As our last heavy rain is now something of a distant memory, I can officially say that it is tailwater time. Here in Tennessee, something like that could change at any moment so don't hold your breath. Thankfully, area tailwaters are finally offering some wade opportunities for fishermen. In fact, we are in something of a dry spell with some areas approaching a 5 inch rainfall deficit for the year.
After months of heavy water, that first exploratory trip is always an adventure, and we're never entirely sure what we will discover. Spots that used to be at least knee deep are now closer to ankle deep, while other holes have been cleaned out and deepened. Trips like this should always be done with friends. That way, if the fishing is bad, at least the company is good and you can trade fishing stories.
Accordingly, plans were made with David Perry of Southeastern Fly for another Caney Fork float. If you are looking for a good guide for a drift boat trip, look no further. David knows the river and he knows fish. His stream side lunch is always fantastic as well.
We planned on launching before the generators shut off to allow us some time to fish on higher water. Our hopes for some shad coming through the dam were quickly dashed, but that didn't mean the fish weren't biting. Donnie was fishing with us and had graciously given me the front casting brace. That didn't stop him from starting out with the hot hand though. He soon had a fish boated and before long we left the dam pool and started drifting.
Relaxation was not in the cards on this day as the wind blew steadily upriver, often gusting enough that making progress downstream required more than a little muscle behind the oars. Despite the wind and cold conditions, a few fish were caught. Donnie kept the hot hand by boating some nice rainbows and one pretty brown.
David Perry had to maintain his status as big fish magnet by boating the best rainbow of the day that was pushing 16 inches, but otherwise we caught average stockers.
I amused myself by catching a few fish, rowing through some nice windy stretches, and playing with the camera. Here is one of my efforts to catch a fish in the middle of a jump.
The downside of this trip for me was that we never saw any big browns. Of course that doesn't mean they aren't in there so I'm not too worried, but I do miss the good old days of having a river full of nice browns. I'm excited for this year and am expecting great fishing opportunities. If I can help you with a wade trip on the Caney, please contact me!
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.