Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Just above Metcalf again...
Sheet ice after the puddle drained out...
Another view of the run shown above...
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
According to the story from CNN, a large area of sludge broke free from the containment area, eventually covering around 400 acres in the potentially hazardous material. While TVA officials say it can't yet be called toxic,
One environmental attorney called that statement "irresponsible." The ash that gives sludge its thick, pudding-like consistency in this case is known as fly ash, which results from the combustion of coal. Fly ash contains concentrated amounts of mercury, arsenic and benzine, said Chandra Taylor, staff attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Wow, mercury, arsenic and benzine...sounds great for the Clinch. Fortunately for the trout fishery, this spill occured well downstream of the prime trout water. Still, as the Clinch is a major tributary to the Tennessee River, this is clearly a bad situation. Of course, I'm probably a little more bitter than normal since TVA is generating on most of the area tailwaters making a tailwater trip highly unlikely in the near future (unless its the SoHo)...that and the fact that the spill has already been killing fish in the area... I guess at this point the best thing to hope for is that the cleanup can be done quickly and thoroughly...
Friday, December 19, 2008
During the past week, I've fished the SoHo twice and found good fish both times. Local anglers have been catching fish up to 15 and even 20 pounds and while I never saw any of the real behemoths, I did find plenty of willing fish and even a few good fish.
My best fish was a female of around 20 inches that took an egg pattern as soon as I got a good drift. I landed another very large male that was not fair hooked so this fish does not really count but was still a beautiful fish that I enjoyed getting to see up close. I had spotted a really good fish but couldn't see it very well. Casting just above where I thought the fish was, my line went tight almost before the flies hit the water. I reacted by setting the hook into what turned out to be the wrong end of the fish. After following the fish downriver, I got it under control and managed to remove mine and some other flies as well that the poor fish had picked up somewhere. This was the last fish of the day and while I enjoyed fishing for large tailwater trout, I'm really missing the simplicity of a small stream, a 4 weight and a handful of dry flies.
While dry flies may or may not catch fish, I'll likely head for the mountains soon where I can hone my skills on the wily rainbow, brown and brook trout that inhabit the streams of the Smokies. This winter I've set myself the goal of unlocking the secrets of fishing the freestone streams in the winter. The fish clearly still have to eat and I'm set on figuring out how to catch lots of fish in the cold weather. James Marsh over at Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains has provided some inspiration with entertaining articles in his Fishing Journal. Recently he had a series of articles on fishing cold water in the Smokies that will be a good starting point for my experiments. I'm fully convinced that if one is willing to change tactics, catching lots of fish in the winter on a freestone stream is not out of the question...
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
That's fine with me as the well-known tailwater has been getting hammered for the last several weeks and this should give the fish a chance to grow without the constant fishing pressure. This time of year often brings on a shad kill meaning those that want to brave the high flows and rip streamers might catch a large fish. Right now it might be a little two high. I'd probably wait until they cut back to one generator but then it should start to get interesting. The fish will be even stronger due to the high flows.
The weather situation out west is encouraging as well. A quick check of the National Weather Service homepage shows winter storm warnings, blizzard warnings, and winter weather advisories across much of the west . Forecasts for the entire Rocky Mountain region from Arizona and New Mexico north to Montana for the next week indicate several strong storm systems will traverse the region over the next several days. Lots of snow means a good fishing year next summer so the more the better!
Back on the home front, big things are happening this week. I will finally be graduating from college with a B.A. in Mathematics, a Minor in History, and secondary teaching credentials. In celebration I'll probably be doing my fair share of fishing this next week including another pilgrimage to the South Holston River in search of the monster browns that make this tailwater famous. The last trip did not produce any monsters but this week should be better...
Friday, December 05, 2008
Midges are extremely important as a trout food on many waters around the country. My buddy Trevor Smart told me about this amazing video from Ralph and Lisa Cutter which shows the various stages of the midge life cycle.
These insects are particularly important as we enter the coldest months of the year. On many days, midges may be one of the only things hatching and to be successful, a good fisherman will be sure and carry the appropriate patterns to match the hatch. Soon I'll be sharing some of my favorite midge patterns including how to fish them. Until then, enjoy this video...
Monday, December 01, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
In other things, I'm thankful to almost be done with college. Graduation will be here in another three weeks or so. I have a great family and lots of good friends. God has definitely blessed me and life is good!
I hope everyone that reads this blog has a great Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Based on personal experience, I have a hard time believing that this is an accurate sample of all fly fisherman. The last two weekends of fishing on the Caney Fork seem to have reinforced this belief. While catching plenty of nice fish, my buddies and I often had large sections of the river to ourselves without putting in much effort. This is highly unusual on the popular middle Tennessee tailwater where it sometimes feels like you should have brought your own rock. Many people stay away once the air temperature drop but as many of you obviously know, this is a huge mistake. I won't complain though because it leaves lots of water for me.
This next week will be a good one for fishing. I'm looking at taking a trip up to the South Holston River. If the first trip goes well I might drive up again and fish it twice in one week. Of course I would like to fish the Caney or Cumberland also so time will tell exactly where I end up fishing. I'm encouraged by the weather forecast though. On Monday we have a cold front forecast to push through the southeastern United States bringing rain showers to most areas of middle and eastern Tennessee. The drought is still keeping area freestone streams very low so any rain we get is beneficial. By next weekend it looks like a stronger system might be moving in. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to fish during nasty weather. The fish will be very active during the day with the cloudy skies and new moon. Fisherman should be also...
