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

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Talk To Me About Yellowstone In September

So there is a chance, nothing definite mind you, that I will get to take a trip out to Yellowstone the last two weeks in September. Originally, I dreamed of a long trip covering the better part of three weeks or maybe even a month. Colorado, Wyoming, Yellowstone of course, Montana, maybe even the Green River in Utah, just me and the most wild places I could find, preferably places that were blessed with numbers of quality trout.

The more thought that I've given to this possible trip, the more I realize that I mostly want to just visit Yellowstone. I've never had the good fortune to fish it in the fall but have long wanted to. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I'm never always quite certain, there is nothing to take me to Colorado other than the fishing and those rivers will be there for a long time still. In Yellowstone, however, while my favorite stream will be there for a long time to come (unless the super volcano blows that is) the very thing that makes it my favorite Yellowstone National Park stream is in danger of being destroyed.

So far as I can tell, the Park has not yet implemented their ludicrous plan to remove the browns, brooks, and 'bows from the Gibbon River, but knowing how such things work, it is surely still in the works. While a good number of people seem to be in favor of the change, they clearly have little knowledge of both cutthroat and their habitat preferences (the meadows of the Gibbon get way too warm for cutts) and also very little knowledge of the gem of a stream that the Gibbon is as is. I'm okay with people not understanding this beautiful stream since it leaves the lunker browns for me and a few select others to hunt, hopefully in a few more weeks.

A trip across several states and nearly across the country just to fish one stream may sound a bit extreme, and that is where I was hoping for some advice. I'll spend an inordinate amount of time fishing the Gibbon but would like to do more while I'm in the area. I've already fished Yellowstone National Park several times so need more info on how various waters fish during the last two weeks in September than anything. Will the Firehole be back in play yet? How about the lake run fish out of Hebgen on the Madison, lower Gibbon, and lower Firehole? How does the Madison outside of the Park fish at that time of year? Northeast corner of the Park such as Slough, Soda Butte, and the Lamar? How about the Yellowstone in the Grand Canyon or the Black Canyon? Backpacking that time of year would be pretty sweet, but since I'll be solo I doubt I'll tempt the bears too much. Day trips are risky enough by myself I suppose. I've never fished the Gardner. Would it be worth hitting for runner browns in late September or would I need to be out there later in the fall?

Any and all advice would be appreciated. I prefer catching brown trout first, cutthroat second (I would be in Yellowstone after all), and any other trout are just nice bonuses. Since there seems to be a war on browns, and I know the cutts will be there in the future, I'm not as concerned with finding and catching cutthroat even though I'm sure I'll fish for them at least some. Finally, I fully recognize that fishing advice is rarely if ever best shared through the Interwebs for all to read. Feel free to email me at if you prefer that to answering on here.

Thank you in advance for any and all advice!

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