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Posts Tagged ‘Trout Fishing’

As you know I don’t normally promote other guides on my page. However, seeing how Rocky is in Tennessee he isn’t exactly competition.

I had to travel to Knoxville for work so that meant I needed to look up the fishing opportunities. I came across a few guides that offer drift boat trips so I sent some emails looking for an afternoon trip if I could fly in early. Rocky emailed me back within an hour or two. There were others that emailed me back but it took more than a day. As a guide I always respond to emails right away so Rocky got my business. We set up the trip within an email or two and kept in touch over the next month or so until it the date arrived. He was always prompt and friendly when answering my questions and I had a lot of them.

The day of the trip arrived and of course the weatherman was actually right that day and the weather wasn’t looking the best. Due to the threat of some good storms we set up on a section of water we could motor up-stream and work back down to the ramp just in case we needed to run for cover. I was more than ok with that. I will fish in anything except lightning.

I knew we were fishing for big fish when I was handed an 8 weight rod with a 350 grain sink tip and a medium size streamer tied on the end. I say medium-sized because we fished much larger later on. I was pumped. I don’t get a chance to fish this way often. We motored up to the low head dam and started back down. The first pass down stream I connected with a nice feisty Rainbow Trout that found its way to the net. Not the huge fish I was hoping for but a good start anyway. Over the next few hours we found a some more fish that wanted to play but my ability to connect with them and put them in the hoop was lacking. The weather also was constantly changing. The skies cleared and the sun shined bright. Not exactly what I would call good trout fishing weather. Overall the catching wasn’t great but the fishing was excellent. I will definitely be coming back for revenge.

Rocky is a professional guide with top quality equipment. It was my first time casting a Orvis Zero Gravity rod and now I want to buy one. Everything from the boat to the reels were in excellent condition. A condition that isn’t always found on a guide boat even though it should be. It was obvious that he has a vast knowledge of the area waters and how to fish them in various conditions. I would highly recommend anyone coming to the Knoxville area to give him a call and set up a trip.

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The fishing is very good for brown trout, king salmon, and steelhead.  The lake has been producing good numbers of browns and kings out of Oswego. From what we are seeing so far the fishing this fall is going to be excellent on the river again.  Charter captains are seeing good numbers of fish hitting the deck each trip out.  The Walleye fishing at night has been excellent as well. I have some openings for Walleye trips.

The Salmon River is still running at 350 cfs and has steelhead top to bottom.  I floated Altmar to Pineville Monday evening and couldn’t believe the number of steelhead up that high still. There are also large numbers of small stocked trout.  Try not to abuse these fish as they are the future of this fishery.  We made a couple moves Monday because in some spots we couldn’t keep them off the hook.  The smallies are starting to enter the river as well.  A few very nice ones have been caught so far and it is only going to get better. I will be offering Smallmouth Bass float trips all summer. These are spin or fly fishing trips.

Salmon season dates are almost full if you want to get on the river with me this fall you better call with a deposit very soon.  I have September 8th and 9th open. Last year we were getting them up river with no one around on this weekend.  This year if they aren’t in the river yet we can troll the lake or fish the estuary in my recently purchased Lund. This boat opens up a lot of options for the early season. These dates won’t last so call soon if you want them.

 

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There really isn’t a lot to report other than the fishing is good and getting even better. Everyone is catching fish right now. With a good number of fish left in the hatchery this is going to be an extended season for sure. I believe the colder temperatures have caused the fish to trickle out of the hatchery rather than come in large groups. Add these fish to the fish that spawn in the river and it makes for a great season that will last into mid May for sure.

There are also still fish spawning and fish that haven’t started to spawn yet. This past weekend one of my customers caught a dime bright hen that’s eggs were still tight. Check her out on my Facebook or Instagram page.

The best baits seem to change from day to day but for me it has been beads and egg sacs over anything else. All fished under a float. The plug bite has been inconsistent with some guys getting them on plugs but most not doing any real numbers yet. With this weeks warmer temperatures I expect the plug bite to really turn on if the water temperature goes over 40 degrees.

If you haven’t made it up yet the time is now. I am fully booked with the exception of doing an afternoon trip but I likely can find someone who has an opening if needed.

I will be posting a lot more as we transition into summer. Well at least I think we are going to transition into summer. Either way after this weekend it is on to Walleye and Pike then it will be Brook Trout and Black Bass. I still have some openings for the summer trips. I will be offering float trips on the Tug Hill area streams with my new Smith Fly Raft.

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You often here people talk about fishing destinations and how they are “bucket list”.  These are places people dream about fishing and hope they will make it too before they die. Many times they plan to go when they retire, when the kids move out of the house, child support payments end, and so on and so on.   I have a big problem with this.

