Monday, December 31, 2007
I met up with a fishing buddy that had only fished the Caney once and wanted to see some access points. We started up high on the river not too far below the dam and things started out kinda slow. I was experimenting with a 3 fly rig, a dry for an indicator followed by a zebra midge and then some type of weighted nymph pattern. Early on, I tried the Copper John that had been doing well during previous recent trips. After that didn't work, I tried another nymph pattern or two before checking a rock off the bottom. Several scuds in the #18-#22 size range were scurrying around ranging in color from gray to olive. I had recently tied up some new patterns that I thought would imitate a scud well and tied it on. Soon I had my first fish and things were looking up. One of my nicest (not largest) fish of the day soon followed, so richly colored that if I hadn't known any better, I would have said it was a wild fish from an East Tennessee freestone stream. Sometimes the biggest fish aren't the best...
The rest of the day continued much better than the first part. It seemed like many of the fish in the river were feeding on scuds. In the deep runs, you could see the flashing of light off the sides of fish as they fed right on the bottom. After getting tired of fishing the upper river, we headed down and caught up with the generation pulse were the water was still falling out. Fish were up in the shallows over weed beds once again feeding heavily, and this time we did well with quite a few browns coming to hand. None were huge but all were healthy fish that fought well, often putting on acrobatic aerial displays. A few fish even took the dry that was serving as an indicator so all in all it was a nice day.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
It isn't often I can say this but I'm glad I wasn't trying to fish there yesterday. Water conditions like that are extremely dangerous for wading. The water is falling fairly fast though and should be quite fishable for the next couple of days before our first serious cold snap arrives and shuts down the fishing. Forecast highs for the middle of the week in the mountains aren't supposed to get out of the 20's so I'll be home tying lots of flies for the upcoming year hopefully.
The weather around the country is cold and bringing lots of precipitation as well. Yellowstone had a tough summer this past year with low water because of the low snowpack. Things are looking much better for next summer with yet another big storm system moving through the northern Rockies. A glance at the national weather map from the National Weather Service shows winter storm warnings, winter weather advisories, and even blizzard warnings for much of the area.
Look for the Rocky Mountain states to fish well next year and possibly even be on a "normal" schedule as far as runoff is concerned. Of course, a lot of factors still have to come together to make that happen, but so far things are looking up. I think its about time for me to start trying to figure out a way to have another Yellowstone trip this next summer...wish me luck!!!
Friday, December 28, 2007
Overall, the fishing was pretty good but it was really crowded at the main access points which made things a bit annoying. The highlight of the day was watching a big 20"+ brown moving up into a shallow run above a nice hole to feed. I made several perfect casts and got some nice drifts over him but stuck a decent rainbow instead and that was the last I saw of the big guy. Oh well, another time.
The top flies for me were various midges and a red copper john. I've been fishing copper johns more and more in all types of water and am surprised by the results. It seems like it shouldn't catch fish on a river like the Caney but you just never know.
As 2007 winds down, it is time to start thinking forward to '08 and the adventures it will undoubtedly hold. I think I'm going to be adjusting my fishing habits some, more on that later...
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
I've been tying a few flies in between studying for finals and as soon as I get home, I'll be tying fast and furiously trying to prepare for the behemoth browns that await and will probably tear my flies to shreds. Of course, I'll likely get some time on the home river, the Caney Fork. Also, a trip to a new river is in the works. I've been hearing great things for several years now about the Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam and will finally attempt a trip. The sad part is that the Cumberland is closer to my house than the Smokies and only about 30 miles farther than the Caney and yet, I've never been. The rumors of big fish have finally convinced me that an investigation should be carried out. The last month or so I've really been missing the tug of a big fish on the other end of the line so this break will be dedicated to looking for the big guys. Check back soon for updates...
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
A few lucky readers apparently get out a LOT more than I do. A total of 8 people said they fish over 100 days a year. I guess I need to find a house on a trout stream so I can do likewise, or perhaps we could return to the days of cheap gasoline although I'm not counting on it.
Those of you that fell into the first two categories, my deepest sympathies go out to you, particularly to those that fish less than 10 days a year. Of course, I could rub it in and remind you how I eclipsed that number on just one trip, but I'll try to be nice about it instead. So, if you don't get out too often, set yourself a goal next year to increase the number of days you spend on the water.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Thankfully, my next time fishing should be somewhere other than the HI. Most likely it will be the SoHo but it is possible that I will be on the Caney for a few hours before that. Regardless, the quality of fishing (well, at least the catching) should be much higher. I'm going for one of those big browns on the SoHo over Christmas break and will be fishing at least a couple of days over there. If things go well, I may have to schedule a bit more time to fish in East Tennessee. I can't wait!!!
