Friday, December 29, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Monday, December 25, 2006
I hope that everyone has a great Christmas and a happy New Years. Be sure and take some time to get out on the water to experience some great fishing!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
A large black stonefly nymph came out of my fly box and I started chucking it in at the head of the pool. On just the third or fourth cast, I had one of those great strikes where the line just stops and when you set the hook, something heavy is shaking its head. I was really hoping that it was a decent brown but out of the depths came a flash of rainbow. Now I was excited since I haven't got as many nice rainbows this year as in years past. Finally, I had the fish, all 15 inches of rainbow, up for a quick picture (which didn't turn out too good) and slid it back into the pool I had taken it from. Here's the best of the 3 pictures I got of the good rainbow.
The fishing today was very good, easily the best I've seen in a couple of months. Fish were feeding heavily just about everywhere I stopped. I even saw a good brown out cruising in one hole. There were good numbers of midges hatching. A Tellico, Zebra Midge, and of course the stonefly nymph all did well today. Most of the fish I saw were feeding subsurface but there were a couple of rises over the course of the afternoon.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
The beautiful weather we've been having called for some fishing so it was off to a river that I've never fished before. The Clinch is one of the most popular East Tennessee tailwaters and rightly so. Every year, very large fish are caught on this river. Today however, I was just glad to be on the water with the fish biting. I used a dry/dropper setup all day with a parachute Adams dry and various midge droppers. I struggled to find fish of any size for a lot of the day but finally found some nicer fish that were around 12 inches. Not the monsters that I've heard about but they were fat and put on some great aerial displays. It was a good first day on a new river with around 20 fish to hand. As a side note, the late afternoon midge hatches were absolutely huge. The air was swarming with all kinds of small bugs and the fish were greedily feeding on the surface. With the weather supposed to be nice again tomorrow, I'll probably be fishing again somewhere so stay tuned for more.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
A Tellico tributary was my goal and I flew along, over and around the ridges. As I approached the bridge where I would first see the river, I noticed that the water looked awfully swift. Sure enough, the stream was high and off color. After a brief stop to make sure it wasn’t worth my time, I decided to head towards the upper Tellico and maybe some more tribs. High water seemed to be the theme of the day until I saw a stream entering the main river that looked semi normal. It was up and stained but not chocolate milk. “The fish should be feeding….” I thought to myself.
I was soon in the water with a fish on and things were looking up. However, I couldn’t keep any more on long enough to get a good look at them. Finally, the thought came to me to do some exploring so I headed to higher elevations in search of a brookie. The normally small trickles that originate high on the mountains were a lot higher but not too dirty. I had a few hits before I landed my first monster brookie! A solid 2 inches!!!
Happy that I caught one, I almost quit for the day but decided to try a couple more holes. I found a nice spot where a tiny feeder creek entered. My nymph was lobbed up into the small pool and the line came alive. “That’s a nice rainbow for this little stream” I mused. When I saw the fish, I had a pleasant surprise. It was another brookie and this one was a fat 8 1/2 inches. The day suddenly seemed brighter as I slipped out the hook and watched the fish fade back into the pool…
Sunday, October 22, 2006
The Smokies are beautiful this time of year. The leaves are changing and it seems like everyone within a days drive of the park is here to look at the colors. The fishin' ain't bad either! Since it was fall break, a camping trip seemed in order with a healthy dose of fishing planned as well. My cousin wanted to come up for the weekend and I finally convinced him to try out fly fishing also. He was a natural from the start due in part to lots of previous spin fishing experience. After a quick demonstration to show him the method we would be using, he started fishing. Within 5 minutes, he had his first fish on!
He caught a few more fish and is now thoroughly hooked. Being his first time trying to catch trout on the fly rod, he did exceptionally well. Many people find the Smokies fish to be a bit challenging at first but he was fishing like a pro in no time. Of course, I had to catch a few fish myself as well but none were particularly noteworthy this trip. I'll have to go again in a couple of weeks to try and catch some more large browns so stay tuned for more!
Thursday, October 12, 2006
As always, this summer was very memorable for me. I was fortunate enough to land a job in Colorado in the Gunnison vicinity close to hundreds of miles of trout streams and numerous still waters. Every fly fisherman dreams of taking trips to the locations described in the glossy pages of fly fishing magazines and I was going to work within a couple of hours of several such famous streams.
