Guided Trips


Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

What A Fish!

One of the toughest parts of guiding is probably similar to raising a kid, but I can only speak from experience on one of those.  I'm talking about watching someone else doing something and you just wish you could step in and help them do everything correctly.  If you're a parent, maybe you can let me know if that's about how it goes or not.  As I guide, I definitely know the feeling.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of guiding Shane for a day in the Smokies.  Having lived in Tennessee for a few years, but never making it over to fish the Smokies, it was high time he learned a little about the Park streams and how to catch the beautiful wild trout there.  With a cool start to the morning, I decided that fishing on Little River would be a good way to start the day and we stopped in a likely area.  After chatting a bit while rigging up and getting on our wading gear, we finally approached the stream.

Looking just downstream, I noticed a spot that I've long suspected had a nice fish.  After getting confirmation from Shane that he was willing to start his day with a challenge, I explained the approach, the cast, and the drift.  He nodded and started to work into position.  After a few drifts in which I felt we weren't getting deep enough, I added another split shot and he resumed casting.  A few casts later the indicator dove convincingly.  When he set the hook, a beautiful brown trout came all the way out of the water in a leap for its life.

Immediately I got nervous.  Fish like that don't come around every day, and certainly not in the Smokies.  Thankfully, I hadn't told Shane that his bottom fly was on with 6x tippet so he wasn't nearly as nervous as I was.  In fact, he was probably one of the calmest anglers I've seen with a nice fish on the other end of the line.  

While I was nervous and really concerned about losing that fish, Shane did everything he needed to perfectly, working downstream with the fish until he was able to lift its head so I could slide the net under it.  I had spent all that time worried, and in the end I didn't need to.  Shane did a great job fighting such a nice brown trout and clearly didn't need any help at all.  There are few people who can say their first Smoky Mountain trout was such a pretty fish.  Congrats to Shane on a job well done and a beautiful Smoky Mountain brown trout!

If you are interested in a guided fly fishing trip in the Great Smoky Mountains, please contact me via email at  


  1. Great fish indeed.

  2. Shane looks as if he is a quick learner. Very nice!

  3. David
    Absolute beautiful brown for the park. Congrats to Shane--thanks for sharing



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