Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/08/2020

Unusually warm and wet conditions continue to prevail here in middle and east Tennessee. This upcoming weekend is looking like more rain and possibly even severe weather. The wind forecast is bad enough that I wouldn't bother going fishing until Sunday at the earliest unless you can go tomorrow.

In the Smokies, nymphing will be the name of the game, but don't be surprised to see some blue-winged olives from time to time. With all the high water, think streamers, big stoneflies, or worm imitations.

Tailwaters like the Caney Fork and Clinch are still rolling with a lot of water. Both rivers are over 10,000 cfs. While this is still fishable, I don't really recommend it. Flows this high are generally all about swinging for the fences if you feel like hunting a trophy. Many days it won't happen. Once in a while it will. Throw big streamers, hope for a shad kill, and get out there. Those big fish won't get caught if you're sitting home on the couch.

The Caney will produce decent fishing if we ever get flows back down at least a little. One generator would be ideal. Right now I'll even take two. Minimum flow looks a long ways off right now.

On the Clinch, you can throw streamers and also possible nymph up a few fish. If you pick your spots, there are places to nymph even on 12,000 cfs. Let's hope it gets back down to two generators or less soon. Every time we get a big rain event, look for some low water for a day or two or three. TVA will hold water back at tributary dams like Norris to reduce downstream high water effects. This gives those of us who like to wade a day or two to fish.

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: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Hiwassee River Round Two

After such a fantastic day on the Hiwassee River last week, I had to go back for more. A couple of friends planned to meet me for an afternoon of fishing.


We planned on meeting just about the time they cut off the generators, but instead of starting at the powerhouse as I did two days prior (if you haven't read it, you will want to do so then come back), we started a bit further down the river. Since the water was still high, we had to be extremely careful wading as the water slowly dropped out. The Hiwassee is one of the slickest rivers I know, and more than once I came close to taking a spill when my wading boots slipped on the slick ledges of the big river.

Both of my friends quickly got into a trout or two on nymphs and streamers. There were a couple of flashes in the vicinity of the streamer I started out with but otherwise it was slow compared to the last trip.

Once the water dropped out enough, I switched over to the same dry/dropper rig that had produced so well for me earlier in the week. That proved to be the ticket once again, especially once the water levels dropped out close to the minimum flow level. Fish again showed a distinct preference for my subsurface offerings instead of the dry fly.

Not too long after we had slowly slipped and stumbled our way across the river, my buddy Chase hooked a hot fish. After a strong fight, he finally managed to land it. We were both surprised that the fish wasn't any larger. Based on the fight, this fish should have gone more like 16-17 inches, but that is the effect a tailwater has on fish. I never cease to be amazed at how strong fish from area tailwaters are.


Meanwhile, Jayson was off fishing some ledges above us. He continued to catch a fish here and there. I happened to be nearby for at least one of them and snapped a picture of one of his fish as well.



I was pleasantly surprised to catch my first ever brookies on the Hiwassee River on this trip. While they may not be the best use of TWRA's money (seriously, they just become bait for big browns and stripers), they do provide a bit of a break from the routine of stocker rainbows and fingerling browns. The average size of stocked trout on the Tennessee tailwaters seems to have decreased over the years. I'm guessing that it has something to do with the budget and cost associated with raising larger fish. Interestingly, in some states at least, they have discovered that they can stock fewer but larger trout and actually provide better catch rates.


Catching a Hiwassee River slam was a nice first for me. The brookies are sadly pale compared to their wild counterparts that I love catching so much in the Smokies but they are still brookies.

The day had one last high point for me. With the sun sinking quickly, I found myself in the same area that I caught the nice brown on the previous trip. Throwing my fly in the same run the brown came from, I hooked a strong fish. When I got it closer, I saw that it was one of the prettiest rainbows I have seen in a long time. It reminded me a lot of the beautiful rainbows I caught in Colorado.



Shortly after catching the rainbow, the generators came back on for the night. With rising water approaching, we made our exit from the riverbed and headed home completely satisfied with another great day on the water!


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2 comments:

  1. David
    Nice looking trout, have you tried the Seal Leech here? Enjoyed the post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bill, in past years the Simi Seal Leech was one of my favorite flies on the Hiwassee. On this particular trip I did not try it. However I did try it two days prior to this for a short time and did not catch anything on it. I'm sure I could have though if I had chosen to stick with it a little longer...

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