Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 12/3/2019

Winter fishing is nearly upon us. Snow yesterday has given way to falling water temperatures in the Smokies. In general, fish will be hunkered down, although by tomorrow they should start to get more active again as temperatures warm. For the next three months, expect many more fish in the slower places in the Park. Think nymphs and maybe streamers but don't be surprised to find fish rising to blue-winged olives or midges on some days.

On tailwaters like the Clinch, brown trout and some fall spawn rainbows are doing their thing. This is a good time to review good ethics when it comes to spawning trout. Remember that these are the next generation of trout and the best thing you can do is to leave them alone. Avoid wading through spawning areas and don't fish for obvious spawners. For the foreseeable future, we should have high water thanks to big rains this last weekend. Fishing out of the drift boat will be very good through the winter with both nymphing and streamer fishing a distinct possibility. Want to swing for the fences and go for just one monster? Streamers will just get better and better going into January and February.

The Caney is slowly coming around. A few shad are coming through the dam, but lingering water quality problems are limiting the fishing. Winter streamer floats will produce shots at larger brown trout for anglers willing to work hard. Next spring should bring good fishing again.

Winter is our favorite time to get on the musky streams. In between bouts of high water, those will be fishing well for the next few months.

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

Photo of the Month: Big Fish Chuck Strikes Again

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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