Photo of the Month: Mountain Evening

Photo of the Month: Mountain Evening

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Early Fall

Even though the official start of fall is still a few days away, I'm ready to announce the beginning of fall.  Actually I've been ready since July.  The number of colorful leaves I've been finding on stream-side rocks has been steady since late July if not even earlier.  The unusual cold snaps we had this summer may have contributed to that, or perhaps it was the abnormally dry conditions we had early on.  Regardless, those splashes of color were definitely a couple of months ahead and perhaps as many as three.

Now the weather feels like fall so I'm not waiting.  In fact, I'm heading out to camp this very weekend in celebration of the new season.  Announcing the start of fall a bit early is nice as it allows one to enjoy fall weather before anyone else.  Mother Nature is giving me a healthy dose of cooperation.  Here at the house on the Cumberland Plateau, we haven't seen 70 degrees at all today.  Combine that with a dry airmass and bluebird skies and you have fall.

By next week, around the time fall is officially starting, even cooler temperatures may be surging into the area.  An early fall sounds just about perfect to me just as long as it does not also bring an early winter.  A fall that lasts until late November would be awesome!  I only hope that we get an excellent peak color season as some years are definitely better than others.

Oh, and just so you know I wasn't joking, here are some pictures from the past few months.  Okay, I lied.  Fall actually started even earlier.  This first one is from June.  Next come a few from July, then of course a couple from August.  The last one should be recognizable from my post on last weekend's excursion to Cataloochee.









Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Picture Report

Sometimes, my favorite trips do not involve fishing.  Okay, maybe I should have said occasionally or even rarely, but it does happen.  This past weekend involved a trip to Asheville for a cousin's wedding.  I promised myself to be good and leave the fishing gear at home, but when an opportunity to sneak off to Cataloochee presented itself, I was thankful that at least the camera was with me.  Despite being one of my favorite places in the Park, I have only been there a handful of times.  Clearly I need more time to explore in the Park (as well as gas money, etc), but when I do get the opportunity I always jump on it.

While most of the tourists were there to look at the elk, I was there more for the scenery and just to get outside.  Of course, you can't go to Cataloochee without taking at least one elk picture.  This big guy had been bugling a short time before.  However, as you can see, he soon calmed down and decided to relax a bit.


Just across the road, the Caldwell house kept me busy for a bit.  How many different ways can you take pictures of one house?  I found at least a few...






Any trip to the Smokies would be incomplete without walking a few stretches of stream just to look for fish.  There were plenty of fish feeding in the pool just upstream from the shot above (as always), but the rest of my scouting turned up no large fish as I am always hoping for.  Of course, that's probably a good thing.  Without a fly rod in tow, it is always tough finding big fish that are in a catchable state of mind.





Reminders of the rapidly approaching fall were definitely around.  Fall flowers are blooming everywhere here at home and even in the mountains.  The brightly colored leaves are my favorite though.


On the way in, the clouds obscured the valley.  On the way out, they had lifted just enough to give that good Smoky Mountains look.


Monday, September 08, 2014

Drift Boat for Sale

Okay, let's try this again.  I'm looking at a new to me boat which means the current boat has to go.  Check out the Craigslist ad here.  The first time I posted this I had a lot of interest but had to pull the ad when the other boat I was looking at then sold quickly to someone else. The boat will sell quickly at this price so if you want to spend the cooler months out chasing monster trout with streamers, jump on this before someone else does.  This is a beautiful boat that has already seen some big fish by me and people floating with me and is ready to get you out through the winter float season that is almost upon us.  Please contact me at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com if you are interested in this boat.  Thanks!

Evening Drifting


The main problem with our Caney Fork float trips is that the scenery is nice enough to make you forget to watch your flies or indicator.  Last week I was floating and looked up long enough to notice the sky.  The fly rod was soon traded in for my camera.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book Soon

This week featured some very good guide trips.  On Monday it was a float down the Caney Fork that produced some very good fishing.  We eventually lost count of how many fish we boated on the half day float which is always a good sign.  Tuesday was a full day wade trip in the Smokies.  Fishing hard on a stream that I've been on several times this summer (both guiding and fishing for myself), my client landed not one but two of the largest rainbows I've seen out of this stream all year.  Both were colored superbly as well which is always a special treat.  Needless to say, I'm excited to see fall looming on the horizon finally.

Today as I drove home, I noticed that the sun angle was noticeably farther south in the western sky.  In less than a month, it will officially be fall.  That means cooler water, happy trout, and fired up brown trout.  Streamers will be working better over the next few months.  Anglers willing to fish streamers hard out of the boat may be rewarded with their largest fish of the year.  Fishermen in the Smokies will find that the brookies and brown trout are already starting to color up as we head towards the fall spawn.

Currently, I'm booking trips in September and October.  The calendar will fill quickly so if you are planning on booking a trip, don't wait too long or else someone will beat you to your preferred day.  For that matter they may already have.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Flopping Fish

Over the years, I've had so many people make observations about the fish pictures I take.  "How do you get the fish to hold still?" is one of the most common questions I hear.  Generally, you have to have the camera ready very quickly after lifting the fish out of the water.  Have your buddy compose the shot first and take the picture as soon as the fish is in place (there's a reason a lot of the best pictures have water dripping off the fish).  Snap 2-3 very quickly and one will usually turn out.  Then get that fish back in the water ASAP.  Done correctly, a fish should never be out of the water more than 10 seconds and even that is on the long side.  Ideally this is done with two people of course.  If you have to take self timer shots, get a BIG net and keep that fish in the water until the last possible moment.  The last thing you want to do is kill a fish that you intend to release.

And now for the whole point of this post, I wanted to make sure you all realize that not all fish are cooperative, I thought I would share a favorite brookie shot I just came across from a couple of years ago.  Actually, I have a whole collection of these "action" shots. Maybe I'll do an expanded post showing them another time and you can all laugh at my (and other anglers') facial expressions as I realize the fish is headed somewhere else.  For now, here is one of many anti-picture brook trout.  At least the colors are still beautiful!


What To Tie???

First I want to make mention of a big event coming up in November of this year.  Yes, I do know that it coincides with some great fishing, but what better way to kick of the cold months of tying "season" than at Fly Tyer's Weekend?  This year, Little River Outfitters is bringing back an old favorite and is working closely with Tremont Lodge and Resort to put on this big event.  Some of the best tyers in the southeast and even in the country will be there to demonstrate techniques and flies.  Tremont Lodge in Townsend is newly renovated and will be a fantastic place to enjoy this big event.  If you enjoy tying or are thinking about learning, this is a can't miss opportunity.

Okay, now that I've got a little of the excitement out of my system, I'm happy to further mention that I'll be tying on Sunday, November 9.  If you are planning on visiting and have some specific patterns you would like to see, please let me know.  I guess I better start figuring out what I would like to tie as it will be here before we know it!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Naming Flies


While messing around trying to come up with a brown trout catching machine, it occurred to me that I have quite a few good flies that I've designed including some that are go-to guide flies.  At what point do you start actually thinking up names for these monstrosities?  Take the streamer above, for example.  To begin with, there is nothing even close to a guarantee it will catch fish at this point so we don't have to worry too much yet.  But, for the sake of letting our imaginations run wild, what in the world would you call this thing?  Deer hair head, saddle hackle tail with buck tail and marabou for the wing.  I even snuck in a few rubber legs and some variegated chenille.  Hopefully the trout won't care that it doesn't have a name.

Oh, and if anyone has a foolproof method of naming flies, I'm all ears...