Photo of the Month: Hiwassee Brown Trout

Photo of the Month: Hiwassee Brown Trout

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Who Do You Want To Win The Superbowl Today?

The thought just occurred to me that I've seen a lot of interesting sentiment heading into Super Bowl XLIX. In fact, I can't remember the last time that so few people were not excited about the big game. Of course, when I say "So few people," I'm naturally referring to friends and people I speak with fairly regularly. I can only assume that there are some excited fans out there rooting for one team or the other.

That said, who are you rooting for this year? Let me know in the poll on the sidebar to the right just below the Trout Zone Newsletter form. Vote and also don't forget to explain your vote in the comments below. This should be interesting!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Stripping Streamers

Anyone who knows me as a fisherman knows that I love stripping streamers for hungry trout and anything else that will hit, so naturally I wasn't about to turn down an invitation to float with David Perry of Southeastern Fly this past Sunday.

With the heavy generation we have been experiencing, we decided that an early start was pointless and instead decided to enjoy a little extra sleep compared with most fishing trips. By the time we met up a little after 9:00 a.m., I was ready to hit the water hard.

Early on, we tried a lot of different tricks. I had some eats on a dry/dropper rig I've been playing with, but lost the only fish I hooked. Before long, we knew that the generation was going to be dialed back and hopefully that would put the fish in a good eating mood.

Sure enough, almost as soon as the water started to drop we started to see flashes and get a few hits. I had been on the oars for a while and by the time the water was falling out it was my turn to fish again. Somehow I got lucky and found myself in the front of the drifter. The view from the front is better than the view as the rower!

I was experimenting further with some double streamer rigs that worked well my last time out stripping streamers. On this trip, everything came together, and I was really in the zone with follows every cast it seemed. The only thing that eluded me on this trip was the big one. As far as numbers went, it was my best day on streamers in a long time.

The 3 photographs above are courtesy of David Perry of Southeastern Fly

The big one did give me a chance, I should mention. Apparently it was not meant to be though. I got a great hookset as I watched one of the coolest boat-side eats I've seen in a long time. The fish jumped a couple of times as well. Everything seemed like it was working great. It just wasn't meant to be on this trip unfortunately.

The good news is that I know where this fish lives, and even have a pretty good idea what he might like to eat. I'll be back looking for this fish and hopefully some that are much larger as well. The fish I did catch were all very healthy since virtually nobody has been out there harassing them. That means we can look for ward to a great year in 2015.

Looking ahead, we have some good flows finally on the horizon for streamer fishing. Next weekend it appears we will even have some low water to enjoy. Best of all? I currently have Sunday available for anyone wanting to get out and eliminate their cabin fever. The bad news? The weather on Sunday is calling for rain. Still, if you want to get out and fish, a half day float is not a bad idea right now if you are up for stripping streamers or maybe even some nymph fishing in the rain.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Recent Articles

Recently I have been doing some writing for Wide Open Spaces, and I wanted to share a couple of posts that I thought you would enjoy. Also, please help me spread the word around about these articles as it will benefit me and much thanks!

The first article is one that I wrote near the beginning of the month. The article is the "Western US and Canada's 18 Best Trout Streams." Choosing the 18 best was difficult to say the least. Most of all, I was trying to write the article without choosing any secluded or secret water. In other words, I'm not in the business of outing secrets. If you have read this blog any length of time you may notice that I give a lot of generic fishing reports. That is on purpose of course.

Another article just went live. I have been asking around for good fishing stories of people's craziest catches. There were so many great stories that I may have to do one or more follow up stories. The story is the "10 Craziest Things You've Caught While Fishing."

The last one I want to share is especially applicable now as we are all preparing for early spring. I chose a list of the "10 Flies to Use In Early Spring Fly Fishing." This article is not location specific, so the idea is that you should be able to find at least one fly on this list to be successful with in the early spring anywhere in the country. I'm particular interested in hearing your opinion on this article and the 18 best western trout streams article. Let me know below with a comment!

