Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/22/2020

High flows continue across the area but trends are definitely down. A recent cold snap broke the ongoing heatwave so fishing in the mountains has slowed dramatically. Right on schedule, some of our tailwaters should begin returning to more normal flows for this time of year meaning float trips are certainly possible.

For the Smokies, a warming trend should commence as we go into next week. By mid week the fishing should be decent before the next cold front returns us back to winter again. On warmer days, look for midges and possibly winter stoneflies hatching. Some blue-winged olives will be possible on foul weather days as we head towards February. The best fishing is still a few weeks out, but no longer feels like an eternity. Expect good spring hatches to start in late February or early March with blue quills and quill gordons along with little black caddis and early brown and black stones. By April, things will be settling down with the pinnacle of spring fishing usually happening from mid April through the month of May.

On our area tailwaters, high water continues to be the story. The Caney Fork still has at least a couple of weeks of high flows and that is assuming we don't get any more heavy rainfall. This time of year, that is asking a lot. The high water is good for one thing, however. Shad. Yes, the cold months are prime time to try and hit the famed shad kill and catch a monster brown trout. Same thing goes for the Clinch.

Speaking of the Clinch, the good news is that flows are scheduled to begin dropping tomorrow. A steady two generators will feel like low water after the recent period of two generators plus sluicing. Two generators opens up some nymphing possibilities in addition to our favorite winter pastime, stripping streamers for monsters.

The musky streams are settling into fine shape and will be an option moving forward as well. Remember that bouts of high water will get them stained or even muddy for a few days, but as flows come down the fishing should pick back up.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Birthday Brown Trout


My birthday is long gone in the rearview mirror by now, but I'm still remembering a nice big brown trout I caught two days before my birthday.  In fact, the picture of this fish was last month's Photo of the Month, but until now I have not told the the story of this trout.

Each year, I have a birthday tradition that includes going fishing.  It doesn't always fall on the exact day, but I always make sure to enjoy some time on the water and relax.  Since I had to do some guiding a couple of days before my birthday, I decided to hang around at the end of the day and get some time in on the water.

Choosing where to fish is always a challenge, but I was soon on a nice stretch of pocket water with a good pool at the top of the section.  Working through the pocket water, I caught some nice rainbow trout on the same rig I had for my client.  Arriving at the pool after slogging through some fast water below, I noticed a nice brown trout out feeding.  Three casts with the nymphs produced one look but no eat, and I knew that to have any chance of catching that fish I would have to change flies.

Searching for the right fly box, I realized with a sinking feeling that it had been left in the car.  This was not the time to leave as I was in perfect position and moving again could spook the fish.  I would have to make do with what I had on me.  Finding a different box, I scrounged around for a good fly.  Noticing a streamer I had tied more as a combination between a joke and an experiment, I shrugged my shoulders and decided to try it out.  Fresh tippet came first and then the fly.  Glancing up, I saw that the fish had moved and would require a few moments of rest before I started casting again.

Finally, it slid back into its feeding position, and I started casting.  The first cast was too far to the left, but the next cast was perfect.  As the fly swung into view near the fish and I worked it with the tip of my rod, the fish charged over and inhaled the streamer.  I set the hook and lurched to my feet from the cramped position on my knees.  Immediate the fish made a run into the faster water below the pool, and I got nervous.  Somewhat encouraged when I saw the fly firmly stuck in the corner of his jaw, I focused on easing the fish out of the heavier current and towards my waiting net.

The moment of truth was anticlimactic as I got the net under the fish.  Sitting down, I held the net under water so the fish could rest and breathe.  After admiring it and taking a couple of pictures, I watched it depart quickly.  Nothing could top that moment so I waded across the stream and headed back to my car.  Some days, it only takes one fish and to ask for more would be greedy.

4 comments:

  1. It is a wonderfully conditioned fish, that's for sure.
    I can't agree with your last statements more. So, so true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I think mindset is so important in fly fishing and to ask more from the river when it has already given so much seems wrong somehow.

      Delete
  2. That's a beauty for sure David. May you never forget that birthday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Howard! I'm fairly certain I won't forget it...

      Delete

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