Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 04/19/2019

Easter Weekend Update: The Smokies have been pounded with rain today and will feature high water through the holiday weekend. If you must get out and fish, wait until late in the weekend and be very cautious. Fish the edges and stay safe!

Otherwise...our early hatches are giving way to lighter colored bugs now. Light Cahills, Pale Evening Duns, Blue-winged Olives, March Browns, and Hendricksons have all been on the water at times. The huge Black Stoneflies are around now as well and providing some big bites for hungry trout. Sulfurs should be starting fairly soon, especially with all of the nice weather we are having. Little Yellow Stoneflies are just starting to show up now as well and will get much stronger as May approaches. The yearly pinnacle of spring dry fly fishing is quickly approaching!

Tailwaters are starting to fish well. The Caney Fork is still blowing a LOT of water. That should change fairly soon if we don't get too much rain. I'm thinking we might start seeing some opportunities in early May if things hold steady, maybe sooner. The Clinch has been fishing extremely well. Big hard fighting rainbow and brown trout are the target here on light tippets and tiny flies. Bring your A game or go home disappointed. Sulfurs should start to really take off shortly along with more caddis than we have already been seeing. On Tuesday's float, fish were taking a variety of bugs including midges, caddis, and the odd sulfur.

Warm water options are really taking off as well. That is assuming that flows cooperate. Big rain events will shut this down for a few days, but otherwise, everything is fishing very well right now!

Photo of the Month: Early Spring Rewards

Photo of the Month: Early Spring Rewards

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Local Trout Update

Yesterday, I took a brief scouting trip.  The goal was to see if TWRA had stocked any trout at Cumberland Mountain State Park.  Each year, the small lake is one of many winter stocking sites to provide a seasonal trout fishery.  With the tentative stocking date already past, I figured it wouldn't hurt to at least take a walk with my fly rod.

The trip didn't last long.  Either the trout were not stocked or they did not know how to behave like trout.  I didn't spot the first rise.  Normally those fresh stockers will rise well most of the winter so it looks like the fish may be delayed this year if we are lucky.

Where does luck come in?  Well, in the process of exploring the lake, I heard what sounded like an awful lot of water below the dam.  Upon closer investigation, I discovered that the drain seems to be open.  Now, I'm not sure why, but it seems like every year or two the lake is drained for some reason or another.  If that is what is happening right now, we may not even get the winter stocking at all.  So, there goes all the luck out the window....maybe.


At least there are still a few bluegill around and willing to play.  I managed a few like this one and one small bass that flopped off before I could manage a picture.


Also discouraging was the widespread algae coating the lake bottom.  Runoff from the golf course has been altering the lake for years now to the point that I'm wondering how it is affecting the fish population.  This lake used to put out some slab sized panfish and nice bass up to 8 or so pounds.  The last few years, I just can't find any fish over 2 or 3 pounds and even those seem to be few and far between.

Currently I'm looking into the possibility that the Park is illegally polluting their own lake with fertilizer rich runoff from the golf course. As of right now I'm not sure about all the regulations on such things, but the situation is getting bad enough that something needs to be done so I guess I'll be doing some legwork over the next few days.  More on that later if anything comes of it...

6 comments:

  1. My family and I have also wondered why it is so often drained.

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    1. Kent, the last couple of times I've been hoping that they will rebuild the bridge across the lake by the boat house. So far no luck and I can't think of too many other good reasons to drain it unless they are going to dredge some of the muck out which also does not seem to happen. Hopefully something good will come of it if they do drain it this time!

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  2. Looking good David! A bluegill is never second place, it's just isn't what you were expecting.

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    Replies
    1. Howard, they are definitely a lot of fun to catch. I think they pull a lot harder than those little stocker rainbows also which is a plus!

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  3. One thing to also consider is how the fish are being managed on a relatively small body of water. When a smaller lake is new or has been recently drained and restocked (with bass and bluegill or similar), the fish grow big quickly... bass get big eating all of the small bluegill... and a few bluegill growing to slab proportions... and a truly magical time for fishing occurs. Then things settle down and the bass just don't seem to get as big and the lake end up full of bluegill the size of the one in your photo above. It's a very common pattern. So much so that at the state park lake at Oak Mountain SP in Alabama (where I used to work) they have signs encouraging anglers to keep their catch because "catch & release practices may be harming the quality of fishing" in the lake. There are lots of golf course lakes across the country that are at least somewhat eutrophic due to golf course runoff and still produce quality fish. I certainly don't condone polluting the waters, but the chemicals put on golf courses are regulated by EPA to be non-toxic. The harm is in the excess algae and in turn their effect on dissolved oxygen in the water. Just some stuff to think about.

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    1. Jay, the dissolved oxygen is what I'm mostly concerned about. The lake had quality fishing for many many years (with no drawdowns) as the local crowd did a pretty good job of harvesting to keep the balance there. The lake is still a quality lake and I do not mind the chemicals enriching the lake, just concerned about the oxygen as the fish are obviously holding in pockets away from the algae. Not sure if that is because they don't like the algae or if it is actually a problem...any further insight? Thanks for the great explanation thus far!

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