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, August 08, 2015

Low Water

Fly fishing the Caney Fork River
Wading a likely looking run on the Caney Fork River.


Floating on low water is usually the preferred method for fly fishing the Caney Fork River. In addition to being much safer, the low water concentrates the fish and allows anglers opportunities to sight fish and also normally to catch good numbers. Last week, day two with Nathan and Frank was scheduled to be a low water float. We would have a hard time following up the big fish excitement of the previous day but hoped to find a few more trout. Then, in the afternoon, they had to take off, but I was going to do another section on high water again to see if the streamer bite was still on.

We met early and were soon at the river dumping the drift boat and getting the shuttle taken care of. With everything ready to go, we soon pushed off and were floating downstream. Early on, we experimented with some patterns and tried a few different spots. A couple of fish hit but came unbuttoned quickly and we moved on to look for more willing candidates.

Soon we were drifting over a favorite shoal that normally has a good number of trout. Sure enough, there were fish taking midges up and down the shallow gravel bar. I pulled the boat over and both Nathan and Frank jumped out to work the water more carefully. Caney Fork River fly fishing often entails sight fishing to steadily feeding trout and this day was no different.

I grabbed my camera to record the fun.

Fly fishing the Caney Fork River
Frank working a good stretch right before hooking up with a feisty brown trout.

Fly Fishing the Caney Fork River
Nathan prepares to land a healthy rainbow trout caught on a midge pattern.

Frank had been wanting to find a fish willing to eat a dry fly. A friend of his had given him a handful of flies and he wanted to catch a fish on them and get a picture. That mission was soon accomplished.

Caney Fork brown trout on a dry fly
Caney Fork brown trout caught on a dry fly.

Fly fishing the Caney Fork brown trout
A happy angler with a Caney Fork brown trout.

After the excitement, we were back in the boat and floating again. Some more fish were missed and then the action slowed. It became apparent we were following another boat so we passed them and rowed well downstream to not encroach on their water. Our time was running low but there were still a couple of big moments during the float.

Nathan was the first to score. I had pointed to a spot and requested that the anglers drop their flies in a small section of moving water. Nathan used pinpoint accuracy to get the flies drifting exactly where they needed to be, threw a nice upstream mend, and then set the hook as the indicator dove under. Soon the healthy holdover rainbow trout was in the net and we took a couple of quick photographs.

Caney Fork rainbow trout
Caney Fork rainbow trout.

Downstream a bit further, we had our last big moment for the day and it was really the highpoint of the whole float. We were drifting down on another good spot, and I directed the anglers to place their flies right on the current seam. Almost immediately both indicators went down and the guys got good hooksets. Soon the net was filled with trout and we had two happy anglers on board the boat!

Two happy anglers with a Caney Fork brown trout and a rainbow trout
One rainbow trout, one brown trout, and two happy anglers!

Soon we arrived at the takeout and quickly hauled the boat out before the generation caught up with us. A good morning fly fishing the Caney Fork had been had by all. The guys had a long drive back to Georgia, and I needed a break to eat lunch and rest before the afternoon streamer float. More on that to come soon!

If I can help you with a guided fly fishing float trip on the Caney Fork River or a walk/wade trip in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or on the Cumberland Plateau smallmouth bass streams, please call or text me at (931) 261-1884 or email me at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com

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