Smokies in the Grip of Intense Cold Weather; We Go Fishing

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It’s been a tough week or so as far as the weather is concerned here in the Smoky Mountains. Temperatures have been peaking in the low to mid 20’s and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. It’s so bad that we’re longing for those days right after Christmas when it warmed up to the high 30’s.

I’m catching up on the fly tying, but that can only go on so long before you just end up looking out the window and don’t get much done. Fortunately we live in a place where we can be on the stream in just a few minutes, fish for an hour or two, then go home to warm up.

Charity fishes a pair of nymphs in a pocket of calm water on Little River

Charity fishes a pair of nymphs in a pocket of calm water on Little River

Charity’s birthday falls squarely between Christmas and New Year’s and she was determined to catch a trout. Water temperatures were in the high 30’s to maybe 40 depending on the spot where you checked and the air temperature was such that ice formed in the guides in shady spots.

Things looked pretty grim, but Charity landed two and missed several more fish in only 45 minutes or so before proclaiming she had caught her birthday fish and wanted to continue the festivities in a warmer locale.

One of Charity's birthday fish. Oh yeah... Remember that beat up Pat's Nymph?

One of Charity's birthday fish. Oh yeah... Remember that beat up Pat's Nymph?

Turns out Charity grabbed the four weight Scott G2 that was rigged up in the garage, so the mangled Pat’s Nymph I mentioned in a previous entry continued to produce. If anyone out there is beginning to get a little distressed, the fly has been retired and we’ve even put a new leader on.

We usually spend a good deal of time fishing the tailwaters this time of year, but the Clinch, Holston, South Holston, and Hiwassee are all still running very high. Hopefully that situation will change in the next couple of weeks.

As water temperatures have plummeted in the Smokies we’ve moved our fishing over to Abrams Creek in Cades Cove. The substantial spring creek influence keeps water temperatures well into the 40’s for a decent stretch of the stream. Fish here are much more active than in the neighboring Little River watershed.

The drive to Abrams Creek is unparallelled for scenery

The drive to Abrams Creek is unparallelled for scenery

We’re working on a winter fishing video article for the January newsletter so I don’t have any photos of the fishing, but trust me, it’s cold. We spend almost as much time clearing ice from the rod as we do fishing.

Ice In The Guides

I’m happy to say we have yet to get skunked, but the fishing has been pretty slow even on Abrams Creek. We’re catching about 4-7 fish per outing and generally calling it a day after about 3 hours on the stream. Even so, the surroundings are hard to beat.

Take a break from fishing the spring creek section of Abrams because the scenery is awesome

Take a break from fishing the spring creek section of Abrams because the scenery is awesome

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Comments

  1. Please keep Pat’s nymph safe for me. By the production you are getting out of him, I am sure that bad boy is related to Brett Farve in some way. The Vikings will need all the help they can get as their next opponent will most certainly try to chew their tails off. Minnesota high temps rose to 7 degree today with clear skies and a 4th night with lows at -10 to -20 Believe it or not there are some hard core anglers out there fishing the streams and catching fish. I am with you Ian, the wood burner is stoked up and the vice is rotating hooks.

  2. Elaine and Tony Luppino says:

    Happy Birthday Charity. We fished with you in The ParK about 3 years ago and had a wonderful fun filled day. We are planning on doing it again soon. Would love the pattern for Pat’s Nymph. Good fishing to both you and Ian. Congratulations on your little guy.
    Elaine and Tony
    From upstate New York