decided on a few more casts.  Catching fish has a way of getting your mind back in the game.  The next time the indicator shot under, the ponderous head shakes that followed suggested a larger specimen.  The steady bulldogging convinced me that it was a brown.  Up and down the river I followed as the fish pretty much went wherever it wanted.  Slowly I gained line until finally I slipped the net under a beautiful male brown colored up like fall.


Likely the prettiest fish I'll catch this year, I took a moment to appreciate the reward I gained for my persistence.  Gently holding the fish in calm water, I gave the big brown the opportunity to rest from its exertions.  Only a moment was required before it shot back out into the current, but not without leaving behind a memory of the reward gained for persistence.

16 comments:

  1. Dude! Seriously nice fish. What a beauty. Congrats.

    Ben

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    1. Thanks Ben. I was definitely thrilled!

      David Knapp

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  2. Another great example of when persistence paid off! Hey, David, sometimes we have to wait until the fish "Feels it".

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    1. Mel, you're right. Sometimes I wonder how many fish I miss out on because I'm not patient enough.

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  3. Nice going David, beautiful fish. I think you've found an important key. Persistence does pay off.

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    1. Thanks Howard. Trips like this make the wait worth the while...

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  4. David
    It just doesn’t get any better than that awesome looking brown; beautiful colors. What was the length of this beast? Were you using your 5 or 6 wt to land him? I really enjoyed this read, thanks for sharing

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    1. Bill, the fish was right around 22". I was using my 5 weight and really thought I was going to lose him until he was actually in the net...

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  5. Beautiful

    Troutyeah.blogspot.com

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  6. Very nice! Great story.

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    1. Thanks Juan. We need to get together again sometime! I'll probably be heading down that way to fish in Pueblo as the weather cools. Let me know if you want to get out sometime.

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  7. Nice brown! It is always the one more cast....Great post!

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    1. So true! The one more cast has been working for me since I was a little kid...

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  8. Wow David, great story and stunning brown! I'm equally impressed by your ability to get high quality timed photos of yourself with the fish, nicely done. And I can relate to your post, sometimes you can go fishing without completely "feeling it", but a brown like that has a way of changing perspectives...

    Iain

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    1. Thanks Iain. I've had some experience with the timed photos and have come up with a few things to help, probably the most important is my BIG ghost net. I hate keeping fish out of the water so the big net helps keep them calm and most important, wet...

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