Photo of the Month: Ol' Gator Mouth

Photo of the Month: Ol' Gator Mouth
Showing posts with label GSMNP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GSMNP. Show all posts

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Good Hatch

Smoky Mountain Rainbow Trout


Fly fishing is a science or an art form depending on who you talk to. Many, including myself, will even gladly label it as both. The true pinnacle of both the science and the art is found in match the hatch dry fly fishing. Most good fly anglers have a favorite hatch, especially those who are blessed to reside in a region with rich trout waters supporting a variety of quality hatches to fish.

Many anglers here in east Tennessee have a favorite hatch, but just as many don't want to hem themselves in. This is a product of our relatively infertile mountain streams where a truly memorable blanket hatch is rare although not impossible. Local anglers often gravitate towards generic patterns that resemble of variety of currently hatching bugs. Our hatches tend to be sparse but complex, with sometimes as many as 5 species of mayflies hatching, not to mention the caddis and stoneflies that the fish also love to eat.

I'll never forget the first time I got on a real hatch. Back in 2005 I was blessed to spend time fly fishing in Yellowstone for the first time. I arrived in early June for a week or two of exploring and fishing. My timing could not have been better. The Firehole was just about perfect while the Gibbon was still a tad high but readily fishable.

The first day I headed to the Firehole, I did not really know what to expect. The week or so prior to my trip had been spent tying Blue-winged Olive and Pale Morning Dun Sparkle Duns, two simply elegant flies that still find an honored place in my boxes. I wasn't sure if the hatch would come off, but all of the guide books recommended being prepared for these hatches and the Sparkle Duns were high on the list of accepted patterns for matching the hatches. The Firehole had rising trout in the first place I stopped, somewhere in the first 2-3 miles above the canyon stretch. I quickly tied on a PMD Sparkle Dun and began targeting risers. As it turned out, catching the fish proved relatively easy so long as I could make an accurate cast and prevent drag. That last item was not as easy.

I caught more quality brown trout than is probably fair for anyone to enjoy. At the time, I was thrilled to be catching 8-14 inch browns all day. For that matter, I would still take that kind of fishing now. That trip to Yellowstone quickly fell into an easy routine. Breakfast every morning would be attended by a family of ground squirrels who were hoping for some of the Honey Nut Cheerios I enjoyed. Then it was off for fishing, mostly on the Firehole or Gibbon, but I also explored some of the hike in lakes. Getting spoiled without knowing it, I eventually found it necessary to head for home. Although a piece of me would have preferred to stay in Yellowstone indefinitely, duty called, and I had to get a summer job to help pay for college in the fall.

Arriving back in Tennessee, I soon found myself missing the daily hatches and rising trout on the Firehole. It wasn't until several years later, perhaps four or five, that I enjoyed a great hatch on my home waters in the Smokies. That is not to say that I never experienced hatches or rising trout because I enjoyed both, but a heavy hatch is somewhat unusual around here.

Despite my appreciation for heavy blanket hatches of mayflies, I think I've come to prefer those that are sparse instead of those rare events where the water is covered in bugs. The fish seem to be much more willing to rise to most anything during these hatches we normally experience here in southern Appalachia. That is part of the charm. Each year, my favorite dry fly seems to vary a bit. Some years it will be a Yellow Stimulator in size #14 or #16. Other years it may be a Parachute Adams. This year, I've been on a yellow Parachute Adams kick.


Early on, of course, I stayed with the darker colors of a standard Parachute Adams, sometime switching out for a Spundun or even a tiny Blue-winged Olive Parachute for particularly picky trout. Yes, difficult fish do exist here, but they tend to be easier to figure out than the fish on streams like the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks where anglers have been known to reach madness or the next thing to it while trying to figure out a difficult trout.

Lately, with the transition to the lighter colored bugs of late spring and summer, I kept it a bit more simple than I sometimes do. Instead of elaborate bugs with perfect hair wings and shucks of Zelon, I've kept the Parachute Adams theme going but changed the body color to yellow. The fish approve heartily, but have also rose just as convincingly to a Parachute Sulfur and a Parachute Light Cahill. Like I said, the general idea is more important than the exact bug.

The best days for bugs happen to be the same days that most anglers prefer to not go fishing. Rain or high water keeps the streams open, and if you are adventurous like me, expect some great fishing. Last week, I enjoyed one evening after work where I stood in one spot and caught 8 or 10 fine trout before deciding that it was time to quit. Most were rainbows, but a few of the fish that got away flashed golden brown. One little brown couldn't quite throw the hook before I landed it, but otherwise all the fish were feisty rainbows from 8-11 inches in length. There were just enough natural bugs on the water to get the fish looking up, but not so many that they would miss my imitation as it bobbed downstream in the choppy current. That is a good hatch if you ask me.





Friday, March 04, 2016

Using the Extra Day


Starting a new personal challenge can be difficult, especially if you virtually quit before starting. Back in January, I announced my goal to catch a brook trout each month of the year. Then I proceeded to quit fishing for several weeks or at least something close to that.

My trip to California probably had something to do with that, but also there were extenuating circumstances. Here on the Cumberland Plateau, high water dominated through February. In the Smokies, frequent bouts of cold weather gave the trout a severe case of lock jaw. Not that I'm opposed to fishing in tough conditions, mind you, but I had gotten a little soft. Beyond that, I spent much more time hiking here close to home than I normally do. Hiking and exploring just for the joy of getting outside is a great way to stay in shape for the upcoming fishing season. Unfortunately it doesn't help me catch fish.

And so I woke up one morning and noticed the calendar barreling towards March at an alarming rate. My brook trout challenge was about to die, almost before starting. Thankfully, Fate had already intervened ahead of time by designating this as a leap year. When I saw that extra day on the calendar for February, I knew it meant I had to get out and catch a brook trout. That is how I found myself headed towards the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this past Monday. The goal was to catch brook trout on Monday and then look for spring hatches on Tuesday.

