Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/22/2020

High flows continue across the area but trends are definitely down. A recent cold snap broke the ongoing heatwave so fishing in the mountains has slowed dramatically. Right on schedule, some of our tailwaters should begin returning to more normal flows for this time of year meaning float trips are certainly possible.

For the Smokies, a warming trend should commence as we go into next week. By mid week the fishing should be decent before the next cold front returns us back to winter again. On warmer days, look for midges and possibly winter stoneflies hatching. Some blue-winged olives will be possible on foul weather days as we head towards February. The best fishing is still a few weeks out, but no longer feels like an eternity. Expect good spring hatches to start in late February or early March with blue quills and quill gordons along with little black caddis and early brown and black stones. By April, things will be settling down with the pinnacle of spring fishing usually happening from mid April through the month of May.

On our area tailwaters, high water continues to be the story. The Caney Fork still has at least a couple of weeks of high flows and that is assuming we don't get any more heavy rainfall. This time of year, that is asking a lot. The high water is good for one thing, however. Shad. Yes, the cold months are prime time to try and hit the famed shad kill and catch a monster brown trout. Same thing goes for the Clinch.

Speaking of the Clinch, the good news is that flows are scheduled to begin dropping tomorrow. A steady two generators will feel like low water after the recent period of two generators plus sluicing. Two generators opens up some nymphing possibilities in addition to our favorite winter pastime, stripping streamers for monsters.

The musky streams are settling into fine shape and will be an option moving forward as well. Remember that bouts of high water will get them stained or even muddy for a few days, but as flows come down the fishing should pick back up.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

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/

    ReplyDelete
  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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    Replies
    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.

    ReplyDelete
    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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