Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/22/2020

High flows continue across the area but trends are definitely down. A recent cold snap broke the ongoing heatwave so fishing in the mountains has slowed dramatically. Right on schedule, some of our tailwaters should begin returning to more normal flows for this time of year meaning float trips are certainly possible.

For the Smokies, a warming trend should commence as we go into next week. By mid week the fishing should be decent before the next cold front returns us back to winter again. On warmer days, look for midges and possibly winter stoneflies hatching. Some blue-winged olives will be possible on foul weather days as we head towards February. The best fishing is still a few weeks out, but no longer feels like an eternity. Expect good spring hatches to start in late February or early March with blue quills and quill gordons along with little black caddis and early brown and black stones. By April, things will be settling down with the pinnacle of spring fishing usually happening from mid April through the month of May.

On our area tailwaters, high water continues to be the story. The Caney Fork still has at least a couple of weeks of high flows and that is assuming we don't get any more heavy rainfall. This time of year, that is asking a lot. The high water is good for one thing, however. Shad. Yes, the cold months are prime time to try and hit the famed shad kill and catch a monster brown trout. Same thing goes for the Clinch.

Speaking of the Clinch, the good news is that flows are scheduled to begin dropping tomorrow. A steady two generators will feel like low water after the recent period of two generators plus sluicing. Two generators opens up some nymphing possibilities in addition to our favorite winter pastime, stripping streamers for monsters.

The musky streams are settling into fine shape and will be an option moving forward as well. Remember that bouts of high water will get them stained or even muddy for a few days, but as flows come down the fishing should pick back up.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Gorge

When my cousin Nathan came up for several days of fly fishing, I knew we would have a great time.  The first day of smallmouth fishing was fun and the Caney Fork float produced that nice brown I'm always looking for.  Next up on our list was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and hopefully a mid to high elevation stream that had good numbers of rainbow and brook trout.


Arriving in the afternoon at our campsite, we hurried to set up the tent and stash our sleeping pads and sleeping bags before hitting the water.  Not wanting to fish too long, we stayed close to camp, walking no more than a mile before we started fishing.  We each caught a few fish, and I took some pictures before heading out to go try out a new restaurant in Townsend for supper, the Monte Real Mexican Restaurant.  Turns out the food was good! We enjoyed it knowing that the menu was camp food for the next day and a half.

After a good night's sleep, we were up and ready to fish hard all day.  Our goal was to return to a gorge we had fished together a few years ago.  Sure enough, it was just as amazing as we remembered.  This particular stretch of water has both rainbows and brookies and is among the most rugged stretches of water in the Park.  Numerous times we reached places where continuing on meant boosting each other to climb over the huge boulders.  Not for the faint of heart nor for the weak, this stretch of water should never be tackled solo for obvious safety reasons, but the fishing is so worth it.

The rainbows here are thick and never vanish completely, but the higher you go the more brook trout you can find.  I caught a nice one early on, and on a dry fly at that!


Nathan has a soft spot for brookies and was doing his share to catch a bunch.  After catching one fish in particular and shooting a couple of quick pictures, he gently released it in the shallows at the stream's edge.  We watched it rest on the bottom for probably 30 seconds before it took off again.  Naturally I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to shoot a few pictures...


In between the brookies, the rainbows kept us more than busy.  While none were large, they were plentiful and eager to hit our flies.  Enough fish kept hitting the dry to keep us from going to straight nymphs but most were hitting the dropper.  In the low clear water we could often watch the fish materialize off of the bottom to come up and swirl on the little bead head trailing behind the dry fly.


The stream is beautiful which is part of the reason I keep coming back.  The fish are the other part of course.  Between those two things, the visiting angler most be extremely careful.  To spend too much time on one section means getting stranded in this long gorge overnight, not a fun idea.


Since there were two of us, I spent quite a bit of time with my camera.  This is something that is harder to do when you are the only one fishing.  I tend to get so focused on my fishing that I forgot to enjoy the sights around me, but when I'm sitting back to watch a friend fish, getting out the camera just makes sense.  In this case, it allowed me to get two back to back shots that I think turned out well.



The fish just kept coming to hand and the farther we went the better the fishing got.


Photo by Nathan Stanaway

Not too far from where we would climb out and hit the trail back, I had a very nice fish hit and somehow managed to keep it on the line.  My best fish of the day turned out to be a brookie, and I couldn't have been happier!

Photo by Nathan Stanaway

The hike out was all down hill so we made good time and were soon back at camp for a relaxing evening around the fire.  This trip will be one that I remember for a long time. It's always great to get out with my cousin Nathan!

2 comments:

  1. David, thanks for sharing your fun and good times with your cousin...............
    I sure appreciate the camera work. There are some very nice pictures there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mel! It was nice to relax and enjoy the camera a little for a change...

      Delete

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