Yesterday, I took a brief scouting trip. The goal was to see if TWRA had stocked any trout at Cumberland Mountain State Park. Each year, the small lake is one of many winter stocking sites to provide a seasonal trout fishery. With the tentative stocking date already past, I figured it wouldn't hurt to at least take a walk with my fly rod.
The trip didn't last long. Either the trout were not stocked or they did not know how to behave like trout. I didn't spot the first rise. Normally those fresh stockers will rise well most of the winter so it looks like the fish may be delayed this year if we are lucky.
Where does luck come in? Well, in the process of exploring the lake, I heard what sounded like an awful lot of water below the dam. Upon closer investigation, I discovered that the drain seems to be open. Now, I'm not sure why, but it seems like every year or two the lake is drained for some reason or another. If that is what is happening right now, we may not even get the winter stocking at all. So, there goes all the luck out the window....maybe.
At least there are still a few bluegill around and willing to play. I managed a few like this one and one small bass that flopped off before I could manage a picture.
Also discouraging was the widespread algae coating the lake bottom. Runoff from the golf course has been altering the lake for years now to the point that I'm wondering how it is affecting the fish population. This lake used to put out some slab sized panfish and nice bass up to 8 or so pounds. The last few years, I just can't find any fish over 2 or 3 pounds and even those seem to be few and far between.
Currently I'm looking into the possibility that the Park is illegally polluting their own lake with fertilizer rich runoff from the golf course. As of right now I'm not sure about all the regulations on such things, but the situation is getting bad enough that something needs to be done so I guess I'll be doing some legwork over the next few days. More on that later if anything comes of it...
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.