Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/17/2018

Fishing continues to be good to excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee. Delayed harvest streams are also being stocked and fishing well in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.

In the Smokies, fall bugs are in full swing. We have been seeing blue-winged olives almost daily although they will hatch best on foul weather days. They are small, typically running anywhere from #20-#24 although a few larger ones have also shown up. A few Yellow Quills are still hanging on in the mid to high elevation brook trout water although not for long. October caddis (more properly, great autumn sedges) are hatching in good numbers now on the North Carolina side of the Park and just starting on the Tennessee side. Terrestrials still have a place in your fly box as well although they are definitely winding down for the year. Isonychia nymphs, caddis pupa, and BWO nymphs will get it done for your subsurface fishing. Have some October Caddis (#12) and parachute BWO patterns (#18-#22) for dry flies and you should be set. Brook trout are still eating smaller yellow dry flies as well. Not interested in matching the hatch? Then fish a Pheasant Tail nymph under a #14 Parachute Adams. That rig can catch fish year round in the Smokies.

Brook and brown trout are now moving into the open to spawn. During this time of year, please be extremely cautious about wading through gravel riffles and the tailouts of pools. If you step on the redd (nest), you will crush the eggs that comprise the next generation of fish. Please avoid fishing to actively spawning fish and let them do their thing in peace.

Our tailwaters are still cranking although the Caney is finally starting to come down. I'm hoping to get some type of a report for there soon. Stay tuned for more on that. Fishing will still be slow overall with limited numbers of fish in that particular river unfortunately.

The Clinch is featuring high water as they try to catch up on the fall draw down. All of the recent rainfall set them back in this process but flows are now going up to try and make up some of the time lost. It is still fishing reasonably well on high water although we are holding off for the low water of late fall and early winter as it is one of our favorite times to be on the river.

Smallmouth are about done for the year with the cooler weather we are now experiencing. Our thoughts will be turning to musky soon, however. Once we are done with guide trips for the year, we'll be spending more time chasing these monsters.

In the meantime, we still have a few open dates in November and one or two in October. Feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in a guided trip. Thanks!

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Monday, June 09, 2014

Plateau Creeks

Here on the Cumberland Plateau, we are blessed with a wide variety of fishing options, but the best are the remote smallmouth bass streams.  Many of these almost remind me of fishing in the Smokies, and if it wasn't for our very different geology resulting in different rocks on the stream bottoms, you would be hard pressed to find any differences between the two.  Last week, I got to thinking about a little creek that I've crossed many times on my way to smallmouth fish on a larger stream.  This is one of those little streams that you often wonder about but rarely ever get around to actually fishing.  So instead of continuing to wonder, I decided to do something about it.

Friday morning I ate a quick breakfast, filled a couple of water bottles, and headed out the door.  Arriving at the stream and rigging up, I noticed the clouds were lowering and looking pretty solid.  Sure enough, a quick downpour was soon soaking everything making me glad I had put on a rain jacket.

It didn't take long for a little fish to hit.  Thinking I had found my first smallmouth, I was soon looking at a Coosa bass.  Well, that makes sense.  The creek I was fishing emptied into a large stream where I have caught a lot of Coosa bass over the years.  What was strange was that I kept catching the Coosas and never once caught a smallmouth.


The fish were all small, reminding me even more of fishing in the Smokies on some of the brook trout streams I frequent.  Catching small fish is just as much fun as catching big fish, just without the adrenaline rush you get with the larger specimens.  Best of all, these fish acted like no one had ever tried to catch them before.  I'm fairly confident that none of them had ever seen a fly at the very least.


Continuing downstream, I stopped periodically to take pictures of my surroundings.  Every now and again I could hear a truck go by out on the nearby road but otherwise I might as well have been 50 miles in the backcountry.  This was one of those pristine streams where you can fish all day and catch more fish then anyone probably has a right to expect.  Continually changing in character, the creek would sing happily over the rocks one minute, going from shadows to sun and back to shadows again, only to drift lazily into long pools the next.  The pools were often mysterious, stretching on for what seemed like an eternity on such a small stream and often merging with the forest so that you could never be sure where the end of the pool was and whether it flowed into the surrounding jungle or merely under the overhead canopy.


There were a few surprises like the rock bass that came out from under a rock to slam the wooly bugger.  The chubs were surprisingly beautiful and impressed me with their prominent dorsal fins.


Eventually I got hungry of course, and decided to take one last picture before cutting up through the woods to find the unmaintained trail back.


While I had a lot of fun and will probably fish this stream again just because I like exploring, I'll probably put a lot more time in on some of the smallmouth streams that are known to put out some larger fish.  When I want to scratch the creek itch though, I'll know where to go!

10 comments:

  1. I did a brook trout survey a couple years ago and we found 2 smallies way up past where they had every been found before. The biologist said he's seeing this more and more. He figures in 10yrs smallies will be in places no one ever imagined.

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    1. Kevin, the only thing keeping them from moving up on a lot of streams I frequent are the natural barriers. Wonder how long those barriers will help?

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  2. David, new one for me. I have never heard of Coosa Bass until today. Delightful looking little Bass and beautiful small stream surroundings.

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    1. Thanks Mel! They are a lot of fun.

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  3. I've never caught any type of bass on a river. That would be exciting!

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    1. Howard, yet another reason for you to come visit TN. Just ignore all the snakes...

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  4. David
    We refer to those Coosa bass here in Alabama as redeye bass, native to those streams they inhabit. Did a dry work anywhere along the stream? Thanks for sharing

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    1. Bill, they sure have amazingly red eyes so that is a good name for them. I didn't fish any dries on this stream although I'm sure a terrestrial would have done well...

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  5. This is great David. I always hit Wet Beaver Creek here for fun smallie and sunny action and am never disappointed. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thanks Kristen! That is a stream I never got around to fishing out there but if I ever make it out again I might have to change that.

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