First off you don’t know how long you are going to live.  You could die tomorrow, year or in 50 years.  No one knows how long they will live.  If you put a trip on your bucket list and then kick the bucket before you get to go what was the point.  No one shows pictures of places people wanted to visit at their funeral.  They do however often show pictures of extravagant places people visited while they were alive doing things they loved.  Think about when you have seen these pictures. Chances are you thought about how they may not be with us anymore but at least they were able to do things they loved in cool places. This likely brought a bit of a smile or a bit of relief to you during a sad time.

The second problem I have with bucket lists is you don’t know what kind of shape you will be in when your retire or whatever excuse you are using to delay trip of life time happens.  You might not be physically able to make the trip or may experience an unexpected financial hardship at a time in your life you aren’t able to make that money back up. So here you sit wishing you had taken the trip when you were younger. Again you never run into an old man in the fly shop talking about the trips he thought about going on. You will often see that old man telling you all about the places he fished when he was younger though. He will smile the entire time too.

This is why I say take that bucket list and turn it into a F it list.  Go now while you can. This doesn’t just include fishing trips. This is anything you have wanted to do. Find a way and do it.  Don’t have the money?  Find it. Sell some stuff you haven’t used and no longer need.  Get a side job. Take a loan if you have to. That is as long as it wont take food out of your families mouth that is. Now if you are single and it means box mac and cheese dinners for a few months I say go for it.

Now what I mean by a F it list is take that list of places you want to go and prioritize it. Now figure out a way to check one spot off each year.  My personal list has places that are expensive and places that won’t take much money they just require actually going.  My plan is to do an expensive one followed by a year or two of less expensive trips so I can recoup from the big trip. This spring I am going to Argentina to fish for Golden Dorado. To be honest I had no idea what a golden dorado was until I heard about this trip.  I found out a details from my friend Mark and said F it I want to go and I am going to go.  Fly fishing in South America is something I have always wanted to do. I had just planned on going for trout but only because I didn’t know about golden dorado.

I am also going with my family this winter to Mississippi to visit my brother in-law. This will mostly be a family trip but will include fishing for red fish and sea trout. Something I have also always wanted to do.  My wife has wanted to go visit her brother for a long time as well so we are saying F it and going this year while we can.

Many of us has places or types of trips we have wanted to take that are close by we just don’t take the time to do it.  It is time to change that.  Go do what is is you have dreamed about. As my boss always says this isn’t a dress rehearsal, if there is something you want to do you need to do it.  So many people die at young age before getting to do the things they dream about. Don’ t let it happen to you. Turn that bucket list into a F it list today.

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Everyone has different levels of experience and abilities.  There is no getting around that. When planning an outdoor adventure you need to remember this and be honest about it.  You also need to remember you might not be as good as you once were.  This is true for many aspects of your trip.

When you set up a trip with a guide they may ask you questions trying to judge your abilities. Based on the answers you give them they then plan out said trip.  This is why honesty is important.  Any good guide is going to have a plan b and probably a plan c. However, if you weren’t honest on the phone plan b and c might not be any better than the original plan.

This is especially important if your trip includes fishing back country out of the way waters and you have to hike to get to them.  You might have had no problem hiking for miles fishing in your younger or lighter years.  If those days have gone by and you don’t have time to get back into shape be honest. Tell your guide if you have trouble getting around or if you have knee problems.  Ask them if they can still put you on fish with out long walks to the water. If you don’t you may arrive and quickly find out you are not up for what the guide has planned.

This recently happened to me. I was told by a gentleman that him and his sons were used to hiking 3 to 6 miles in search of wild trout.  They wanted to fish somewhat remote areas where they wouldn’t see many people if any at all.  I was excited to book this trip as it is one of my favorites.  I started planning months before they trip and had 4 streams mapped out for the two days they would be fishing with me.  One of these streams required some bushwacking as there are no worn down trails and the other included a half mile walk from the truck followed by multiple waterfall climbs.  After fishing these two spots on day one I knew that my plans for day two were out the window and it was time to scramble and come up with a plan d.

The original stream for day two involved a few miles of step grade and big boulders.  This left me scratching my head as I needed easy walking wilderness fishing.  As you probably already know those don’t go together that often.  I scraped together a plan and we did our best on day 2 actually landing the biggest wild brook trout and wild brown trout of the weekend.  At the end of the day I was left feeling like two of my four guests weren’t happy with the results of the day.  I don’t like that feeling at all and of course went home and tried to figure out what I could have done different.

The answer was nothing. If had taken them any where that was easier walking it would have involved stocked fish and/or an urban environment.  Two things they didn’t want. In the end given correct knowledge of their ability I could have planned out the days a bit different as to not beat them up so much on the first day. I could have also explained ahead of time that I could put them on some big fish with easy walking on day two but we would be fishing in the middle of town. If they were honest with themselves that might have been alright with the idea.

Here is a list of some of things you should be upfront about when talking to your guide before the trip.

