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

Monday, June 02, 2014

Dangerous Critters

Fishing is dangerous.  Many people think of fishing as something where you sit in a lawn chair and watch a bobber with a worm under it.  While that is a perfectly good way to fish, people don't realize that many of the more adventuresome types are scrambling along rugged shorelines or through remote canyons in an effort to reach less-pressured water.  There is good reason for that of course.  Most people are lazy and a bit of effort can put you on water where the fish rarely if ever see a fisherman.

On yesterday's smallmouth trip, we started to see significantly more action as we got farther and farther from the road.  Several times over the course of the trip, I almost commented to the guy I was guiding about how I have never seen any poisonous snakes in that particular area even though they are rumored to be there in good numbers.  Something kept nagging at the back of my mind though, and I kept my mouth shut.  It turns out that just thinking about it is enough to jinx a person.

While scrambling over rocks and through brush stream side, I suddenly froze like a bird dog coming to a point.  In a small crevice right under the rock we had come over on the way down was a nice big copperhead just waiting for an unsuspecting fisherman meal.  I've climbed over those rocks many times, often while only wearing sandals.  After I found my way back down to earth from the upper atmosphere where I had involuntarily jumped to, I realized the snake was still a good 6-8 feet away and got out my camera while keeping one eye checking the area for its mate.


In the end, it was actually interesting to see a copperhead.  It was the first I've run into since returning home from Colorado.  If I see a few more I might just have to move back, but in the meantime the fishing is good enough to keep me coming back to those smallie streams.  I guess I learned why no one fishes them too...

8 comments:

  1. Copperheads are supposedly all over an area I like to fish. I wonder how many I walk past because I never look for them. Sometimes I hear things rustle through the grass as I walk by. I usually dismiss it as a lizard or small bird. I'm usually so worried about getting to the next fishing spot to notice what it really is.

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    1. Kevin, copperheads worry for precisely that reason. You can get extremely close and they will not move plus they blend in so well. I've stepped over quite a few in my life and usually notice them in mid stride.

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  2. Those, supposedly in the know, are predicting an aggressive Snake year. If I would have came across this snake, I think I would have ran all the way back to Colorado!

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    1. Mel, I almost headed for Colorado when I saw it! At least the rattlers in the lower elevations out there let you know they are around...

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  3. I hate snakes. Harmless or poisonous, makes no difference to me.

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    1. Howard, you would not have enjoyed this smallmouth trip then. I've already seen a lot of snakes this year. Not sure what is up with that...

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  4. I'm in the snake hater camp. I appreciate their role in the ecosystem, but I don't want to see them. My fear is crippling. I gasped when I saw the above photo.
    Mel is right about the aggressive snake year. A little two year old was bit by a rattler on a trail near my house - no provoking just walking. Those rattlers are why I don't hike below 8000' come May 1.
    -steph

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    Replies
    1. Steph, the rattlers make me uneasy because their toxin is so much worse than the copperheads we have here. That 8000' rule is a good one!

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