Guided Trips

UPDATE: 11/25/2015 -- Smokies Fly Fishing Report: The streams of the Smokies have dropped back to great levels but water temperatures have been chilly. Things should improve over the next two days as both days and nights should be warmer. Even on the colder days this week, fish have been active during the warmest hours. Midges and sporadic caddis activity are even bringing some trout to the surface. When you do get out, note that brown trout are spawning and should be left alone when on redds. Please avoid walking on and near the redds this time of year. The ability of the brown trout to successfully reproduce is essential to the future of the fishery. If you do not know what a redd looks like, avoid walking on the fine gravel (golfball and smaller) in riffles and the tailouts of pools. Fish that are paired up in these areas are probably spawning and are best left alone.

Caney Fork Fly Fishing Report: The Caney Fork is fishing well at times but only average during others. The good news is that you may get a shot at some better than average trout. Recent floats are giving us approximately a 50/50 mix of rainbows and browns so that part is nice. Float or wade trips are best done as 1/2 days this time of year with the current flow regime. Contact me about a float or wade trip if you want to enjoy this fishing at or call/text (931) 261-1884.

Cumberland Plateau Fishing Report: Smallmouth bass fishing is about done for the year and I'm transitioning towards fishing for the big toothy critters. Yesterday we moved 4 fish and had one eat from a solid 40"+ fish that came unbuttoned. Stay tuned for more on this great fishing as we head deeper into the cold season.

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Photo of the Month: Brook Trout

Photo of the Month: Brook Trout

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Silver Ribbons and Red Stripes

As my last day in Colorado rapidly approaches, I was wondering if I could squeeze one last day of fishing in.  A short hike combined with fishing seemed ideal.  South Boulder Creek (SBC) just below Gross Reservoir is the perfect place for this type of trip so off we headed for another adventure.  The stream was still running ice free thanks to the recent warmer weather.  The winds that brought the warmer temperatures had me concerned but were forecast to die down in the afternoon.

Reaching the parking lot and seeing only two other cars, I quickly rigged up with a small caddis pupa and a Zebra Midge.  A small pinch-on indicator above seemed appropriate and then we hit the trail down.  As the stream came into view, I was amazed out how much ice had melted since my trip last Wednesday.  Of course, the first section you see gets a lot of sun exposure so that explained the lack of ice.

Staying high above the creek, we turned downstream. I was heading for a section of nice pools that should hold plenty of fish in the winter.  Looking back upstream, I paused to take in the beauty.  The stream looked like silver ribbons running down over the rocks as the afternoon sun through light across the bottom of the canyon.

Eager to fish, I quickly continued downstream.  The pool where I had caught several fish last week already had another angler in it, but the pool just below didn't.  After several drifts with only one small rainbow striking and missing the hook, I decided to continue downstream.

The next pool was another favorite.  Last fall I spotted a 16 inch brown spawning in the back of it so I suspected that there were good fish somewhere nearby.  The fish were holding tight to structure and under the fastest water in the deep holes so my luck was not the best...yet.  As I fished, my girlfriend had fun with her camera.  I'm fishing somewhere here...

Photo by Catherine McGrath

I really like how this stream shot came out that she took. Notice that in this more shaded section the ice was still holding on along the edges.

Photo by Catherine McGrath

As I fished up around the bend, a nice slow pool looked like the perfect hiding spot for a trout in the winter.  I tossed the flies and indicator in and then crouched behind a boulder to keep from spooking the fish.  The indicator swirled around a couple of times before being pulled under.  I set the hook and was happy to discover that I had finally hooked a fish!  The rainbows here are incredibly beautiful.  They all have these magnificent red stripes down their sides, even the little guys.  It can be hard to believe that some of the stocked specimens I have caught in my life are even in the same family as these wild rainbows.

With that first fish out of the way, I now wanted to catch one or two more before calling it a day.  The next pool upstream seemed like just the place to do that.  As I fished, I had lost track of where my girlfriend had gone with her camera.  It turns out she was getting some more cool shots that I can't get on my own.

Photo by Catherine McGrath

Right after this shot, on the next cast, I tossed my fly over next to the boulder against the far bank.  There just had to be a trout under that rock.  Sure enough, the indicator dove and I quickly realized that the fish I was now fighting was in a different class from the first trout.  As the fish ran around the small pool, I just let it run and tire itself against the spring of the rod.  I didn't have a net and was taking no last second chances on losing this beautiful trout.

After a couple of pictures, I released my new personal best rainbow from SBC.  Even on a day when the flows are low, a few fish can be caught and a good time had.

Photo by Catherine McGrath

This fish was the perfect way to end my last fishing excursion here in Colorado for this trip.  I was thankful for the two fish that had graced the end of my line.


  1. Love the photos. Makes me want to hit the water. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Matt! Hope you are able to get out soon.

  2. David
    Thanks for sharing some beautiful images in an area I know you will miss. Take heart warmer weather is awaiting down south.

  3. A nice day any way you look at it.



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