Monday, December 03, 2007
Everyone has those days when you're catching fish but they just can't compare with the fish in another location. After being spoiled on my home waters over Thanksgiving break, the rubber trout of the Hiwassee didn't give the same thrill that they sometimes do. For example, if I haven't fished in a few weeks, the Hiwassee is great, and usually I'll catch a few colorful fish that make up for the rest of the dumb stockers. This last weekend wasn't one of those days. All the fish were cookie cutter stockers that looked like this:
When you compare this guy to the fish I regularly catch on my home waters, there's just no comparison.
The day wasn't completely useless as I discovered some very nice browns that should give me a great challenge this winter. If I'm lucky, perhaps I'll eventually catch one of the big boys. Thankfully, Christmas break will be here soon and I'll be back on the Caney and will probably even get some time in on the South Holston. Not a bad way to spend the holidays... Until then, you'll find me at the vise preparing for the festivities.
December 2006, SoHo
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
The cool weather was the only downside but I was able to beat it by touching very few fish. That's another great bonus of fishing tiny barbless flies. When you get the fish in, if you are quick with your hands you can just gently grab the hook and with a flick of the wrist remove the hook. The fish is happy to not be touched and you still get the enjoyment of the catch. Of course, I had to take an occasional picture which generally required picking the fish up one way or another.
To make the day better, I had a fishing buddy from East Tennessee that wanted to check out the river. Gerry Romer has been wanting to try out the Caney and since it was his birthday (Happy Birthday Gerry!), he figured it would be the perfect time. He couldn't have picked a better day. The fishing was just ridiculous. There were at least three times that I caught fish on back-to-back-to-back casts just to give you an idea of how crazy it was out there. Nothing huge, but we each caught some nice fish up to around 15 inches.
The big browns are up on the gravel so be extremely careful when wading. It would be nice for the fish to have a successful spawn. A little caution on the part of us fisherman can go a long ways towards making that happen.
As for the specifics on the fishing, we started out downriver from where I usually fish. The morning hours until around noon were spent nailing fish after fish on dries with the normal zebra midge dropper. I was really surprised at how many fish at our dries on Friday. The rumors of good dry fly fishing from the Resident Angler blog were quite accurate and you won't find us complaining about catching fish on top.
In the afternoon, we moved up to just below the dam. This section was not as easy as the morning but we were still catching plenty of fish. After a few extended slow spells, I started experimenting and finally started tearing them up again with a large (for the Caney) nymphs under an indicator. A beadhead Hares Ear nymph in a #16 worked well as did a #14 red Copper John. My best brown came to the BHGRHE near sunset. I was working a good run and had just missed several strikes in a row. Feeling frustrated, I refocused and when the indicator sucked under, I set the hook quickly to find this guy tugging on the other end. He bulldogged for awhile but finally came to hand for a quick picture.
Overall it was a great day on the river and I can't wait until Christmas break so I can do it again!!!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Today was the first day of Thanksgiving break. First on the agenda was a trip to the Dentist to check on my tooth I broke on the Hiwassee. As soon as that was done, I decided that I probably should go fishing. Accordingly I headed to the Caney Fork, well aware that it was supposed to rain. The fishing was decent. Not great but not bad either. I wonder how much the weather affected the fishing because it rained for several hours while I was on the water. Thankfully I remembered to bring a rain jacket so I stayed relatively dry.
The fish were a bit funny. I would tie on a new fly and quickly catch a fish but then I wouldn't catch one for awhile. The fish were actively feeding and my suspicion is that each fish in the river was keyed on something completely different.
The browns appear to be spawning (or at least trying to) now which makes for some interesting viewing opportunities. It isn't everyday you can watch big browns role around in skinny water. The rainbows were all healthy and had a lot of fight. More than once I thought I had finally hooked a good 18+ inch fish but it always turned out to be just the usual 12-15 inch fish. For their size, Caney Fork fish are some of the strongest fighting fish I've ever hooked.
Of special interest is that I caught another rainbow with a vivid red stripe. These look much different from the usual rainbows I catch and its always nice to catch something a little unusual. The picture quality is not good as the lens was fogging up but you can get the idea....
I have plans to be on the river again Friday despite the forecast cold temperatures so check back for more in a couple of days...
Sunday, November 18, 2007
School has finally started to slow down a bit. The bulk of my semester projects and papers have already been finished and turned in. This has freed up a little time for more important things like fishing and catching up on some fly tying. This weekend I tied several dozen flies and today I got in a few hours today on the Hiwassee. The fishing is decent, but not great. The fish are transitioning into cool weather mode where midges become one of the more important bugs to match.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
That's right! I went fishing twice this weekend...I guess it was just making up for lost time. Regardless, the second fishing trip was better than the first. Since I was home for the weekend, I just went down to the Caney Fork which I've been wanting to fish for awhile now. The fishing was great and the catching was phenomenal. I completely lost track of how many times I caught fish on consecutive casts and some of them were even eating the dry I had on as an indicator for my midge.
