Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 11/1/2018

Fishing is good in the Smokies and other mountain streams if you can catch it on a day where the wind is minimal. Otherwise, expect lots of leaves in the water for the next few days. 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 October Caddis are still around as well. Terrestrials are close to being done for the year although we are still seeing a few bees and hornets near the stream. 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. 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 still hoping to get a firsthand report on the Caney Fork soon although it might be sometime next week or the week after before that happens at the earliest. 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 prefer 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. I caught a few yesterday on the Tennessee River while fishing with guide Rob Fightmaster, but overall the best bite is all but over. 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. 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

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer Smokies Tips and Strategies: Part 1

Spending a lot of time on the water with clients as I did this previous week will get you thinking about how to help someone catch more fish under conditions that, while not optimal, are not yet truly terrible.  Anyone who remembers the drought years of 2007 and 2008 can remember the Smokies streams being a trickle.  Little River got down around 25 cfs at the Park boundary.  Compared to a normal spring time flow of around 300-450 cfs and a normal summer flow of perhaps 100-150 cfs, 25 is a really small number.  This year we are seeing water conditions that are less than the long term average but thankfully not dangerously low...yet.

So, what's a fisherman to do when the conditions get tough out there?  Answering this very question for several clients this past week got me to thinking about all the little things that a veteran Smokies angler does without even thinking, but without doing them the average angler will catch only a few trout.  That's too bad because this time of year can be as good as any if you focus on a few things that you should be doing differently as compared to earlier in the year.  Having already addressed this topic for the Little River Journal a few years ago, I suggest you read my thoughts here and here.  I'm going to revisit some of these items as well as address some new ones.

For this particular post, I'm only going to focus on one issue: stealth.  Now, I'm going to guess that if you have read this far, you are probably nodding your head in agreement.  However, I'm going to approach the question of stealth from a different angle than usual.  You see, being stealthy often means sneaking around on the trout stream, making sure the fish don't see you, keeping a rock between you and that next fishing hole, always approaching the fish from behind, and I could go on and on.  All of those things are great, and I've written a lot in the past on the importance of each of those.  Here's the shocker: the difference between a good fisherman and a great fisherman is not in any those things.  Oh sure, a great fisherman will do all of those things, probably without even thinking about it, but they are very easy to learn and even a beginner can pick it up very quickly.  Will doing those things increase your catch rates?  Of course.  However, hear me out on this one.

Let's say that you are pretty much a beginner and would consider an outing in which you caught 5 trout to be a great trip.  By adding in the above mentioned items whose sum is basically being stealthy, that beginner might move up to catching 10-20 trout.  If you're a beginner you are probably salivating at that.  As soon as I tell you that the great fishermen are likely catching 50-60 fish or more (100 fish days anyone?), 10-20 fish is no longer good enough.  What else can you do to catch all those extra trout?  Right flies, right place, right presentation.

Sounds simple enough, but consider that the last two both hinge on your ability as a fly caster and your line control once the flies have been cast.  Presentation and getting your flies in the right place involve many things, but if you do not have exceptional line control and great casting ability, having the right flies is nearly useless.  Improving as an angler means you have to become a competent caster and have impeccable line control once you have made your presentation.  These things do not come easily.  They are born of many hours of practice, both at home on the lawn or casting pond and on the streams.

To excel at mountain fishing, it is rare that you will ever need to cast a long distance, but the ability to cast a long distance will make you better at line control and overall presentation.  In fact, while most anglers are sneaking as close to a run, pool, or other section of stream as possible, I'm fishing the same water from 10-25 feet back, allowing my longer casting distance to keep me far enough from the trout so they don't spook.  Here's the best part: becoming better at line control and better as a caster will only happen through a lot of practice, so clearly you need to get out and fish more if these are areas in which you need to improve!  There it is, the perfect excuse for more time on the water.  Guess what? I have to fish more, because I realized I need to become a better caster...  I can hear the conversations now.

Once you decide to make the jump to fishing big water like tailwaters or large freestone streams out west, that ability to cast and have great line control will shine.  On rivers like the Caney Fork where I guide, most anglers miss opportunities for large trout on dry flies because they cannot make the required cast.  If you don't mind only catching smaller fish then don't worry about it.  That will leave more nice fish out there for me to target...


4 comments:

  1. Continued success David. Sounds like you've found your niche. Vacation in Colorado?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Howard. I definitely am enjoying the ride for now. Vacation in Colorado for sure, just not positive if I'll pull it off this year or next. Shoot, I may have a guide job out there by next year so I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

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  2. Anonymous9:06 AM

    You said part one, so I will bite my tongue until I have read part 2, which I am looking forward to :) (but the further you cast the more line control you must do, so on our multiple cross & side currents...it's all in mastering line control, agreed!) Keep up the great posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the reply, and don't worry about biting your tongue. I hope to generate at least a little discussion or even good natured disagreement. It's how we all improve as anglers. :) If it makes you feel any better, I'll be addressing line control MUCH more in depth in the not too distant future in Part 2.

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