Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 10/17/2017

Fishing is excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park now. We have had a couple of shots of rain the last week and a half which has helped keep the streams flowing strong for this time of year. The cool overnight temperatures will get the brown and brook trout seriously thinking about spawning. Please be careful this time of year and avoid walking on fine sand and gravel in riffles and tailouts. Leave the spawning trout alone so they can do their thing. When you find brook or brown trout that aren't spawning, they are aggressive and looking to feed. Recent guide trips on brook trout waters have been anywhere from good to excellent. Streams with rainbows and browns have been excellent as well. There are good numbers of fish to be caught in the Park right now!

A variety of bugs have been hatching lately. On cloudy days, Blue-winged Olives have hatched along with some other small mayflies. Various caddis, including the Great Autumn Brown Sedges (often referred to as October Caddis by locals) are hatching and provide a nice bite for the trout. Little Black stoneflies are hatching as well. Fish are eating both dry fly and nymph imitations and even still hitting some terrestrials. Don't forget your beetle, ant, and inchworm fly box. A Parachute Adams or Yellow or Orange Stimulator should work well for a dry fly. Smaller bead head Pheasant Tail nymphs should work as a dropper. Caddis pupa are also catching a lot of fish as are stonefly nymphs.

On the Caney Fork, things have been tough lately. The river has been running warmer than is normal this time of year because of heavy generation earlier this year and also with a stain due to the sluice gate operations. Work has been underway to install vented turbines on the generators and they have been working to try and tweak them to improve dissolved oxygen. One day, we were floating and they were checking the DO and found it at 1.5 ppm. If I remember correctly, the minimum target is 6 ppm. Obviously 1.5 is way too low. Trout were sitting along the banks and in back eddies gasping for oxygen. Hopefully all of this won't have too much of a long term effect on the fishery, but needless to say, things are a bit difficult as of right now. Cooler weather should help. Once the lake turns over, oxygen and clarity will improve quickly.

The Clinch River has been fishing well if you can hit it on low water days. Small nymphs and midges will get the job done here.

Smallmouth bass are about done for the year, but we will be back out on the musky streams again soon looking for the toothy critters. This is tough fishing, but the rewards can be sizable.

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Photo of the Month: Night Time Hog

Monday, September 14, 2015

High Fish Concentrations

Little River rainbow trout in the Great Smoky Mountains

While most people are bemoaning the low flows in the Great Smoky Mountains, I'm enjoying some of the best fishing I can remember in a while. To be clear, I did not say catching, but if you enjoy stalking trout and sight casting, this is as good a time as any. Fall is my favorite time of year as I have often said on this blog. Low water is at least a contributing factor in that for me.

You see, the mostly unmentioned benefit of low water is that it helps to concentrate the fish. Whereas in the spring the fish are spread throughout the entire river, there are now only a few places for them to hide. Finding those places, approaching them without being seen, and getting a good cast on the trout can be challenging, but who isn't up for a good challenge?

Times like this is where you push your skills to the utmost, either becoming a better angler for it or quitting until conditions get better or using whatever other excuse you can to avoid the poor conditions. Fishing and the quality thereof varies, like most things in life, in the eye of the beholder.

Not too long ago, I had purchased a Rio Euro Nymph line with the eventual goal of purchasing a longer fly rod (say 10'-11'). Just the other day I finally put it on a reel and had to try it out before leaving for Yellowstone. After finishing with the Little River Outfitters Day 2 Beginner Fly Fishing School, I headed back to the Park and soon found a convenient pull off.

Feeling pressed for time with the sun quickly descending in the western sky, I had the rod rigged in record time. With low water, I wasn't sure what to expect from the fishing. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Fish were still hungry and willing to eat my nymphs. Overall, I really liked the new line but did find that it had a learning curve. After fishing weight forward lines exclusively for a long time, it was a LOT different throwing the lightweight Euro nymph line. It offers some great benefits though and in the long run will be well worth the investment. More on that in a later post once I've spent more time getting to know the line.

Little River in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The fish seemed willing to eat my Isonychia soft hackle although I didn't catch large numbers of trout. Slow and steady seemed to be the rule. Lots of nymphal shucks were to be found on the rocks along with Golden stoneflies. Yellow quills or some other yellow mayfly made an appearance as well as some tiny Blue-winged Olives. With cooler temperatures, we should continue to see more hatches moving into the fall. A little water wouldn't hurt, but the fish are still there and hungry as always. The main benefit of this low water is that we should have some extra good dry fly possibilities this fall.

Little River rainbow trout

Little River in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

For now, this will be one of my last fishing reports for a while. I'll hopefully roll a couple more out, but I'm leaving for Yellowstone National Park this Thursday and will be gone until early October. I'm booked until mid October but have some availability starting October 14, 2015. If you have been wanting to book a guided fly fishing trip this fall, don't wait too long as the calendar is filling very quickly. Both float trips on the Caney Fork River and walk/wade trips in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park should be fantastic this fall. Call/text me at (931) 261-1884 or email me at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com to book today.

1 comment:

  1. Nice healthy looking fish David. Good luck on your Yellowstone trip.

    ReplyDelete

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