The entire Midwest has been warm, and it’s going to stay that way.  We’re just wrapping up our vacation so wifi and cell have been pretty spotty but the above pic somehow made it to me.  That’s a dandy trout!  Apparently Grayling had a pretty good ice storm too.  But the next week looks free of ice and pretty fishy…I’m anxious to return and fish the home waters, and write an actual fishing report about them!

But, it sure has been fun returning to the Smokies and boulder-hopping along my old favorite streams.  I’m bruised and battered and sore from us cramming as much into this beautiful weather as daylight allows.  I’ve had A LOT of time to fine tune my nymphing in this pocket water.  I’m hopeful some of what I learned here will translate up north.

There just isn’t any substitute for wild trout.  The rivers in the park are much busier with anglers than I remember.  Sure, the weather has something to do with it.  But in a land that stocks tens of thousands of trout in the lowland streams, it’s nice to know that quite a few anglers are choosing less on purpose, and heading into the mountains where the water is clear and cold, the trout few and spooky, and the experience is better because of it.

All dad ever says is mend!  

We’ve got a full spring planned around the lodge with lots of cool classes and events, as well the great fishing that is rushing right at us.  If you’ve never taken a trip pre-hatch, which is any spring-like day after February 15th if you ask me, you’re missing some pretty cool fishing.  These first spring warmups are awesome.  You can nymph fish, streamer fish, wade fish, float fish.  The lack of snow pack means much of the river is accessible: far more than normal.  It’s looking like a fairly gentle end of winter, and that’s good for both the trout and the angler.

Denny and John will be hosting our second to last Free Fly Tying Saturday this Saturday, from 9 am – 2 pm (see below).