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