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

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Hike and Fish

As I mentioned in my last post, I always am keeping my eye out for opportunities to combine hiking and fishing.  Hiking helps me focus on my surroundings a bit better.  While fishing, I tend to get so caught up on what is happening on the water that I forget to notice the scenery.  The hiking allows me to enjoy the best of both worlds.  Wandering through the woods with a camera over my shoulder and a fly rod in hand is my favorite way to get out in nature.

A favorite local destination is Cumberland Mountain State Park.  In the winter, Byrd Lake is the recipient of quite a few rainbow trout.  As we move into spring, the trout that have managed to elude the catch and fry crowd start to color up and look more healthy.  After all, trout weren't meant to live their lives in concrete lined runs.  They quickly begin eating more natural food and can usually be found rising to midges in late winter.

Even though I've walked this lake since I was a little kid, I never know what I might find so the camera must come along.  On this particular day, it was first employed in photographing some of the trout I was catching.  One of my favorite patterns for stocked trout is the bead head Simi Seal Leech.  Incredibly easy to tie, it also happens to hold up pretty well to a good chewing.  This picture gives you a good view of this pattern.


The magic that encourages me to carry a camera happened at the upper end of the lake where the creek is still flowing.  Here the waters of the creek were so smooth and calm that the forest above was perfectly reflected.



This stream can contain trout as the fish move up out of the lake.  The casting is tight though and because of heavy silting over the years, wading is not advised.


The rest of my hike was uneventful other than catching a few small bluegill.  It is great to see the warm water species starting to get active.  That is always a sure fire sign that spring is about to arrive!

6 comments:

  1. "Hiking helps me focus on my surroundings a bit better." Needless to say it's also good exercise. Looks a lot like Putah Creek. Good for roll cast practice.

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    Replies
    1. So true Mark! Roll casting definitely is one of the main casts I use when I fish here...

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  2. Nice looking area for sure, David. I agree with you that fishing should be combined with some reflection on what you see as you to and from the water. Easy to miss things for sure. BTW, agree with you on the Seal / Mohair type leeches.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mel! Those leeches are my go-to warm water flies if panfish are involved as well. Great little flies!

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  3. David
    That is a perfect area to fish my favorite nymph, the Seal Leech. I really like to fish this pattern in slower water. Thanks again for introducing me to this fantastic fly. I land trout on the Leech when nothing else will work.

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    Replies
    1. Bill, I'm glad that pattern has worked so well for you!

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