Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 01/22/2020

High flows continue across the area but trends are definitely down. A recent cold snap broke the ongoing heatwave so fishing in the mountains has slowed dramatically. Right on schedule, some of our tailwaters should begin returning to more normal flows for this time of year meaning float trips are certainly possible.

For the Smokies, a warming trend should commence as we go into next week. By mid week the fishing should be decent before the next cold front returns us back to winter again. On warmer days, look for midges and possibly winter stoneflies hatching. Some blue-winged olives will be possible on foul weather days as we head towards February. The best fishing is still a few weeks out, but no longer feels like an eternity. Expect good spring hatches to start in late February or early March with blue quills and quill gordons along with little black caddis and early brown and black stones. By April, things will be settling down with the pinnacle of spring fishing usually happening from mid April through the month of May.

On our area tailwaters, high water continues to be the story. The Caney Fork still has at least a couple of weeks of high flows and that is assuming we don't get any more heavy rainfall. This time of year, that is asking a lot. The high water is good for one thing, however. Shad. Yes, the cold months are prime time to try and hit the famed shad kill and catch a monster brown trout. Same thing goes for the Clinch.

Speaking of the Clinch, the good news is that flows are scheduled to begin dropping tomorrow. A steady two generators will feel like low water after the recent period of two generators plus sluicing. Two generators opens up some nymphing possibilities in addition to our favorite winter pastime, stripping streamers for monsters.

The musky streams are settling into fine shape and will be an option moving forward as well. Remember that bouts of high water will get them stained or even muddy for a few days, but as flows come down the fishing should pick back up.

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

Photo of the Month: Starting the Year Off Right

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