A crazy couple of weeks

This last couple of weeks have been busy to say the least, but in a good way. I know the fishing report has suffered big time but now with everything done we can get back in the rhythm of things. The weather and the water flows haven’t been that great so it’s not like we had much to write about. Now don’t get me wrong there have been some good days here and there but we had to think outside the box. When we couldn’t get out to fish we still spent our time on the water but left the rods at home.

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The streams in the smokies have been really cold with temps getting down in the 30’s and that slows things down significantly. That’s why the tailwaters are the better choice in the winter with more consistent temps around 50. When the tailwaters are off the fishing can be good but it’s just finding a window to get out that can be a challenge. Midges are about the only bug you’ll see on the water, but those tiny bugs are what keep the fish active. You can’t go wrong with brown or olive but don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors if the same ole doesn’t produce. Who knows, you might find your new go to fly.

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A couple of weeks ago I got the chance to go on my first mission trip with Freedom International (itisforfreedom.com) in the Dominican Republic. These missionaries down in the Dominican are doing an incredible amount of work for the Lord teaching the Haitians how to read and write in the school that they built by hand. They also travel to the villages in the sugar cane fields speaking the Gospel through VBS to the families. These folks have left their lives back in the states to dedicate their time to the cause and are funded only through donations. If you would like to help out you can contact them through their website.

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The Freedom Team

 

After getting back from the Dominican we only had a couple of days to get things washed and ready to head back out for a family vacation to Mexico. It was nice to get away and not have an agenda for the week. The days pretty much consisted of playing by the pool with Danielle, walking down the beach and laying around.

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One of the days I did manage to get with my guide Enrique for a day of bone fishing on the flats. Stalking bonefish on the flats can be frustrating sometimes but when you look at your surroundings and you remember that it’s in the 70’s and sunny you forget about everything else, especially when you hook up. We probably landed about 10 or 12 bonefish over the day and lost that many more. Enrique is a great guide and knows these flats better than anyone. I even told him that I’ve never caught a snook and he put me on my first one.

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This saltwater stuff is addicting.

Now that we’re back home and things are back to normal, trips are booking up and everyone seems to be planning for spring early. I hope we have a good quill gordon hatch this year to start us off, that would be nice. It might be the best hatch of the year. Maybe it’s because it’s the first one or because they’re the biggest mayfly we have and they come off in good numbers. Either way we’re looking forward to it.

If you’re thinking of planning a trip to the Smokies this spring then give us a call and we’ll get a trip set up for you to get out on the water for one of these great hatches. We hope you have a blessed day and thanks for reading. Take care.

 

 

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Merry Christmas!

Christmas is a great time of year and probably my favorite because it’s the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior. The pressures of gift buying, family gatherings and traveling can get to you and a getaway for yourself is the best medicine. The weather channel is saying that we’re in store for some pretty decent weather for the next 5 days so it might be a good time to get out and fish.

The generation schedules on the Clinch and Holston are kind of hit or miss but if you can catch a good schedule and you have some time off, take advantage of it because you never know when you’ll see the water off again. The fishing has been good and there are some very nice fish willing to eat a whole variety of flies. Black flies have been thick at times along with midges and a few caddis fluttering around. The great thing is that the fish haven’t been hit too hard so fly selection isn’t as important. Your plain jane pheasant tails and zebra midges under an indicator or dry fly will work just fine.

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Sometimes simplifying things can have big results.

The streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are something to consider as well. The water is cold and the fish are sluggish but that doesn’t mean they can’t be caught. Getting your flies deep (on the bottom) is a good start, but if that’s not enough start putting on shot until you see your indicator “tick” the bottom. Sure it’s not as fun as watching a fish sip a dry off the surface but at least you’re catching fish. As far as flies go hares ears, prince nymphs and caddis larvae imitations will do the trick. Stop by and talk with the guys at Little River Outfitters, they’ll get you squared away with what you need.

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Jayson with a healthy rainbow that took a prince nymph.

Be careful while fishing in frigid temperatures, take some extra clothes along with you and don’t get too far from the car if you don’t have to. Also bring some hand warmers, you wouldn’t believe the moral boost it can be. I’ve fallen in way too many times and have learned this the hard way how miserable it can be. Have fun, be safe and have a very Merry Christmas.

 

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Early Winter setting in

Fall in East TN can be spectacular with stunning views of colorful Mountain sides from the middle of October till sometimes almost Thanksgiving. This year has been quite a bit different and the weather has turned cold quick. Here we are in “SNOW-VEMBER” and we’ve already seen several heavy snow falls in the mountains along with dustings in the valley. There have also been the occasional flooding problems here and there but that has settled down and the water looks great. The only threat to the fishing has been the water temps which have ranged anywhere from the low 50’s to the mid 30’s which can definitely throw the fishing off axis.

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Glenn landed several fish like this last week and deserved everyone of them for fishing in terrible conditions.

The fishing hasn’t been bad at all it’s just that the temps make it tough to stay warm and keep moral high. It’s pretty bad when you catch a nice fish and don’t want a picture with it just to keep your hands from touching the water, but I give credit to anyone that will come out and fish in those conditions. Fishing cold mountain streams means changing techniques to fit the situations. Dry fly fishing is almost completely gone now but fishing nymphs can be just as fun if done right and can even produce some better sized fish, not to mention it keeps the rod bent in tough conditions. Small nymph’s like 18’s and 16’s with light tippet (5x-6x) will do the trick.

Something else to keep in mind is staying out of the fast water where the fish would have to work hard to swim. Cold water slows the fish’s metabolism way down making them sluggish and they’re not going to want to waste energy to get a small meal. Slower pools will definitely produce more activity. Just make sure to add the right amount of weight for the water you’ll be fishing and get those flies to the bottom.

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Jules landed this beauty on a number 18 nymph in frigid temps.

The good news is that starting Friday we should see a warming trend with days in the 50’s and even 60’s which will be a nice break from the teens which we’re sitting in while writing this report. This dramatic change in weather should turn the feed on and get the fish active. Heck, it will be nice to just be on the water with the sun shining. The tailwaters are also still running high but should be cutting off soon once they get the lakes down to their winter levels. When this happens it should be fantastic since the fish haven’t seen much in the way of fishing traffic.

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9,000 cfs isn’t easy to fish in but it can be done.

Our season is winding down and we’re seeing less and less traffic on the roads and more open pull off’s in the Smokies. This is that time of year when solitude can be found once again on the river where you might not see another fisherman all day. I love this time of year personally, it’s become one of my favorite times of year and we get a lot of fishing done. If you’re in town and would like to get out on the water don’t give up on the idea of catching fish; GIVE US A CALL and we’ll take you out and show you how.

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