Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 09/04/2019

Fishing has slowed down in some places and heated up in others. Smallmouth bass fishing on the streams of the Cumberland Plateau has been good to excellent while the tailwaters have slowed down somewhat.

In the Smokies, streams are getting low and warm. Stick with mid and high elevation streams for now until we get some rain and cooler weather. Right now it looks like this will probably last for another week although we do have some rain forecast next week. Let's hope that happens! A variety of bugs are working here, but lean heavily on your terrestrial box. Yellow Stimulators in particular have also been good lately.

The Caney Fork continues to produce a few fish here and there. Stripers are still thick in the river which isn't helping the trout at all. As long as things stay dry, this will be a viable option. There are a few large fish present if you know where to look. Yesterday's big fish was a 21.5" rainbow caught while sight fishing. Don't expect that every day, but if you're prepared to put in your time, there are good fish to be caught (and released!!!).

The Clinch seems to be in the middle of the annual late summer drawdown of Norris Lake. High water will be the norm here for the next few weeks. If you don't have a boat, then don't bother except, possibly, during early mornings. Weekends are offering some morning windows but crowds will generally be thick as well.

Fall fishing is not far off. The Clinch should fish well unless we have a wet fall. Sometime between mid October and early November, we should see flows start to come down. The Smokies are my personal favorite for fall fishing. The fish will be hungry and maybe even looking up!

Photo of the Month: Guide Trip Fish of the Year for the Smokies

Photo of the Month: Guide Trip Fish of the Year for the Smokies

Monday, April 13, 2015

Active at Sunset

Yesterday, after helping at Little River Outfitters with day two of their beginner fly fishing school, I headed back into the Park for a couple of quick adventures. I'll tell about the other one later. For now, I'm still remembering the evening hatch with satisfaction.

With the sun sinking below the ridge line, the river was left in the shade of a warm spring evening. The bugs were becoming more active. Working up through first one pool and then some pocket water,  I managed a small wild rainbow that just happened to be one of the coolest takes I've seen in a while. My outfit of choice was again the Sage Accel 904-4 that I've been enjoying lately. A #12 Parachute Adams with a bead head nymph of my own devising as the dropper completed the rig.

Instead of coming up to hit the suspended nymph like I would have expected, the rainbow shot all the way from the bottom to the surface to inhale the dry fly without any hesitation. I was peering over the top of a rock and watched as the trout came all the way from the bottom in 4 feet or so of water. After releasing that beautiful little fish of maybe 6 inches, I headed on up to the next pool while noting how slippery the rocks were for so early in the season.

Soon the stream would be shrouded in darkness, but at this magical moment as the sun was setting, bugs were hatching and the trout were happy. Some small fish, mostly warpaint shiners, were hitting the surface, but I was interested in larger quarry. Finally positioning myself at the bottom of the next pool, I took a moment to look all around.


There was a flicker of movement under the fast current near the tailout, and I noticed what appeared to be a quality fish moving back and forth as it fed on whatever was coming by in the drift. Without hesitating, I dropped the flies about 3 feet above the trout and watched in satisfaction as it came off the bottom to inhale the dry fly.

The fish was much larger than most rainbows in the Smokies, so I played it carefully out of the heavier current. Somehow I kept it from plunging into the rapids below and soon had it close enough for a quick picture. Slipping out the hook, I cradled it for a moment before it swam strongly away, hopefully to be caught another day.


8 comments:

  1. The beginning of spring is wonderful.View as fish and insects are activated is a great satisfaction for the fisherman .Congratulations on the catch.

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    1. Thank you Mario! This is one of the best times of year for sure and this trip was very satisfying.

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  2. Another nice story David. I love fishing as the sun is ready to set.

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    1. Probably my favorite time of day Howard. Mornings are probably just as good, but I hate getting up early.

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  3. Sunset - that magical time of the day for the dry fly fisherman! Glad you could enjoy it. Do you ever stick around to fish the spinner fall?

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    1. Mark, spinner falls happen but somewhat inconsistently. I think a lot of them are after legal fishing hours (you can only fish to a half hour after sunset in the Smokies). When you hit a good one in the Park though it can be epic!

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks. It was probably one of the prettiest rainbows I'll catch in the Park this year.

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