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

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tennessee River

One of my favorite places to fish during my college days was the Tennessee River in Chattanooga.  I could be on the water with only a quick 20 minute drive at a moment's notice.  One of the more intriguing aspects of this fishery, at least for me, was the great variety in species available to the fisherman.  Largemouth and smallmouth bass, white and yellow bass, stripers, drum, catfish, crappie, bluegill and other panfish, and let's not forget the skipjack, all inhabit the river (along with a lot of other species).

In the winter, there would often be some phenomenal shad kills that brought on some good surface eats.  In general, you can almost always catch something on the river.  So when I had plans to be in Chattanooga for a couple of days last week, I naturally decided to bring along a fly rod, just in case.  Sure enough, some time was free one afternoon, and I quickly jumped at the opportunity.

Arriving at the river, I rigged up quickly with a 7 weight rod and full sinking line.  A short leader of 12 pound test fluorocarbon led to a white Stacked Blond.  Trailing behind that I had a small weighted marabou streamer that has been very successful for me over the years on warm water rivers.  In the past, I would have caught most of my fish on the smaller of the two flies, but for this trip the larger Stacked Blond in white did the trick.  I managed a couple of white bass and one small yellow bass.


The local Blue Heron population is alive and well.  Watching these birds is always entertaining so I spent some time just enjoying and of course using my camera.  Invariably they are much better and more patient fishermen than I am.


I had obligations and couldn't stay long.  A quick 45 minutes went by all too quickly but I'm already looking forward to another chance to fish there.  Hopefully that will happen sometime in the next couple of months.  Before I know it the white bass and skipjack will be running and spring will be here.

6 comments:

  1. I've never heard of a yellow bass. Sounds interesting....

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    1. They are fairly small and closely related to white bass. The best part about them is that they always seem to be hungry!

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  2. Perfect. Those little snippets of opportunities add up - in fish caught, lessons learned, and time on the water, often water a guy wouldn't have fished otherwise.

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    1. Bryan, so true! I think that those little trips are often more important in terms of learning and progressing than the long trips. When I go on a long trip, I usually have a predetermined idea of what I should do and probably stick with it longer than I should even when things aren't going my way. On short trips, I am a lot more flexible it seems...

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  3. Merry Christmas David!

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    Replies
    1. Merry Christmas Howard! Thanks for supporting the Trout Zone and being a great blogger buddy!

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