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

About David Knapp



David Knapp grew up fishing middle and eastern Tennessee, especially the waters of the Great Smoky Mountains.  By the late '90s, he was delving into the tailwater game, learning the ins and outs of fishing midges and other bugs that are especially prevalent on rivers like the Caney Fork.  Starting in 2004, David has spent a considerable amount of time around the western United States, fishing in Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.  In 2012, he moved to Colorado for a year and a half which allowed him to continue to gain additional skills and learn techniques from seasoned Rocky Mountain anglers.  Now, David has moved back to his home state of Tennessee and is guiding in the Great Smoky Mountains as well as on area tailwaters.  A relatively unknown destination that anglers will enjoy is the Cumberland Plateau warm water streams that offer pristine smallmouth and panfish opportunities and even the occasional musky.

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