Friday, October 26, 2007
I'm sure you have all been extremely concerned about my lack of fishing so I decided that I should probably go today. The Hiwassee has been on the back of my mind for awhile so I finally went and checked it out. The river (at least the upper part) is full of fish that are all hungry and the fishing is good...
Unfortunately I never saw any large fish and all the fish I caught were recent stockers. On the other hand, reports from the river have indicated that the water temps stayed within the tolerance range for the trout over the course of the summer. Hopefully we'll see some better fish once we get a chance to explore a bit more over the next few months.
I mainly fished up in the vicinity of the powerhouse today and as I said, there were lots of fish in the river. They appeared to be starving to death and I couldn't keep them off my flies today. The best fish was around 12 inches but was on the skinny side in my opinion.
I'll likely fish again Sunday morning early for a couple of hours so check back soon for some information on the Caney Fork...
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
School is a terrible thing, at least when it interrupts more important things like fishing. I still haven't been fishing since my weekend trip to the Smokies several weeks ago. To keep from going insane, I have still managed to get outside a bit to climb and also to document the change of season. A few pictures of fall here in Tennessee...
The possibility exists for some fishing trips to finally start happening in the near future so check back for a report on that in a few days...
Monday, October 08, 2007
Sunday, October 07, 2007
We arrived at Slough relatively early in the morning since we could only fish until 2:00 in the afternoon. We stopped at the first pullout that caught our eye and walked down to look at the water. In awe we saw several very nice fish slowly cruising the pool and feeding as they swam slowly along. The plan had been to eat a quick streamside breakfast but I just couldn't wait after I saw the fish all feeding so well. After a quick trip back to the car, I returned ready to catch some fish. A small midge seemed appropriate since those were the only insects we saw on the water as of yet. My buddy Trevor decided on a Green Drake since the fish were supposedly used to seeing them. This proved a much better choice than mine and he was soon into several nice fish at the head of the pool. I was patiently stalking a nice fish and even got it to eat but couldn't get the hook set. A little while later another fish moved into range and this time I got everything right and soon had my first Slough Creek fish to hand.
I had caught my fish so I could focus on more important things such as eating breakfast. After the break, I decided to try some other flies. I really wanted to throw big dries so I figured it couldn't hurt anything. By this time the wind was really picking up making casting a real chore. The surface of the stream was covered in chop and that made it hard to see even my large #8 Chernobyl Ant. The fish didn't seem at all bothered by the wind and it probably helped conceal our presence. I soon found a sweet spot and nailed several nice fish including this rainbow that was somewhere around 18 inches.
Just when the fishing seemed to really be getting going, the afternoon closure went into effect. We had caught our fish though and were satisfied with the results so it was off to camp for an afternoon of relaxation.
Evening finally rolled around and we just couldn't resist one last trip up to Trout Lake. Our few glimpses of large fish were enough to motivate us to keep on trying. When we got to the lake, we were surprised to find several people fishing. The other evenings we had fished there, we generally had the lake pretty much to ourselves. There were several people fishing from float tubes which really is the best way to fish this lake.
Amazingly, the larger fish was still cruising the shoreline looking for some tasty morsel and I had the perfect appetizer tied on. My first cast was behind the fish but the next one was perfect and I watched in awe as the fish turned and nailed the fly. I waited just long enough to be sure of a clean hook set and then lifted my rodtip. The fish went absolutely ballistic. It went on a continuous run nearly to my backing before I was able to get it under any semblance of control. I was worried that my drag might not hold up to such a determined fish but everything was doing fine. I hollered over to Trevor that I had a good fish on and wanted a picture. Finally, as the big fish began to tire and come in, I decided I wasn't risking such a nice fish. I jumped into the water so I would be in the best position to land the fish. Beaching such a magnificent fish was not a good option in my opinion so I gently led it into the shallow water between me and the shore. Carefully, I grabbed the tail of the big 'bow and then cradled my other hand under it. The fish was tired and calmly posed for a couple of quick pictures after which I spent another minute carefully reviving the beauty. Finally, with a powerful thrust of its tail, the fish sped back into the lake leaving me with a memory and a couple of pictures.
This was the perfect cap to an already great Yellowstone trip. Of course, I can't wait to get back and next time, I'll have a float tube for fishing Trout Lake the way it should be fished. Another stop on the trip was yet to be made though including more car trouble...
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
I finally found a little time to add another short post about Yellowstone. The first of these two days was spent on the Lamar and upper Soda Butte. The next day was for fishing the Yellowstone River and it was quite memorable.