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

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Hungry Late Winter Bass

So yesterday I realized that I was getting more than a little tired of the cabin fever, as in tired enough to do something about it. So naturally I strung up a 5 weight St. Croix Legend Ultra that has been a favorite rod for over 10 years and headed to a nearby lake that I love to fish in the spring (video).

As some of you  probably know by now, I am fond of smaller patterns for bluegill and crappie, smaller than most other people are fishing in fact. Specifically, like my friend Bill Trussell over at Fishing Through Life knows, I tie and fish a LOT of Simi Seal Leeches. Black is my favorite color although other colors work great as well. For this trip, I tied on a black #12 Simi Seal leech with a bead head before leaving the house so I could focus all my time on fishing once I arrived at the lake.

When I got there, a decent amount of ice and slush still existed on the lake's surface. Despite the warming trend of the past couple of days, the lakes are still very cold and holding on to the ice. Admittedly, I was a bit concerned about the fishing prospects. Ice on the surface didn't seem like a positive thing for the fishing but since I was already there I wasn't going to leave without casting a little bit at least.

The heavy fog that kept rolling through the area made for some beautiful scenes. As the assumption that the fishing would be slow took hold, I started to gain more interest in documenting the scenery. It may be a stretch of the imagination, but can anyone else see a giant butterfly in the picture below? Or maybe it is an angel, I'm not sure.



Eventually I got back to fishing with the plan to fish for a few minutes and then head home. What I was really looking for was some early season crappie. Usually you can start catching them on this particular body of water by the first of March. Since this year was unusually cold, I didn't have a lot of faith in finding any but knew where to cast in case they were around.

On the second cast to a very good drop off that normally has some fish hanging around, I looked down just before pulling my fly out of the water at the end of the retrieve. You can probably imagine how surprised I was when I noticed a shadow behind the little leech pattern. I stopped and let the fly start to drop past the fishes nose. That did the trick! It opened its mouth and inhaled the fly.



My surprise was even greater when, after hooking the fish, it finally came to the surface and I realized it was not a crappie or a bluegill but a little bass. That made my day. I was happy enough to be satisfied with one fish. After all, I probably had only fished for 15-20 minutes, taken a few pictures of the landscape, and caught a bass. How much better could it get?

The fog had rolled back some while I was fishing, so after releasing the fish, I took another picture or two. Maybe 4 or 5 more casts were made but I knew that it was time to head home. The trip was a success, and it is a poor sport who demands more from the water than one deserves. I had already been blessed beyond my expectations and figured that it wasn't a good time to get selfish.


Today we have some rain moving in or else I would be out there again. Maybe we'll get a break in the rain that is long enough for me to get back out there. I know there are some monster fish in that lake and today is probably as good a day as any to try and catch one. They are probably hungry after such a long cold winter...

8 comments:

  1. Nice pics David! Glad the bass wanted to play!

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  2. Glad to hear and see that you were able to get out. I am a little jealous as we are expecting around 10 inches of snow tomorrow. Im looking forward to finally being able to get out myself. I also enjoy throwing smaller flies for the panfish.

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    1. Thankfully we didn't get too much winter weather here this time and it should melt off soon. I'll be fishing again this next week for sure. Good luck up there thawing out. Hope you can get out on the water soon.

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  3. Nice job, David. Appreciate the pictures, too. Thought I saw the Butterfly on my computer screen. But, alas, I was wrong it was only a small cookie smudge on my screen. Getting old is tough! By the way, I also fish a lot of Simi-seal leeches on the ponds out here, too!

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    Replies
    1. Mel, glad I'm not the only one who enjoys the Simi Seal leeches. They sure catch a lot of fish!

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  4. Nice! I've got about another month before the warm water activity here starts.

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    Replies
    1. I think ours should really get going in another couple of weeks but with all the crazy weather who knows.

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