Responsibilities closer to home kept my in Crossville until 11:00 a.m. or so, but then I was heading towards the mountains. A new 2016 fishing license was in hand (yes, it is that time again). My usual quick stop by Little River Outfitters was nearly skipped because of the late hour and the fact that my brook trout challenge was facing failure. In the end, I decided to stop by to say hello to the guys working there. This quick stop helped me to relax a bit and not take the brook trout challenge too seriously, important stuff when you only have a handful of hours left to keep the streak alive. Fishing relaxed will always turn out better than fishing stressed.

Driving up the mountain, I intended to fish road side. Smokemont was the destination for the night's camping, and I knew where a few brookies were on my way there. Normally I'll head up high before starting, but on this day I didn't go quite as far as normal. Last December, on a guide trip, I had an angler miss what I was certain was a colorful brook trout from a plunge pool with a big back eddy. That fish was the one I was hoping for.

Before I knew it I had my waders on and looked at the rods I had brought with me. Which one to use? The tube containing my Orvis Superfine Glass rod (7'6" 4 weight) jumped out at me so I put it together and attached a Hydros reel loaded with 4 weight line. To this I added a black Elk Hair Caddis on the end of a 5x leader in size #16 and dropped a small bead head nymph off the bend of the dry fly hook using 6x tippet. With my fishing pack in tow along with a camera, I finally had everything together and headed to my spot. The sun was still on the water. This time of year that is generally a good thing.


I warmed up by fishing a couple of pools below the place I had pinned my hopes on. By the time I slid into position just across from the back eddy, my casts were going approximately where they should, and I felt as confident as one could when fishing against the clock. Two drifts around the back eddy resulted in absolutely nothing, but then the fish helped me by betraying its presence. Rising to some minuscule hatch just behind the large boulder that created the safe haven, it didn't eat fast enough to avoid detection. A glimpse of bright orange fins told me this was indeed the fish I was looking for. My next cast was perfect, about 10 inches above the fish. It turned and followed. I saw its mouth open and close and knew it had taken the dropper. All that was left was to not screw up and lose this pretty brook trout. Mission accomplished.


After enjoying the elation of keeping my streak intact, I went looking for a few more trout before heading over the ridge to camp. Over the next hour, I was surprised by another six or seven trout, about 50/50 rainbow to brook trout. My surprise was not because of the beautiful and unseasonably warm day, but because the water was frigid like snow melt. Turns out it was snow melt, but the fish were still ready to eat after a cold winter. Some of them even ate dry flies!





Most of the fish involved some form of spotting before catching and most were spotted because I saw them rise first. Spring is definitely coming, but as the afternoon wore on it was hard to remember that. The temperature started dropping as cold air came down from the snowpack just above, and I decided to head on to camp with enough daylight to fish some in the lower elevations.

Using the extra day helped keep my short brook trout streak alive. Going into the warm months should help extend the streak now. I have two of the toughest months out of the way and improving conditions ahead.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Turning the Corner

Cumberland Plateau snow


Just when I was starting to get at least a little tired of winter, it looks like we might be turning a corner. This weekend should feature highs in the 60's perhaps and definitely well into the 50's. Next week, we naturally should expect a cool down again, but the important thing is the trend in temperature is headed in the right direction. I wouldn't hold my breath, but it looks like we may be in store for an on time arrival with the spring hatches and at most a week or so late.

This rationale was nowhere close to being formed when I woke up this morning. It was still dark outside, or nearly so, but I listened intently. Suddenly, the sound came again, loud and arguably musical depending on your listening preferences. Sandhill cranes were flying over, quite low I should add, and their loud cries had roused me from my sleep. A glance at the alarm clock showed me I still had a few precious minutes of sleep available, but it was no use. Excitement had set in.

The cranes are usually the harbingers of spring, and of winter too for that matter. The huge flocks pour south in huge numbers just prior to and sometimes after the first strong cold fronts in late fall. Their preference for warmer weather is not particularly strong though as they are some of the first birds heading back north in the spring. I expect large flocks of robins will probably arrive this weekend with the warm weather. They'll stay too, assuming that the ground isn't buried under any more snow that is. If it snows, they'll retreat 50 or 100 miles south or to the nearest place that has clear ground available for worm hunting and other important activities.

With the robins I expect bugs. Not food for the robins but for the trout. Blue quills, quill gordons, little black caddis, not to mention the little black and early brown stoneflies. The fish of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will respond, first with caution as if they don't completely remember what food even is after a lean and cold winter. Then, when the hatches get heavier, they'll feed with abandon, and with a little luck, I'll be standing there with my fly rod ready to cast when their noses start poking out of the water.

As a guide, I might not be that lucky, to catch the fish myself that is. There is a decent chance that some lucky angler will be standing with me there on the stream, asking what kind of bugs those are. I'll smile and dig out my dry fly box, and soon the angler will be smiling too as the trout succumb to our trickery. Yes, I'm glad that spring is nearly here.

Smoky Mountain brown trout caught on a Parachute Adams

If you are interested in a guided fly fishing trip, feel free to visit my guide site at www.troutzoneanglers.com or call/text (931) 261-1884. I still have some availability during the prime early season hatch times in March as well as the peak times in April and May and would be glad to help you with a day on the water that you will enjoy.

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.




Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Quality Smoky Mountain Brown Trout

My first fly fishing experience of 2016 got things started off right, but wasn't to my favorite place, the Great Smoky Mountains. Needing to correct that situation, I headed out early on Sunday morning to get in a full day. Water temperatures had been rising for the last two days, peaking at around 48 degrees which is very good for this time of year. With more surges of arctic air in the forecast, I knew that I had better get out while the opportunity was there.

