Over the years, I've had so many people make observations about the fish pictures I take. "How do you get the fish to hold still?" is one of the most common questions I hear. Generally, you have to have the camera ready very quickly after lifting the fish out of the water. Have your buddy compose the shot first and take the picture as soon as the fish is in place (there's a reason a lot of the best pictures have water dripping off the fish). Snap 2-3 very quickly and one will usually turn out. Then get that fish back in the water ASAP. Done correctly, a fish should never be out of the water more than 10 seconds and even that is on the long side. Ideally this is done with two people of course. If you have to take self timer shots, get a BIG net and keep that fish in the water until the last possible moment. The last thing you want to do is kill a fish that you intend to release.
And now for the whole point of this post, I wanted to make sure you all realize that not all fish are cooperative, I thought I would share a favorite brookie shot I just came across from a couple of years ago. Actually, I have a whole collection of these "action" shots. Maybe I'll do an expanded post showing them another time and you can all laugh at my (and other anglers') facial expressions as I realize the fish is headed somewhere else. For now, here is one of many anti-picture brook trout. At least the colors are still beautiful!
FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/21/2016
Current fishing conditions in the mountains have been tough although rain overnight has bumped up the levels on Park streams, especially on the Tennessee side. Be careful as lots of leaves are going to be coming down now with brisk northwest winds behind the cold front. That can make fishing challenging. If you do fish, I would suggest fishing dry/dropper with a #14 Orange Stimulator or Orange Elk Hair Caddis up top and a bead head Green Weenie, Isonychia Nymph, or Blue-winged Olive Nymph (#18-#20 bead head Pheasant Tail will suffice here) underneath. Focus on stealth and accurate casts.
If you are flexible in where you fish, I recommend heading for your favorite tailwater to trout fish. Most tailwaters are offering good flows for wade fishermen right now and the fish are hungry. The Hiwassee River has been recently stocked for the delayed harvest and the Caney Fork continues to fish very well on our guide trips. The Watauga, South Holston, and Clinch Rivers should be great as well.
If musky are on your mind like they are for me, then be patient and hope for more rain. The musky streams and rivers are very low right now and we need some water before safely navigating those streams in the larger boats that are preferred.
A NOTE ON SPAWNING TROUT
This is the time of year that brown and brook trout as well as some strains of rainbow trout spawn. On rivers like the Caney Fork, many anglers choose to target these spawning trout. This is unfortunate, especially this year. There are plenty of pre- and post-spawn trout to target if you want to catch big fish. With low water the norm, the Caney Fork actually has a chance at producing some natural recruitment this year barring any unforeseen high water. The same thing applies in the Smokies. Spawning brown and brook trout are extra vulnerable because of the low water and should be allowed to do their thing in peace. The future of these fisheries depends upon conscientious anglers doing the right thing. If you must fish to spawning trout, please use very heavy tippets and quickly land and release all fish caught. If you want to learn how to be successful this time of year without chasing active spawners, please consider booking a guided trip, and I would be glad to teach you how to hunt these large fish.