Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 09/04/2019

Fishing has slowed down in some places and heated up in others. Smallmouth bass fishing on the streams of the Cumberland Plateau has been good to excellent while the tailwaters have slowed down somewhat.

In the Smokies, streams are getting low and warm. Stick with mid and high elevation streams for now until we get some rain and cooler weather. Right now it looks like this will probably last for another week although we do have some rain forecast next week. Let's hope that happens! A variety of bugs are working here, but lean heavily on your terrestrial box. Yellow Stimulators in particular have also been good lately.

The Caney Fork continues to produce a few fish here and there. Stripers are still thick in the river which isn't helping the trout at all. As long as things stay dry, this will be a viable option. There are a few large fish present if you know where to look. Yesterday's big fish was a 21.5" rainbow caught while sight fishing. Don't expect that every day, but if you're prepared to put in your time, there are good fish to be caught (and released!!!).

The Clinch seems to be in the middle of the annual late summer drawdown of Norris Lake. High water will be the norm here for the next few weeks. If you don't have a boat, then don't bother except, possibly, during early mornings. Weekends are offering some morning windows but crowds will generally be thick as well.

Fall fishing is not far off. The Clinch should fish well unless we have a wet fall. Sometime between mid October and early November, we should see flows start to come down. The Smokies are my personal favorite for fall fishing. The fish will be hungry and maybe even looking up!

Photo of the Month: Guide Trip Fish of the Year for the Smokies

Photo of the Month: Guide Trip Fish of the Year for the Smokies

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Early Fall

Even though the official start of fall is still a few days away, I'm ready to announce the beginning of fall.  Actually I've been ready since July.  The number of colorful leaves I've been finding on stream-side rocks has been steady since late July if not even earlier.  The unusual cold snaps we had this summer may have contributed to that, or perhaps it was the abnormally dry conditions we had early on.  Regardless, those splashes of color were definitely a couple of months ahead and perhaps as many as three.

Now the weather feels like fall so I'm not waiting.  In fact, I'm heading out to camp this very weekend in celebration of the new season.  Announcing the start of fall a bit early is nice as it allows one to enjoy fall weather before anyone else.  Mother Nature is giving me a healthy dose of cooperation.  Here at the house on the Cumberland Plateau, we haven't seen 70 degrees at all today.  Combine that with a dry airmass and bluebird skies and you have fall.

By next week, around the time fall is officially starting, even cooler temperatures may be surging into the area.  An early fall sounds just about perfect to me just as long as it does not also bring an early winter.  A fall that lasts until late November would be awesome!  I only hope that we get an excellent peak color season as some years are definitely better than others.

Oh, and just so you know I wasn't joking, here are some pictures from the past few months.  Okay, I lied.  Fall actually started even earlier.  This first one is from June.  Next come a few from July, then of course a couple from August.  The last one should be recognizable from my post on last weekend's excursion to Cataloochee.









Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Picture Report

Sometimes, my favorite trips do not involve fishing.  Okay, maybe I should have said occasionally or even rarely, but it does happen.  This past weekend involved a trip to Asheville for a cousin's wedding.  I promised myself to be good and leave the fishing gear at home, but when an opportunity to sneak off to Cataloochee presented itself, I was thankful that at least the camera was with me.  Despite being one of my favorite places in the Park, I have only been there a handful of times.  Clearly I need more time to explore in the Park (as well as gas money, etc), but when I do get the opportunity I always jump on it.

While most of the tourists were there to look at the elk, I was there more for the scenery and just to get outside.  Of course, you can't go to Cataloochee without taking at least one elk picture.  This big guy had been bugling a short time before.  However, as you can see, he soon calmed down and decided to relax a bit.


Just across the road, the Caldwell house kept me busy for a bit.  How many different ways can you take pictures of one house?  I found at least a few...






Any trip to the Smokies would be incomplete without walking a few stretches of stream just to look for fish.  There were plenty of fish feeding in the pool just upstream from the shot above (as always), but the rest of my scouting turned up no large fish as I am always hoping for.  Of course, that's probably a good thing.  Without a fly rod in tow, it is always tough finding big fish that are in a catchable state of mind.





Reminders of the rapidly approaching fall were definitely around.  Fall flowers are blooming everywhere here at home and even in the mountains.  The brightly colored leaves are my favorite though.


On the way in, the clouds obscured the valley.  On the way out, they had lifted just enough to give that good Smoky Mountains look.


Monday, September 08, 2014

Drift Boat for Sale

Okay, let's try this again.  I'm looking at a new to me boat which means the current boat has to go.  Check out the Craigslist ad here.  The first time I posted this I had a lot of interest but had to pull the ad when the other boat I was looking at then sold quickly to someone else. The boat will sell quickly at this price so if you want to spend the cooler months out chasing monster trout with streamers, jump on this before someone else does.  This is a beautiful boat that has already seen some big fish by me and people floating with me and is ready to get you out through the winter float season that is almost upon us.  Please contact me at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com if you are interested in this boat.  Thanks!

Evening Drifting


The main problem with our Caney Fork float trips is that the scenery is nice enough to make you forget to watch your flies or indicator.  Last week I was floating and looked up long enough to notice the sky.  The fly rod was soon traded in for my camera.

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