Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 02/03/2018

The Smokies are fishing slow on most days although the potential for a big brown is always present this time of year. Most days are seeing water temperatures in the low 40s at best and usually colder. Occasional midges, BWOs, and winter stoneflies will provide some surface activity on the warmer afternoons. For the most part, however, this will be a nymphing or streamer game this time of year. If we get some higher water, hit the brown trout streams with your favorite streamers (remember single hook only in the Park) and hunt that one trophy. When you catch it, take a picture to remember the moment and let it go for the next angler to enjoy.

Tailwaters have been fishing very well as of late. Our favorite, the Caney Fork, continues to have opportunities for both wade and float trips. Windows for wading look to go down sometime in the near future, unfortunately. The forecast this week calls for some potentially heavier rain which will probably kick the generators back on for a while. The good news? That means the shad kill should be in full effect. The Clinch and Holston have also been fishing well. If you want to check any of these tailwaters out, contact me for info on guided trips.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring Mix

Have you ever been in the grocery store salad section and noticed how many types of salad mixes there are?  The one that always makes me wonder is called a "spring mix," but for some reason it is available year round.  Maybe there are just a bunch of confused plants somewhere.  As it turns out, my favorite spring mix is not the salad, but the mix of fish available this time of year in some of my warm water ponds and lakes.

Two good options exist nearby that are stocked with trout during the winter.  That means that as the waters warm, I can go on a trout trip and also scratch a bluegill itch while I'm at it or the other way around if that's what I'm feeling for that particular trip.  Anyway, this past Thursday it was a trout trip first of all.

Back at my local state park, I found the creek's waters even calmer than before, same thing with the lake for that matter.  So pictures of the reflections I found along the banks and shoreline were back on the agenda.


The midge hatch that was barely happening on my last trip has progressed nicely.  In fact, after brushing off one insect it occurred to me that I probably should have checked to see if it was actually a midge or a mosquito.  I'm hoping midge on this one, but I guess it is close to that time of year.

Anyway, so the fish were rising to a pretty decent midge hatch, but I wanted to watch them chase down my fly.  Since they are still relatively fresh stockers, I knew that I could count on them to chase whatever I tossed at them.  The bead head Simi Seal Leech was put back to work.  My success on this particular trip was tempered by much clearer and lower water than before, and I was glad that I had brought a 4 weight instead of the 5 weight I used on the last trip.


Just to be clear, I'm definitely not complaining at all.  Just stating the fact that I didn't catch as many trout as the last trip.  Of course, the locals are still hard at it, each person trying to catch their limit that I'm sure will be headed home for dinner.  To be fair, it is better that these particular trout are caught and consumed.  In another 3 months the water temperatures will be getting a bit warm for trout.  I've spooked trout in the summer that have run way up into the little tributaries and are gasping for cooler water near small springs.  We are talking about streams that are a couple inches deep and maybe 2 feet across.

In the meantime, the fish will continue to take on more natural coloration.  By May, the rainbows will be downright beautiful, at least the ones that are left.  After that, it is a shame that they have to die in the heat.  There are some BIG mayflies that hatch later in the year in the creek.  Imagine if there were 20 inch browns and rainbows in there.

By the time I decided I had entertained the rainbow trout enough, I started wanting to catch some bluegill.  No problem! I just needed to hike down to the lake and look for some sunny spots.  Along the way I paused for more pictures, then continued my hike.



As I hiked around the lake, I kept one eye on the trail and the other on the water.  The bluegill are grouped up right now, mostly in warmer sunny shallow spots.  They will be spreading out more and more over the next few weeks as they feed heavily right up until the spawn.  I finally found my fish and had a blast catching a few.


Each good fishing story has at least one tale about the one that got away.  I'll keep this brief, but will say that I never actually saw the fish so it could have been a true giant.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.  The fish hit on the second strip after I had cast to a down tree along the shore.  I thought I saw a shadow racing after the fly but that could be my imagination.  The fish ran hard so it could have been a big 'gill using it's body to fight or it may have been an early season bass.  Either way the 4 weight couldn't turn the fish and the fly came loose shortly after.  At least I know where to go back and try again.

By this time, the sun was getting low, and I was getting both tired and hungry.  Heading back to my car, I was pleased with another successful outing and glad that I didn't have far to drive back home.  I'm sure I'll be back here again soon!




8 comments:

  1. Spring stocking can make those close to home options fun! Glad to hear you had a good trip.

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  2. David
    Great read about two of my favorite fish species. Yes it is a shame the trout will die come warmer weather. Some individuals here stock there ponds with trout in the winter months. Beautiful bull gill and rainbow you landed. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thanks Bill! I just wish the creek feeding the lake was spring fed or something. Oh well...

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  3. Might as well get the bang for your buck, David. Nice to have close to home opportunities and the opportunity to chase Trout and Bluegill. I would do the same thing. Except hook a big one...........................

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    Replies
    1. Mel, I hope you are able to start getting out soon there in CO!

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  4. Great picture of the waterfall. Nice little Gill. I'd have to go back after that big one too.

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    Replies
    1. I'm already planning my return Mark!

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