Tuesday, December 23, 2014

In The News

Troubling news for brook trout in North Carolina. Click HERE to read more.

Winter Fishing....Why We Love It

One common thread that you will notice if you look at fly fishing guide service websites or follow the guide's blogs is that we all love fishing in the winter. There are several reasons for this. Not only is it a slower time for the guides, but there are many other reasons for this often misunderstood phenomenon. I've listed a few of the reasons below:

No Crowds
We can all relate to this one. The winter months seem to be the only time that you can truly enjoy the solitude of being waist deep in a pristine trout stream, or even floating a river with no other boats in sight. This alone is worth the trip to many of us. As a guide we get accustomed to dealing with crowds of other fishermen on a daily basis while working clients on productive water. After all, productive water draws fly fishermen like a moth to a flame, as it should. But on many of our tailwaters we also have the added numbers of recreational paddlers to deal with throughout the day. Nothing wrong with that, and they are certainly entitled to the same waters, but it is nice when you have less crowded waters to enjoy. Even they would agree with that.

Migrating Fish
Many of us enjoy the search for migrating fish that occurs in the late fall and winter months. Depending on your location, this could mean steelhead, salmon or brown trout. These fish will migrate in the colder months for spawning purposes. It can mean lots of suffering for the fisherman that stands out in the cold water drifting flies, but as they say, "The Tug is the Drug". I promise you that when a steelhead slams your swung fly you will forget all about the weather! Granted, it doesn't happen as often as we would like, but that's what makes it so special. After all, no one makes fun of deer or duck hunters. Why do they look at us like we're crazy when they see us standing out in the water when it's below freezing? After all, it's as close to hunting as some of us get anymore.

Larger Fish
Now I know this one may seem kind of far fetched, but on average I think the size of fish being caught this time of year increases. Think about it, the mature fish are the ones that are migrating after all. Plus the fact that they have more body weight to try and maintain throughout the year. True, their metabolism does slow down, but they still have to eat more than their smaller counterparts. In fact, they will often eat their smaller counterparts to maintain that weight during the winter months. That's why those big, gawky looking swung flies are so effective.

Spot & Stalk
Going back to the hunting comparison, many of us enjoy searching for those big fish that often lie out in the open during the winter. The big brown trout are especially vulnerable during this time. These bigger fish spend the rest of their lives moving and feeding almost exclusively at night. During the pre-spawn migration however, they let their guard down as they search for, and court, their prospective mates. This, combined with the fact that the colder water is much clearer, makes it possible to locate these fish during their big move. Obviously we don't fish to them while they are actively spawning, but during their migration they're fair game. Just remember to follow strict catch and release guidelines, use barbless hooks and handle them carefully. After all, they're the future of our fisheries.

I hope this will answer some of the questions from perhaps a newer generation of fly fishermen out there that seem to think this is the off-season. True, it is an art in itself understanding the winter fisheries and how to approach fishing them, but with a little homework I think you'll find it worthwhile to say the least. In fact, I know a few people that almost exclusively fish during the colder months. Get out there and enjoy the fishing. Just be careful and stay dry! Good luck!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tellico River Fishing Report

    The Tellico River remains a top fishery throughout the Delayed Harvest season. The water is gin clear, and at last check was running at 41 degrees in the DH section. The trout continue to take common nymph patterns that are dredged deep through obvious runs. We also caught several stripping size 6 olive buggers through deeper channels.
    On our guided trip earlier this month we got to spend some time on the North River as well. We were looking for some post-spawn brown trout, which sadly eluded us on this trip, but we did catch several wild rainbow trout in a short period of time. We were fishing in the lower stretches and were pleased to see such good populations of fish that far down the river. North River continues to improve as a wild trout fishery each year. This time of year provides virtual solitude on that river, and the fishing is as good as it gets on any wild stream in this state. That combination is hard to find anywhere else, especially in the Smokies. Look for North River to become a destination fishery in the future. I know it already is for several that are in the know, but I think it will continue to gain in popularity.
    Speaking of wild streams in Tennessee, many people simply don't realize how good North and Bald Rivers can be almost any time of year. With several miles of good trout water available you can easily fish some sections the entire day without encountering another fisherman. That simply can't be said for the Smokies, which at times feels like a circus environment due to the shear volume of traffic that you have to deal with throughout the day. The solitude alone makes our streams worth the trip. Come check them out for yourself. You'll be glad you did!

Gift Certificates Available

We still have gift certificates for guided fishing trips available for those fishermen on your list that are hard to buy for. They can be delivered before Christmas and really do make the perfect gift for anyone on your list who enjoys fishing.

Thomas & Thomas Fine Fly Rods

We are pleased to announce that Tellico Angler will now exclusively provide T&T rods to our customers. As always, our customers are welcome to bring whatever rod they choose to fish with on our guided trips. However, for those that want us to provide the rods, or if they just want to test drive a T&T rod, we will have a large selection to choose from.
In our humble opinion, these are the best rods on the market today. They are also one of very few brands that are entirely made in the USA. Every process and every component used in making these rods is a product of the USA. That can't be said for many products used in fly fishing today. We are proud to support such a company and hope that you will join us in showing your support to a great American company.