Not wanting to waste any time, and surprisingly not in need of anything for the day's fishing, I skipped my usual stop at Little River Outfitters and headed straight into the Park. The high and low point of the day happened quickly and all with the same fish.

I had already stopped to prospect a couple of pools before I found what I was looking for: a large brown trout sitting out feeding in a very good spot to cast to. In fact, this was almost a gimme trout. Somewhere between 22 and 26 inches in length and sitting in a place where the approach was very simple, the fish was moving back and forth as it obviously fed on something small under the surface.

Wading across the rapids downstream put me into the perfect position to fish for the brown trout. My first cast was too far to the side and short, but the next cast was perfect and the fish turned to follow my flies. For what happened next I can only blame myself. The fish had already followed the flies a couple of feet, and something in my brain made me think that it had ate. Running the replay in my head (as I've done many times already) fails to help me remember exactly what made me think that fish ate, but regardless, my failed hook set caused the fish to drift off into the depths of the run nearby. The trout was not so much scared silly as just concerned about food that levitated out of the stream in an unnatural manner. Just like that, my best shot of the day at catch a big brown vanished.

If anglers were to give up in the face of adversity along the lines of what I had just experienced, fishing trips would generally be short. With the whole day still to go, I stuck with the game plan. Instead of spotting fish, I decided that I would probably be better off just covering a lot of water, so that is what I did.

Brown trout from Little River in the Smokies

The final tally does not sound very impressive when I say I caught three fish, but I should probably add that all were between 12 and 16 inches, and I lost one between 18 and 20. In other words, it was a very good day for fishing in the winter. I got my first brown trout of 2016 and then a couple more for good measure. Sometime soon I'll go back to look for that big fish that I messed up, maybe even in the next few days...


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...

Monday, December 28, 2015

December in the Smokies


Fishing Little River in the Smokies

Instead of cold temperatures, this December has brought warmth approaching or surpassing recored levels at times. While it is easy to get caught up in wishing for winter, the warm weather has been a great thing for anglers in pursuit of trout on the freestone streams of the Great Smoky Mountains. December fly fishing has never been better unless you want to target large trout. While the overall numbers of larger fish are down, there are still some to be caught.

Winter fly fishing often loses the social element of warmer months because it is simply too cold to sit around and B.S. about past fishing glory. This year has been the exact opposite. In fact, the other day, a buddy and I sat happily by Little River watching yet another friend slowly work his way through a nice hole. I wasn't even wearing a jacket over my short sleeves. The waders weren't even necessary although somehow I would have felt foolish to skip them. In short, while locations across the west are over 100% of average of snowpack for this time of year, places here in the east of been simmering, but the fishing has been accordingly great.

My favorite personal fishing story from this December happened just the other day. I had already attempted to cast to one rather large brown trout but had failed in my endeavors by spooking the fish. That pool rewarded me with a consolation brown whose colors almost made up for the blown larger fish.

Beautifully colored Little River brown trout

Further up river, another pool offered a shot at another quality fish. Definitely a lot smaller than the spooked fish, it was nevertheless a nice trout. Based on its location in the pool, I was confident that I had located a slightly better than average brown trout.

My buddy Jayson agreed to maintain his vantage point while I slipped below the rock wall for a try at the fish. Having just fished through a section with a trout in seemingly every spot where I expected one, my confidence was flying high. So confident that I was a little surprised when the first perfect cast did not catch the trout. With nicer fish, your first cast counts for a lot, so I was concerned that somehow the fish had spooked.

Thankfully, I could call the Instant Replay official upstairs my buddy Jayson who confirmed that the dark shadow was still a fish. Several subsequent casts convinced me that I wasn't getting deep enough and needed to adjust my drift. There was already enough split shot on my flies to sink a battleship and the fish wasn't sitting too deep. Reaching back with the nine foot five weight Helios for a little extra, I dropped the next cast another three feet further upstream and started yet another drift.

The flies drifted into the trout's window and it ate just like it was supposed to. Textbook sight casting. Merry Christmas to me. You see, sight casting is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of fly fishing. Sure, I love streamer fishing as much or more than the next angler. The tip top of that pinnacle, of course, is sight casting with dry flies, but a good angler adapts to the conditions at hand and that trout had no interest in surface offerings. The fly that fooled this nice fish was a #10 Tellico nymph, the same fly that 95% of my fish for the day came on. I've gotten away from fishing this pattern over the last year or two and that is unfortunate. It really is a great fly.

Did I mind that it wasn't a 20 inch brown trout? Of course not. You take what the stream offers and would be a bad sport if you asked for more. This rainbow trout was somewhere around a foot long, making it a very nice fish indeed. Rainbows over ten inches don't come around particularly often. In any given year I'll catch at best a handful of 12 inch plus rainbows in the Smokies, so this was a good fish for what may be my last day on the water for 2015. The fish came to hand after a glorious aerial display making it all the more memorable.

Rainbow Trout from Little River in the Great Smoky Mountains

The rest of the day was anticlimactic. Both Jayson and I caught some trout, but the best action had already passed. Finally, we ended what was a long day with the agreement to get out again sometime soon on another piece of local water that we have talked about for a while. If the weather holds, that will hopefully happen in the first week or so of January. Just like that, we move from December in the Smokies to January in the Smokies...and February, and March...and the first spring hatches. Just like that.

Little River flows beneath rhododendron

A brilliantly colored rainbow trout from Little River

Pocket water nymphing on Little River in the Smokies

Little River rainbow trout that fell for a Tellico nymph

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Giveaway Winners

First of all, thank you to everyone who participated in this year's Christmas giveaways. It was fun coming up with some creative items, and I would especially like to thank Jayson Alexander for contributing his artwork to the giveaway. If you need someone to do some graphic design work for you, or want to commission a great piece of art, contact Jayson for more info via email at jaysonalexander4@gmail.com. In addition, if you are interested in a canvass print of the photograph I'm giving away, let me know via email and we'll discuss the particulars.

