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

Monday, April 28, 2014

Scouting

As we move closer to summer, our warm water streams here on the Cumberland Plateau are beginning to wake up.  On Sunday afternoon, I headed out with a friend to check a new spot off the list.  Most of these streams on the Plateau are remote and often much more rugged than anything I've ever encountered in the Smokies.  The hike in can often be brutal, but if you put in your time and do your homework, there are places with better access that can be found.  In fact, we never fished more than 1/3 of a mile from the car.

The best water is usually much tougher to get to though so I'm planning a return trip that will involve a bit more hiking.  While these streams are full of small bass and sunfish, some nicer fish can be found as well as evidenced by this nice smallmouth I found.

Photograph by Seth Arnold

Fishing was still a bit slow and will heat up over the next 3 weeks as waters warm and flows drop.  By June, things should be moving right along and will continue to be good through September most likely.  By late in the season, the fish in these streams are spooky as flows drop to a fraction of what they are now.  Long clear pools interspersed with gentle riffles and pockets make long casts a necessity as well as smaller flies.

But now, for the next few weeks at least, I'll be out there tossing larger flies like my PB&J streamer.  Bright colors worked best and the PB&J in Firetiger got the most looks.  Soon they'll be taking bugs on top as well.  The smaller fish were working the hatching Hendricksons pretty well, but soon we'll be tossing Stealth Bombers, Wiggle Minnows, and hopper patterns at the bass and panfish.  If you live in the area, Plateau streams and creeks are a worthy target in lieu of driving somewhere further to trout fish.

8 comments:

  1. That area looks beautiful and the smallie is great. Ah, never mind, I don't feel like hiking.

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    1. Howard, thankfully we didn't have to hike far, but next time I go back I'm hitting the trail for a bit longer I think...

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  2. I'd personally drive further for a good Smallie stream than a good trout stream... it's all a matter of tastes.

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    Replies
    1. Jay, when I lived in Colorado, I started to feel it too. I missed being able to hit the smallie creeks but of course it was nice to drive 15 minutes and fish for wild trout...

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  3. Darn nice Smallie, Dave. I sure envy anyone who gets an opportunity to fish Smallmouth on a regular basis.

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    Replies
    1. Mel, I'm fortunate to have some great places close by. I missed them while I lived in CO...

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  4. David
    There is nothing like landing smallmouth on the fly, the closest I can come to smallmouth fishing is the spots here on Smith. Thanks for sharing

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    Replies
    1. Bill, those spots you catch are always pretty impressive. I love smallmouth but the variety those spotted bass add would be nice.

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