Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 12/3/2019

Winter fishing is nearly upon us. Snow yesterday has given way to falling water temperatures in the Smokies. In general, fish will be hunkered down, although by tomorrow they should start to get more active again as temperatures warm. For the next three months, expect many more fish in the slower places in the Park. Think nymphs and maybe streamers but don't be surprised to find fish rising to blue-winged olives or midges on some days.

On tailwaters like the Clinch, brown trout and some fall spawn rainbows are doing their thing. This is a good time to review good ethics when it comes to spawning trout. Remember that these are the next generation of trout and the best thing you can do is to leave them alone. Avoid wading through spawning areas and don't fish for obvious spawners. For the foreseeable future, we should have high water thanks to big rains this last weekend. Fishing out of the drift boat will be very good through the winter with both nymphing and streamer fishing a distinct possibility. Want to swing for the fences and go for just one monster? Streamers will just get better and better going into January and February.

The Caney is slowly coming around. A few shad are coming through the dam, but lingering water quality problems are limiting the fishing. Winter streamer floats will produce shots at larger brown trout for anglers willing to work hard. Next spring should bring good fishing again.

Winter is our favorite time to get on the musky streams. In between bouts of high water, those will be fishing well for the next few months.

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Quick Report: Guide's Day Off


So I'm running low on time today so I'll keep this as brief as possible.  The last two days, the Caney Fork had a couple of windows with no generation for all of us wade fisherman.  That didn't last long as today they are running water all day again, but it was nice to get out while I could.

With no trips scheduled on Wednesday and of course wanting to see how the river is fishing, I took off and timed it so I would arrive just as the water was falling out enough to get in the river and fish.  It didn't take long for me to see some MASSIVE fish busting on the surface or at least so it appeared. My first thought was, "Oh no, the stripers are already here. Too bad for the trout!"  After getting a glimpse of fins and tails breaking the surface, I soon concluded that it wasn't stripers and started to wonder what in the world was going on.

Eventually I discovered the commotion was made by spawning Bigmouth Buffalo.  I'm not entirely convinced that there weren't some carp in the mix as well but let's just say I was in awe.  I've always heard about these fish but never run into them in large numbers on the upper river and by the time I see them on the lower river later in the year, they are very tightlipped.

Running my nymph/midge rig through the deeper water eventually resulted in a hookup.  Wow! These things can pull!!!  My arm is still sore.  After catching a couple on the midge, yeah, that's right, I said a MIDGE on 6x no less, I was worn out and decided to go looking for trout.


That's a size 22 gray midge

The net opening is 16" x 22" for reference and this was not the largest I caught...

In some deeper water downstream I started catching some rainbows with regularity and had a large trout, probably a brown, break me off with just a couple of good headshakes.  The trout were showing a preference for the nymphs which was interesting.  I never did get around to fishing a dry/dropper rig  but they probably would have eaten the Zebra Midge fished that way.  Late in the day I even found a skipjack for a rather unusual slam of rainbow and brown trout, buffalo, and skipjack.  Fun trip for sure!

Fresh hatchery 'bow

Deeper water was the ticket...

The good news is that the midge hatches are getting stronger and the fish are responding.  The Buffalo are in the river as well and can definitely provide some entertainment if you've never hooked one.

This brown fought twice his size and had me convinced a big fish was on for a while.

Yep, spring is definitely here when the dogwoods start blooming!

12 comments:

  1. David
    This is why you need to guide, because only you could figure that this huge Buffalo would take a tiny 22 size midge. Amazing you landed this brute with that size fly! Nice looking trout, especially the brown ----can't wait for our trip --thanks for sharing

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    Replies
    1. Bill, I'll be glad to take the credit but in all honesty I think I lucked into it more than anything else...

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  2. David
    Forgot to mention, I landed a nice spot on Smith Thursday using one of the Super Nymphs you tied for me recently.
    http://btrussell-fishingthroughlife.blogspot.com/

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  3. I've never heard of the Bigmouth Buffalo. From the looks of it, my guess would be a relative of the Carp. From the size I would say FUN was the definitive word. OK, so the trout were fun too.

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    Replies
    1. Mark, it definitely looks pretty similar to the carp in a lot of ways and fun is definitely the right word for all the fish I caught! Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Amazing the selection of fish! Good going David.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Howard! I never cease to be amazed at the variety we have.

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  5. Nice report David! Awesome fish and great pics! I have to agree with Mark never heard of the Bigmouth Buffalo. Thanks for sharing. Tightlines

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    1. Thanks! It is not a fish you run into every day for sure. I've had to do a bit of research to learn more since catching it...

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  6. David I ran into the same thing Thursday. They were schooling almost all the way to the bluff. Do you know what kind of effect they have on the trout population? Once I got away from them I had some decent luck with scuds and sowbugs #16 and 20 on a sinking tip line.

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    Replies
    1. I think that, if anything, it will have a positive effect. The largest fish I hooked (and broke off) that was a trout was in the thick of the action and probably eating protein rich eggs. The fish will definitely take advantage of the additional food source for the next few days.

      Speaking of scuds and sow bugs, I've seen more of them in the river this year than anytime I remember this early in the year. The moss and weeds on the river bottom should bring about a fantastic year for the fishing!

      Thanks for the comment!

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