Finally, what you have all waited for. First, the winner of giveaway one featuring this fine work of art.


Using the random number generator and ranking everyone based on the order I received your emails, the winner is.....Will Neblett! Congratulations Will and Merry Christmas from the Trout Zone.

Second, the winner of giveaway number two featuring an 11x14 canvass print of a beautiful southern Appalachian brook trout.


Again, using a random number generator following the procedure outlined above, the winner is....Don Tummons! Congratulations Don and Merry Christmas from the Trout Zone.

Finally, the last giveaway was something that any fly fisher can always use. In fact, you probably can never have too many....flies. That's right, the lucky winner of this giveaway gets two dozen of my favorite subsurface patterns for fishing in the Park.


Using a random number generator again, the lucky winner for this giveaway is....Travis Williams! Congratulations Travis and Merry Christmas from the Trout Zone.

That wraps up the Christmas 2015 giveaways. I want to thank everyone who entered as well as those who helped spread the word. Coming up in early 2016 will be some more great giveaways that I know you will not want to miss. In fact, the best will only be available to those who are subscribers to the Trout Zone Anglers Newsletter. Subscribe below to make sure you do not miss out.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Slow Days

One of the benefits (and probably curses too) of writing about fly fishing is that you choose what to share. Have a bad day on the water? No problem. Just don't tell the masses. Just share those good days. However, anglers of all skill levels still have slow days, and being a writer doesn't magically make you immune to bad luck, poor conditions, and the least discussed but probably most prevalent operator error.

Once you have been fishing for over 25 years and fly fishing for 20+, there are also self-inflicted slow days. Take my recent musky floats for example. I have now spent two full and long fishless days, happily casting a heavy rod with gigantic flies all in the hopes of catching a fish larger than any of the trout I have ever caught and with far more teeth. Simply removing the fly can be a dangerous game where losing fingers is a distinct possibility. When I say self-inflicted, I mostly mean that I chose to go on those musky floats, but of course there is also the angle where throwing flies at these monsters is not the easiest way to go about catching them. Then again, that is at least 77.7% the point.

Same thing with fly fishing in the Smokies. I've been around these creeks and small rivers long enough to have a good idea on how to scare up a few fish when necessary. So on those days where I hit the water and stubbornly stick to my streamers, you could say the slow fishing is self-inflicted. Some days are just the result of the fact that I don't know it all yet. Those are the days that keep me coming back again and again.

Have you ever noticed how slow days do one of two things? Either they make you feel like you are slowly losing your sanity as you beat the water into a froth trying to drum up a trout or two, or else they cause you to slow down and appreciate some of the additional benefits to getting outside.

Two weeks ago or thereabouts, I took a full day off to take myself fishing. Even as a guide who spends a lot of time on the water, I'm still excited to go fishing for my own enjoyment. This day was no different. The spawn was mostly wrapped up with a straggling pair here and there. The brown trout were definitely hungry and aggressive, a combination I would take every day if possible.

Rain the night before had bumped up the water levels to something just short of perfect for streamer fishing, but higher than I would prefer for good nymph or dry fly presentations. In other words, I had an excuse ready to go in case I didn't catch many fish.

A super secret streamer came out along with a large nymph, both ending up in tandem on the end of my leader. I hit the water full of anticipation. Several large fish had been located over the last few weeks, and I just knew that it was the right day to catch them. The first spot got me thoroughly warmed up with several aggressively chasing fish. One in particular even graced the end of my line and paused just long enough for a picture. Always document that first fish, assuming you want photographs. You never know when you'll catch another. 

Brown Trout on Little River in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Moving up to an area where I had spotted a large fish two weeks prior, I was disappointed without even getting so much as a follow. Same thing with the next spot. Finally, the third spot produced follow, after follow, after follow...I think you get the point. Some good eats too, but I missed every single one of them. Yep, bloggers and guides have bad days also.

On my way back to the car after this third stop, I noticed something. Fall had not quite passed by. One little maple tree was still valiantly holding on. This was just the soothing distraction I needed as my expectations were taking a thorough beating. 

Fall colors provided by a maple tree in the Great Smoky Mountains

The next spot or two produced some more heart stopping hits, but sadly with the same results. This was just not my day. And so, as has happened many times before and I'm sure will happen again, I approached the end of the day thankful for one fish. 

With the light fading fast and the fish somehow missing my hook, I took a drive down Little River and over to Tremont (Middle Prong of Little River). The scenery was perfect, the roads were nearly empty, and I made an interesting discovery: Middle Prong was flowing much higher than Little River. Unsure of the significance of such a discovery, I nevertheless drove as far as I could up this popular little stream until the light simply grew too dim. My last stop required a final picture. If you have fished here, then you know how high the water really was.

Tremont and the Middle Prong of Little River

The funny thing about slow days is that you learn something about yourself as an angler on these days. Some of my friends will pack it in after a couple of slow hours, while others will go to what they know will catch fish. For me, slow days are my time to experiment, constantly tinkering and looking for that edge. Guide trips are different, of course, with success for many people measured in the number of fish caught. Under those circumstances, I always have a game plan ready that will maximize the odds of catching fish. Some days, when I can only take the lack of catching for so long, I'll kick into gear and ask myself how I would get a client into fish. That usually gets me catching again if I'm not too stubborn to listen...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The El Nino Effect



Fly fishing in the Smokies during the winter months us generally a hit or miss proposition. Some years are better than others for winter fishing while others are downright tough. Last winter, for example, and the winter before were both cold with warm weather a rarity. This year is shaping up to possibly be the exact opposite. Most likely we have El Nino to thank for it.

