One of the best things about the sport of fly fishing is all of the great people you meet. From fly shops across the country, to stream side chats, I've met some of the nicest and most generous people. Meeting for a float is about as fun as it gets so when my friend Breck checked in about a possible Caney Fork float, I was all in.
He was wanting to see the Caney since he hadn't fished it yet and was bringing his boat. The generation schedule called for high water so it would be a day of throwing streamers the whole way. I tied up a few more flies the night before and got up early for a start at daybreak.
Once he arrived, we dropped my car for the shuttle later and headed on up the river. Breck is a streamer fanatic and with good reason I might add. He has caught some huge browns on rivers like the Clinch while drifting and knows what it takes to have a good day on the water. His boat boxes were full of monstrosities designed to turn the largest fish in the river.
It didn't take long to get the first fish of the day as well as some drive by action that resulted in the usual exclamation of "Did you see that?!?!?" The skipjack are up in the river right now but not in the size that I'm accustomed to from the Chickamauga tailwater in Chattanooga where 18 and 20 inch skipjack are normal. Once we started drifting, the early cold started to wear off as the sun rose higher. Fish started to flash with some regularity and Breck came up with the first rainbow and brown of the day.
I love rowing and stayed with it for a while even after Breck offered to take a turn, but eventually the pull of throwing big flies was too strong, and I finally agreed to take a turn with the fly rod. We covered a lot of water, pounding the banks as well as trying to work over deep water in the middle near shoals and structure. Fish came from a lot of different places with most of mine coming off of banks and Breck's coming from out in the middle.
It wasn't until we were near or past the halfway point that Breck got excited. I looked and saw a dark shape swirling before hammering the streamer. Unfortunately luck was not on our side as the hook pulled from the big brown's mouth and we were both left plotting how to return again for another try some day. Finally, as we came into the homestretch, Breck offered to switch again, and I was back on the fly rod. Flashes and swipes became more common and soon I had my own fish as well.
When I offered to row again so Breck could fish, he told me to keep fishing. See what I mean about generous? I didn't argue too long and kept at it strong until the takeout. We had a great trip even if we didn't get that big fish. Thanks again Breck for a great day out on the water!
You can see Breck's report on our trip on the Little River Outfitters message board here.
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.