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, June 19, 2017

The Best Fishing Trip

Some fishing trips are about catching fish, some are about scenery, but all fishing trips are good. My favorite trips are the ones that I get to enjoy with friends or family. Recently, I have been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with Leah, a wonderful young lady who enjoys many of the same outdoor passions as I do (there might even be a correlation here about my lack of blog posts... :) ). The only thing we hadn't done yet was to go fishing. The good news is that she wasn't anti-fishing and in fact was a little bit excited about trying it out.

Fast forward to last week. Leah had some vacation time that she needed to use or lose. We decided to take my parents up to see Roan Mountain State Park. My mom has always wanted to go see the flame azalea and rhododendron blooming up there and this seemed like a perfect opportunity. After talking with Leah, I also packed some fishing equipment.

The flowers were just about perfect or even a little past their prime but still beautiful. We enjoyed a picnic and some hiking before my parents had to head back home a little earlier than we did.

View on Roan Mountain

Roan Mountain rhododendron`


The stream in Roan Mountain State Park was calling so we headed back down the hill. The Doe is a beautiful stream that is legendary for big brown trout. Those big fish are rumored to hang out in the Doe River Gorge for the most part. The section in the state park is smaller water where larger browns are certainly possible but not likely. Smaller brown trout as well as rainbow and brook trout call this water home.

We waited out a thunderstorm before suiting up and getting in the stream to fish. Leah picked up the casting required rather quickly. She also mastered the hook set. With these two keys to success in place, we were ready to catch fish!

The first fish of the day didn't take long. It was a mighty chub, not the hoped for trout. Still, it was the first fish on the fly rod for Leah so we took some pictures! Doesn't she look great in waders?

Leah's first fly rod catch

A bit further up the stream was a tricky section with overhanging trees requiring a longer cast so I took a few casts myself. A pretty brown trout nailed the dry fly and we took more pictures. By this time, thunder was starting to get close again so we decided to move to another spot where we could fish close to the car.

Nice brown trout on the Doe River

After moving upstream, I found a spot where we could get to the water easily. The weather was still decent although it appeared we were on borrowed time. A small plunge with an undercut boulder seemed like a good spot to try. Leah made a good cast and we saw a large shadow swirl. I got excited but the fish refused to come back out. A fly change seemed appropriate and with the rain that just happened, a green weenie seemed right.

After tying on the fly, I told Leah to try that same spot again. That big shadow of a fish was probably a hungry brown trout, and I hoped that we could hook it.

Sure enough, the dry fly dove and Leah set hard into a feisty brown trout. The fish surged hard downstream before changing directions and heading upstream in an attempt to burrow under the boulder. I quickly waded out with my net ready and pushed the tippet off of the rock so she could get a good angle again with the rod tip. Soon the fish came to the surface and I dipped the net under a hefty brown trout. Unbelievably, Leah's first trout on a fly rod was a big brown trout, my favorite! The next best part of the day was when she was interested in going fishing again the next day for day two of her vacation, but I'll save that for another post... Needless to say, I think I found a good one!

Roan Mountain State Park Doe River brown trout

Leah's first trout on the fly rod is a beautiful brown trout

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