Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/17/2017

Fishing is excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park now. We have had a couple of shots of rain the last week and a half which has helped keep the streams flowing strong for this time of year. The cool overnight temperatures will get the brown and brook trout seriously thinking about spawning. Please be careful this time of year and avoid walking on fine sand and gravel in riffles and tailouts. Leave the spawning trout alone so they can do their thing. When you find brook or brown trout that aren't spawning, they are aggressive and looking to feed. Recent guide trips on brook trout waters have been anywhere from good to excellent. Streams with rainbows and browns have been excellent as well. There are good numbers of fish to be caught in the Park right now!

A variety of bugs have been hatching lately. On cloudy days, Blue-winged Olives have hatched along with some other small mayflies. Various caddis, including the Great Autumn Brown Sedges (often referred to as October Caddis by locals) are hatching and provide a nice bite for the trout. Little Black stoneflies are hatching as well. Fish are eating both dry fly and nymph imitations and even still hitting some terrestrials. Don't forget your beetle, ant, and inchworm fly box. A Parachute Adams or Yellow or Orange Stimulator should work well for a dry fly. Smaller bead head Pheasant Tail nymphs should work as a dropper. Caddis pupa are also catching a lot of fish as are stonefly nymphs.

On the Caney Fork, things have been tough lately. The river has been running warmer than is normal this time of year because of heavy generation earlier this year and also with a stain due to the sluice gate operations. Work has been underway to install vented turbines on the generators and they have been working to try and tweak them to improve dissolved oxygen. One day, we were floating and they were checking the DO and found it at 1.5 ppm. If I remember correctly, the minimum target is 6 ppm. Obviously 1.5 is way too low. Trout were sitting along the banks and in back eddies gasping for oxygen. Hopefully all of this won't have too much of a long term effect on the fishery, but needless to say, things are a bit difficult as of right now. Cooler weather should help. Once the lake turns over, oxygen and clarity will improve quickly.

The Clinch River has been fishing well if you can hit it on low water days. Small nymphs and midges will get the job done here.

Smallmouth bass are about done for the year, but we will be back out on the musky streams again soon looking for the toothy critters. This is tough fishing, but the rewards can be sizable.

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Big Creek

While I generally feel like I know the Smokies pretty well, there are still several places in the Park I haven't fished.  Okay, there are a lot of places I haven't fished.  After all, with hundreds of miles of fishable water, the problem is one of time and accessibility.  The more accessible water is what I normally fish because I am usually low on time.  One place that takes a bit of effort to get to is Big Creek.


I chose the "miles of gravel road" route for my recent exploration.  Having only passed that entrance of the Smokies once before, I was in for a treat.  The stream reminded me a lot of other Smokies streams like the Middle Prong of Little River or perhaps even Little River proper above Elkmont, but what a wonderful little stream!  No, I didn't catch any monsters or for that matter even all that many fish, but fishing a new stream is always a great experience.  Each pocket, pool, and run provides the little surprises that always come with discovery.


One large pool had a deep section off to the side with a gentle current running through.  The surprising lack of conflicting currents meant that the cast was actually pretty straight forward.  The trout were obviously holding just under the surface and were rising consistently.  My third cast resulted in a fish.  In another pool, I surprised myself by setting the hook.  The dry had slowly sunk and I'm still not sure if I actually saw the fish or perhaps subconsciously my brain registered the swirl that was the fish taking right in the heavy current.  Either way, when I set the hook the fish was as surprised as I was.  Of course, these little surprises happen on my home waters as well, but there it lacks that new feeling.


Most surprising of all perhaps were the large pools.  Having never been there but always hoping to see it, I climbed out of the gorge right where the stream tumbles out, climbing straight up the side of what felt an awful lot like a cliff, and hit the trail upstream to the Midnight Hole.  It was as beautiful as the pictures I had seen and even larger than I realized.  My last fishing memory for the day was made on this pool.


Trout are everywhere in that pool, but were relatively tough to fool.  It wasn't until I noticed some rises against the far bank that things began to work out.  Checking for trees behind me, I was soon casting the big orange Elk Hair Caddis to the boulders across from me.  A nice trout ate and I managed to keep it on throughout the fight.


As much as I enjoyed fishing at Big Creek, I was actually on my way over to Cataloochee for 2 nights of camping and with luck would make it over there before dark to fish a little more.  Soon I was hustling back down the trail, but already knew that I would be back again, even if it is a little out of the way.




4 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures ! Nice to see some trees with leaves on them

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    Replies
    1. Mark, it was a great fall down here but as usual it didn't last long enough.

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  2. I love that "miles of gravel road" route. Many of the places I fish out here are on "miles of gravel road". That's why Chevrolet made 4x4's. Nice color on those Rainbows.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mark! There is something about traveling a ways on gravel that just makes you feel like you are alone. Good stuff for sure!

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