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

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Summer Snowstorm in Yellowstone

The same weather system that brought such enjoyable fishing on the Gibbon River turned decidedly colder as the day wore on. After fishing longer than I deserved, the rain had begun in earnest and my lovely wife was getting cold and wet watching me fish. It was time to give up on the fishing and look for warmer ways to spend the remainder of our day. Getting in the car, we cranked up the heat and debated where to go. A late day drive seemed like a good idea. Perhaps a bear or wolf might be out wandering around in the deteriorating weather looking for one last meal before the weather got too nasty.

After some discussion, we pointed the car towards Mammoth Hot Springs and embarked on a long loop drive through the northern reaches of Yellowstone National Park. Rain was fairly steady by this time although not particularly heavy. In fact, if it was much lighter I probably could have fished the Gardner River. As is usually the case, the rain mostly eased off in the vicinity of Mammoth Hot Springs. Some of the resident elk were out grazing and I snapped a couple of quick pictures out the window as we rolled past. 



A quick restroom stop allowed me to get a picture or two of one of my favorite western birds. Magpies are so striking and one of the big treats for me when I travel in the Rocky Mountain states. Since I don't get to see them often, I have to try and take at least a few pictures of them when I'm in their native range. Someone had dumped some trail mix or something similar in the middle of the parking lot. Magpies were coming from all around to get in on the excitement. I patiently waited in the car and snapped pictures as they swooped in for a snack. Here are a couple of my favorite pictures.



While the rain was minimal at Mammoth, we still had to travel back to camp at Norris and our intended route travelled up and over Dunraven Pass. The loop would take us to nearly 9,000 feet in elevation and with the cold weather, I was wondering if the pass would still be open. Snow was a distinct possibility even though it was still summer supposedly. The calendar said August, but the chill in the air suggested an early winter might be descending on Yellowstone.

As we began our long ascent towards the pass, the views opened up long enough to see what was happening up towards Mount Washburn. At this point, I was certain we would see snow. The only question that remained was how much. 


Thankfully, there were not too many other vehicles out and about. We were able to take our time and enjoy what will likely be the only August snowstorm either of us ever experience. The woods were magical. The snow was heavy and wet, coating all the trees with a thick white blanket. I was mildly nervous as I didn't relish the idea of spending the night out on a snowy road, but eventually we were over the pass and back on a downhill grade. 



By the time we reached Canyon, the snow had turned back to a fine light rain which continued all the way back to our camp at Norris. The snow stayed just a few hundred feet above us that night, but when morning broke I had a good idea. With the fresh snow, it was time to visit the Tetons. Check back soon for pictures from that adventure!


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