Guided Trips


Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Creek Fishing

Wading warm water creeks and streams is one of the less popular but nevertheless fun elements of the sport of fly fishing. Some people never even get that far. If you only fish a few days a year, you are likely still focusing on trout for each of your trips. That is just fine, and with a few exceptions, what attracted most of us to the sport to begin with. In fact, I still fish for trout the majority of the time. That said, when I have a few hours to kill and want to have fun, you can probably find me with a four weight rod and some topwater bugs looking to have fun with the smallies and panfish.

Last Tuesday, I checked with my buddy Chase to see if he wanted to fish some creeks. We agreed on when and where to meet and not much later I was headed out. Looking down at the outside thermometer on my car, I knew it was going to be a hot one.

When we arrived stream-side, we found the usual collection of people out swimming, drinking beer, jumping off of the rocks, and generally scaring all of the fish. That always means a hike so we hit the trail. By the time we had hustled back about a mile, my shirt was soaked with sweat, and I was almost ready to jump in and swim instead of fish. As soon as we started fishing it was obvious that the discomfort was just a small price to pay.

The fish were hungry and looking up, always a good combination for fun. I nailed a gorgeous sunfish on one of my first casts. The fish hit so hard that I thought it was a smallmouth.

Chase soon followed up my sunfish with a nice smallie that would turn out to be the best fish caught for the trip. We saw some much larger fish that, while mildly interested, were much too intelligent for us on this trip. With a little foresight and planning, these fish are just as catchable but a few factors need to come together to make that happen.

Cumberland Plateau smallmouth bass

In the end, with the heat and humidity, we didn't make it as far up the creek as I sometimes do. The trip was eventually cut short when I didn't want to make a required scramble around some boulders through thick brush. If the weather was cooler and we had more hours of daylight, then we probably would have continued up the canyon.

At this furthest point upstream, I paused to take some pictures. After shooting several of the scene, Chase nailed another good fish, this one a nice sunfish. A couple of pictures later and we headed back downstream.

The thought of a Gatorade in the cooler in my trunk kept us moving back down the trail at a good pace. I'll be back to this stream soon, but probably not while it is so hot.

This next week is going to be great for fishing across the area. We got enough rain this weekend to help just a little with the water levels and the water temperatures are dropping like a rock. The good fishing should last at least through the upcoming holiday weekend. If you have been thinking about a midsummer trip to the Smokies or to walk a smallmouth creek, this is the time to do it. The topwater bite is ON for smallies on the creeks and floats are putting out good fish and numbers still. The flows are very good right now for Caney Fork floats.

Contact me if you are interested in a guided trip for trout in the Smokies or on the Caney Fork, or smallmouth bass and panfish on the Cumberland Plateau streams. Email me at or call/text me at (931) 261-1884.


  1. Nice post David. That sure is some pretty country. I need to do some warmwater soon.

    1. Howard, are your streams starting to calm down yet?

  2. David
    Oh this trip brought back so many memories when I was a boy and fish the small near our country home. I am hoping I will make it back there someday. Thanks for the memories

    1. Bill, I'm glad this brought back some good memories for you!



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