Of course I had to fish the Gunnison and its famous tributary, the Taylor River. Other lesser known streams would also provide some spectacular moments in the wilds of Colorado. I could tell story after story of various fish caught and almost caught. There was a 20+ inch rainbow I fought on the Taylor for several minutes before the tiny midge popped out. Wild brown and brook trout taken from pristine trickles high in the Rockies and then returned to the ribbon of liquid silver they called home. Then there was the 20 inch brown that sipped a CDC BWO emerger pattern when I did not have a camera with me.
Three excursions in particular stand out as high points to my summer fishing. One was the large brown. The next was a day trip into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. I finally convinced some friends that they would enjoy the killer hike 2000 feet straight down into the Black Canyon in the National Park. We arrived streamside and I rigged up while they searched for a good place to swim. I had a couple of bumps on a softhackle and finally landed a small brown but I know it should be a lot better. I finally tied on a Copper John and that turned out to be the ticket. I lost count of how many fish I landed, all browns (above-left) except for one beautiful rainbow (left). The fish were all very strong and full of fight.
My final weekend provided the last great memory. Native Cutts!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
A highlight of the day was seeing some huge browns up in the shallows. There isn't any natural reproduction in the Caney but apparently the fish are still trying to go through the motions. They were exceptionally spooky and I couldn't get any of them to eat my flies. Maybe I'll just have to go back soon...
Monday, September 18, 2006
Saturday I woke up and decided to try some new water. I drove over to Greenbriar and parked at the Ramsey Cascades Trailhead. I started fishing upstream from the bridge at the trailhead and fished between a mile and a mile and a half of water. It seemed I could do no wrong. I caught 40+ fish, mostly on a beadhead Tellico nymph but several also came on dry flies. I caught probably half rainbows and brookies with lots of nice sized fish mixed in. I had several rainbows in the 9-11 inch range and a couple of 8-9 inch brookies. I finally decided I was done battling the stream, which was probably the most difficult to traverse that I have ever personally fished. There were tons of huge boulders blocking upstream progress and several times I almost thought I would have to go back all the way downstream to the bridge to get out.
After returning to my car, I headed back over to Little River. Maybe, just maybe I would catch another nice brown. I started fishing a Tellico deep through I large hole when my line just stopped. I quickly set the hook on what I was hoping wasn't a snag. Sure enough, I felt a good-sized head shaking and soon had a 16 inch brown just long enough to slip out the fly. Shaking with excitement, I moved lower down in the pool and caught a small rainbow before moving back up to the head of the pool. I tried the same spot and had the same result, except this time when I set the hook, I didn't feel anything moving. "Oh no, here we go" I thought. I jerked again hoping to set the fly free when something started moving. "There is no way" I mused, but the fish seemed very real as it started surging toward an overhanging ledge underwater. I stressed the 4x tippet as much as I dared and eventually worked up another good brown, this one going 18 inches!!! I originally thought it was 17 inches as I measured it against my rod. I used to have marks on my rod so I could quickly measure a fish but they have worn off. After measuring my rod again, I realized that I caught my first 18 inch brown this weekend!!!
I think the solution to catching big fish must really be to go without a camera. It worked great for me this weekend, and I think it might be foolproof. I will have to test my theory by always taking a camera from now on and seeing if I ever catch good fish again. I will be back soon to fish the fall hatches. This is my favorite time of year and I will be on my home waters as much as my classes allow me to!
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Fall may be my favorite time of the year to fish, perhaps in part because I catch so many fish then, or maybe because the weather is cooler. Regardless of the exact reason, fall is a special time of year when I roam the streams in search of trophy fish.
Sometime, hopefully soon, I will find that one large fish in the Smokies that is willing to eat my fly. Having often spotted but never hooked the large browns that prowl Little River, I have never experienced the rush of adrenaline from hooking one of those monsters. This summer I hooked my second legitimate 20 inch plus brown, but not on my home waters. So now, as the weather cools, I am preparing to once again attempt a shot at the large fish in the Smokies. Maybe this will be the year I hook my first large brown. If not, I will still enjoy fishing my favorite water at my favorite time!