Generally, El Nino years result in more warm stretches which helps to keep overall water temperatures elevated compared to winter norms. The quality of fishing is directly correlated to water temperatures. That is not to say that fish cannot be caught in cold water. On the contrary, the fish still need to eat but their instinct to feed is triggered by environmental conditions, especially abundant food. When it is very cold, most fish will not move far to seek out food. In cold months this equates to a flurry of activity in the warmest part of the day when a few midges, winter stoneflies, and perhaps some caddis flies all make an appearance.

Another important factor involving water temperature is the temperature trends. Last week, we saw an excellent example of this. The water temperatures were running between 42 and 44 degrees. Conventional wisdom would suggest that fishing would be slow under such conditions, but on the contrary we had a fairly good day for winter with one lucky angler catching a trophy brown trout by Smoky Mountain standards and everyone, including a first time fly fisherman, catching at least some fish. Why was the fishing good on this particular day? The temperature trend.

You see, the previous day saw the water temperature get up to around 43 degrees (as recorded on Little River at the Park boundary just outside Townsend). However, warm overnight temperatures kept the water temperature from falling. That meant that the next morning, instead of starting at 39-41 degrees after the expected night time temperature drop, we were already starting at the previous day's high temperature. The fish responded enthusiastically both to the improving conditions and to our flies.

This winter should see good fishing more often than not. El Nino will bring more warm weather to the region than we saw the last two winters. One of the best parts about winter fishing is having the water to yourself. Sure, beautiful and unseasonably warm weekends are going to have some people out enjoying nature, but for the most part you can find your own piece of water even on the weekends. Can you fish on a weekday? If so then expect to have it more or less to yourself.

The only possibly fly in the ointment is the potential for high water. We will probably have to deal with high water on several occasions over the next few months, but then that is part of winter fishing anyways, at least in these parts.



I plan on taking full advantage of the El Nino Effect this year and get out throughout January and February even on some small streams if possible.  Today would have been a great day to be on the water if I hadn't of been busy. Water temperatures on Little River are in the mid 50s which is more like you would expect in October. I'll most likely get out a day or two this upcoming week. Also, I'm hoping to fish for brook trout a little more this upcoming year. Okay, maybe a lot more.

My goal for the next year is to catch a brook trout a month. I'm hoping to accomplish this on a dry fly to make it even better but will not be above using a dropper if the fish aren't looking up. I might even do it on one of my new Tenkara rods to add another level of novelty. Don't worry though. I'll still be out chasing the big browns on occasion as well!

So, in summary, I expect good fishing to happen more often than not in the Smokies this winter. There will definitely be some cold snaps and probably even some frozen precipitation, but there will be some great fishing on occasion as well. We also probably have a better than average chance of starting the spring hatches early this year so stay tuned for more on that.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Big Brown Trout in the Great Smoky Mountains

Catching large brown trout in the Great Smoky Mountains is never guaranteed. Far from it in fact as large brown trout are definitely around but rarely hooked. For most anglers, catching one is the highlight of their year at minimum and sometimes even for their life. Yesterday, one lucky angler was fortunate enough to land one of the highly sought after big brown trout on Little River in the Smokies.

I had some guys from up north down to fish. For their first full day on the water, they hired me as a guide to help show them around and get them oriented to how we fish here in the Great Smoky Mountains. The morning started off quickly and it was not too long before each of them had caught their first Smoky Mountain trout including one who was fly fishing for the first time. This time of year, that is about as good as you can hope for so I was already quite happy as the guide.

We took a good lunch break and after getting fueled up for an afternoon of fishing, we hit the water again heading straight for a nice long pool that has room for more than one angler to fish. I got one angler started in the bottom of the pool after pointing out a few specific features with the instructions to fish thoroughly around those areas. Then I took the other angler upstream to fish the head of the run where I hoped we would find some trout feeding in the slightly faster water.

Before we had even really gotten into a rhythm fishing, the first guy yelled, "I think I have a good one!" Indeed he did and when I saw that golden flank flash in the sun I was all out sprinting down the bank with my net at the ready. Luckily all of the knots and 5x tippet held as they were supposed to and he did a fantastic job fighting the fish on his 8' 6" 4 weight rod. Before we even really had time to process what was happening, 22 inches of buttery brown trout was in the big net. Great job Steve and congrats on a memorable wild Smoky Mountain brown trout!

Little River Big Brown Trout in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Of course, a few pictures were necessary after which I tried to impress upon him how special of a fish this was for the Smoky Mountains. These fish don't come around every day and often not even every year, especially for most anglers. Applying good techniques and the ability to read water will go a long ways though towards eventually achieving the goal of catching one of these beauties!

If you are interested in a guided fly fishing trip in the Smokies, please contact me at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com or call/text at (931) 261-1884. 

Monday, November 09, 2015

Goodbye Fall

Just like that, fall is nearly over. The majority of the leaves have already fallen. Today's high water in the Smokies is going to clean the streams out. The early spawning brown trout's efforts were most likely in vain, although time will tell how high the water does get. We still do not have any true winter weather in the immediate future although certainly by Thanksgiving we'll experience much colder temperatures.

The thing I will miss the most about fall is the brilliant fall foliage we enjoyed this year. Of course I will not miss all of the leaf viewers that came with them. Winter is a very close second in the running for my favorite season and a big piece of that is the solitude that can be found during the cold months.

To celebrate the beautiful fall season we experienced, here are a few of my favorite fall color shots. Some I have already shared here while others are showing up for the first time on this blog. I'll be sharing some more over the next days and weeks.








Saturday, October 31, 2015

Stream Etiquette Done Right and Then Some

Fall Colors on Little River above Elkmont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A while back I complained about a lack of stream etiquette on a local stream in the Smokies. Since I complained about poor etiquette, it is only fair that I commend exceptional stream etiquette. A week and a half ago, I experienced two examples of perfect stream etiquette in one day.

