As I mentioned in my last post, I always am keeping my eye out for opportunities to combine hiking and fishing. Hiking helps me focus on my surroundings a bit better. While fishing, I tend to get so caught up on what is happening on the water that I forget to notice the scenery. The hiking allows me to enjoy the best of both worlds. Wandering through the woods with a camera over my shoulder and a fly rod in hand is my favorite way to get out in nature.
A favorite local destination is Cumberland Mountain State Park. In the winter, Byrd Lake is the recipient of quite a few rainbow trout. As we move into spring, the trout that have managed to elude the catch and fry crowd start to color up and look more healthy. After all, trout weren't meant to live their lives in concrete lined runs. They quickly begin eating more natural food and can usually be found rising to midges in late winter.
Even though I've walked this lake since I was a little kid, I never know what I might find so the camera must come along. On this particular day, it was first employed in photographing some of the trout I was catching. One of my favorite patterns for stocked trout is the bead head Simi Seal Leech. Incredibly easy to tie, it also happens to hold up pretty well to a good chewing. This picture gives you a good view of this pattern.
The magic that encourages me to carry a camera happened at the upper end of the lake where the creek is still flowing. Here the waters of the creek were so smooth and calm that the forest above was perfectly reflected.
This stream can contain trout as the fish move up out of the lake. The casting is tight though and because of heavy silting over the years, wading is not advised.
The rest of my hike was uneventful other than catching a few small bluegill. It is great to see the warm water species starting to get active. That is always a sure fire sign that spring is about to arrive!
FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 5/22/2017
Fishing is good to excellent across the area. The Caney Fork River continues to shine on both high and low water. In the Smokies, strong hatches have been keeping fish looking up.
Yesterday, Blue-winged Olives hatched for hours during the light rain and drizzle. Fish were looking up but also took nymphs well. Streamers were moving some quality fish as well. The summer hatches are well under way now. Expect Golden and Little Yellow stoneflies and Isonychia (Slate Drake) mayflies. Light Cahills and Sulfurs have been around as well.
The Caney Fork River continues to fish anywhere from good to great on high water streamer floats. Anyone who wants to target trout with streamers will find this to be exciting fishing. Low water is becoming more and more likely, and if that trend continues we will see some great low water floats. The fish are hungry and we are going into some of the best fishing months on this fine tailwater.
Cumberland Plateau smallmouth streams are rounding into fine shape now. Rain will bump flows up again, but in between the fish are hungry and willing to hammer a fly! Musky floats are about over for the year unless we get more rain.