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

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Winter Stocked Trout

Tennessee, as do many states, has a winter trout stocking program to provide trout fishing for people who would normally not have the opportunity to fish for trout because of their lack of proximity to cold-water streams.  A couple of days ago, I made it to our local fishing hole at Cumberland Mountain State Park.  Byrd Lake is stocked every winter.  My preference is to fish it in the spring once the fish have had a couple of months to grow (and color up a bit) but even now the trout can provide an hour or two of entertainment close to home.

Fishing can be good both in the lake and in the stream above and below the lake.  I enjoy fishing the stream below the lake as it is a very short walk compared to the jaunt required to get above the lake.  The fish are small but generally eager.  As fresh stockers, the fish won't require your fly fishing Ph.D. nor your midge box.  Instead, a few simple wet flies will generally suffice.  My favorite flies are Wooly Buggers and Simi Seal Leeches, preferably with a bead head.  I fish them on the swing most of the time although occasionally dead drifting works as well.

If you are in the area and want to get out, try fishing at Cumberland Mountain State Park.  You will be pleasantly surprised at how good these fish look considering they are fresh stockers.

And if you decide to go, here is a tip for you: find my favorite stump.  Just be careful casting as the trees nearby are hungry for flies...


  1. David
    Nice looking rainbow, this is a new area for me. How is the lake fishing? Your Seal Leech is a killer on a tailrace, especially with the dead drift. It has really been good for me on the Sipsey. Thanks for sharing

    1. Bill, I did not take the time to fish the lake on this trip. Normally I enjoy fishing it for bluegill in that lake. Glad that Leech is still working well for you!

  2. Replies
    1. Mark, I just came home for the holiday, but I will be officially moving back in early January, pretty much as soon as I fly back out to CO (assuming nothing comes up between now and then in terms of a job that would allow me to stay).



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