Finally, check these stories out and support me by reading more that I have been working on for Wide Open Spaces.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ready To Go

After tying a few flies, I'm all ready to go in the morning. I've only got a couple of trips in so far this year but ready to start hitting it a lot harder now. I'll be floating somewhere looking for some big trout and hopefully a shad kill. Check back in the next day or so as well as on Twitter and Facebook for updates to see if we had a successful trip!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Greedy Smallmouth

On Tuesday, I had the good fortune of getting out to chase musky and smallmouth bass and to just enjoy the warm weather we had for a few days. Dan Munger made it over to fish since it was his day off from Little River Outfitters. As always it was great having him in the boat. I also had my buddy Tyler who had not been on the boat yet. The goal was to chase some musky. Dan did well on his first musky float a few weeks ago and got that first musky out of the way so we were hoping for a repeat performance. Unfortunately the fish had other ideas and we just didn't see very many over the course of the day but then that's musky fishing for you. Of course, Tyler is not convinced that there aren't really such thing as musky in the rivers we fish so we'll have to take him again to show him some fish. he highlight of the day was when Dan had just cast to a nice rocky ledge. He barely started his retrieve before the heavy fly rod was bent under the weight of a nice fish. I thought for sure it was a nice musky, but he quickly announced it was a smallmouth. After a solid fight, we got the fish in the net and took some pictures. First, notice the size of the fly it hit! The fly was at least 6-7 inches long and perhaps more!

The best part though was that the fish had a large crawdad stuck in its throat. Talk about a greedy fish! It had a big meal and still wanted more.

The rest of the float was uneventful except for the one musky that taunted us by rolling 10 feet off of the takeout ramp as we were approaching it. I guess we'll just have to get back out there sometime soon and try to even the score a little. As we took out the boat, the sunset alone made the whole trip worthwhile.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What is the Craziest Thing You Have Caught While Fishing?

Help me out! I am working on an article on the question above. What is the craziest thing you have caught while fishing?

If you happen to have photographs that you would be willing for me to use, please let me know by emailing me at This is for a freelance article I'm working on so only offer images if you are okay with them being used for that purpose (commercially). Thank you!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Early Winter Sunsets

As far as I can tell, one of the chief disadvantages of winter is the early sunsets. Cold weather is great as far as I'm concerned, and I enjoy ice and snow. The weather tends to be gray and even drizzly more often which provides great fishing. Really, I cannot find too many things wrong with winter.

I know that a lot of you will probably want to get on my case for my appreciation of winter and especially the cold weather and that's fine. I'm just glad that so many people dislike the cold months. The fewer people who get outside the more I can feel like I have it to myself. 

Selfishly, this is probably the main reason I like winter. The colder and nastier it is out the fewer people I have to compete with for fishing, and less people also means I am more likely to get uncluttered pictures. In the summer, especially in high traffic tourist areas like the Smokies, I have to often wait and wait and then wait some more for people to get out of my pictures. Winter brings a pleasant change of pace where I can pretty much show up, take my pictures, and then leave for the next spot.

The one silver lining to the short days is that the sun is in the sweet spot for more time both in the morning and the afternoon. I'm talking about that time when the sun has sunk to just above the horizon or perhaps has just made its first appearance for the day. The golden hour of light is a photographers dream.

In winter, that warm light lasts longer and seems even richer than normal. My obvious appreciation of winter may bias me here, but I think that the trajectory of the sun this time of year keeps it close to the horizon longer without actually sinking behind and out of sight.

The result is some of the best sunsets you will find anywhere. If you want to see a great sunset, winter is one of the best times to do so. The air is usually clearer and cleaner so the colors are brighter. Landscapes bask in the glow of the late afternoon winter sun.

Almost daily I promise myself that I'll start getting up early and heading back out in the afternoons to catch that light, but usually I'm doing good to just get the late afternoon version. Still, the sun blesses me with some nice opportunities to photograph the sunset. Maybe I'll get up for the sunrise tomorrow...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Townsend USGS Gauge for Little River Working Again

After being on the blink for several days, the Townsend Tennessee United States Geological Survey (USGS) streamflow gauge on Little River is back up and running. For those that would prefer to just show up and see what the river looks like, more power to you, but I prefer to maximize my fishing time by being on the water during prime conditions.

A couple of tips to help you out on Little River this time of year include watching both stream flow/level and the water temperatures. This is winter, and while the fishing will often be slower than in the summer, the fish still have to eat. That means that the general trend of the water temperature will be more important than the actual temperature.

If the water has been 39 degrees or less for several days and then spikes up to 43 degrees, the fishing may be good. Those are the sorts of trends you should be watching for on the Townsend streamflow gauge.

Also, a bump in stream flow this time of year will often correspond with rising water temperatures. Because of our proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, a lot of our cold season rain events are warmer than you might expect. Fifty degree rain works like magic in bringing up water temperatures and in turn gets the fish a lot more active.

Start watching the streamflow on your favorite waters and you might be surprised at some of the correlations you discover with quality fishing.