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

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Smokies Adventure

Adventure is a huge part of fly fishing for me.  During a conversation on our camping trip, I was telling my buddy Joe how I enjoy exploring almost as much as the actual fishing.  Thankfully I was able to enjoy both on this trip.

On Sunday, I arrived a bit later than Joe.  Coming from Central time into Eastern time always makes it hard to get up and on the river as early as my friends.  Getting there at first light means being up to leave around 3 or 3:30 a.m.  No thanks...  Anyway, so eventually I did make it over there and when if found Joe he was already hard at work fishing a likely run.  He reported good early morning action on the usual nymphs and we decided to continue fishing up through a nice mix of pools and pocket water.


Not too far upstream, I came across Mountain Laurel and stopped to play with the camera a bit.



Just above the blooms, Joe worked a really nice run.  When he finished and headed down to the truck for some lunch, I noticed a few rises and moved up into the run.  Tying on dry flies, I worked the fish hard but in the end was humbled.  If I had known how spooky those fish would be I probably would have brought a 3 weight and also used a longer leader.  Dry fly fishing is excellent on Little River right now, but the long still flats on the roadside stretches may produce some challenging conditions.  It was every bit as tough if not more so than chasing a picky riser on a tailwater.


Anyway, eventually we had lunch, set up camp, and headed back out for an afternoon of catching fish.  We both caught a lot of nice trout on nymphs and eventually made it back to camp to rest up for the next day's action.

We fished on both sides of the mountain and hit up some stretches that were new to both of us.  One of my favorite parts of the trip was exploring a stream known as having the ability to produce the Smoky Mountain Hat Trick.  After a fairly early start, we made it over to the stream on day 2 and started fishing by looking for nice browns in the larger holes.

While Joe worked the pools, I fished the pocket water.  A double nymph rig seemed appropriate early in the day.  Wet wading was a little chilly with the temperature hovering right around 50 degrees in the early morning shade.  Hatches were pretty much nonexistent but the rainbows were feeding well subsurface.  This is where I picked up my better rainbows on this stream.  Strangely, neither of us caught a brown trout in this stretch.  By the time things had warmed and the sun was triggering some hatch activity, we decided to head upstream and look for the slam.


Both of us had fished just a little bit of this section before but we had no idea of the challenges awaiting us.  Huge piles of debris from a semi recent flash flood made stream navigation a challenge to say the least.  The fish population seemed to be on the low side but we both caught trout.  The pools were beautiful flat runs that were mostly shallow to medium depth, perfect dry fly water if you ask me.  Of course on water that pretty we both fished dry flies.  I choose a new Yellow Sally imitation I've started tying and Joe went with the standard for brookies, a Yellow Stimulator.  Betchya can't guess what color of bugs were hatching...


I found the brookie before I found the brown.  Both came out of fairly fast but large pockets.  The nice dry fly runs were not producing for the most part.



After a ton of effort to fish maybe 1/4 or 1/3 of a mile of water, we got tired at the lack of fish and decided to head out and hit up another brook trout stream.  That was a good choice as we caught a lot of trout although the number of rainbows was a concern.

That evening, we had a good fire as it was our last night.  Staying up late, talking about trips from past years, we reminisced about our Yellowstone Trip (here and here also) as well as the epic one day fishing trip in Colorado last year.  Good days fishing the Smokies, large fish caught, and lots of other topics kept us up late but not too late to be up early the next morning.


Joe didn't have long to fish the next morning, so after fishing just a little together, he took off, and I decided to hit up a favorite stretch of Little River.  The water here is a nice mix of pools and pocket water, classic Little River water if you know what I mean.  In the first pool, I caught 4-5 trout and probably could have caught more if I had chosen to.  Best of all, most of them were browns.


I continued fishing until around 2 in the afternoon when hunger started to gain the upper hand over my desire to fish.  On the way out, I found a hat hung on a rock in Little River.  If you happen to have lost one while fishing, it is now over at Little River Outfitters in Townsend.  For this last day, I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.






Tips and hints: The best action was in the faster deep pockets...

2 comments:

  1. David
    What a great outing for you guys, I really enjoyed the read. Did you land any trout on the dries? Were you using an indicator in all the fast water you were fishing or were you tight lining? Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bill, I did manage some fish on dry flies, mostly Yellow Sally imitations. I was tight line nymphing the whole time. I rarely use an indicator unless I'm fishing a larger pool where I make longer casts.

      Delete

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