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Once again I spent some time on the river this past weekend. Unfortunately it looks like that will be my last time on the water until next week during break. The cold weather kept a lot of people off the river for a second weekend in a row. This was good for us because it meant we were able to fish all the best runs without any competition for a change.
Our first stop didn't produce any fish over 16 inches or so. Despite the lack of larger fish, the fishing was still excellent. There were several times that we were all hooked up simultaneously. The river is absolutely on fire right now if you have the correct flies and know where the fish like to feed.
The water started coming up after we had fished for a couple of hours so we headed up to fish just below the dam. This proved to be a good choice and we found the largest fish we spotted all day. After working a pod of good fish for several minutes, I finally hooked one and it immediately went ballistic. Thankfully all my knots held and I was soon admiring a beautiful male brown in the shallows. After a couple photographs, I released the fish and watched it bolt back to the dark run it calls home.
Joe Mcgroom photograph
Later on I came back to the same pod after they had calmed down and hooked a beast. The fish tore across the river towards a log on the far bank but I somehow managed to keep it from hanging up. Next it decided to head downriver. Moving quickly in pursuit, I grew increasingly nervous as the battle was becoming drawn out and I knew it was a monster. Suddenly the line went limp and I was left to ponder what might have been. Reeling in my line I discovered that it was no fault of my own. The #16 hook had straightened out partially, just enough for the big fish to gain its freedom.
Joe's big brown
My buddy Joe Mcgroom also managed to catch a pig. If he wasn't ruined last week he definitely is now.
Joe with his big brown...We're planning a trip to another Tennessee tailwater during Thanksgiving break and this trip will include some monster browns hopefully. I'm hoping to find that 32 inch monster I mentioned in the previous post...
"Hero" shot of my big brown - Joe Mcgroom photograph
Friday, November 14, 2008
Last night a quick check of some favorite websites indicated that I should have headed for the South Holston. Matt Champion from the South Holston River Fly Shop landed an unbelievable 32 inch monster. No, that's not a typo...32 inches.... For pictures and more details, check out the link. Plans are now underway for a trip up that way sometime in the not too distant future. In the meantime, I'm fishing this weekend so check back for updates in two or three days...
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
The day was a success with Joe being ruined by a large tailwater brown. I warned him early in the day that it would be addicting. Even worse, fishing tailwaters tends to dull your mountain small stream skills. After catching a big male with an attitude, I'm sure Joe will be fishing the tailwaters with us again sometime soon...
The weather was frigid and we all finally gave up by mid afternoon. Not so much because we weren't catching fish as because it was really cold and we all had places to be. I'm sure I'll be fishing again soon, perhaps in the mountains and maybe on a tailwater. Check back for more on that... Finally, a few more pictures from recent fishing...
(Nathan Stanaway photo)
(Nathan Stanaway photo)
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Anyway, without any further rambling, here's a few pictures from the weekend...
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Those that pay close attention might have noticed that I have added some new links. The first is the Fly Fish Addiction Blog by Troutdawg. Based out of Denver, Colorado, the author has access to some of the finest water in the west and also seems to make plenty of trips further abroad in the quest for great fishing. You'll find plenty of fishing reports, excellent photography, and even how-to articles on this blog.
The other new blog is the Four Corner Fly Fishing blog about fishing in the Southwest. There is a strong emphasis on Arizona which I have a soft spot for. I spent about a year in Arizona during 2004-2005 and discovered the incredible fishing opportunities that can be had in that state. My first Apache trout (and many more) were caught while I was out there along with plenty of nice rainbows, browns, cutts, and even some brookies. This blog has fishing reports along with some great pictures and even some fly tying articles. If you've ever thought about fishing in the Southwest or enjoy reading reports from other areas, this is a great blog to check out.
You've been wondering what the Fly Carriage is all about. This summer while working at Little River Outfitters, Daniel Drake offered me a sample of a new product to test. It was called The Fly Carriage and is a new way to keep used flies. Before, I used one of two options for used flies: either a fleece patch or one of the little fly cups you get when you buy flies from a fly shop. The problem with the fly cups is that it retains the moisture which speeds up the rusting process. I've never really liked the fleece patches because I smash my barbs and the hooks seem to always mysteriously fall off the patch. The Fly Carriage is an excellent alternative. Flies don't seem to have the problem of randomly falling off due to the hard foam used for this great fly holder. The Carriage is basically a zinger with a holder (kind of like the fly floatant holder) that holds a tube-shaped piece of foam that is around an inch in diameter. You simply hook the fly into the foam and it stays put. It has been the perfect compliment to my new keep it simple approach of a lanyard and a couple boxes of flies. I just hang it off the side of the lanyard and have the perfect place to store used flies. The only downside is that people who don't like gadgets hanging off their vest probably won't like it as much. The Fly Carriage is made by Simplifly Gear which is a small company started by Edward Philpot here in Tennessee. He lives not too far from my home tailwater, the Caney Fork so he fishes some great water regularly. If you've been looking for a new way to carry your used flies, definitely give this a try...
Monday, October 27, 2008
This weekend provided another opportunity to go fishing here in Tennessee. I'm going to be purposefully vague and mostly just show a few pictures. Several nice fish came to hand but I didn't get too many pictures. The two fish that were worthy were interesting for a couple of reasons. The first was the brookie and I believe the pictures speak for themselves. The colors are incredible and were even better there in person. I might have to do a trip to the Smokies in the near future to catch a few more brookies because I haven't fished for them enough this year. On Sunday I was reminded why I ought to pursue them more often...
Saturday, October 25, 2008