Guided Trips


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

Monday, January 05, 2015

Clear and Cold Brings Us Closer to a Shad Kill

Here on the Cumberland Plateau, the recent storm system has moved out leaving us experiencing clear skies and cold temperatures.  Hope for a shad kill is on the upswing with the cold snap dropping temperatures in area reservoirs.

Each year we experience at least a small scale shad kill but in the best years it can bring the largest trout in the river out to feed.  By Thursday, we are expecting lows down near zero so it won't take a whole lot of time at these temperatures to bring down water temperatures in the lakes.  If we continue to have cold weather, I could see the shad kill here as early as the first of February although in some years it holds off until early March.  Once it starts, no one knows how long it will last.

In between tying flies and doing some writing, I've been able to get out and take some pictures.  The picture above shows how bright the sun is this time of year under mostly clear skies.  That cold blue color reminds me that the coldest temperatures are yet to come.  Here's to hoping for a really cold next month or so.  Then you'll know where to find me: floating down the river tossing white streamers...


  1. Hmm... sounds like an interesting "hatch". Must be some big browns eating those.

    1. Some of the biggest fish in the river will come out to play if that hatch comes off!

  2. David
    Beautiful image, any strips eating those shad this time of the year? Glad to be back with you guys after a while of not blogging

    1. Bill, it is really good to see you back! I hope things are going well for you and your family.

      As far as striper, I have not seen them on the Caney this time of year. Usually once it gets really cold they head back down to the Cumberland. Now, on the Tennessee River below Watts Bar and Chickamauga it is another story. Definitely some striped bass that are probably looking for shad on those tailwaters...

  3. David, do you have a favorite "White Streamer" that you use? Maybe you covered this in a previous post, but, I must have missed it............................

    1. Mel, that is a great question that I will probably address a lot more in depth soon. Here is one pattern that I wrote about some time ago that I designed specifically to match our shad "hatches" here on the tailwaters of the southeast. The PB&J



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