Merry Christmas and thank you to every one of you for helping to make 2016 the best year yet for Trout Zone Anglers. I’m very excited to see what 2017 has in store. This past year has been one to remember. The Caney Fork River fished as well as any in recent memory. More big fish came to our nets this year than all prior years combined. This trend started last year in December with a big brown trout on a guided trip and never really slowed down. I sounded like a broken record this year on Instagram, Facebook, and in my fishing reports.
Since we experienced a tough drought in 2016, the Smokies were more difficult than usual. Next year should be much better as we return to normal conditions. Great spring hatches and reliable fishing during the summer and fall will be nice to get back to. I know I’ll be having many grand adventures as usual and hope you will join me on a guide trip in 2017. Thank you to everyone who fished with me this year. Also thank you to everyone who has already booked for next year. Don’t wait too long as prime spring dates are already filling up. Make 2017 the year you improve as an angler. Nothing brings improvement like more time on the water, especially when combined with coaching from a guide.
Smokies Christmas Season Report
Finally some good news if you are thinking about fishing in the Smokies! Water levels are good with more rain in the forecast. Fish are responding and feeding happily. Yesterday I spent a few hours on the water and caught both rainbow and brown trout. Later in the day, I spent some time scouting and found some truly large brown trout sitting out in the open. This is a rarity but definitely a better possibility in winter than in any other season. Nymphs were the way to go. I stayed with large stonefly nymphs and bead head caddis pupa and caught fish equally well on both. Some little black caddis were hatching.
This weekend features warming temperatures and some rain chances. All of that should bring about good to excellent fishing for this time of year. Hopefully we’ll get back to colder weather soon. In some years, the bugs get confused and start hatching in early February. I greatly prefer a normal season with hatches starting in late February or early March though. January and February will bring some warm days as well as bitter cold at times. If you pick your days carefully, good fishing still awaits.
Tailwaters are heading towards a better than average streamer season. Flows are perfect for half day streamer trips on the Caney Fork River. Some days will be slow while others will be great. This is your best shot at a big brown trout on our tailwaters and definitely the most exciting. If you have not enjoyed this kind of fishing before, contact me to set up a guided float trip. Once you start streamer fishing, you probably will not want to drift nymphs any more.
The Clinch River has been fishing very well during low water times. High water is a great time to get out and throw streamers as well. Here is one from last week with an extraordinary story behind it.