The first came after I had been fishing hard for a couple of hours and was getting hungry. I had camped the previous night at Elkmont and had got up at first light to take down camp and hit the stream. Finally my hunger caught up with me so I headed to Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area to enjoy some delicious chili and chips. A hot meal is always a treat so I fired up the camp stove and was working on breakfast.

When I had pulled in, I noticed what appeared to be 2-3 anglers gearing up further down in the picnic area. After heating up my food and starting to eat, I noticed one of the anglers walking my direction. It turned out to be guide Charity Rutter of R & R Fly Fishing (which she owns along with her husband Ian). I already knew that both were great anglers and guides and of course good people in general. What I didn't expect was the incredible generosity and politeness. She inquired whether I was planning on fishing since she didn't want to get in water I intended to fish and asked if I was planning on fishing there, with or without clients. Mind you, she and her clients were there first so in any reasonable understanding of stream etiquette, they had first dibs, the right of way, whatever you want to label it. That is what I call stream etiquette done right and then some. If you know Charity, then this won't surprise you probably as she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, but it is always a pleasure seeing and experiencing such politeness out on the stream. Of course I told her to fish the whole section. Not only was she there first, but I was just fishing for fun and she was earning a living. I hadn't intended on fishing there anyway, but even if I was, I would have found a different spot.

The second case of good stream etiquette occurred on the same day. After my delicious brunch I hit another spot before heading up to Elkmont to combine my loves of hiking and fishing. There was a section of stream I had been wanting to hit ever since returning from Yellowstone. With a beautiful sunny day, I knew that I wouldn't find a better time this year. After a good hike in, I stopped and was working on rigging up while sitting alongside a popular pool. Mainly the pool is popular due to its proximity to the trail but it does hold some nice fish and offers the chance to fish dry flies. I had yet to decide whether to fish that hole, but to all appearances I was preparing to do so.

Just as I was finishing rigging up after a minor mishap of spilling my dry fly box, I noticed two anglers coming down the trail. One was guide Rob Fightmaster (www.fightmasterflyfishing.com) and the other was apparently his client for the day. We chatted for a few minutes and Rob asked about my Yellowstone trip. I of course asked what water they had fished above me so I wasn't fishing used water. Then I asked if they were fishing their way back down the trail. Rob confirmed that they were and mentioned that they had thought about the pool at our feet but would leave it to me. Again, great stream etiquette. Rob could have justified jumping in because he was making a living or even because I was sitting at the head of the pool, but he did not. Naturally, I told them to jump in and fish it. Rob was making a living that day while I was just fishing for fun, not to mention that my real goal was the stretch upstream from there.

Probably it is a bad business idea to promote companies and people who are technically my competition, but good deeds should be rewarded. Of course, I hope if you need a guided trip in the Smokies that you will contact me, but I can honestly say that I'm very confident that you would have a great day fishing with any of the guides listed above.

Ultimately, these two cases illustrate one of the most important aspects of stream etiquette: when in doubt, ask. Talking to fellow anglers will usually make your day better. Asking where they plan to fish and then choosing other water will go a long ways towards making new friends on the stream. My reward for giving up that pool? I had one of the best days of dry fly fishing I've had in a long time.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Peak of Fall Brings Great Fishing


This is my favorite season, but every year fall seems to be here and gone all at once. This past weekend featured the best fall colors we have had in a while depending on where you were. This week, a cold front passed through bringing some rain and lots of wind. The rain was fine, but I'm sure the wind was a nightmare if you were a leaf stuck on a tree. Lots of those have been spotted crashing  falling to the ground. The yard is now in desperate need of a rake and a few hours of my time.

All of this has created some tough conditions in the Smokies if you are a fisher person. Leaves in the water make for some difficult drifts. Thankfully, the worst of the 'leaves in the water' routine should be over in the next day or two and may already be. Not that the leaves have magically vanished, but they should be settling out of the current. That means to be careful of seemingly harmless leaf piles. People have been known to be swallowed up in those things.

On the brighter side, the fishing has been very good to excellent. Fish are eating dry flies of all sizes. Stick with large orange ones if you like like big bugs, while small ones of the olive variety should do well if you enjoy matching the smaller bugs of fall. The variety has been better than usual so have plenty of other patterns with you as well.

If you enjoy throwing streamers, you can even find some fish that way. In fact, just a couple of days ago I had one of my better streamer days ever in the Park in terms of fish spotted. Lots of those fish missed the hook however. Still it was a great day to be out and get some time in on the water for myself.

One of the best things about fall is the opportunity for sight fishing. Creep along the banks slowly and watch for trout. If you can see the fish without spooking it, then you have a great chance at hooking it with a good cast.

This past Monday, I had the pleasure of showing Don Armstrong some of my favorite places on Little River. He quickly picked up on the high stick techniques that are so important to success here. An orange Elk Hair Caddis in size #12 with a Mr. Sleepy (my Isonychia soft hackle pattern) underneath proved deadly with about 50% of the fish on top and the rest on the soft hackle.

The highlight of the day was when I spotted a nice fish under the current at the head of a large pool. Carefully showing Don where to cast, he maneuvered into position and made a great cast on the very first shot. The fish rose to the dry fly and we were soon admiring one of the prettiest wild rainbows you will ever see. Great fish Don!



While the end of the fall colors often signals a change to colder weather, this will not be the case this year. Next week, high temperatures are forecast to be well into the 60s and even lower 70s. This should bring the dry fly bite roaring back so plan on getting out to experience a late Indian summer this year.

If you are interested in a guided fly fishing trip, please contact me (David Knapp) at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com or call/text (931) 261-1884. Thanks!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fly Tyer's Weekend 2015

If you like to fly fish, you should be at Fly Tyer's Weekend 2015. Geared specifically towards fly tyers, it will involve plenty of fun and entertainment for non tyers as well. The event is sponsored by Tremont Lodge & Resort, Little River Outfitters and the Southeastern Council of the International Federation of Fly Fishers. A showing of the IF4 (International Fly Fishing Film Festival) will be happening Saturday evening. In addition, learn fishing tips and tricks from each tyer on how to fish their favorite patterns and more.

