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

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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