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

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January Brook Trout


As the calendar turned from 2015 to 2016, I began to think about fishing goals for the new year. I'm not a resolution kind of a guy because why wait until the calendar changes to get things on track? However, from a fishing perspective, it is easy to get stuck in a rut and keep doing the same thing each time I get out on the water. With that in mind, I've set a goal to catch a brook trout each month of the year. Originally I even contemplated doing it using dry flies only or maybe Tenkara, but for now those ideas are on hold.

Still, when I decided to head up to the mountains this past Sunday, I knew the early morning hours would be spent chasing brown trout. After having such a good day the previous Sunday, I figured it was too good an opportunity to ignore. I still had that monster to track down and land. For some reason that fish was nowhere to be seen. After doing a lot of scouting and a little bit of casting, all I had to show for it was 3-4 half hearted chases and one fired up fish that couldn't find the hook. The time had come to move on to plan B.

Before heading to one of my favorite brook trout streams, I rolled into Townsend to warm up and chat with the guys at Little River Outfitters. A short stop turned into a longer one as the nice warm shop was hard to leave. I knew that I might not get back to the mountains much again in January though so I eventually forced myself back out into the cold to go find those brook trout.

When I lived in Colorado, winter time streamer fishing on Boulder Creek right in the middle of the town of Boulder was one of my favorite things to do. I could get out for an hour or two, walk the ice along the banks, and maybe even catch a trout or two. Often I would be surprised by nice brook trout that hammered the streamer so I knew that they loved streamers. If you know me this is probably shocking information, but I actually have not fished streamers for brook trout in the Smokies, until this past Sunday that is.

As it turns out, the native brook trout of the Smokies like streamers as well although water temperatures in 30s meant that the hits were few and far between. I did get this beautiful fish on just the second or third cast which meant I could relax the rest of the time and not worry as much about catching trout.


Able to enjoy myself, I spent more time looking around than fishing after catching that trout. My camera provided another avenue of enjoyment. Here are a few of the stream shots. Notice the dusting of snow on this cold January day.




14 comments:

  1. David
    You are one lucky guy to live in an area with streams that beautiful. Colorful brook on the streamer; how were you fishing it? Thanks for sharing

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    1. Bill, I was hitting the soft and deep pockets and pools and working it with the rod tip. The stream was small enough that there wasn't a lot of casting to be done so mostly high sticking...

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  2. It's wonderful to see the ambition of a wild brook trout. They will try to eat most anything the can get in their mouth.
    Nice stream flows.

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    Replies
    1. We have been blessed with good water lately. These small streams are some that I prefer lower water.

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  3. David, I haven't fished Boulder Creek in town for two years. I had to fight off dogs chasing sticks thrown by thoughtless pet guardians and homeless washing their feet. By coincidence, it's also the last time I caught a brookie.

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    1. Howard, I basically wouldn't fish Boulder Creek except for in the winter because of what you just mentioned. Too many crazy people and their four legged critters...

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  4. Lovely shots David! Thanks for sharing some winter beauty from the Smokies!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Mark. The Smokies are a great place to be in winter!

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  5. Your streams are so beautiful. I would be happy to just hike along those streams and take in all of the scenic beauty without even wetting a line. The colors on those fish are fantastic!

    I love streamer fishing for warm water species. I haven't tried it for trout, yet. All of my trout caught in the Driftless area of Wisconsin have been caught on hoppers and nymphs. Hoping to change that this coming weekend.

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    1. Streamer fishing is just about my favorite method if I think there is any chance of catching fish that way. Tough to beat it for sure!

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  6. Love Brookies! Similar to Justin Carf, I love streamer fishing, but have more luck on nymphs and dries for Brookies.

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  7. nice photos, I love go out at this time, take some pics like that!

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  8. Amazing Pictures, wonderful place for family fishing tour.
    I have to go there

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  9. I just love that photo of the month. What fish is that? The rainbow colors of that fish body is nice. Nice fishing photography indeed.

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