I will be tying Sunday afternoon so stop by, say hello, and discover some of my favorite patterns for fly fishing in the Smokies.

For more information, visit the page on Fly Tyer's Weekend.

I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fly Fishing Stream Etiquette in the Great Smoky Mountains

Do you ever fall into the trap of assuming that the average person is smarter than they really are? I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, but today I had an encounter that removed all doubt unfortunately. Fly fishing stream etiquette in the Great Smoky Mountains seems straightforward, but today I learned that apparently it is not or else there are some very rude people in the world (quite likely that both of those are true).

My two clients were fishing a favorite roadside stretch on Little River. So far as I saw, we were the only ones fishing in several miles of good water. We were literally still on the first hole catching the first trout of the day when a guy came walking down the bank rigged up with his fly rod and dressed to look like he knew what he was doing. 

Seriously, if you dress like a model for an Orvis catalogue, you better know what you are doing, at least in terms of stream etiquette. My optimistic side still wants to think that this guy was just clueless, but I'm also really losing faith in humanity so at this point I'll say it is a tossup. Either way, jumping directly in front of us and starting to fish upstream was beyond rude. If it was just me, I would ignore you and go find other water, but jumping in front of people who just paid a lot of money to fish with a guide for the day is unreal.

Oh yeah, that hand gesture, the lifting of my arms and hands in the universal what in the world gesture, the one that you returned? That meant get the h3!! out of the stream, and I was being polite about it.

Luckily for both of us, I decided it wasn't worth a confrontation and used it as an opportunity to teach my clients some fly fishing stream etiquette. We headed upstream and caught a lot of nice trout. Driving up river, we noticed his buddy a bit further upstream. I'm still not sure if they were really that clueless or just dumb. I took some pictures of their vehicle with the original intent of posting it widely online until I could figure out who it was. After a bit of time to cool off along with experiencing the joy brought by watching my clients catch some beautiful trout, I realize there is no need to throw someone under the bus. Well maybe there is good reason, but I'm not going to stoop to that level. Instead, I'm using this as motivation to, hopefully briefly and succinctly, summarize fly fishing stream etiquette in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Fly fishing stream etiquette in the Great Smoky Mountains can vary a bit from stream to stream. The general rule of thumb is that, on larger roadside water like Little River, you should at minimum stay out of sight of other anglers but don't use that rule to cheat if the stream makes some tight turns. A fourth of a mile of water at minimum should be left for whoever is fishing below you and sometimes more if pressure is light. In other words, if you only see one other angler on the whole river, leave him a mile or better of water.

On small streams, stream etiquette is even more important. My rule of thumb is give other anglers at least a half mile of water. More is always better and preferred when possible. If pressure is light, bump that up to at least a mile. I can easily fish a mile or more of water in a day and nothing is more frustrating than having someone jump in a short distance above you when they know you are fishing up.

Of course, some situations may vary. For example, this morning, the guy walked by on the bank and asked how we were doing. I probably should have told him at that point that we were fishing the section of water upstream. My assumption that he would understand stream etiquette was clearly off base and some friendly education might have helped everyone involved. When possible, stop and ask how far someone is planning on fishing. For example, I've had conversations that go something like this: 

"Hey! Great day to be out fishing isn't it?" 

"You bet!" 

"I was planning on getting in upstream a ways but wanted to know how far you were going to fish?"

"Well, my plan was to fish up to the next bridge and end there for the day." 

"Okay, I'll go another 1/4 mile upstream from that bridge just in case you feel like going a bit further."

"Thanks, I really appreciate that."

"No problem. Have a great day and catch a bunch!" 

"You too! Just so you know I've been wearing them out on a Fire Tiger Cactus Fly."

"Thanks for the tip. I have a couple of those in my box and will give them a try."

Exchanges like this actually really help to improve the overall mood of the day, much the opposite of our encounter this morning. When in doubt, always check with other anglers about their plans if they were the first ones on the water or trail. I'm a fast hiker and often overtake other anglers hiking upstream. When I do, I generally point out that they were there ahead of me and ask where they wanted to fish so I leave that water for them. It is usually much appreciated and sometimes you even make new friends in the process.

The strangest thing about this whole thing is that I had an issue with stream etiquette last week as well and by a guide no less. I should also add that it is not any guide I know personally or whose websites I link to on this blog so you can draw your own conclusions. The "guide" had a giant Thingamabobber tied on so I really pitied them and their client. And, to be fair, they didn't jump right in front of us although they looked at us and then walked down to the stream and acted like they were going to. At minimum they spooked some fish at our next hole. In the end, they walked on upstream a bit although if we hadn't of been about to break for lunch it wouldn't have been far enough. The thing about these situations that amazes me is why someone would want to jump in front of another angler when there are hundreds of miles of untouched water available for you to choose from.

So, next time you head for the Smokies, remember your proper fly fishing stream etiquette for a freestone mountain stream is NOT the same as it might be for a large tailwater and give other anglers a wide berth.

Monday, September 14, 2015

High Fish Concentrations

Little River rainbow trout in the Great Smoky Mountains

While most people are bemoaning the low flows in the Great Smoky Mountains, I'm enjoying some of the best fishing I can remember in a while. To be clear, I did not say catching, but if you enjoy stalking trout and sight casting, this is as good a time as any. Fall is my favorite time of year as I have often said on this blog. Low water is at least a contributing factor in that for me.

You see, the mostly unmentioned benefit of low water is that it helps to concentrate the fish. Whereas in the spring the fish are spread throughout the entire river, there are now only a few places for them to hide. Finding those places, approaching them without being seen, and getting a good cast on the trout can be challenging, but who isn't up for a good challenge?

