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

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Seriously?

Warning: I'm not going to apologize for the following rant, so if you don't want to hear me complaining, then stop reading now.  

Seriously people?  Fly fishermen have long had a reputation for looking down on "lower" forms of fishing.  Exactly where the reputation came from I have no idea, but I'm guessing there is probably some good reasons for people's opinions of our sport.  Fly fisherman are known as sticklers for the rules, often telling other people when they are in error.  Of all fisherman I've met stream side, I have run into far fewer fly fishermen who were trying to get ahead by cheating then any other.

In my opinion, chucking bait is not any better or any worse than any other type of fishing.  In fact, I'm guessing that's where most of us got our start, and let's admit, it's fun to watch that little bobber with a worm dangling under it.  However, I'm guessing that a lot of the bait chucker crowd tend to have less of a clue about the rules for a very simple reason: they don't know much else about fishing and probably just bought the gear they are using.  It might even be there first time ever trying out fishing.  "We have to have a license to do this?"  It's just ignorance.  In my opinion, ignorance is a problem, but is forgivable considering it's definitely not as bad as willfully breaking the rules.

On the other hand, if someone has progressed to the point of being a fly fisherman, there is a pretty good chance they at least know a little about what they are doing.  Same thing goes for someone who is an expert with a bait caster and haul in the bass one after the other.  They've been around the block a few times and know exactly what they are doing.  My favorites are the ones who do a little bit of everything and fish bait when they want to take a few home.  Those are probably some of the best fishermen out there and they always know the rules too.

That's why I hold some anglers to a higher standard than others.  Fly fishermen should know better than to break the rules and should always try to play by the rules.  All of this is leading up to why I was so ticked off yesterday.

While chucking streamers in the Smokies in what proved to be a futile effort, I came across a HUGE articulated fly beside a pool that has been known to produce some big fish.  I won't say how big, because someone would doubt without pictures, and I'm not at liberty to share pictures that friends have sent me.  Let's just say there are some monsters in the Park and leave it at that.

Anyway, as I get out of my car, I see what looks like a dead bird stuck to the side of a tree.  Walking over to investigate, I find a huge articulated fly stuck there.  How someone snagged the tree, broke off the fly, and completely did not see it is beyond me.  This is larger than a lot of flies I throw for musky.  I love throwing articulated flies in the Park, but am very careful to cut off all but one of the hooks.

This fly had two hooks.  Big ones too, I might add.  If you are fly fishing, you know better.  Park rules clearly state that the use of a dropper fly is permitted but the second fly must be a minimum of 12 inches from the first fly.  An articulated fly is no better than throwing bait on treble hooks.


The big browns of the Park are susceptible to unscrupulous fishermen and it doesn't take a whole lot of skill to put a serious dent in the Park's population of large browns.  Fly fishermen should know better. Play by the rules people!!!

Rant over.

6 comments:

  1. Seriously, that thing looks like a serious accident ready to happen to somebody or something. Agree with your rant. Sometimes I just have to scratch my head and wonder what people are thinking. I, am initially, not a fan of articulated streamer patterns. I know I am in the minority, but, that is what's great about fly fishing and the various techniques used. Hope you feel better now that your rant is over.

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    1. Thanks Mel. Articulated streamers are fun patterns but can definitely be dangerous. I've knocked myself in the head with streamers on occasion and it hurts without the hook even getting involved!

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  2. Completely justified rant... and I love the photo evidence.

    You may want to edit the second sentence: "Fly fishermen have long had a reputation for looking down on 'lower' forms of FLY fishing."
    I got a little confused about which forms of fly fishing might be lower until I read a bit further... so I think you meant to just say "lower forms of fishing."

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    1. Thanks Jay! I'll start sending my posts to you to proofread before publishing... :P Seriously though I think it is fixed now. Thanks again!

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  3. What can you say? We've all been around enough to see a lot of evidence of abuse. I once saw some fishermen catching fish after fish and throwing them into some brush. I lost count of how many, but several limits. As I was leaving I spotted a ranger and suggested he take a look behind the bush. Two tickets and confiscation of rods and reels. Happy ending.

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    Replies
    1. Great work Howard! I always wish we had more enforcement officers around and make sure to thank the ones I do run into for being out there.

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