  1. What time you are willing to get out of bed. – Many guides want to be on the water before sun up.
  2. Your physical ability – Can you hike all day or would a boat be a better option.
  3. Your fishing ability – Don’t say you can cast an indicator rig 70 feet unless you can. This will come out very quickly.  A good guide will put you within your casting range of the fish.
  4. What you are expecting to catch. Make sure your expectations align with what the guide is planning to fish for. If you want 20 inch wild brook trout in a small stream it’s probably not going to happen.
  5. Any food allergies. Especially if the guide is providing food.

 

Just be honest with yourself and your guide. It will make for a much more enjoyable trip.

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I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about fishing and how I got started. I think back to the days spend rowing the wooden row boat in front of camp from sunrise until I heard the call that breakfast was ready or the days spent fishing for whatever would bite in the creek next to the house.  Those were simpler slower times.  I didn’t have a truck so I had to fish wherever I could walk or ride my bike to.

Most days were spent fishing the creek by the house.  These days I live on the other side of that same creek but rarely fish it. To tell the truth fishing the creek took a big down turn when I got my drivers license. There was no longer a reason to fish that little creek. I could drive to bigger “better” waters.  Never mind the fact that I had caught bass, pike, fall fish, chubs, suckers, bullhead, rockbass, and steelhead from that creek. Now I could drive and I was going to fish other places.

One place I spent a lot of time even before I could drive was Mexico Point. We fished from the break walls mostly. That was except the nights my friends and I camped out in the yard so we could sneak out and ride our bikes down there to fish at night. Yup we snuck out to go fishing and there wasn’t even any beer involved. I am not sure why we thought the fishing was going to be better at night. We never really caught much. I do remember catching a large eel one night though. Man that thing put up a fight.

Today I took a drive to Mexico Point to look for some perch but mostly to enjoy this warm afternoon before tomorrow’s cold gets here. I remembered spending hours out on the break wall casting lures into the lake and dropping curly tail grubs down in between the rocks. I am going to slow things down a bit this summer and go do exactly that a few days. We always caught fish back then so there is no reason why I wouldn’t now.

I am also going to spend more time on my creek. I know the fish are there.  I see them when I walk along it yet I am always rushing off to fish some place else.  I only have an hour and it’s a half hour drive but away I go. That is going to change this year. If I have a hour to fish I can spend 55 minutes of it on the creek rather than 30 some place else.  I am looking forward to teaching my oldest son to fish too. The creek is a perfect spot for kids.

I feel the world has become so fast pace that we don’t even escape it on our fishing adventures most of the time. I know I don’t at least. It’s always rush to the spot, fish later than I should, and rush back home.  People need to slow down and get back to where they started once in awhile. This summer that is exactly what I am going to do. Don’t get me wrong I have a whole list of new places to try and new people to fish with. However, at least a few days are going to be spent on the waters I fished as a kid and at least one day a week will be right on my own property.

Do yourself a favor. Slow down a few days this summer and relax fishing for sunfish, creek chubs, or whatever it was that got you started. 20170301_161036

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First off I would like to say good luck to all of those headed out for opening day tomorrow. As I write this I am sure on some streams there are people already lined up waiting for midnight to start casting.

Opening day is a holiday for many. For those that have to work they will most likely spend the day doing their job while secretly planning their attack for Saturday.  I am sure there are some that will even call in sick if they haven’t already.

I am going back to work tomorrow after being out for 3 weeks due to having my gallbladder removed. I know going back to work on opening day is crazy but I have guide trips Saturday, Sunday, and Monday so I needed to be back to work before I can be guiding.  Also there is the fact that my home water, the Salmon River, is open for trout fishing all year. We have been chasing giant rainbow trout, steelhead, all winter long and will continue to do so through April. In fact the bite just started to really get good while I have been out of work and unable to fish so I am really looking forward to this weekend. I do still have a couple dates open but my April is close to being fully booked.

In between working and guiding for steelhead this month I will be organizing my fly vest and tying more flies. Just waiting for May when I will hang up the steelhead gear and start chasing brookies, rainbows, and browns. I have already been following the line blue lines on my topo map and searching for new places to try. There is a beaver pond I have been meaning to hike to for two years now and this is going to be the year I finally do it. I have never been a still water fly fisherman but that is going to change this year.

I am also planning a trip to my favorite trout stream the West Branch of the Ausable river. I introduced my friend Jamie to it last year and he had a blast even though we were only able to fish one evening. This year we are planning a 4 day trip filled with trout and craft beer which happen to be two of my favorite things.

I am looking forward to seeing the Facebook and Instagram posts tomorrow as the mild winter has left most streams in prime condition for the opener.  Even the Tug Hill streams that normally have snow lined banks are in great shape as all the snow has already melted and run off.  Again good luck to everyone that is fishing tomorrow or this weekend.

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