Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 02/03/2018

The Smokies are fishing slow on most days although the potential for a big brown is always present this time of year. Most days are seeing water temperatures in the low 40s at best and usually colder. Occasional midges, BWOs, and winter stoneflies will provide some surface activity on the warmer afternoons. For the most part, however, this will be a nymphing or streamer game this time of year. If we get some higher water, hit the brown trout streams with your favorite streamers (remember single hook only in the Park) and hunt that one trophy. When you catch it, take a picture to remember the moment and let it go for the next angler to enjoy.

Tailwaters have been fishing very well as of late. Our favorite, the Caney Fork, continues to have opportunities for both wade and float trips. Windows for wading look to go down sometime in the near future, unfortunately. The forecast this week calls for some potentially heavier rain which will probably kick the generators back on for a while. The good news? That means the shad kill should be in full effect. The Clinch and Holston have also been fishing well. If you want to check any of these tailwaters out, contact me for info on guided trips.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Successful Smokies Fly Fishing Tips: Temperature Trends

A couple of weeks ago, I addressed the current El Nino as well as what effects it might have on winter fishing in the Smokies and across our region. One of the points I emphasized was the idea of temperature trends. Just last week, on one of my guide trips, I experienced a new example that just confirmed, at least in my mind, the importance of the general temperature trend.

We had been fishing several different sections of the Park. I did not expect particularly good fishing, especially early in the day, because water temperatures were between 39 and 41 degrees. Generally that signals poor fishing in the mountains. However, the cold snap was about done and the trend in water temperature was up. Our day was pleasant with plenty of sun early and the water temperature rose accordingly. Not only did we catch fish early, but we caught a good number of fish.

Late in the day, the guy that I had out fishing wanted to see some different places to fish. This is normal on days when I have anglers who want to be introduced to fishing in the Smokies. I explained that I could show him some brook trout water but that we shouldn't have our expectations set too high. Ice on the rocks did not give us any extra hope, but this was more about learning how to fish so he could come back under better conditions.

Brook trout stream in winter in the Smokies

Surprisingly, we missed some nice fish including a colorful brook trout and got a decent rainbow trout on a dry fly. The water was 39.5 degrees when I checked.

A Smokies rainbow trout caught in the winter on a dry fly

It is very important to remember that trout across the mountainous areas of the western US are routinely caught in very cold water during the winter. I'm talking about water full of slush and ice floes cold. Here in the southeast we are spoiled to be able to fish year round and generally do so on ice free streams, but remember that even when it is cold, the fish still have to eat.

You can do at least a little to stack the odds in your favor. Pick that first warm day after it has been cold, or even better the 3rd or 4th warm day after it has been cold. You might just be surprised at how good winter fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be when the water temperatures start to creep upwards. Sometimes you'll even catch fish on dry flies...

1 comment:

  1. Great attention to detail. I've never been one to check the temperature of the water, but have often wondered if it had any adverse affect on where I fish. Catching trout on dry flies in winter sounds fantastic!

    ReplyDelete

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