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

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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