One of my favorite places to fish during my college days was the Tennessee River in Chattanooga. I could be on the water with only a quick 20 minute drive at a moment's notice. One of the more intriguing aspects of this fishery, at least for me, was the great variety in species available to the fisherman. Largemouth and smallmouth bass, white and yellow bass, stripers, drum, catfish, crappie, bluegill and other panfish, and let's not forget the skipjack, all inhabit the river (along with a lot of other species).
In the winter, there would often be some phenomenal shad kills that brought on some good surface eats. In general, you can almost always catch something on the river. So when I had plans to be in Chattanooga for a couple of days last week, I naturally decided to bring along a fly rod, just in case. Sure enough, some time was free one afternoon, and I quickly jumped at the opportunity.
Arriving at the river, I rigged up quickly with a 7 weight rod and full sinking line. A short leader of 12 pound test fluorocarbon led to a white Stacked Blond. Trailing behind that I had a small weighted marabou streamer that has been very successful for me over the years on warm water rivers. In the past, I would have caught most of my fish on the smaller of the two flies, but for this trip the larger Stacked Blond in white did the trick. I managed a couple of white bass and one small yellow bass.
The local Blue Heron population is alive and well. Watching these birds is always entertaining so I spent some time just enjoying and of course using my camera. Invariably they are much better and more patient fishermen than I am.
I had obligations and couldn't stay long. A quick 45 minutes went by all too quickly but I'm already looking forward to another chance to fish there. Hopefully that will happen sometime in the next couple of months. Before I know it the white bass and skipjack will be running and spring will be 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.