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

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Cool Down

As November gave way to December, there were still some great fishing opportunities to be had locally.  Then it cooled off just a little.  From highs in the 50s and even 60s, we are now going to be lucky to get to 10 or so above zero.  The low temperatures last night were well below zero.  As you can imagine, open water is going to be closing quickly now.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I made a trip over to El Dorado Canyon to find some solitude.  A recent snowstorm had both coated the stream banks and chased away other anglers.  I'm just fine with that.  If it takes a cool down to get some water to myself so be it.  Rocks were already gaining ice caps, and this was before our recent plunge into the deep freeze.


The snow on the plains had barely been a couple of inches.  In the canyon it had piled higher though, up to 5 or 6 inches.  Scrambling up and down the steep stream banks was an adventure but I just took things slow and made sure to not take any serious falls.  This included NOT wearing waders, but instead just wearing hiking boots.  Long ago, it became obvious that wading boots encourage me to take risks that I shouldn't even be considering.  My solution now is to just stay out of the water.  Yes, there is less water I can reach, but it also forces me to creatively improve my casting as well as try new methods.  I tend to fish streamers a lot more when I'm stuck on the bank which isn't too bad of a trade off if you ask me.


Anyway, as I walked up the access road and stared almost straight down to the stream, the thought of scrambling down was a bit frightening.  Eventually, I was almost to the top of the steepest stretch before I found a decent path down to the water.  Here, the danger factor was in the "broken leg" range if I fell instead of "likely death."  Oh well, surely I could drag myself with my hands out of the canyon.  I'm glad I snuck down where I did.  The browns were small but willing.  Getting around the banks was a bit tricky, but I navigated enough stream to feel that the scramble down had been worth it.


When I discovered the road was now much easier to get to, I decided to jump out and head back down the canyon.  Eventually I found myself fishing a hole near the car as the sun started to sink below the horizon.  Already shaded by the clouds and canyon walls, the stream was becoming even darker.  Finally, as the temperature was rapidly dropping, one last nice brown was eager to eat.  A quick picture, and the fish was back in the water, and I was headed to the warmth of my car.


4 comments:

  1. Glad you're being careful. I fish a good deal by myself too and injury is always on my mind. It's harder to recover the older you get.

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  2. I applaud you and second Mark's comment. No fishing is worth your life, even though in the heat of battle some of us forget that little bit of wisdom. Beautiful fish on a cold day, Dave. Happy holidays!

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  3. Nice pic! Glad you were able to get out and enjoy the solitude of winter. Fly fishing a Colorado winter has to be experienced! Stay safe!

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  4. It's interesting to take note of the tradeoffs of fishing on a cold winter day as compared to a warmer day in the summer. Though some may consider that it isn't worth fishing in the cold because of the discomfort and low pay out, I appreciate that you took note of the benefits. Fishing on a cold day gives you the opportunity to appreciate the majestic beauty of a Colorado winter, solitude, and a greater appreciation for the fish that captured. Sounds like a relaxing trip!

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