Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/17/2018

Fishing continues to be good to excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee. 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 Yellow Quills are still hanging on in the mid to high elevation brook trout water although not for long. October caddis (more properly, great autumn sedges) are hatching in good numbers now on the North Carolina side of the Park and just starting on the Tennessee side. Terrestrials still have a place in your fly box as well although they are definitely winding down for the year. 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. Brook trout are still eating smaller yellow dry flies as well. 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 hoping to get some type of a report for there soon. 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 are holding off for 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. 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 and one or two in October. 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

Thursday, July 02, 2015

What Does It Mean?

Today I faced a really tough dilemma. All along, I had been planning to fish and in the Smokies no less. When the alarm went off at 5:00 a.m., the first thing I noticed was the flashes of light illuminating my bedroom. A crash of thunder followed the optical display. My first movement was to turn off the blasted alarm. The second was to reach for my iPad to check the radar. Rain everywhere with more on the way dampened my enthusiasm for crawling out of the comfortable bed.

The internal struggle was intense, and I almost succumbed to more sleep. Then visions of big brown trout chasing streamers started dancing in my head, and I knew it was time to get going.There was no way I could sleep knowing that this might be the best fishing day of the summer in the Smokies. Score one point for my theory that fishermen are some of the world's greatest optimists.

Rain was falling steadily as I loaded the few things that weren't already in my car. A cooler contained lunch and a couple of Gatorades. I also took along the waders with the assumption that it would be cool enough to wear them and they might help me stay dry.

After a quick stop at Little River Outfitters to pick up the new Tennessee Guide License and a couple of fly tying items, I headed on into the Park. Despite several follows at my first stop, I didn't manage to hook up and was soon headed on up the river. At the second spot, I did have at least one flash and the third produced a good solid tug. Somehow all the fish were missing the hook though. My curiosity had been simmering all this time and finally got the better of me. I headed over the ridge to the NC side to see how conditions were over there.

The rain had long since turned into a steady soaking rain, just the thing we've been waiting for here in the Great Smoky Mountains. My first stop produced a really nice rainbow. I would have kept fishing on further upstream but noticed the herd of elk before I stumbled dangerously close. I backed off from this first brush with danger and headed back to the Moose Magnet. Apparently it works on elk also. It was right about the time I got back to my car that I heard the first rumble.

At the next top, I heard another one, far away to the south or at least that's what it sounded like. Then it was quiet, and I assumed that meant I should go fishing. By this time, I had soaked one rain jacket, switched to another while the first one dried, and then switched back to the first again. In other words, the rain was much more than what qualifies as light but something short of tropical downpour status.

Scrambling along the thick stream-side vegetation, I paused to ponder poison ivy and was hit with the realization that it seemed to be a lot thicker this year. After trampling around through a lot of it today, I'll probably be fortunate if I don't end up with the miserable stuff.

Anyway, so here I am thinking about poison ivy, standing in the middle of a drenching rainstorm with one of my favorite pools just ahead of me. Jumping into the stream, I decided it was probably safer out in the water. At least the poison ivy couldn't get to me out there.

Working along the pool, I was almost to the top when it happened. Out of the hazy water, a dark shadow materialized under the hopper that was doubling as a strike indicator. I barely had time to think no way to myself before it inhaled the Chernobyl. Yeah!

Then came the shocker, if you will pardon the pun. Right as I leaned down to grab the fish, as my hand slipped under the beautiful rainbow trout's body, a bright flash flickered across the sky followed almost immediately by a thunderclap that would have caused me to levitate out of the river if I hadn't seen the flash first. The timing was absolutely crazy. It has to mean something, right? But what?

The fish gods weren't angry or else I wouldn't have caught that fish, or at least that's what I assume. Maybe it was just Mother Nature reminding me to not take anything for granted. Either way, I've never felt so relaxed after a close call with lightning. I actually just shrugged and decided to keep on fishing. After all, it was far enough back to the car that I was probably just as likely to get struck walking back as to keep on fishing.

In hind sight, it occurs to me that the lightning and thunder were the last for the day. It rained quite a bit longer, but no more lightning. In fact, by the time that I decided to leave soggy North Carolina behind, Tennessee had turned sunny. The low hanging clouds burned off and left a beautiful day in their wake.

Back on Little River, I managed another small rainbow, but somehow my heart wasn't in it. The day had already been amazing, and I decided to not push my luck. I know enough to quit while I'm ahead. The drive down Little River road was just about the slowest you will ever see me drive. The tranquility of the Park had worked her magic, and I was revived and rejuvenated again. Back out in the real world, the hurry didn't come back until I was well along on the Interstate. I guess I already need another lightning strike to put things back in perspective.

Do you have any other ideas for what the random lightning strike means? I want to hear them.

2 comments:

  1. Were you using a graphite rod?
    ; )

    ReplyDelete
  2. Actually, it was fiberglass which is probably at least partly why I was so relaxed haha.

    ReplyDelete

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