We have seen our fair share of bad weather lately and are just about over it. We can’t complain too much I guess considering how bad folks in the Northeast have had it, but we’re all going crazy and ready to hit the streams. Steady rain over the last week has made every stream in the area high and the ground has become so saturated that the creeks aren’t coming down fast enough. This has resulted in the canceling of several trips lately which is just part of the gig sometimes but it stinks to have to break the bad news to folks looking to get out for the first time of the year.
The Prest couple on their Honeymoon. Has there ever been a better way to spend it?
Some days we’ve had small windows with decent flows to get out and wet a line, so we’ll take what we can get. At least during these trips the fishing has been pretty good with plenty of activity from fish and bugs. Those that have had the chance to get out haven’t had it easy but heck if you can catch them in bad conditions then you’re doing pretty good. The topwater bite hasn’t become hot and heavy yet but receding water will help with that. Until then nymphs are still catching fish and we’re fine using them. Pheasant tails, hares ears and squirrel nymphs have been producing lately but mainly near the bottom of a deeper run.
The newlyweds with their first wild trout from the Smokies.
As far as the tailwater fishing is concerned, there’s not much going on in our area. The Clinch and Holston rivers have been blown out and will be so for the next little bit. The weather forecast does predict some nice weather coming so keep an eye out for that along with the flow charts and maybe we’ll catch a break here soon enough. The Holston Caddis hatch isn’t far off and we did see several fish take some before the water was turned on, about a week ago. There should be some good opportunities for some healthy fish on dries once it’s all back to normal.
Smallmouth season is right around the corner and for those seeking a good streamer bite this will be your chance to let off some steam from the past winter. I love spring smallies for so many reasons (too many to name) but one thing is for sure, those pre-spawn beauties are aggressive and hungry and make for a lot of fun on a fly rod, plus there’s a chance to catch a fish of a lifetime. We have a lot of fishing options about to open up here in East TN and you won’t want to miss it. If you’re itching to get out but don’t know exactly where to start, give us a call and we can help you plan your trip. Stay tuned for new updates concerning weather, flows and general activity as we see it. Take care and have a great day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.