Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 11/1/2018

Fishing is good in the Smokies and other mountain streams if you can catch it on a day where the wind is minimal. Otherwise, expect lots of leaves in the water for the next few days. Delayed harvest streams are also being stocked and fishing well in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.

In the Smokies, fall bugs are in full swing. We have been seeing blue-winged olives almost daily although they will hatch best on foul weather days. They are small, typically running anywhere from #20-#24 although a few larger ones have also shown up. A few October Caddis are still around as well. Terrestrials are close to being done for the year although we are still seeing a few bees and hornets near the stream. Isonychia nymphs, caddis pupa, and BWO nymphs will get it done for your subsurface fishing. Have some October Caddis (#12) and parachute BWO patterns (#18-#22) for dry flies and you should be set. Not interested in matching the hatch? Then fish a Pheasant Tail nymph under a #14 Parachute Adams. That rig can catch fish year round in the Smokies.

Brook and brown trout are now moving into the open to spawn. During this time of year, please be extremely cautious about wading through gravel riffles and the tailouts of pools. If you step on the redd (nest), you will crush the eggs that comprise the next generation of fish. Please avoid fishing to actively spawning fish and let them do their thing in peace.

Our tailwaters are still cranking although the Caney is finally starting to come down. I'm still hoping to get a firsthand report on the Caney Fork soon although it might be sometime next week or the week after before that happens at the earliest. Stay tuned for more on that. Fishing will still be slow overall with limited numbers of fish in that particular river unfortunately.

The Clinch is featuring high water as they try to catch up on the fall draw down. All of the recent rainfall set them back in this process but flows are now going up to try and make up some of the time lost. It is still fishing reasonably well on high water although we prefer the low water of late fall and early winter as it is one of our favorite times to be on the river.

Smallmouth are about done for the year with the cooler weather we are now experiencing. I caught a few yesterday on the Tennessee River while fishing with guide Rob Fightmaster, but overall the best bite is all but over. Our thoughts will be turning to musky soon, however. Once we are done with guide trips for the year, we'll be spending more time chasing these monsters.

In the meantime, we still have a few open dates in November. Feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in a guided trip. Thanks!

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Photo of the Month: Fishing in Paradise

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Winter Fishing in the Smokies


Winter fishing does not have to be all about frozen guides and numb fingers.  In fact, if you choose your moments, the fishing can be as good as during the warmer months.  This fact was driven home yesterday on a guide trip I had in the Park as well as afterwards when I fished a bit for myself.

Guiding in the winter can be a tricky proposition.  The generally cold water temperatures and sluggish trout means that the catching can be tough even for the best of anglers.  Over the last few days we have experienced a welcome reprieve with water temperatures at the Townsend USGS gauge flirting with the 50 degree mark yesterday.  That is almost always a good thing, especially this time of year.  When we hit the stream for a half day trip starting in the late morning, I was not sure what to expect.  When 2 of the guys had fairly hard strikes early on I was feeling better.  Getting new fly fishers on fish can be tough, but when the fish are hitting hard it helps a lot.

We finally hit up a pool that always holds a lot of fish and really started to do well.  In fact, the three guys took turns and caught a total of 6 fish out of that one hole.  The lesson there is that when you find fish in the winter, there will probably be several.  Wintering holes will have a lot of fish stacked into a small space.  Look for deep water with moderate to slow current with easy access to food.

By the time the guys had each caught a couple, I decided to head downstream to another section to see if we could find water where they could all fish at the same time.  We got on a few more good spots and landed another trout before we had to call it a day.  It was at this last spot that I started seeing the bugs hatching.  Midges were everywhere and some caddis were making an appearance as well.  I even thought I saw a mayfly but was not positive on that.


After dropping the guys off at their cabin and stopping by Little River Outfitters to see Daniel and Bill for a few minutes, I headed back up to the Park to see if I could scare up a few myself.  Sure enough, it didn't take long before I was catching trout.  Over the next hour and a half, I caught and released 17 trout.



The fishing was so good that I decided to see what they wouldn't eat and tied on a Green Weenie.  Sure enough, I kept catching fish.  I even had at least 2 solid strikes on the strike indicator which tells me that I could have caught at least a few on dries.


So, the other lesson for the day was that warm water will almost always be a good thing in the winter.  I think the best part about the water temperatures yesterday though was the fact that they had risen gradually and didn't need a big push of rain water to help them climb.  The fish were feeding like it was their last meal.  Maybe they knew it was about to get cold.  The temperature has been dropping steadily ever since and will through at least tomorrow.  I'm just glad I got to be there on such a good day!

3 comments:

  1. Not bad for a winter day in the park!

    ReplyDelete
  2. David, now that is the kind of winter fishing scenario that a guy likes for sure. Put up with cold, get some bugs going, and, new fly fishers are born. You did well out of the bullpen, too. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete

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