News From Trout Zone Anglers: July 2015
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Welcome! Thank you for taking the time to read the July 2015 Newsletter. In this edition, you can find out about the improving fishing conditions across middle and east Tennessee.

Water levels were elevated on some of the high brook trout streams yesterday. Fishing was accordingly excellent.

Current Smokies Conditions

The low water is still a recent memory and ongoing threat, but an increase in precipitation across the area has brought improving water conditions.

Yesterday, I made it up to the Smokies to teach a friend to fly fish. We headed up high to look for brook and rainbow trout. Rumor said that the streams were high and off color, but I for one was willing to risk the drive. That gut instinct paid off in a big way with a great time on the water and plenty of fish caught. The flow was definitely up, but not any worse than a good springtime level. I think my buddy will be fly fishing again. One of the best quotes of the day was, "This is fun! I wish I had tried this out a lot sooner."

Over the last month, a lot of people have been introduced to fly fishing in the Smokies on a trip with me and quite a few have been fly fishing for the first time. Everyone has caught fish! Even with the low water, the catching has been good, but sometimes it takes that local knowledge to get on the better water. With the water cooling some, more streams are coming back into play, at least temporarily.

Stream levels will continue to improve if the forecast verifies. Little River is finally flowing right around normal. Any additional rainfall will result in higher water which should bring the fish out to play. We could use another two to three inches of rain to really soak into the ground and bring water levels up permanently. Without additional rainfall, stream levels will fall back down to very low levels in a hurry so always check the Little River flow gauge. Remember that these pop up storms can drop rain on one drainage but not others so your results may vary widely across the Park. You can find the streamflow gauges through the Links page at Trout Zone Anglers.

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Tailwater Update and Fishing Report


The Caney Fork is still fishing great and should continue to fish well throughout the rest of the summer unless we get too much rain. This tailwater fishes very well in dry years.

If you are planning on heading out, consider booking a float trip. Fishing pressure has been heavy from wade anglers this year, but a float will get you away from other anglers and on less pressured water.

Still want to head out on your own? Nymphs in a wide variety of sizes and of course midges (#18-#24) have been getting it done. On most days, the fish seem to show a preference for olive or gray for the midges. Don't forget your sow bug imitations as well.

Finally, terrestrial season is upon us. Beetle fishing is in full swing and hoppers are coming on stronger now as well. I recently nailed a gorgeous brown on a hopper and am ready to start doing terrestrial float trips for those wanting some exciting fishing. The ability to cast accurately at a longer distance than some of the fishing we do on floats is a bonus when looking to score a big trout on terrestrials, so polish up your casting before booking one of these floats.

Here are a few pictures from recent float trips.

Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report

As mentioned above in the Smokies Conditions section, fishing is quite good in the mountains now. July is normally one of the wettest months so look for conditions to continue improving as we move through the traditionally hottest time of the year.

I still recommend fishing the mid and higher elevation streams although some of the lower elevation waters are fishing well at times. Keep streams like Little River along the road as a morning option and then head higher if you must fish the larger streams.

Fish are coming to a variety of dry flies but it is hard to beat a #14 or #16 Yellow Stimulator with a small bead head nymph dropped underneath. Terrestrial fishing is good to excellent right now so make sure you have some beetles, ants, and inchworm imitations with you. Isonychia nymph imitations can result in some larger than usual trout for those patient enough to stick to a deep nymph rig and fish early and late. Streamers have even been moving some nicer fish when the water levels are elevated and dingy, just remember to hit the stream early or late to enjoy the best that streamer fishing has to offer.

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The Trout Zone Blog Update

June was very busy for guiding, and unfortunately that meant the blog suffered some in the process. Still, a few new articles came out with some good information. Some were the usual fishing reports while others were my thoughts on things from my new Simms Headwaters Guide Hip Pack to the evils of Hotspotting when giving fishing reports. The latter generated more comments and page views than normal which tells me it is a topic that hits close to home and is important to many anglers.

A lot more great content is also on the way from the Trout Zone including reports from smallmouth and trout streams and thoughts on my new toy, an Orvis Superfine Glass rod (7' 6" 4 weight).

Oh, and for anyone wanting to try out a glass rod, this rod is now available for clients to use on guide trips if you request it!

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