You have probably read about the fire disaster in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Gatlinburg. As of right now the Park is closed. Thank you to those who have contacted me to make sure that I'm okay. I'm blessed to not live close to the impacted area but am very sad over the devastation that many people are dealing with. The woods will heal quickly, but many people are now dealing with rebuilding their lives. Those scars will last much longer.
If you are interested in fishing, the Park should improve with the coming rainfall. Once it opens back up, fishing should be okay unless it gets really cold which is likely this time of year. Nymphing will be the way to go. A large fly like a stonefly and a small nymph like a blue-winged olive are a good idea in the winter. Next spring has the potential to feature some of the best hatches we've had in a while. That assumes we don't get tons of high water this winter which is nearly impossible to forecast ahead of time. That said, some of the best quill gordon hatches have happened during or just after drought years.
Fishing on the Caney Fork River should continue to be good through the cold months this year. We have had an incredible year on the river. While we can't hope for the river to fish this well every year, next spring and summer should be good as well unless we get long periods of high water.
Please avoid wading on gravel spawning areas. Those eggs have a good chance of making it through the next couple of months to hatch time if we don't have too much high water. This applies on the Caney Fork River and in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
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...