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

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Brook Trout in Fall Dress

Smoky Mountain brook trout in fall colors

Some days you just want to catch brook trout. For me, those days occur with frequency although not so often as others probably experience. Normally I would have spent a couple of days dedicated to fishing for brook trout in late September when the fish are on the feed as they prepare for the rigors of the spawn, the weather is still pleasant, in other words the fishing is perfect. This year, I had to suffer through a trip to Yellowstone during late September and then had to make up for it by fishing for brook trout in October during the best of the fall colors. I know, life is tough.

Originally, the day had tentatively been planned as a muskie fishing expedition but through a series of unfortunate circumstances, those plans fell through. Option two appealed to me for a short time before I quickly jumped to option three, fishing for brook trout.


The stream involved a bit of a walk as do most quality brook trout waters. Thankfully the time passed quickly talking with a friend who was able to join me for the day. We were soon walking past water that looked increasingly fishy. Before long, the pressure was too great and we jumped in to start fishing.

Smoky Mountain brook trout stream

Things started off slowly and I don't mean that in the normal sense. We were catching fish, but only small ones. In fact, I think I caught my smallest fish of the year several times over. The young of the year brook trout were voracious, but eventually persistence paid off and some of their elder brethren succumbed to our offerings.

brook trout

At least two or three spots had spawning fish doing their thing and we left them alone. Fishing to spawners is not advisable on wild or native trout streams. Those are the future of the fishery and should be left alone to do their thing. Those that weren't actively spawning kept us more than occupied.

brook trout

brook trout

The better fish were dressed up in full fall dress. I'm not sure if there is a fish more beautiful than a colored up brook trout or spec as the locals call them. Over the course of the day, we both caught good numbers of fish. I was using my favorite small stream rod, an old Orvis Superfine Tight Loop. The rod is eight feet long and throws a four weight line, flexing clear to the handle when you get a feisty fish on the end of your line.

At the beginning, I chose a Black Elk Hair Caddis and dropped a #16 caddis pupa behind. The dropper seemed to do its best work on the smaller fish while the best fish of the day mostly had a preference for the dry (but not all). I have no idea how many I caught, but I do know that two separate holes were both good for 5 fish apiece so you know the fishing was pretty good. By the end, both flies were chewed up to the point of retirement.

Smoky Mountain brook trout

The fish were not the only things dressed in their fall best. Many of the trees are reaching the fall color peak right now.

Fall color

Eventually the day drew to a close. We made the hike back down amid lengthening shadows and cooling temperatures. I was heading for Elkmont Campground for the night so I could get up and fish again the next day. As it turns out, the next day would be great as well, but that is a story for another time.

Want to fish for brook trout in the Smokies? Contact me about a guided fly fishing trip at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com

5 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful time to fish for brookies in full spawning colors. The brookies in RMNP weren't nearly as beautiful as the ones you caught.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Howard, have you fished the North St. Vrain in Wild Basin (or have I asked you that before)? There are some beautiful brookies in there although they still look a different from these.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The best time of the year!

    ReplyDelete
  4. David those brook trout are beautiful.
    I agree it's worth the walk.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I refuse to believe that there is a prettier fish anywhere in the East.

    ReplyDelete

Newsletter

Subscribe to the Trout Zone Anglers Newsletter!

* indicates required