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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tailwater Time

As our last heavy rain is now something of a distant memory, I can officially say that it is tailwater time.  Here in Tennessee, something like that could change at any moment so don't hold your breath.  Thankfully, area tailwaters are finally offering some wade opportunities for fishermen.  In fact, we are in something of a dry spell with some areas approaching a 5 inch rainfall deficit for the year.

After months of heavy water, that first exploratory trip is always an adventure, and we're never entirely sure what we will discover.  Spots that used to be at least knee deep are now closer to ankle deep, while other holes have been cleaned out and deepened.  Trips like this should always be done with friends.  That way, if the fishing is bad, at least the company is good and you can trade fishing stories.

Accordingly, plans were made with David Perry of Southeastern Fly for another Caney Fork float.  If you are looking for a good guide for a drift boat trip, look no further.  David knows the river and he knows fish.  His stream side lunch is always fantastic as well.

We planned on launching before the generators shut off to allow us some time to fish on higher water.  Our hopes for some shad coming through the dam were quickly dashed, but that didn't mean the fish weren't biting.  Donnie was fishing with us and had graciously given me the front casting brace.  That didn't stop him from starting out with the hot hand though.  He soon had a fish boated and before long we left the dam pool and started drifting.


Relaxation was not in the cards on this day as the wind blew steadily upriver, often gusting enough that making progress downstream required more than a little muscle behind the oars.  Despite the wind and cold conditions, a few fish were caught.  Donnie kept the hot hand by boating some nice rainbows and one pretty brown.


David Perry had to maintain his status as big fish magnet by boating the best rainbow of the day that was pushing 16 inches, but otherwise we caught average stockers.


I amused myself by catching a few fish, rowing through some nice windy stretches, and playing with the camera.  Here is one of my efforts to catch a fish in the middle of a jump.


The downside of this trip for me was that we never saw any big browns.  Of course that doesn't mean they aren't in there so I'm not too worried, but I do miss the good old days of having a river full of nice browns.  I'm excited for this year and am expecting great fishing opportunities.  If I can help you with a wade trip on the Caney, please contact me!

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