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.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
On my recent trip to upper east Tennessee, I fished the South Holston and Watauga rivers as well as a high elevation freestone stream. Of the three streams I fished, the Watauga was the easiest by far. The fish are less sophisticated than on the South Holston and would eat most any nymph I drifted through their living room.
I only fished the Watauga for a few hours in the morning but probably caught 30 or 40 trout during that time. None were large but all were in great shape. Some of the browns I caught looked like they were wild. For that matter some of the rainbows did as well although I'm not sure how many wild rainbows are in that river. Once the clouds started to break and the sun peaked through, the fishing tapered off a bit but was still very solid.
The only downside of this trip is that now I'm wishing I lived closer to these fine streams so I could fish them more often.
Here is one of the browns I caught on the Watauga that is a strong candidate for prettiest fish I've caught this year. Just look at those spots!!!