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Monday, August 28, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
With the dog days of summer upon us, the area streams are getting low and clear. This creates a great opportunity to combine hunting and fishing. The ability to stalk your prey (the fish) and properly present a fly is of utmost importance at this time of year. I made the 20 minute drive to Daddys Creek, a stream that contains plenty of smallies in addition to redeye bass and other sunfish. I have never done particularly well in my attempts to catch smallmouth, although I'm always able to interest a small one or two in my meager offerings. This day was not much different as far as the smallies were concerned. I managed a couple with the largest pictured here. I also caught some redeye and a pumpkinseed sunfish. The fish were earned the hard way however, as I had to stay out of the water as much as possible and make long casts that landed like a whisper on the still water. Further adding to the difficulty was the streamside vegetation which necessitated an inordinate amount of roll casting. The trip was worth it though when the little 8 inch smallmouth (above) appeared like a ghost underneath my fly before sipping it as gullibly as a 20 inch rainbow on the Firehole River of Yellowstone taking a PMD Sparkle Dun. I gently raised the rod-tip and after a brief battle, I admired the beautiful specimen briefly, snapped a quick picture, and then watched the fish rocket back to whatever midstream lair I had just lured it away from.
Monday, August 21, 2006
On monday, a friend and I decided to try a more out of the way access that he knew about. We arrived at around 8:00 in the morning and started working our way downstream. Just as it was the day before, the fish were not as cooperative as I thought they should be and we worked hard to coax in a few fish. Later in the morning, we moved upstream to Betty's Island and got into a few more fish, mainly recent stocker browns that weren't very large.
Both days I stuck to my tried and true zebra midges and perhaps that is why things seemed slow. I probably should have tried experimenting a little bit more. At Betty's Island, the fish were rising to our dries fairly well which was rather interesting. My friend had a very nice brown of probably 16-18 inches eat his midge dropper at Betty's but could not connect with the fish. This last picture is a typical small brown my friend caught, the first of several for him.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Sometime early in my fishing career, my family made one of the occasional trips to the Great Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee. I will never forget driving through Townsend and seeing a guy standing in the middle of Little River waving this long fishing pole, line arcing gracefully backwards and forwards and then floating delicately down to the surface of the stream. It was poetry in motion and I was hooked. I knew exactly what kind of fisherman I wanted to be and the type of fish I wanted to catch. However, it was not to be just yet. My fishing career had a few more steps before I got that first fly rod.
Another small pond was discovered when one of my parents friends invited us out to his place. He had a nice pond with the usual bluegills but also bass and catfish. A trip to Walmart and I was ready to go with my new bass lures. Sure enough, I started catching bass, albeit rather small ones. The bass provided a fun new challenge but I was still looking for something more out of my fishing experience. The scene from the mountain stream kept replaying itself in my head until I finally made myself save up the necessary money to go by a cheap walmart fly rod.
I did not know anything about fly fishing and having no one to teach me I probably bought gear that was not matched in any way. I didn't know there were different line weights and rods and reels to fit those rods. I just got what they had at walmart and proceeded to beat the freshly mowed grass as I clumsily began trying to figure out how to cast the crazy thing. Thanks to a couple of books and a video rented from the local movie rental store, I was soon casting far enough to at least go fishing.
I still had no idea what I was doing though so except for a few minnows, I wasn't catching anything. I kept at it though and my parents purchased a slightly better rod for my birthday. By this time I had figured out about the different rod and line weights so I got the appropriate 6 weight line from Walmart for my new rod. During each occasional trip to the Smokies, I would stop at Little River Outfitters (LRO) in Townsend to ask advice and get some flies as I had just started tying my own and they didn't look like real flies yet. Finally, my first rainbow came on Anthony Creek in Cades Cove on a Gold Ribbed Hares Ear nymph and it was pretty accidental. Nevertheless I was thrilled and wanted to catch some more. Following some advice from the good folk at LRO, I soon found a spot and caught some more small rainbows, this time on dry flies.
From there things kept getting better until I was able to catch fish just about every time I went. A half day spent with Walter Babb, an excellent Smokies guide, and I was catching fish consistently on nymphs as well as dries. From there I seemed to improve a lot every single trip, catching more and more fish and larger ones as well. And so why do I keep going? Why fly fishing?
That is a question that I'm sure many other people would like an answer for. Some people will reply that it is for the solitude, the time alone and in nature. For others, it is the challenge of finding the ultimate fish and figuring out how to catch it. For me? Maybe it is a little of everything. Whenever I go fishing, I am able to forget whatever stress happens to be in my life at the moment. My mind becomes completely free and clear surrounded by the majestic natural world. Life seems simple and uncomplicated when I am on the water, particularly when it is a mountain stream and I am by myself. I have had many memorable experiences fishing, and maybe that is why I go, to try and better my previous stories. Or maybe it is to talk with the Creator God who made all this splendor for our enjoyment. Maybe someday I will find out why I fly fish. Until then, I will continue my search for the perfect sream, the perfect fish, the perfect cast and maybe, just maybe I'll find it someday.