Times like this is where you push your skills to the utmost, either becoming a better angler for it or quitting until conditions get better or using whatever other excuse you can to avoid the poor conditions. Fishing and the quality thereof varies, like most things in life, in the eye of the beholder.

Not too long ago, I had purchased a Rio Euro Nymph line with the eventual goal of purchasing a longer fly rod (say 10'-11'). Just the other day I finally put it on a reel and had to try it out before leaving for Yellowstone. After finishing with the Little River Outfitters Day 2 Beginner Fly Fishing School, I headed back to the Park and soon found a convenient pull off.

Feeling pressed for time with the sun quickly descending in the western sky, I had the rod rigged in record time. With low water, I wasn't sure what to expect from the fishing. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Fish were still hungry and willing to eat my nymphs. Overall, I really liked the new line but did find that it had a learning curve. After fishing weight forward lines exclusively for a long time, it was a LOT different throwing the lightweight Euro nymph line. It offers some great benefits though and in the long run will be well worth the investment. More on that in a later post once I've spent more time getting to know the line.

Little River in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The fish seemed willing to eat my Isonychia soft hackle although I didn't catch large numbers of trout. Slow and steady seemed to be the rule. Lots of nymphal shucks were to be found on the rocks along with Golden stoneflies. Yellow quills or some other yellow mayfly made an appearance as well as some tiny Blue-winged Olives. With cooler temperatures, we should continue to see more hatches moving into the fall. A little water wouldn't hurt, but the fish are still there and hungry as always. The main benefit of this low water is that we should have some extra good dry fly possibilities this fall.

Little River rainbow trout

Little River in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

For now, this will be one of my last fishing reports for a while. I'll hopefully roll a couple more out, but I'm leaving for Yellowstone National Park this Thursday and will be gone until early October. I'm booked until mid October but have some availability starting October 14, 2015. If you have been wanting to book a guided fly fishing trip this fall, don't wait too long as the calendar is filling very quickly. Both float trips on the Caney Fork River and walk/wade trips in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park should be fantastic this fall. Call/text me at (931) 261-1884 or email me at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com to book today.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Ninja Fishing

Brook trout fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This time of year normally features low water and spooky fish regardless of whether you are on a Cumberland Plateau smallmouth bass stream or on a brook trout stream in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Fly fishing under these conditions can still be good to even excellent but different from those nice high flows of spring. In short, low water requires that you channel your inner ninja and utilize every piece of cover along the stream to avoid being seen by the fish.

Recently I had the privilege of taking a young man on a fly fishing trip. This excursion was a gift to Jordan from his parents for his high school graduation. Talk about a great graduation present! As the trip approached, rain was often in the forecast including for the day we were supposed to fish. Finally, the day of the trip had arrived without any noticeable rainfall.

We started off on some larger pocket water to get Jordan dialed in to the techniques and tactics required for success in the Smokies.

Then, after a good but quick lunch, we headed up higher to hunt some brook trout. The southern Appalachian brook trout are gorgeous, especially now as we are heading towards the fall spawn. We were hoping to find a few of these jewels.

Noticing another guide parked where I originally intended to start, we simply went for plan B and headed further up the mountain. By the time we hit the stream, I had completed my "We have to be stealthy" speech and Jordan was ready to catch some specs.

One of the more enjoyable things about having a younger angler on the water is their willingness to crawl or do whatever else it takes to get close to the fish without spooking them. Jordan was no exception, and as a hunter and all around sportsman, he was used to being out in the woods. We snuck down into the streambed and started slowly making our way upstream. Normally under these conditions, I'll take the lead on these small streams to spot trout. Once a fish or likely spot has been located, I'll ease off to the side and the angler will move into position after a whispered discussion on approach. This trip was about the same as usual. Soon we found a willing fish and Jordan caught his first brook trout! Several others soon followed.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park brook trout


Great Smoky Mountains National Park brook trout

After this first trout, we continued to move slowly up the stream and Jordan would at least get an eat out of most likely spots. Enough of these fish were getting hooked to keep us focused and enjoying ourselves. Finally, a larger pool was just above us. I hung back to avoid spooking anything and explained to Jordan how to crawl up to the stream and cast.


After a few well-placed casts, a very nice brook trout for the water attacked his fly and the fight was on. We soon corralled the beautiful fish and obtained the documentation to help him remember this trip.

A lucky angler with a Great Smoky Mountains National Park brook trout

And so our afternoon went. Moving slowly upstream, crawling, scrambling, kneeling, the fish were no match for these stealth skills Jordan was displaying. A few nice rainbow trout graced the end of his line in addition to the brook trout we had come to catch. Most of these fish were caught on beetle patterns. This is one of the most enjoyable ways to fish this time of year on the small brook trout streams.

Small stream rainbow trout from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Beetle fishing for brook trout

Rainbow trout like beetles also

As we started to run low on time, we just happened to stumble onto the best catch of the day. Notice I did not say largest although it was a nice sized brook trout for the small water we were fishing. Sometimes the best fish is one of the smaller ones, it just depends on how you define best. This fish in particular was rather unusual both in where it was caught and how much prettier it was compared to the rest we were catching. The colors were amazing and more like something we'll see in late September. The best part about this fish was that neither of us actually saw it eat the fly at least not exactly. I just knew approximately where the fly was and saw the brilliant colors as the trout rolled on the surface. I yelled "Set!" and Jordan had good enough reflexes to get the hook set solidly on the fish. We had a good chuckle about that one.

Brilliantly colored brook trout from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Before we knew it the day was over, but not before Jordan gained a large arsenal of skills that will help him have success on just about any small stream he may encounter.

If you would like to book a guided fly fishing trip in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or on the Caney Fork River, please contact me (David Knapp) via call/text at (931) 261-1884 or email me at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com.