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

Monday, October 19, 2015

Welcome to Yellowstone

Mt. Haynes in Yellowstone National Park

Arriving late to Yellowstone can be a risky thing. I always forget how incredibly far it is and how long the drive is across Wyoming. The original goal was to be in the Park by midday on Sunday, but between stopping to sleep a few hours in the car on Saturday night and buying some groceries on Sunday, I arrived in the Park late in the day. The sign at the South Entrance informed me that all of the campgrounds were already full except for at Lewis Lake. Luckily that was the closest so I had a chance to claim a site.

Sure enough, I snagged a site but none too early as lots of forlorn looking travelers were doing the drive around the campground routine looking for a nonexistent available site shortly after my arrival. With an hour or two until sundown, I walked down to the lakeshore and enjoyed the sunset before heading back for an early bedtime. The drive had me tired out, and I needed plenty of energy for the next few days of fishing. 

That night I was reminded how cold it can get in the high country, especially late in the season. However, being tired has its advantages so I slept quite well. The next morning, I was up and packed before sunrise and made it to West Thumb Geyser Basin for an early morning photo opportunity. The early morning sun lit up the steam creating some beautiful views. A big bull elk surprised me on the way. He was wandering in the road and bugling, his breath condensing into vapor in the cold morning air. 

Elk bugling in Yellowstone National Park

West Thumb Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park

West Thumb Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park

Moving on down the road, I decided to take the scenic route over to Norris by way of Hayden Valley and Canyon. The idea seemed even better when I found a delicious breakfast at Canyon and a place to buy a fishing license. Full and content, I hurried on towards Norris and grabbed one of only a handful of available campsites. Clearly the crowds were still on the high side considering how late in the season it was. 

Camping in Norris Campground

In no time I had my camp set up, and soon I had a rod strung up headed to the meadow stretch on the Gibbon right by the campground. Shortly after starting, that first Yellowstone trout graced the end of my line, a gorgeous Gibbon River brown trout. 

Gibbon River Brown Trout

Releasing a Gibbon River brown trout

I continued up through the meadow, catching fish here and there, and as the sun was starting to drop in the western sky I decided to head for West Yellowstone. The sky over the Madison was worth a stop for pictures. By the time I got back to camp, I was already completely satisfied with my Yellowstone trip and the adventure had only begun!

Madison River in Yellowstone National Park

9 comments:

  1. Looks like a great day on the water. Jealous.

    Ben

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  2. Sounds like you had a great trip! Looking forward to more details to follow!

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    1. Thanks Mark, it may take some time but stay tuned!

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  3. David
    What a great way to explore this beautiful region. How many times ,have you fished the park? It seems you knew exactly where you wanted to wet a fly. Did you have any suggestions for what pattern to use there? Beautiful brown trout thanks for sharing----by the way my wife and I are in the process of moving to Spring Hill where out daughter lives, I hope once we get there we can meet some time and fish together.

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    1. Bill, I have fished out there now probably 5-6 times and always look forward to my next opportunity. Pattern suggestions would depend a lot on the stream and time of year. Shoot me an email for more info on that. I'll look forward to getting out on the water with you for a day. Holler at me when you get settled in and are ready to fish.

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  4. Looks really wonderful David. I would drive across country just to experience what you've written here.

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    1. Thanks Howard. It was definitely worth the drive. Can't wait for next year. I think I'm hitting Colorado. We'll have to fish Clear Creek together if our schedules happen to mesh.

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  5. You know I'd like that David.

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