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

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Exploring the Smokies


While I have fished a majority of the larger drainages in the Smokies with only a few left to check off the list, there are still many small tributaries to explore. Many of these are far enough off of the beaten path that I prefer visiting them with a friend. The streams of the Park are rugged so there is the safety element, and of course it is hard to beat good company while out on the stream. Fly fishing small streams is definitely best with a friend or fly fishing guide.

When Mark from Fishing Small Streams contacted me and mentioned that he would be passing through the area and fishing for a couple of days, I saw an opportunity to meet a fellow small stream enthusiast and explore some new water. Fast forward a couple of months to mid May, and I'm headed up to the Smokies to meet Mark at the campground he is staying at. We discuss the plan for the day while glancing at a map and then head towards the trailhead for our first stream.

A short and pleasant hike gets us to the lower portion of the stream we wanted to target first so we drop in and start fishing. Almost immediately, Mark caught the first fish of the day.


Moving up the narrow creek required climbing over and around large boulders. The exertion was worth it though. Nearly every little pocket was good for at least one trout, the majority of which were some of the prettiest brook trout you will find anywhere although a few rainbows were in the mix as well. Both of us caught several gorgeous fish. Even though they were all small, they made up for it with an attitude suitable for a fish several times their diminutive size.



As we moved along up the stream, I paused to take some scenery shots as well as a picture or two of Mark fishing. On these small streams, shots of a fisherman in action helps put the stream into proper perspective.




Later, I discovered that Mark had taken a few shots of me as well. Here is one of my favorites.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Wittman

I was thoroughly amused when I arrived at the campground and discovered that I would not be the only one wearing camo for this trip. Apparently small stream aficionados think alike.

After we had fished perhaps a quarter mile of water, we decided to hike back and and continue our marathon fishing day by heading to another stream. This one would be new only to Mark. Our decision was confirmed when we reached my car at the trailhead and discovered that another fisherman had arrived while we were fishing and had undoubtedly started somewhere above us. Fishing used water is never a good thing on these small streams so we definitely left at a good time.

The next stream was a lot larger as its name would suggest. Rainbows and a few brown trout inhabit its waters with brook trout up in the headwaters as is the norm on most Smoky Mountain streams. With limited time, we decided to just fish right near where I parked the car. On most streams, I prefer to hike in a ways to get away from the crowds, but this particular stream seems to get less fishing pressure than most. The fish were responding with enthusiasm right away and mostly to dry flies. Does it get any better than this?




By this point, we were both getting a little tired but still had another stream or two to check out. Thankfully, both of them were close to the campground he was staying at so we headed back. To make a long story short, both streams near the campground were great for both small feisty rainbows and some more beautiful specks. The brook trout in this area are prolific, so much so that at least one area stream is used as a collection stream by the NPS when doing brook trout restoration efforts.

With the sun sinking low in the sky and a long drive home, I said goodbye and headed out. It had been a good day on the water with a new friend. Let me know when you are headed down this way again Mark and we'll find some more new streams to check out!

Read Mark's take on our day and the rest of his time in the Smokies HERE.

If you are interested in a guided fly fishing trip to fish small streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, please contact me at (931) 261-1884 or at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com. Thank you!

4 comments:

  1. Was wonderful to meet you! Spending the day with you was a highlight to my trip! I have to say that I also noticed your camo shirt right away and smiled inside. I often get strange looks from other fisherman wearing it but stealth is paramount on small streams and that includes thinking about what you are wearing. If you are ever up in New England shoot me an email!

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    Replies
    1. Mark, hopefully we'll be able to fish together again sometime. It was a great day out on the water!

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  2. A simply spectacular river and beautiful fish, congratulations.

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