Best Smokies Trout of the Year


Last week I took John Coley out for a day of fly fishing in the Smoky Mountains. John was about as enthusiastic as fly fishers get and I was eager to get him on the water since fish have been rising like crazy.

Seriously, this fall has fished like spring as far as fish rising to the surface. We’ve been fishing lots of dry flies; bushy Parachute Adams in the pocket water and smaller Blue Wing Olive patterns in the flatter runs where we cast to risers.

Notice the Parachute Adams in the top lip

Notice the Parachute Adams in the top lip

We hiked into the backcountry to fish under quieter conditions. John had picked off a good number of rainbow trout over the course of the day. I placed him in one particularly good run and was a tad miffed when nothing touched the fly. This is a spot that’s usually good for 3-6 strikes. John made one cast longer than the rest to the head of the run and a big head bobbed up on the Adams. The fish was 17″ and absolutely beautiful!

One more look...

One more look...

We’ve caught a number of fish like this on the tailwaters this year, but this is easily the largest fish landed in the park for us  this season. We expect to see more brown trout moving in the next two weeks as fish begin to spawn. They actually stay pretty active for several weeks after as the feed aggressively to gain some weight after the spawn.

Fall is definitely one of the best times to fly fish in the Smoky Mountains

Fall is definitely one of the best times to fly fish in the Smoky Mountains

Floated the Clinch this weekend and there’s really only one word for it…


We picked up a few fish, missed a few more, and broke about three more, but overall it was a tough day. The weather was a bit flaky and there didn’t seem to be much in the way of anything hatching. Expect tough generation schedules through the week, but you can probably sneak in next Saturday for a few hours.

The Tuckaseegee has some low water this week. Great for wading, not so much for drift boats, but I expect that to change with the wet weather cycle we’re in.



  1. Josh Pfeiffer says:

    Yeah i floated it about a week ago and it was really slow. Caught 5 all day, and my wife had a nice fish on, but that’s all the action we saw. Nice brown by the way, it is the best time to be fishing the smokies.

  2. I still can’t believe it and I was there!

    I have a feeling that from now on, every time I go fishing, I will judge the trip against that one.

    Besides catching a fish of a lifetime, and many other nice ones, I feel like I learned more about trout fishing in one day with Ian than in my previous years of “self guided” trips. He was patient, responsive to what I wanted to do, yet provided enough instruction so that I could improve on the very next spot, if not the next cast. I can’t wait to get back up there soon.

    Thanks again, Ian.